Middlebury Interactive Languages

When it comes to teaching my children a foreign language, I appreciate getting added help. Especially when it's interactive, online language help! We recently had the chance to review High School Spanish from Middlebury Interactive Languages.

Middlebury Interactive Languages has a special section for homeschoolers. They offer French, Spanish, Chinese and German. Many of these languages are offered from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade.

The self paced course teaches the languages by using total immersion through text, audio, video and images. This is put into practice by listening to the language, practice speaking the language, as well as reading & writing the language. The immersion approach not only teaches the student language skills but also teaches them cultural awareness which we found quite interesting learning those added facts!

The program also offers an addition of having a teacher work with the student (for an added fee).Though we didn't try this portion of the program out, it is a nice to know it's there. I took several years of Spanish in high school and lived in Peru for awhile so I felt pretty confident in helping my daughter out when she needed it.

Each course is set up to be 1 semester long. This equals out to 18 weeks doing 5 lessons a week. The program is set up for the student to work independently though there is a gradebook for the parent to check in on completed lessons and grades.

 To start using the program is quite easy. It's just a matter of signing in and going to the main menu. From there you could choose to view the course in a calendar layout or by the table of contents. My daughter (and I) preferred the table of contents layout as when she did her lessons didn't always correspond to the same day of the month that the lesson was listed under.

With the table of content view, you could see exactly where she left off at as it automatically put a check-mark beside each part of the lesson she completed. There are 18 units with 5 lessons in each unit, a midterm test at week 9 and a final test at the end. There were also some quizzes throughout different lessons. The first lesson in each unit goes over the objectives and what the student will learn in the next 5 lessons.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Frequently used conversational language was taught right from the start. They used a variety of methods to help instill the words into the student through having them match up phrases (Spanish to English translation) and even pictures to words.

At times, the student also practices spelling the Spanish word (as in the above print screen). There is an audio button they can click on to hear the phrase being read. The student can also practice speaking the language themselves in the sections called "speaking labs". This is where you hear the teacher say a word or phrase using a microphone, you can record yourself saying the same thing then play them back to see how closely you matched the teacher's word.

Another way the student practices the language is by listening to the teacher read a paragraph in Spanish. While listening, they have to check off the words or phrases they heard being read to them. This connects the auditory to the visual aspect of learning the language.

We found this program easy to use yet very engaging. The photos they used are ones that show kids of the same age as the student who is using the program so it feels more relatable. The voices (both male & female) that spoke Spanish were clear and easy to understand. The lessons weren't boring as each section of a lesson was short and to the point. It took my 10th grade daughter approximately 20 minutes to complete each lesson. 

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