My daughter, Hannah, was born in China. For the first three and a half years of her life, she spoke Mandarin Chinese. In the last 6 years, most of her Chinese has been replaced by English. So I was very happy to get to review Elementary Chinese, grades 3-5, from Middlebury Interactive Languages. We received access to the program for one year, which sells for $238.
My hope for Hannah is to keep Chinese familiar enough to her that if she chooses to re-learn it as a teen or adult, she won't be starting completely from scratch. Mandarin is a tonal language, and it's difficult for a non-native speaker to distinguish the tones.
Middlebury Interactive Languages helps me with that goal. She's exposed to stories and cultural information, in addition to learning Chinese vocabulary and characters. I appreciate the variety of ways information is presented. The program holds her interest well.
Middlebury currently offers courses in Chinese, French, Spanish, and German. In the Chinese language courses, Middlebury has two elementary levels (K-2 and 3-5), two middle school levels, and 4 high school levels.
Hannah likes "doing Chinese" because the lessons are interesting and engaging. She likes to hear the stories.
I like that she's actually learning how to write characters. I know a few characters, but I am pretty sure she has passed me up already. The paper you see in front of her is a special printout designed for learning to write Chinese characters. I like that I can print as much of this as we need.
Here, Hannah is learning to print the characters representing the numbers 1-10.
Middlebury is an online program. You need a computer, an internet connection, and a microphone. For some lessons, the program will say a word and have Hannah repeat it into the microphone so she can hear herself say it and know if it sounds the same as the computer or not.
I think Middlebury is a great solution for homeschool families that want to teach a second language that the parents themselves do not speak. Since I'm getting ready to go back to China on an advocacy trip, it's been helpful to me to "hang out" in the room with Hannah while she's working on her Chinese to brush up on the Mandarin few phrases that I know.
Progress is visible in the grade book area of the program.
Plus there's an "at a glance" progress report available under grade report. At the time of this screenshot, Hannah was getting an 87%, and had completed 11% of the program so far.
Many years ago, most people lived and died within 100 miles of the house they were born in, but in today's global society, travel is safer and easier, and people are on the move. Kids who learn a second language are more employable and have more opportunities available to them. Knowing about other cultures in our world is a wonderful side benefit to using Middlebury.
You can connect with Middlebury Interactive Languages on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Other Crew families reviewed a variety of languages and levels, and you can read their reviews by clicking the box below.
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