9/29/15

Middlebury Interactive Languages {Crew Review}

Turtlegirl loves languages. She fell in love with French a year ago when we had the opportunity to review the first semester of High School French I, one of the French Courses from Middlebury Interactive Languages. She is thrilled that she gets to complete the course by using the second semester this year!

Middlebury Interactive Languages offers courses from Kindergarten through High School. They offer these world languages: French, German, Spanish, and Chinese. Courses are classified as Elementary K-2, Elementary 3-5, Middle School, High School, Fluency, and Advanced Placement (AP).

Middlebury Interactive Languages ~ world languages curriculum for homeschoolers

The homeschool world languages curriculum can be taken as a self-paced independent study or families can choose to opt for the guidance of a certified virtual teacher. Some features of the curriculum, such as grading of speaking and writing lessons, are only available with the teacher option. The Schoolhouse Review Crew received six months of access to the self-paced independent study course. Six months is plenty of time to finish one semester if the student completes one unit per week. With 18 weeks of lessons, the student should still be able to take breaks for holidays.

High School French 1 (Second Semester)

High School French 1 has no prerequisites for beginning the first semester but the student should have completed semester 1 or the equivalent before beginning the second semester. The second semester picks up right after the Semester One Final. There is no review of semester one materials before beginning the second semester. This makes sense logically as a traditional school year would begin with semester one in the fall and continue with semester two in the spring. Turtlegirl did things a little differently, having completed the semester one course a year ago and did not immediately come back to French for the second semester.

Because the second semester immediately follows the first, unit numbers begin at 19. There are a total of 18 units. Each unit has 5 lessons. The course pace requires students to complete one lesson each school day in order to finish in 18 weeks for one semester or 36 weeks for the full course.

Each lesson has several different parts. Not every lesson contains all the activities but throughout each week’s unit you’ll find activities covering:

  • Vocabulary ~ Lesson one of every unit begins with unit objects and then gives an overview of all the new vocabulary for that unit. Lessons 2 and 3 continue to explore that new vocabulary in specific activity sets such as warm up and matching.
  • Speaking ~ Speaking skills are practiced throughout the unit including vocabulary activities. There are also specific pronunciation practices.
  • Listening ~ Listening activities target listening comprehension. In one activity, students listen to a conversation and then fill in the blanks. In another activity, students listen for particular vocabulary words and select which ones they heard. Turtlegirl tells me she usually misses at least one but she can repeat the activity if she needs more practice.
  • Writing ~ There are grammar activities as well as dictation activities. Some writing activities involve real life type situations such as responding to an email from a pen pal.

Online Language Learning with Middlebury Interactive Langauges includes grammar!

  • Reading ~ The primary activity for reading is to read a passage and take a quiz about it.
  • French Speaking Culture ~ There is a video about some aspect of the culture and then a quiz. The culture explorations are not limited to just France. Students are introduced to the foods, sports, holidays, geography, history, and climate of other French speaking locales.
  • Life Long Learner Goals ~ The student sets her own goals for these types of activities. Some of the suggestions include incorporating French into your speaking day, listening to music in French, and finding a native speaker and talking with them. Turtlegirl mostly listens to music in French.

Each unit builds on the previous units, so units do need to be completed in order. Students can repeat activities if they need more practice. Simply click the reset button and try again. Turtlegirl finds that very helpful when she is working with a difficult concept.

Although the speaking exercises are not automatically graded, the activities are still important and Turtlegirl uses headphones and a microphone to practice speaking. She is able to compare her recording to the program. The exception is the “Conversation Station” exercise. She must understand what is being said to her and respond verbally. These responses are recorded and credit is given for participation but with the self-paced option there is no teacher feedback.


Some things to know about the Self-Paced Independent Study Option

1. The calendar feature is for the  Virtual Teacher option. It comes prepopulated with lessons assigned to dates. It is not necessary to follow these dates at all. We choose to bypass the calendar and access the lessons through the Table of Contents.

The Table of Contents helps you keep track of where you are in the program!

2. Most of the activities are graded automatically by the program, however, there are some writing and speaking assignments that require teacher grading.

Turtlegirl's Thoughts:

I really love Middlebury. I especially love the built-in reviews. During the 2nd and 3rd lessons of a unit, before learning a new grammar concept or a new word, you review the ones you've already learned. I really appreciated that. I also appreciate that in lesson 1 of each unit, there is a list of all the vocabulary that will be learned in the unit. I like that in each quarter, one before the mid-term and one after the mid-term, there is a French-speaking culture that we explore. I really enjoy learning French with this program.

For more on Turtlegirl’s thoughts and a description of the program from her point of view you can read my review of the first semester of HS French I. 

 Middlebury Interactive Langauges ~ homeschool langauge curriculum

 

The Details:


 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review ~ Language Learning for Homschoolers

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