From years of experience teaching adults to master not only the language, but culture, of a foreign country, Middlebury Interactive Languages was born. This is an immersion style online program which covers the languages of Spanish, French, German and Chinese from kindergarten through 12th grade.
The online courses are self-paced and provide a multimedia approach which engages the student in learning through the use of text, audio, video and images. They do not seek to imitate a textbook approach to learning a foreign language. Rather, they go beyond that with a task based approach which incorporates of real-life activities. But, where Middlebury distinguish themselves from other options is their continual inclusion of world culture in the lessons with the ultimate goal of cross-cultural understanding.
Members of the Crew were provided the opportunity to dig into Middlebury Interactive Languages to see just how powerful the approach could be for their children. Each participating member was provided with their choice of a semester course at the elementary, middle or high school levels for any of the four languages Middlebury offers.
Elementary Grades include both K-2 (35 lessons per semester) and grades 3 – 5 (45 lessons per semester) levels offering a total of two semesters of material. Pacing is suggested at 2 lessons per week for K-2 or 2 to 3 days per week for grades 3 –5. Along with matching games and other spot checks of learning, students have the opportunity to record and play back the key vocabulary being learned and then compare it to the presented material. Just don’t be surprised if you child is having so much fun that they want to work on the material more often!
Both the middle and high school levels target the four key language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The material for each semester is broken into 90 lessons which equates to a lesson per day for 18 weeks. Frequent assessments are done to ensure a student is on track with learning along with the opportunity to engage in practice of everything from simple conversations to responding to a prompt. Progression through the levels has the student engaging in more difficult written and spoken passages. For the more advanced high school student, there is an AP option for French and Spanish which are based on the College Board’s standards and are comparable to a third year college level course.
Overall, Middlebury makes the process of learning a foreign language a very achievable goal for homeschool families. No prior knowledge of the language is needed!
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A big thank you to Laura at Day by Day in Our World for writing this introductory post.