Tuesday, October 21, 2014

French Course by Middlebury Interactive Languages #REVIEW

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

My seventh grader asked to take French this year.  On of the beauties of homeschooling is that he totally has a say in what electives he takes during his school year.  We were fortunate to be part of the SchoolHouse Review Crew and to be picked to review Middlebury Interactive Languages this fall.  

There are 4 languages Middlebury offers:

Spanish Courses
French Courses
German Courses
Chinese Courses

Each course is offered in four levels: Elementary, middle school, high school and AP.  The courses start at grade 3 with the exception of Spanish which has a kindergarten level.  
Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

There are two options when choosing your language.  You can choose between to have a teacher graded course or without the teacher.  (Without a teacher is graded online by the course - it just doesn't have the teacher interaction.  I also wanted to note that the 'with teacher' option offers transcript credit - if you need that for your state or umbrella school.)

Courses are broken up into semesters.


Without a Teacher (per semester) - $119
with a  Teacher (per semester) - $294

We received Middle School French Semester 1 without a teacher for this review.  

How we used this course:

My seventh grader is pretty handy with the computer so for the first lesson I sat down with him and showed him how to navigate the lesson screen. For us it was easier to go by the table of contents to complete lessons.  However there is a calendar that shows you which lesson to do each day if that works better for your learning style.  Our semester consisted of 9 units.  Each unit included 5-10 lessons for a semester total of 90.  There is also a midterm/final section.  It was super easy for him once I showed him how to log on and where to find the lessons. 

His lessons would include various styles.  Some days he did a matching lessons, other days he had to pronounce words.  The lesson would introduce new vocabulary to him and  have occasions to read/write what he was learning.

Xander would log in in the mornings and work through  1-3 lessons a day typically we did this 4-5 days a week as recommended for middle school level by Middlebury.  We purchased (optional) a headset / microphone set cheaply off of amazon for him to use.  This worked well for us because we have a 9th grader doing school as well as our preschooler who likes to disrupt things.  Xan was able to concentrate on the course without too much distraction.  

It is helpful to have a printer and notebook for the course.  We printed out a few sheets here and there with vocabulary.  There was also a great little guide for navigating your keyboard for accents on words.  

Our Thoughts:

My son has been enjoying this course.  He likes that it is self-paced and that he can work as slowly or as fast as he likes.  For example there was a quiz coming up and he was able to take 2 days to really study and review for it.  Typically though he is flying through the course.  We are about a week ahead of the suggested schedule and I hope he keeps that pace up so it will not be a challenge to finish during our 6 month time.  

I like how everything is graded and I can see at a glance how he is doing.  Foreign language is one area of teaching that totally intimidates me.  I have a little bit of knowledge of quite a few languages and frankly it all blends together for me.  The ability to purchase a course for my kid that is going to do all the teaching and grading is a huge relief for me!  I'm almost positive Xan will be asking to complete semester 2 after we finish this one.  Overall we are both pleased with how this course is progressing. One really sweet thing has been quizzing my son on the vocabulary.  I took a year of college French and while I retained very little - I can read the words off the page.  So I've had fun sharing in his learning with French. 

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