I was recently invited to try out a language curriculum from Middlebury Interactive Languages. I received access to Elementary Spanish I: Grades K-2 grade, and today I am going to review the program for you.
We received access to the Middlebury Interactive Languages website. This program is designed for beginning Spanish learners, and doesn’t require your child to know any Spanish to begin with. My 1st grader used this program 3 times per week for the last 6 weeks or so. It covers basic vocabulary and an introduction to Mexican culture. Even though I took Spanish in high school, I didn’t get any introduction to the culture, so I appreciate that it is included in the curriculum.
When you log in to your course, the lessons are set up by date, so you click on a day, click on the lesson, and then a series of slides opens on the left hand side of the screen. You click on each part of the lesson, then the next, until you reach the end. I feel like the set-up could be better. I wish there was an easy way to select a lesson based on what it is about. For instance, if I knew we needed to work on colors, I could see the word “colors” and click on it. As it is now, you have to know what day that lesson was on and go back to it. That is tricky for me, especially since it’s my son’s course and not mine. It makes for tricky navigating, to say the least.
The graphics are nice and child-friendly. The songs and stories are a lot of fun. They replay the stories multiple times as your child gets a better grasp on the vocabulary within them. It’s a great way to learn the words. It’s immersive and enjoyable.
Each days’ lesson is long enough to remember the words for, but not long enough to be boring. I always heard, “Can I do one more lesson?” at the end of the first lesson. Some days we did multiple lessons, and it was also easy to replay lessons that needed review. The coolest part was the stories and songs that incorporate Mexican culture, such as folk tales. They were fun and really memorable. Spanish practice was ongoing all week for all of my kids, and my two year old has taken to saying, “Hola” all the time. My 4 year old will say, “Hello,” then my two year old replies, “Hola.” It’s pretty awesome to watch. I love that everyone is picking up Spanish.
So far, the lessons have covered colors, greetings, school words, numbers, family names, and I’m sure more, but the program is largely self-led, so unless I am sitting over my son’s shoulder, I don’t always see the lessons he is doing. The first few lessons we did together, and as he picked up how to navigate the website, I would let him get on and complete his lesson alone. I would be in the same room, but he could complete his lesson all by himself.
One nice part is, there is no grading on my part. The tests are graded on the website. I hear him reciting his words every week, and I help him with them throughout the day. I’m not trying to be lazy about it, but a program that my kids can do solo is a huge help for me when I’m doing my college class work, taking the 2 year old to the potty, or wiping spaghetti sauce off the wall. I’m just being real here.
The other thing I really like is that when you practice the words, you speak into the computer’s microphone and it records you. Then, you get to play it back. This helps reinforce the right sounds for the words, and the kids can hear themselves. Then, they can compare their voice to the one on the computer. Plus, it’s really fun for young kids to hear themselves talk. Let’s just face it, I know some adults too who love to hear themselves talk. As a writer, you could probably say I fall into that category myself. Middlebury Interactive Languages knows how to make things fun and educational.
My son enjoyed using Middlebury Interactive Languages to learn Spanish. I wish the website was set up a little differently, but once you figure out what you’re doing, it’s not too big of a deal. I love the variety of languages that are offered. Everything from Chinese to German is available, and assuming that the other languages are offered with the same format, I’m sure they are great. It kind of makes me want to learn something completely different just for the fun of it!