Getting Started with French – A Review

In our homeschool, one of my weak areas is foreign language. Despite taking three semesters of Spanish in college, I can barely greet you in Spanish. Let us not even discuss my accent. Needless to say finding resources and curriculum to help my children experience, enjoy, and master a foreign language is important. When I heard that Armfield Academic Press has a foreign language resource, Getting Started with French, I hoped that it would be a helpful tool for my daughter, Mary, a high school junior.

Getting Started with French is a beginning French resource that works well for self-teaching students of any age. Whether it is used by a homeschool student like my daughter or an adult with a desire to learn French, anyone can quickly and easily put this program into practice.

Armfield Academic Press has other foreign language resources: Getting Started with Spanish, Getting Started with Latin,and soon they will have Getting Started with Russian.

How to Use This Book

Before handing Getting Started with French to my daughter, I did a read through on the “How to Use This Book” section at the beginning. This gave me a clear understanding of how the program worked and confirmed that my daughter could use this independently.

The set up is broken down into daily lessons that introduce new words, offer grammatical information, and translation exercises. One of my favorite aspects of this program is the free audio files that you can download. Being able to hear the correct pronunciation by a native French speaker is so helpful! My daughter found that the audio files were clear and easy to understand. She also noted that the pace or speed of the speaker was helpful.

The goal of Getting Started with French is mastery so you are encouraged to work on the lessons daily but to take time to review as needed. Practice speaking with your family in French or translating English text into French are great ways to work on review and repetition.

One way my daughter worked on review and repetition to build mastery was to utilize classic children’s literature. Our library had a few books such as Goodnight Moon and The Three Little Pigs available in French. We checked those out and she practiced translating the words into English. It was a bit more challenging than expected but a fun way to practice what she was learning.

Getting Started with French offers flexibility for your style of learning and setting your own schedule and pace. While the presentation is simple and user friendly, it is an effective approach.

You can preview Getting Started with French to get a feel for how the program is set up.

Mary’s Thoughts

Since Mary works independently I have very little interaction directly with this program but discuss what is being taught with Mary to keep an eye on her progress. Here is what she has to say:

I found Getting Started with French very easy to use. Since it can be used by all ages, I was worried at first that it might be too simple and not challenging or helpful. But that wasn’t a problem at all. It encouraged you to take your time and to not rush. It was very easy to understand the lessons and what was being taught. I found it very helpful in understanding the masculine/female gender usage and the pronunciations guides were very helpful for me. Mary – 16

Overall we are both very pleased with this program. I love the approach used and that Mary can work on it independently. Being able to set her own pace and schedule is a huge plus for Mary. She likes the flexibility that it offers.

As a homeschool family with a wide range of ages, I love that it can easily be used by different ages. I have Getting Started with Spanish on my to buy list. I think it would be a great addition to our Group Learning and be a fun family learning experience. Maybe I can finally get the proper Spanish accent?  Oh, and it is a non-consumable resource which is always a huge plus for our family. Just give everyone a notebook and we are set to learn a foreign language or two!

Introducing Getting Started with French {Armfield Academic Press}
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Greek Morphemes – A Review

This post contains a review of Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!)from Ready to Teach

Building a rich and full vocabulary provides the foundation for excellent reading and expression of one’s own ideas. One way to build that rich vocabulary is through studying Greek and Latin. At this time, the study of the roots of these two languages was my goal for a few of my students instead of the full languages. Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!) from Ready to Teach has become a part of my son’s daily work.

When our package arrived it contained the Instructor’s Manual with a PowerPoint CD and a Student Book. The Greek Morphemes book covers over 200 morphemes (roots, prefixes, and suffixes) in twelve lessons. At first glance, I thought the program might take a bit more time than I was expecting in implementing it. After a brief read through, I realized I was mistaken. Greek Morphemes is very easy to begin using; it is almost an open and go resource.

The Instructor’s Manual contains the lessons and answers keys, transparency masters, tests and answer keys and pre-made study cards. The method of doing the lessons is explained and what each activity the student will work through is explained. After this the instructor’s manual is basically answer keys and tests. Since I was using this with only one student, we had no need for the transparency masters. The pre-made study cards are printed on colored cardstock paper for durability.

The PowerPoint files are broken down by lessons. The student simple uses the slides marked for the lesson he is on. Previous morphemes used may be reviewed and then new morphemes are introduced. The PowerPoint files also include self-reviews for the lessons. It is basically a chart with the morpheme at the top with possible meanings below it. The student clicks on the correct meanings. If it is incorrect, the program will let him know and the student re-tries. A very simple, no frills review that is quick and effective.

As the student works through the presentation, he takes notes writing down the meanings.  Then it is on to the assignments.The assignments include breaking down and defining parts of words. An example is the word anthropophobiac. The student would do this:

anthrop = man; mankind

phobiac = one who has morbid fear of

*M.D. = one who has a fear of mankind

**D.D. = one who has an intense fear of human society

(M.D. is “my definition”. D.D is “dictionary definition”.)

After defining the words, the student tackles context clues by using the words in sentences to show their meanings. The creativity continues when the student is asked to create two new words using the Greek morphemes they have learned.

The next assignment gives the students words that need to be broken apart and defined. Words such as polyheterodemologist or diademoscope might be on the list. No problem, right? Then a simple matching quiz tells the student if they were correct on the word break down.

At the back of the student book, colored paper to use for making study cards is provided. The paper is normal weight copy paper so the cards will not hold up long term but should be sufficient for use over twelve lessons.

**Special Note: We also received a flash drive containing the PowerPoint files. Previously the program came with a CD but Ready to Teach will begin to use flash drives instead. This better serves the teachers and students as many computers no longer utilize a CD/DVD player. We used both over the past few weeks.

How We Used Greek Morphemes

Greek Morphemes is being used by my son who is thirteen. After looking over the material, I decided that this would be perfect for independent study. The lessons naturally fall into a weekly set up. Each Monday he begins a new lesson by watching the appropriate PowerPoint files and then tackles Assignment A. He works through an assignment a day until he is done and then he takes the test.

The assignment on Context Clues where he had to write sentences was a bit daunting at first. However, he simply watched the slides again, I helped him work through a couple of words, and then he progressed with no issues. Other than checking his work, I haven’t been needed much at all.

Our Thoughts

I was surprised at how well my son took to Greek Morphemes. When it arrived he was not exactly excited. However, once he got started, I have rarely had to remind him to work on it. I asked what his thoughts were on this program and he said, “I love it! It’s fun, easy, and I get to make up my own words. I would rate it ten stars out of a possible five stars.”  Folks, he really enjoys this resource!

And it is working. It isn’t just because it is fun or easy. He is constantly making up new words and using them. Words like microbibliophobia (fear of small books) or phonomanicphobia (a fear of a madness for sound). I always look forward to what he is going to come up with and we all get a good laugh. All laughing aside, he is building a great foundation for a full, rich vocabulary.

Interested?  You can work through a sample lesson.

Ready to Teach also has a Latin Morphemes course as well. After a great experience with Greek Morphemes, I think we will definitely move on to Latin next.

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Mango Languages ~ A Review

**This blog post contains a product of review for Mango Homeschool Edition from Mango Languages.**

Whether in your community or the future workplace, the ability to communicate in more than your native language is a valuable asset. Living in a world where travel and communication is becoming easier every day, we see a constant exposure to other cultures and languages. If you are a homeschool parent searching for a curriculum or resource to aid in instructing your children in a foreign language, it can be overwhelming! The number of foreign language options continue to increase. Now you have a new option to consider: Mango Languages has recently expanded to include Mango Homeschool Edition.

 

What is Mango Languages

Mango Languages is an online language resource that uses conversation based lessons as the foundation for learning a language and quickly putting it into practice. With over 60 languages to choose from, everyone can study and learn a language or two! Depending on the language you select, there may be one, two, or three “journeys”. Journeys are similar to learning levels as they grow in depth and difficulty.

Mango Homeschool Edition

For several years, Mango Languages Passport learning system has been used in businesses, libraries, and with K-12 schools. Mango recently expanded to include the homeschool community. For the past several weeks, we have been reviewing a beta edition of the Mango Homeschool Edition.

While some aspects of Mango Homeschool Edition are still in production, Mango Languages still had plenty to offer and my children loved it! Four of our children were signed up to use Mango Homeschool Edition and found the online learning very easy and engaging. Due to our location, we required that they take Spanish and were then free to choose another language.

You heard right! When you have an account with Mango, you are not limited to one language. You can access as many as you like. Some of the other languages my children selected were German, Chinese, and Latin.

Using Mango Homeschool Edition

Once you sign in to Mango Languages you select which language you would like to learn. It is referred to as joining a “space”. As soon as you select a language you can begin.

The lessons are presented in a flashcard style that is engaging and efficient. The flashcards present phrases and conversations in both audio and visual. Opportunities are given for you to practice speaking in the language. One huge help with Mango is that if you have a microphone, you can compare how you are saying a phrase with the correct pronunciation. You will be asked a question and when you answer, you can see a comparison. This allows the student to really focus on mistakes in pronunciation. Having this feature was a tremendous help to us.

Conversational Goals are given for each lesson so there is a clear expectation for the learner. Lessons also include cultural notes and grammar aspects as well. It clearly explains the nuances of the languages and formal and informal uses. While providing a solid learning experience, the lessons are not overwhelming in information presented and in time requirements. When necessary, reviewing a previous lesson is easy to do.

Mango Languages, including the Mango Homeschool Edition, encourage community. Within each space, members of that space can interact with other via a forum style system. Whether it is to engage in conversation in the language of study or to ask a more experienced student of the language a question for clarification, Mango believes that a community environment encourages learning.

My children did not participate in the community aspect of the program. Although Mango understands the need for internet safety, it is my job as a parent to protect my children and provide internet safety. The community environment is not limited to homeschoolers or a certain age.  Adults and children alike can be in the same communities. I just wasn’t comfortable with that aspect at this time. My children had no interest in the community section. If you use Mango Languages, the benefit of the communities would have to be weighed against your internet standards as a family.

Our Experience with Mango Homeschool Edition

Mango is designed and presented in such a way that even the youngest student can use the program. My younger children did not use this program as I felt my older students could benefit more at this time. However, as long as a child can read and do the basics of navigating the computer, they would do fine with Mango.

My older children used this program independently. Mango is very easy to use and while the presentation via the flashcard style is simple, it was perfect. I rarely had to remind them to sign in and do a lesson. They enjoyed Mango immensely. They were learning within the first lesson; not only learning but adding Spanish phrases into our conversations.

Mango is very simple and straightforward. It is actually pretty fun. I like when the lessons would ask you a question and you had to use what you had learn to create your own answer. It really made you use your thinking skills.

Mary ~ 13

 

Features of Mango Languages:

  • Over 60 different languages
  • Progress assessments
  • Built in journals, discussions, and wikis
  • Collaborative learning spaces
  • eNote messaging/chat rooms
  • Access to embedded/downloaded content
  • Support from other community members
  • Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups

In the coming months, Mango will be offering new features in the Mango Homeschool Edition. They are: Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring, Goals and Personal Lesson Plans, Resume and Portfolio Builder.

There is one aspect of Mango Homeschool Edition that is lacking; there is no writing aspect to this program. While your student can informally write as they learn the language, the program does not include instructions in writing in a foreign language. I am not sure how that would affect counting languages study with Mango as full course credit. Mango is designed to get you speaking a language quickly and effectively to put it into practice.

I like the end of chapter quiz and the grammar notes. Being able to compare my speaking the language with Mango was really helpful. The cultural notes were very interesting. I think the grammar was the most challenging part but I look forward to continuing learning Spanish.

Bekah ~ 15

 

Mango Homeschool Edition Pricing:

1 subscription is $18/month or $125/year total
2 subscriptions is $28/month or $175 /year total
3 subscriptions is $38/month or $225/year total
4 subscriptions is $48/month or $275/year total
5 subscriptions is $58/month or $325/year total

When you purchase a subscription you are not limited to a certain number of languages; you can learn and study as many languages as you wish.

Mango Homeschool Edition is on online program and you are purchasing just a year of using the program. For our family and budget it would not be a program that we would purchase. To pay over $200 for a year of use would not be wise for us if this were to be our foreign language curriculum. However, if you have a student preparing for a mission trip or a gap year abroad, a Mango subscription could be a valid option. It would definitely give the conversational skills and vocabulary needed to communicate.

Mango Homeschool Edition does offer a 30 day free trial so you can experience the courses for yourself. You can also read other Crew Reviews to get different perspectives on Mango!

 

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