Tuesday, September 29, 2015

{Review} High School German 1 - Middlebury Interactive Languages

We love language in our house; not just English, but foreign languages too. Amber is fascinated by languages and would study them all day, every school day, if allowed. Recently, we were given the chance to review our choice of online language course from Middlebury Interactive Languages.  Of course, we chose German as it's Amber's current foreign language interest. We were given six months (one semester) of access to High School German I - Second Semester.

Unexpected Homeschool: High school German from Middlebury Interactive Languages.

To start, let me be honest. I believe the best way to learn a foreign language is with a knowledgeable native speaker, or with a fluent instructor, in a face-to-face setting. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic option for many students who desire a quality foreign language instruction which provides more than only reading instruction.

This is where Middlebury Interactive Languages excels. It provides online foreign language options for elementary grades through high school in a wide array of languages. The interface is extremely easy to use and understand with multiple ways for your student to access their lessons. The calendar option allows you to schedule the individual assignments based on your schedule. The student then simply clicks on the lessons scheduled for the day.

Unexpected Homeschool: High school German from Middlebury Interactive Languages.

The menu system also provides an entire table of contents with the lessons broken down by semester, units, lessons and assignments. The table of contents also denotes which specific assignments in each lesson have been completed. It is extremely easy to determine where you need to start up again if you are not using the calendar option.

An online grade book keeps track of the student's progress through the assignments and quizzes making it easy for the parent to check on their child's progress. We found this aspect very useful when I wanted to enter Amber's grades in our own tracking software, yet hadn't been present to see her complete the lessons.

Unexpected Homeschool: High school German from Middlebury Interactive Languages.

How do the Language Lessons Work?
Middlebury Interactive German is an entirely online product which includes reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar and vocabulary instruction. German cultural information is deftly used throughout the lessons. Audio clips are used for instruction on pronunciation of individual words and sounds, as well as providing the sentences and conversation needed for listening comprehension exercises.

Each unit has a vocabulary word list associated with the focus topic for the entire unit. The list is printable, with English translations, along with having audio clips to help with pronunciation. You will definitely want to print these lists too, as the English translations are only on the printed list and not on the viewable lesson screen.

Grammar is taught within each unit theme using video lessons to demonstrate the new concept. Each video comes with a printable script, which details the grammar lesson in clear to understand text and well designed tables.

Through multiple choice questions, drag and drop graphics, text writing blocks, and even voice recording activities, the vocabulary and grammar of the lessons are reinforced. Middlebury Interactive truly has found a great way to help students learn German online.

Unexpected Homeschool: High school German from Middlebury Interactive Languages.

How did We Use Middlebury Interactive German?
Amber had already taken a year of high school German I at home using a high school curriculum with me as her instructor. I do speak German as well as teach it at our homeschool co-op. Since Middlebury Interactive courses can be selected by semester, we opted to request the second semester of high school German I for review after a summer break and perhaps some additional material towards the latter portion of the semester.

We chose to not use the calendar method of accessing the assignments, but instead Amber went through the table of contents to access the lessons. She usually did an entire lesson's worth of assignments in one sitting. This allowed Amber to move quicker through the review topics and spend whatever time needed on new material, instead of following a scheduled lesson plan like she does with new material in other subjects.

Amber very much likes Middlebury Interactive German and is often willing to work through it on days when she's tired and needing a break from school lessons. She found it very easy to complete the majority of the assignments, even the newer material. She did appreciate the printable grammar reference, but said the grammar explanation in the videos was a little confusing. She wasn't as thrilled with the lengthy vocabulary needed each lesson, but adapted.

Unexpected Homeschool: High school German from Middlebury Interactive Languages.

The speaking assignments do expect the student record their responses with a microphone on their computer, which Amber does not have. Instead, she completed those assignments with me since I am able to determine the proper answer. Thankfully, all assignments of this nature have the ability for the student to mark them complete, as opposed to actually completing the recording.

We both feel Middlebury Interactive German is a wonderful alternative to high school German instruction when a quality local course is not available. It also makes a superb supplement with extra practice and various instruction methods for those already taking a traditional foreign language course. We have been extremely pleased with the progress and improvement Amber has achieved through Middlebury Interactive German.

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Visit other members of the Review Crew for information on other languages and age levels offered by Middlebury Interactive Languages.

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