10/22/14

Middlebury Languages ~ High School French {Crew Review}

Family rumor has it that my great-grandfather spoke French. He emigrated to the US from a French speaking country so that makes sense to me. Another rumor says that he may have taught me a bit of French when I was very little. Though I remember him vaguely, I do not remember any of our conversations, but years later I fell in love with the French language and took a year in high school and a year in college. Turtlegirl has inherited my love of French and has been wanting to learn it for years. 

We begged for the opportunity to review one of the High School French Courses from Middlebury Interactive Languages. Courses are sold by semester and you can choose from no teacher or with teacher. We on the crew received one semester of our choice with no teacher.

Middlebury Interactive Languages review at Circling Through This Life

Since Turtlegirl used this program I’m going to let her share about the program and tell you how it works from her perspective.

Turtlegirl’s Student Perspective

[Begin Turtlegirl] So, on an average day, I log in, go to the Table of Contents. Then I go to where I left off. (OK, OK. I cheat. I check my logbook to see what the last lesson I completed was.) The first lesson in a unit (which contains 5 lessons) has a vocabulary overview of all the vocabulary that will be covered in the unit.

Then, there are 'sets' of vocabulary. A lesson may contain 1-2 sets of vocabulary. The activities for the sets are 'Warm-up', 'Matching', and 'Speaking Lab'. 'Warm-up' introduces the chunk of vocabulary for the set. It allows you to listen to the word or phrase, and display the meaning/translation. (I like to write it all down in my notebook.) 'Matching' is just what it sounds like. You match up the French word with a picture of its translation.

'Speaking Lab' involves a microphone. You listen to the phrase, and then you are expected to record yourself saying the phrase. Personally, I hate the Speaking Lab because for me, it's really hard. On the other hand, it's my favorite part because I get to practice actually speaking the language. My reading comprehension is higher than my listening comprehension, and the Speaking Lab helps me work on that.

Speaking Labs help students learn to correctly pronounce the lanuage ~ Chek out Middlebury HS French review at Circling Through This Life

After the 'Sets' in the first lesson, there is a 'Synthesis: Listening and Reading' or two. This involves listening to a conversation in French, and filling in the blanks with what the person said. As I said above, my reading comprehension is higher than my speaking comprehension, so this is really helpful.

 Afterwards, there is 'Pronunciation Practice'. They usually come in pairs.

The second lesson is longer, and while it introduces more vocabulary, it also introduces the grammar concepts that are going to be covered in the unit. In addition, it involves practicing the vocabulary, etc. that have been introduced.

The third lesson introduces still more vocabulary, but also involves practice, tips, and, usually, a pop quiz. The fourth lesson is much like the third, except that it does not introduce any more vocabulary. It also has a 'Culture' section, which tells you more about French Culture, such as diet and dialects, usually tying in with the vocabulary for the unit.

The fifth lesson is the unit test, sometimes along with 'Journal Assignment(s)'. These can be in either French or English. The Unit test usually involves both listening to a conversation in French and answering comprehension questions about it, and reading a paragraph and answering comprehension questions. There are also vocabulary questions. These usually involve selecting the correct vocabulary word in its correct form for the context of the sentence. All of the questions are multiple choice. 

On a whole, I have very much enjoyed learning with this French Course, and look forward to completing it. I highly recommend this program because of its comprehensive approach to the language. [End Turtlegirl]

HS French from Middlebury ~ read the review at Circling Through This Life

The Calendar, Home Page and Accessing Lessons

I really wish that the “no teacher” option at least included a separate parent account or at least allowed the student to adjust the calendar. We bypassed the home page and the calendar and accessed the lessons through the Table of Contents. It would be lovely if we could adjust the calendar to reflect our school days. As is the calendar shows an assignment for every single week day minus federal holidays and it started assigning lessons before we even had access to the program. It would be nice if the home page accurately listed her next assignment but it does not seem to keep up with with what she has completed so we found the best way to access the lessons is through the Table of Contents.

{Breaking News!} By clicking through each lesson I was able to get the home page to accurately reflect her current lesson so that she can go to her current lesson through the home page rather than the table of contents. It would still be nice however to be able to adjust the calendar so that it doesn’t look like she is behind.  She’s not behind based on our school calendar.

From a Parent/Teacher Perspective

Though I don’t like not being able to adjust the calendar, I do like that I can go in and click on the grading tab then click on “awaiting grade.”  I presume that these assignments would be graded by the Middlebury teacher if you choose “with teacher” as your option. Rubrics for grading are included so I can check my daughter’s submitted work and assign my own grade. I cannot input these grades into the French course but I can log them in my own record keeping system allowing me to assign her a grade. I can also look at what has been automatically graded.  Not all of the assignments show up here but quizzes, tests, and journal like activities do.

It is easy to look through the Table of Contents to see if my daughter has completed a lesson and I can open the lesson to see a score for daily assignments.  We do not have separate parent/student accounts.  There is only the one account, but because I can access it, I can provide accountability to my daughter who is working independently and at the same time I do not have to be the one doing the teaching.

The program is thorough and includes written and spoken language instruction as well as cultural and geographical information. Review is included in the program and lots of tips are sprinkled throughout the lessons. Both Turtlegirl and I really like the program and recommend it to other homeschoolers looking for a high school language program.

In addition to High School French, Middlebury offers other grade levels and language choices. If you’re looking for German, French, Spanish, or Chinese you’ll want to check out Middlebury.

Middlebury offers interactive language instruction from grades K though 12

The Details:

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read what others have to say about Middlebury Interactive Languages.  

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