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Oct 22, 2014

Middlebury Interactive Languages ~ Spanish K-2 Review

Xavier has been asking to learn a foreign language and after talking it over with Micah, we narrowed it down to a few languages we had particular interest in as a family.  When the Schoolhouse Review Crew offered the opportunity to review Middlebury Interactive Languages online language course, Xav and I were excited to take part.  I did entertain the idea briefly of having him take a level 1 elementary course for grades 3-5, but we chose Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Selecting a K-2 level course, made a language choice much easier as there is only one language at that level.  Middlebury Interactive Languages currently offers four language choices (Spanish, French, Chinese, and German) and three to six levels of instruction for each.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

The Spanish K-2 lessons cover 5 topics and then a review unit.
  • Greetings
  • Numbers
  • Family
  • Colors
  • School
  • Review
Each unit (except Review) consists of six lessons.  Six and a half weeks of instruction is provided if done daily (or several lessons each session, like Xav enjoyed doing) as it's laid out in the calendar*, the recommendation for this course is 2-3 days or lessons per week.  Each lesson is broken down into even more activities, so the student would do five to seven activities each session.  Activities include matching words and phrases to pictures, clicking pictures to color a section and hear the vocabulary, listening to stories, and a speaking lab.  It helps to have a microphone for the speaking lab, but it isn't necessary unless you purchase a course with teacher support.  Most of the activities are completed on the internet, but some are printable worksheets.

*The calendar has a lesson scheduled for every weekday, from the day Middlebury sets up your account.  I didn't see a way to edit that schedule anywhere.  Since the K-2 program is a semester course with 35 lessons, it would have been really nice to schedule a lesson for every Tuesday and Thursday, or whatever works for your family.  We completely ignored the calendar.  I preferred the file folders to access the current lesson.  The green check marks made it simple to see what was next.

Three ways to access the current lesson; calendar, files, and pictures.
I've printed off the coloring pages and worksheets for Xav.  The worksheets aren't typical worksheets, I call them "thinking sheets."  They consist of something like (paraphrasing here), "What holidays does your family celebrate?  Some families celebrate holidays differently than your family or even celebrate different holidays.  Draw a picture of your favorite holiday."

There are also transcripts in English and Spanish of all of the stories.  The unit vocabulary is highlighted.   You can also print a "cheat sheet" of all the Spanish with the English translation.  (I would never call it a cheat sheet in front of Xav!  Ha.)

There is a gradebook which gives a score for the story quizzes and the matching exercises.  It also lists the date each was submitted and when it was scheduled on that calendar.  For some reason, Xav's scores for the story quizzes all read as 0.0/0.  There is either a glitch in the grading or for some reason the grades aren't recorded.


Xav likes to share the words he has learned with others and he does remember them pretty well.  I get a smile when I think of the day we all went hiking shortly after beginning Middlebury and he said, "hola!" to every hiker we met on the trail.    

Malachi claimed to have no interest in learning a new language, but he enjoys the stories as much as Xav.  They often watch the stories again after the lessons are complete.

I. Am. Kicking. Myself. for not putting Xavier in Elementary Spanish 1: Grades 3-5.  Kicking myself.  This is a full semester course and he has six months access to it and he has completed it already.  I wish it was six months of complete access to all the levels to move through the language at the student's pace.  On the up side, we won six months of access to Middlebury at about the same time I was selected to review it.  That means Xav gets to move on to the next Spanish level which looks a bit more challenging, even though he will be repeating some of the topics.  I'm OK with that.  He really likes Middlebury Interactive Languages.  As of this morning, it was pretty much the only thing he likes about school.

For grades K-12.  I think it would be perfectly suitable for an adult.  This specific course is for grades K-2, but I think some second graders could be ready for a more challenging level.  If you're interested in a kids' language course in one of the other languages and have a second grader, I would seriously consider placing them in the level 1, grade 3-5 course.
Price: $119, or an additional $175 for teacher grading.

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