What is Middlebury Interactive Languages?
Middlebury Interactive Languages is an interactive, online language program available for kindergarten through high school in French, Spanish, German and Chinese. We have used Middlebury in the past and my daughter LOVED it so we were ecstatic to try it again.
Last time we used Middlebury Interactive Languages was with the Elementary French program (you can read the review here), which we were just beginning formal study. However, this time, we used it with her continued study of Mandarin. We have used other programs in past years for Mandarin but wanted to give Middlebury a try since it was such a hit with the French last year.
We received a 6 month subscription to Middle School Chinese 2 (Grades 6-8), which was a good place to pick up for my daughter. We started with the 2nd semester of the Middle School Program.
How it Works
The program is self paced, which is great for us. And is very colorful, interactive, and easy to use. My daughter liked it a lot, though it was obviously, significantly more difficult than the elementary French program she used last year.
Her favorite part of the program is the self-recording function. Within the exercises in the lessons, a student can record herself or himself saying the words or phrases and then play it back so they can hear how they are saying the words and phrases. She finds this very helpful in working on pronunciation and difficult words. I think its a great function and it is very easy to use as well.
Lessons contain activities like listening, repeating, matching words to pictures, and videos. Grammar, reading comprehension, and vocabulary are just a few of the lessons that are focused upon. Lessons are a manageable length, not too long, even at the more advanced level. Lessons can be repeated if necessary and answers are available with a push of a button. Activities, quizzes and tests are graded and a grade book is provided within the program. Wrong answers can be reviewed and grades are given in percentages.
The activities were mostly interesting and fun according to my daughter. Her favorite activity, after recording herself to practice, was to do matching. The drop and drag function was appealing.
I liked that you can click on the Table of Contents and see what has been covered already and if anything has been skipping in the lessons. There is a calendar available in the dashboard to help you see the recommended lessons plan if you wants your student to complete the course in one semester. Like all language studies, 5 days a week of practice is recommended.
Chinese 2 does work on Pinyan as well as grammar and verbal skills. The options for teacher supported or not supported is available for all Middlebury online courses. Recorded activities are not automatically graded and therefore are only graded if you are signed up for the teacher supported course.
What We Thought
Overall, I think the activities were varied and good for practice. The lessons were a manageable length and the recording feature was very important and well-utilized within the program. I can see us continuing to use Middlebury throughout the semester.
My only feedback would be that it would be nice to have a better placement test available for those joining the Middlebury program from another language program. It was very difficult to determine where to begin so I guessed. Though my daughter was able to pick up with Middle School Chinese 2 well, she might have done better with Chinese 1 in order to fill in gaps. However, the 2nd semester wasn’t too ahead of her and in some areas not at all.
Additionally, I think it would be nice to have more than 6 month to complete a semester. I know many homeschoolers don’t do every subject 5 days a week and we are certainly in that group. It would be helpful to have longer to complete a semester of work. I feel rushed to get through it and don’t want to go back and do a lesson again because I don’t want to not complete the semester. I think 6 months is a little quick for a semester, at least for us.
Be sure to see what the rest of the TOS Review Crew had to say about Middlebury Interactive Languages online courses, just click the banner below. They used different levels so if Chinese isn’t your thing, you see what the others thought of French, German or Spanish. And visit Middlebury on social media.
Social Media Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MiddInteractive @middinteractive