My daughter has been slightly obsessed with France lately. The latest American Girl Doll is named Grace and the story takes place in Paris, so she’s been trying to learn a few words here and there on her own. This was the perfect time to be selected to review Elementary French 1 (Grades 3-5) from Middlebury Interactive Languages.
Middlebury Interactive Languages – Elementary French
Middlebury Interactive Languages provides language lessons for French, German, Spanish, and Chinese. They offer it for elementary students, middle school, high school, and even as AP classes. Lessons are sold by the semester, and each level is comprised of 2 semesters for completion.
Courses run $119 per semester for the standard multimedia online classes. We didn’t, but if you want to add in a real teacher, it is an additional $175 per semester. When my students are earning high school credits, I think we’ll discuss using a teacher with the program to offer support and feedback. For my daughter’s elementary lessons, I have felt that just using the program on its own has been fine.
For the younger students, semesters are fairly short. K-2 level is 35 days. Grades 3-5 level is 45 days. Middle and high school levels run more along a traditional semester schedule and offer 18 weeks (or 90 days) of content.
I like that it is a shorter semester for my daughter. She feels that she is moving along the program quickly and has stayed motivated to use it 3-4 times per week since she can see herself progressing well.
The program has sections in it that require the student to record themselves saying the words in French. My daughter was, and really still is, totally embarrassed by this. For some reason, she still lacks confidence to do it around her siblings, but I basically just tell her to go do her French and she grabs a Chromebook and completes the lessons in her room. It’s much quieter in there, anyway, so when I go back and listen to her audio clips, they are crisp. The best part is that she is actually doing an awesome job on her pronunciation!
I have witnessed her French vocabulary grow by leaps and bounds. She came in the kitchen the other day and told me how to say the sentence, “My head hurts,” in French! How cool is that? She sounds great and is retaining so much of it.
There are stories and games to help teach the concepts. Assessments are sprinkled in through the lessons, but my daughter says she actually enjoys them because it helps her to challenge herself. She has told me that she really enjoys these online-based lessons because they are fun. Instead of sticking her nose in a textbook, she’s able to see and hear the French language come to life through videos, illustrations, songs, and games.
My favorite part of the program is that my daughter really loves doing it. We have tried other language programs over the past several years, and every time I have had to be the one to initiate getting the work done. With this one, she is volunteering to do this program first, before any other school work.
It is meant to be done independently, which she loves. There are even little helps built into the lessons if they get stuck. There are icons in the program that you can click if you aren’t sure of a word or phrase. They can just click them for the French pronunciation and the English translation. my daughter liked having that feature and mentioned to me that it was helpful when she missed it the first time or simply forgot.
The Middlebury Interactive Lessons Elementary French course has been easy for her to navigate. It is clear what should be completed and in which order. She’s often replayed certain songs or games just so she could bring the laptop to the other room to show her brothers. She’s been using French words more often in casual conversations when something pops up that she has learned about.
Another thing I like is that there are videos at the beginning of new concepts to introduce what the lesson will be teaching. For example, Unit 4, Lesson 4 discussed gestures. It explained what gestures are, and it used English and French to talk about the different common gestures people use.
I’ve been really pleased with the program overall, and it has quenched my daughter’s thirst to learn a new language. I hope that the higher level courses are this fun, because I think we’ve just found our foreign language program!
How awesome is it that it can be continued on through high school? This takes a lot of stress off of me in an area that I cannot teach well to my own children. I’m thankful we had the opportunity to give it a try.
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