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Oct 26, 2016

Middlebury Interactive Languages ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

We have reviewed Middlebury Interactive Languages for The Crew before.  We knew what they had to offer, so we were thrilled to be assigned a review with them again.  Xav is more eager to learn languages than Mal (though Mal does enjoy watching the stories), so he got to use this one with me.

We had much more difficulty selecting a language to learn this time.  Homeschool foreign language lessons are available in Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Latin and most are taught at grades K-2, 3-5, middle, and high school.  Courses and a few levels have been added since we reviewed the K-2 Spanish two years ago.  Eventually, we settled on Elementary Chinese I (grades 3-5).

These topics are covered in Elementary Chinese I.
  • Numbers
  • Greetings
  • Family
  • Home
  • Adjectives/Colors
  • School
  • Food
  • Review
  • Animals
  • Friends
  • Nature
  • Seasons
  • Clothing
  • Places
  • Professions
  • Review
That's sixteen units in all!  Each unit (except the review units) consists of six lessons.  The two review units each cover the previous seven units.  The units use Chinese stories and legends to introduce students to the culture of China, as well as written and spoken Mandarin.  Through the use of videos, stories, games, and listening to their own recorded voices, students become familiar with the language.  Xav usually completes several lessons within a unit each time he logs in.

Culture lessons, recorded teacher videos, stories, and activity pages.
We are able to print a transcript of the stories used in each unit.  These include a synopsis of the story and both English and Chinese for each frame of the story in the program.  Other printables included a sheet with a grid for writing practice of the Chinese characters.  The calligraphy of Chinese is fun to write and is very beautiful when done correctly.  We aren't focusing on the characters as much as the more complicated pronunciation of the words.  We've found it a bit harder to learn the unfamiliar sounds of Chinese.  Some languages are easier than others, in part because of this familiarity.  Xav is doing a great job picking it up, though and when I listen to his voice recordings, I'm pretty impressed with how similar he sounds to the originals.

Speaking lab, story transcript, writing characters.
Navigating the course is quite simple. Depending on the browser used, it seems to vary slightly.  There is a calendar which shows a class scheduled for every weekday.  This cannot be altered.  We prefer to use the folders on the left in the Table of Contents screen.  As each lesson is completed, it gets a green check, so we know right where to start next time Xav logs in.  Xav does several lessons within a unit each time and works on it two to four days in a week.  It fits into our schedule pretty easily.

Navigating with a list, a calendar, or folders.
Within the gradebook, I can see how Xav has done on the quizzes and unit tests at a glance.  Luckily, we can go back and listen again and again!

Repeated exposure throughout helps cement the characters and words into our brains.

There is no pre-requisite for Elementary Chinese I.  Courses run from introductory levels to Advanced Placement.  Middlebury courses are non-credit bearing in themselves, but homeschool parents can certainly award credit based on the time the high school student puts into the course.

The Middlebury Interactive Language courses are immersive language learning.  They start right at the beginning with the new language.  The stories are never told in English, but you get a sense for it from the pictures and, if needed, the transcripts can be viewed or printed.

The length of time required to complete one semester of a course varies by level. 
  • middle school and high school, 90 lesson days
  • grades 3-5, 45 lesson days
  • grades K-2, 35 lesson days
Each course is available with or without teacher support.  The teacher does require an additional fee, but they work independently with each student.  You don't need to log in on a certain day, at a certain time to make use of that benefit.

Visual and auditory learners can really benefit from these language lessons.

Find Middlebury Interactive Languages on social media.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}

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