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Middlebury Interactive Languages

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
For the past 6 weeks, I have been reviewing Middlebury Interactive Languages, a digital online foreign language program, with Malachi, my 5th grader. He was very interested in taking one of the French Courses, so I selected Elementary French 1, Grades 3-5 as my first choice. This is a one semester course, and we received a 6 month access.

Content of the course includes:
  • Welcome 
  • Unit 1: Greetings 
  • Unit 2: Numbers 
  • Unit 3: Family 
  • Unit 4: Body 
  • Unit 5: Animals 
  • Unit 6: Colors 
  • Unit 7: Days of the Week 
  • Unit 8: Review 
  • Unit 9: Calendar 
  • Unit 10: Weather 
  • Unit 11: Clothes Unit 12: Food 
  • Unit 13: Home 
  • Unit 14: School/Classroom 
  • Unit 15: Professions 
  • Unit 16: Review  

The Welcome unit consists of a welcome video, tutorials on how to drag and drop, highlight, work in steps, and record audio clips, as well as authentic stories, course vocabulary, songs, and translations. The stories, songs, and translations open up in a PDF file for easy printing.

The 16 units each contain 6 lessons. The lessons contain a unit introduction, objectives, a watch and listen story, a song, practice exercises, speaking labs, review, culture and conversations explorations, summaries, quizzes, and tests all in fun, interactive, and colorful animated lessons.

Middlebury teaches an immersion approach to learning a foreign language through the songs and stories and exercises, but the instructions are in English and the translations are available to guide the student.

Malachi has completed 4 units for a total of 24 lessons in the past 6 weeks so he has averaged 4 lessons per week, but he has doubled up to get in few extra lessons. Malachi likes that Middlebury is interactive, colorful, and animated, and says it is fun for kids. He says it’s not hard, but not too easy. The stories and songs are a fun way to learn French. The translations are a must have to understand the stories and songs. Malachi’s favorite story was The Two Brothers. His favorite song was Bonjour ma cousine then The Farmer in his Field.

The lessons are easy to navigate once you get started; although, it would be nice to have the application open up to where he left off. To navigate to his current lesson, we click on a calendar and look for the last lesson completed and then click on the next lesson on the calendar. Because we received access to the semester unit after the semester started, we have not been able to catch up to the current date on the calendar. Also, the lessons this past week are not being checked off as completed, even though they have been up to that point, so it is becoming increasingly harder to find where we left off. We have to remember what unit and lesson we are on to find the next lesson. This is the only downside to the program.

In the Gradebook, I can view each assignment and Malachi’s answers. We do not have a teacher with our subscription, and I have not figured out how to manually grade Malachi's speaking tests, but all other quizzes and assignments are automatically graded. His grade report in the Gradebook is currently a 93%. He bombed his first quiz with a 20% as he didn’t fully understand what to do, but he’s on a streak of 100% since getting the hang of it.

Middlebury is a high quality, fun, engaging, and interactive program that my son looks forward to during school hours. The songs are catchy and I find myself singing them at times. I love that the program immerses my student in the language and the culture of the French though authentic stories and songs. I would have loved to see authentic French people and images, but the animated characters are appealing to a child and I think the older grades use authentic images. I love that it starts in English and weaves the French in as it goes. I also love that it is offered as a self-paced independent study ($119) or with a teacher ($119 plus an additional $175).

Middlebury could meet all your foreign language needs through high school. Malachi took Elementary French 1, Grades 3-5 so his next course would be Elementary French 2, Grades 3-5. There is also an Elementary French 1, Grades K-2, Middle School French 1 & 2, Grades 6-8, High School French I, II, & III, Grades 9-12, High School French Fluency I & II, Grades 9-12, and AP French, Grades 11-12. Middlebury also offers courses in Spanish, Chinese, and German.

We love Middlebury. I would absolutely continue this for as long as Malachi is interested (and he is very interested), so when I ventured over to the main site to check out the price, I was honestly surprised at the price for one semester. I don’t often look at the cost of a product I am reviewing because price is very subjective, but in this case the price is more than I am willing to pay for a non-core class for one semester, especially because it is a consumable product that cannot be used again by another student. I do consider it to be a high quality program worth the cost, but it is not in our current budget to afford. If Malachi was serious about learning French, I would consider adding it to our budget next year if I could not find another high quality program that we love, but I’m hoping for a more suitable program for a large homeschool family.

Please click below to visit my Crew mates reviews to see what they reviewed.

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Crew Disclaimer
I personally love that Malachi chose French. According to the site, French is the second most commonly taught language worldwide. My husband and three older boys all chose Spanish as their second language, and learning Spanish makes more sense in the U.S., but I took French in highschool and was delighted to see Malachi choose French. It’s been fun recalling some of the things I learned, and I hope that Malachi will continue to desire to learn French. If I can’t find another high quality program, I will consider Middlebury in the future for sure. After reading my review to my husband, he asked if it was possible to audit the course with a second child (this is possible with our online history program), but this is not possible with Middlebury. The videos and learning activities can be watched again for review, but most of the exercises, quizzes, and tests cannot be repeated. 

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