Disclaimer: I received both product and compensation in exchange for this review. However, as always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own; I only recommend products or services that I feel are beneficial to my readers and my family. For more information on Cornerstone Confessions review policies, please see my full disclosure policy.
At the beginning of the school year, Peanut declared that she wanted to learn Spanish thanks in part to her preschool music teacher, whose first language was Spanish. While I hadn’t planned on focusing on a foreign language at this point in her schooling (she’s five), I heard about Middlebury Interactive Languages and thought we’d give it a try since they were releasing a new online Spanish program for kindergarten, first and second grade students. Boy am I glad we did. Both girls love it–note I said BOTH!
Spanish is supposed to be for Peanut’s school work, but anytime Teacup (who is 3) hears the program starting on the computer, she stops what she is doing and declares that she wants to “watch Spanish too.” It’s so funny.
We have now been learning Spanish together for three months using Middlebury and the excitement for learning Spanish is the same as day 1. In addition, I know both girls have learned more than just Spanish vocabulary. They have learned about the history of the Pinata, sung songs well-known in Spanish-speaking cultures, and have even heard folk tales that are commonly told in Spanish-speaking families. Needless to say, I have been very impressed by the thoroughness of this beginning Spanish program.
5 Things We Love about Middlebury Interactive
- Middlebury Interactive really is INTERACTIVE. I know that sounds redundant, but I’m not sure how else to say it. The variety of activities students are asked to do is fantastic–reading, watching, repeating, speaking, singing, and more.
- Middlebury Interactive is a SUBMERSION APPROACH to learning Spanish. Yes, there are English instructions given, but the videos and support material are all in Spanish. While Peanut still doesn’t understand EVERYTHING going on in the videos, she is able to gather enough information to understand the unit’s vocabulary words in context which is great.
- Middlebury Interactive is FUN. My girls LOVE their Spanish time. They like everything from watching the videos over and over again, to playing the games, and even listening to recordings of themselves saying Spanish words. It is really one of the funnest parts of our day.
- Middlebury Interactive is SHORT AND SWEET. They definitely understand the attention span of K-2 students because each lesson is usually no more than 10 minutes long.
- Middlebury Interactive is REPETITIVE. Each unit has 6 lessons so that by the end of the 6th lesson Peanut knows that unit’s Spanish words inside and out. In fact, about the only known Spanish word she still struggles with is anaranjado, but it’s not because she doesn’t know what the word means, she just has a hard time getting that long word out of her mouth. Oh, and for the record, that means orange. 😉 See, even I’ve been learning something!
- Middlebury Interactive is intended for INDEPENDENT USE. That means that even my five year old who at first couldn’t read well could use this program by herself. As long as a student knows how to use a computer mouse, they can click on an icon to have the instructions read to them. A parent does not have to stand by and read instructions or guide the child because everything is explained very thoroughly. While I stay nearby most of the time, Peanut is able to complete her Spanish lesson on her own which gives her a sense of accomplishment.
5 Tips for Making the Middlebury K-2 Spanish Program Work for You
The K-2 Spanish program is fairly new for Middlebury so they still have a few quirks to work out in the system. That said, here are a few tips to making the K-2 Spanish Program work for you.
- Do not use their calendar or even look at it. Unless you plan on beginning the program right away and completing a lesson every day, this will only be confusing because right now the system is set up to schedule a lesson every weekday from the date of registration, regardless of your homeschooling schedule. And no, at this point the calendar is not editable, meaning you cannot change the days the lessons are assigned. That said, it is a great place to go if you like to see which lessons your child has completed. There will be a check-mark beside each completed lesson.
- Plan on completing 2-3 lessons per week. Despite the funky calendar system, Middlebury Interactive recommends 2-3 lessons per week for retention. We have found this to be a good schedule for us as well. There are currently 34 lessons in the K-2 Spanish program so completing a lesson every 2-3 days should allow completion of the program within a semester.
- Check the grade book occasionally. While grades are not very important for Peanut’s schooling at this point, I love being able to get feedback on how she is doing in the program. Each week’s quizzes are reviewed for completion and unit tests are scored, all without any extra effort on my part which is such a time savor.
- Have your child select the next slide in the lesson sequence as they are ready and make sure they scroll through to the last slide as not all slides may be visible from the start. While this may be common sense to some, we initially thought the program would automate itself through each slide as we came to it. Middlebury does not do this. Instead it allows a child to complete a slide over and over as many times as they’d like before moving on. While this is a plus for many children, a child has to manually select the next slide in the left column when they are ready to move on.
- Want to use Middlebury Interactive on your iPad? Download the Middlebury Interactive Languages App and open your dashboard in the Middlebury Browser. The plus side to using the app is that there are also extra reinforcement games your child can play and it’s portable! That said, I still recommend using the computer over the app for lessons in which a student needs to record himself or herself as the app does not always record things correctly.
When in doubt, contact customer service–they are great! Initially we had a few struggles with the K-2 program in that it wasn’t liking my computer. I contacted Middlebury, and they were able to help me immediately so that we could get up and running in no time.
Start Learning a New Language Today!
Would I recommend Middlebury Interactive Languages for online foreign language learning? Definitely. In fact, I plan on completing this course again with Teacup when she is a little older because we enjoyed it so much. By the way, while Spanish is the only foreign language program they currently have for K-2 students, they do have lots of other programs for 3rd through 12th grade students including German, French, and Chinese! So, if your child is interested in learning a foreign language online I highly encourage you to check out one of these online submersion programs provided by Middlebury Interactive Languages.
AND, if you choose to order a foreign language program from Middlebury, be sure to use the code HomeSchoolFirst10 to get 10% off your initial order. This is an ongoing discount provided by Middlebury with no expiration date!
Win a Middlebury Interactive Languages Semester Course
Want to win a Middlebury Interactive Languages semester course? Middlebury is giving away ten one-semester courses. Each winner will get to choose their own language and level. (This excludes AP courses and is applicable to courses as independent study without the support of a teacher). The value is $119 per semester. All courses are digital, so no shipping is needed, and the giveaway is open to anyone in the world. Note: All entrants’ emails will also be given to Middlebury and added to their mailing list, which you can unsubscribe from later should you choose to do so.