Middlebury Interactive Languages: Elementary Spanish (Review Crew)

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Middlebury

I always have great intentions of including a foreign language in our studies in the elementary years.

And we mostly do – it just isn’t always as consistent as I would like. Living in South Texas, Spanish is the obvious choice, but I have to admit that when time is tight (which it often is!), it’s one of the things that gets pushed to the bottom of the list. Still, we’ve tried several different programs over the years, some that we’ve really liked, and others that we haven’t. The latest one that we’ve tried out is Middlebury Interactive Languages. For the last month or so, Kendall (9), Kade (6), and I have been using their Elementary Spanish 1 course, meant for approximately grades K-2.

Middlebury offers immersion style online programs in Spanish, French, German and Chinese, for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The courses are self paced and multimedia, using a variety of approaches including text, audio, video, and interactive activities.

The K-2 program offers 12 units covering:

  • Greetings
  • Numbers
  • Family
  • Colors
  • School
  • Body
  • Animals
  • Calendar
  • Food
  • Descriptions
  • plus two review units

Middlebury Interactive Elementary Spanish - HomeWithPlurpose.net

Two lessons per week are recommended for this grade range. The content for each unit is based on an authentic story, myth or legend from Spanish-speaking cultures. The lessons don’t all follow the exact same format – the activities within each one vary. There are matching games, stories, quizzes, speaking labs (these require the ability to record), and more. The lessons are navigated from a menu on the left side of the screen, by clicking on a lesson and then clicking on each activity within the lesson. Completed activities are checked off so that it’s easy to see progress at a glance.

My original plan was to use this for Kade, who’s in 1st grade, which is why I chose K-2. The first several times I tried it with him, though, he was frustrated and bored, so we quit for a few days. Kendall (9 and in 4th grade) asked if she could try it out just for fun, and she really enjoyed it! After a few days of watching her do it, Kade wanted to give it another shot, so they’ve been doing the lessons together now. I think she’d have enjoyed the grade 3-5 program, but for now, this is working well for us.

And now that he’s figured out how the program works and realized there are a variety of activities (the story told all in Spanish threw him at first), Kade is enjoying the program as well. Most kids his age will probably need someone sitting with them or close at hand to help them navigate, but the activities are a good fit for him. They’re also not too “babyish” for Kendall, and they’re both retaining quite a bit!

Middlebury Interactive Elementary Spanish - HomeWithPurpose.net

A matching activity.

MIddlebury Interactive Elementary Spanish - HomeWithPurpose.net

A speaking lab.

The layout is fairly simple to figure out, but I do think it could be made easier to navigate. It’s definitely not a deal breaker, but I’d love to see a way to automatically advance to the next activity and/or lesson at the end of the previous one from within the window itself, instead of having to go back to the menu on the left side of the screen and click on each one.

The menu to the left is how the student navigates between units and lessons.

The menu to the left is how the student navigates between units and lessons.

Overall, I think Middlebury Interactive is a good, solid choice for an online foreign language course. I like the topics covered and the colorful, engaging activities. Another big plus for me is that there’s no prepwork involved or papers/workbooks/etc. to keep up with! We’ll definitely keeping using it throughout this school year.

Do you include a foreign language in your curriculum? What do you use to teach it?

Click the graphic below to see what other families thought of various levels and languages from Middlebury Interactive.

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

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