My son loves learning different languages, which I think is great because learning a foreign language early in life is very beneficial. His interest in foreign languages started a couple of years ago, when we were able to review a Latin curriculum. He looooved it! Who knew? Since then, he’s thoroughly enjoyed learning Spanish. He tells me he wants to learn French next, but I think we’re going to have to slow down and master a language before we move on to any more.
Teaching a foreign language can be difficult if you don’t already know the language yourself. Thankfully, there are some great options for homeschoolers out there. One of those options is Middlebury Interactive Languages. Over the past few weeks we have been reviewing Middle School Spanish 1 (Grades 6-8) by Middlebury Interactive Languages.
Middlebury Interactive Languages
Middlebury Interactive Languages is an online foreign language program that provides language courses for children in all grades including elementary (K-5), middle school (6-8), and high school (9-12). It offers four different languages to study:
For my review, I received a subscription to a full semester (6 months) of the Middle School Spanish 1 course. This immersion style program is self-paced but in order to complete the program within the time frame given, you do need to complete about three lessons per week. There is also a Middle School Spanish 2 course available for those who have completed the first course.
The middle school and high school courses focus on four language skill areas:
Cost per course is $119 for learning done independently. For $294 Middlebury Interactive Languages will even provide teacher support. We were given the independent learning course for review and did not receive the teacher support. You do need internet connection to use Middlebury Interactive Languages, as you cannot download the program to your computer.
Thoughts and Usage
Once we were logged into the program the layout was very simple and easy to navigate, which I really appreciated.
The table of contents in the left sidebar contains the lessons and the exercises the student works through. You can always see where you are in the program by looking at the table of contents. As my son completed each activity, he received a green checkmark. I really liked how the lessons were broken down into smaller sections and my son enjoyed seeing the activities being checked off as he worked.
Lessons usually took about 30 minutes for my son to complete. I sat with him as he did the lessons, not because he wouldn’t be able to do the activities on his own, but he did better if I was there to guide him along.
The variety of exercises incorporate different skills including, listening, speaking, grammar, sentence structure, reading comprehension, and more. It definitely is a comprehensive program that covers absolutely everything a foreign language program should. There were several different interactive games like matching activities and fill-in-the-blanks. I liked the cultural information presented along the way, too.
Clicking on the little audio buttons allowed my son to listen to conversations or words in the Spanish language. For the speaking part, my son practiced the Spanish speaking parts with me since we haven’t been able to get the computer microphone to work with the program yet.
The printables have been very handy. I printed out the handouts and taped them to my son’s desk so that he could see and study the words/greetings/vocabulary whenever he sat down to his desk.
The format of this course really seems a bit mature for a young middle school student. Most of the graphics are of adults or high school students and the way the information is presented was a bit intimidating to my son. I feel that the program would be great as an adult course, but is really too advanced and moved too quickly for my middle school student.
Because we wanted to take the program a little slower, I really wish that we could have more than 6 months to complete the semester. I felt like we were being rushed and therefore could not get as much out of the program as we could have.
Overall, we would really like this program if my son was a bit older and we had more time to complete the program. As it is now, I don’t think it is a very good fit for us, as we need something a little lighter and more appealing. However, if you have an older middle school student that enjoys straightforward simple lessons, this program may suit you perfectly.
Please read more reviews to see what others have to say about Middlebury Interactive Languages.