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
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!
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