Now that we have left Korea, I’m not as adamant about the kids continuing their Korean lessons. We spent 15 months immersed in Korean culture and language and I don’t want them to be so burned out on Korean that they lose the zest and curiosity they have.
I also want to expose the kids to as many different cultures and languages as we can, and that seems to be pretty easy as a military family. We have met soldiers and families from all over the world: Korea, Cuba, the Philippines, Jordan, Russia, Mexico, Taiwan, New Zealand, Pakistan, and more.
As you may know from reading this blog, my 9 year-old Denna has a deep love for languages. She taught herself some Japanese at age 6, she was an enthusiastic learner of Korean, and she is now interested in Spanish after meeting a trilingual family in our previous homeschool group.
Even though I took four years of Spanish in high school, and retained some of it, I didn’t feel I could adequately introduce her to the language without some resources.
Middlebury Interactive – Online Elementary Spanish
We tried out a few free websites and Denna started learning the Spanish alphabet. But none of them were comprehensive. Then I was introduced to Middlebury Interactive language courses. Middlebury offers online courses designed for elementary through high school ages in Spanish, Chinese, German, and French.
The courses are designed so that your student can complete them with or without an instructor.
Denna chose to take the Elementary Spanish 3-5 course since she is in 4th grade. The elementary courses require no previous knowledge of the language so she could jump right in.
The program runs completely on your internet browser, so you don’t have to download any software. At first we had a little trouble navigating the website, but then we discovered the navigation tab (circled in the picture below). You can use the calendar which is set up for a lesson each weekday, or you can simply use the table of contents.
The course is set up in two semesters, each available for purchase separately. We reviewed the first semester which contains 8 units. Each unit had several activities and it’s own review so that students have multiple ways to interact with the material.
What we love about Middlebury Spanish
The first thing I noticed about this course was that Denna loved it. We didn’t do a lesson every day, but she would get on about 2-3 times a week and usually do an entire unit in one sitting! I was worried about her retaining the information, so when I asked her if she would be willing to go through the units again she gladly obliged.
The course is designed to engage students. It definitely lives up to it’s description of interactive. Lessons incorporate:
- Audio – each phrase and instruction has a clickable audio file
- Video – There are introductory videos that use vocabulary, tell stories, and more
- Kinesthetic – students get to click, drag, drop, and “show” they know the vocab
Denna loved the songs, folk tales, and real-life applications of the language. I loved that the lessons were short yet packed with useful information.
Each lesson also allows you to record your voice with a microphone in the Speaking Lab. Then you can hear yourself saying the Spanish phrases and compare your pronunciation with that of the lesson recording. This is a huge plus for auditory learners (like Denna and myself)!
Denna has no trouble using what she learned in everyday conversation with me. Here is a little video we put together of her sharing her favorite things about the program:
Purchasing a Middlebury digital foreign language course
Middlebury language courses are perfect for homeschoolers. If you have an older student that needs their foreign language credit to finish high school, you have a choice of three high school levels plus AP courses (teacher support is required for the AP courses and cost differs). Each regular semester costs $119, or $175 with online teacher support. Check out the courses Middlebury offers:
Middlebury is offering all homeschool families 10% off their initial purchase!
Use the code HomeSchoolFirst10 on checkout. This is an ongoing offer with no expiration!
Be sure to connect with Middlebury Interactive via social media:
Middlebury will be the featured guest at next week’s iHomeschool Network Google+ Hangout which will cover the topic of teaching a foreign language in your homeschool! Don’t miss it October 16th at 8pm Central. Or, if you do miss it – make sure to watch it on YouTube!
Middlebury is giving away 10 one-semester courses. If you win, you get to choose the language and level of your course (AP level is excluded and the semester is without teacher support). This is a value of $119.
Since all courses are online, there is no shipping required and the giveaway is open to anyone in the world.
All entrants to the contest will give their email information to Middlebury and will be added to their email list.