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Friday, March 14, 2014

TOS Review: Learn Foreign Languages with Mango Languages Homeschool Edition

Mango Languages Review homeschool curriculum homeschooling home school homeschool online how to homeschool homeschool high school

I was asked to review Mango Homeschool Edition  from Mango Languages.

Mango Languages Review homeschool curriculum homeschooling home school homeschool online how to homeschool homeschool high school

What We Received for Review:

My children and I received full access to more than 60 different languages for my family to use in exchange for my honest opinion. And, I'm excited to share with you what we discovered.

Mango Languages Review homeschool curriculum homeschooling home school homeschool online how to homeschool homeschool high school

The Mango Homeschool Edition is currently in somewhat of a beta mode, though this doesn't mean there are glitches to work out. What it means is that they have rolled out the major components of what makes this program amazing, though many wonderful updates are planned that will make the entire homeschool language learning package even more exciting.  

While, I did get a sneak peek at some of the upcoming feature reveals - And, trust me, they are EXCITING! - My review covers what is currently available. However, be on the look out for fascinating features such as being able to set up your own space for just your family's homeschool. In this space, you will be able to share lesson plans, add notes, have discussions, lay out daily lessons, or even share foreign language videos you find elsewhere on the web, with your students. Additionally, there will be a more extensive way of monitoring your child's progress and improved testing feedback. These and other features are coming very soon. So, let's start with what was available at the time of this review and know that it will only build and get even better from here:

All lessons are online with Mango Languages, which I easily accessed from my laptop PC. My children also had access to the lessons on the internet, from their PCs. Mango Languages also offers apps to easily access the program on-the-go from an iPhone, iPad, or Android.

Mango Languages Review homeschool curriculum homeschooling home school homeschool online how to homeschool homeschool high school

How a Typical Lesson Looks:

As the teacher, I went to my log-in and assigned a language to my children's accounts. This process was super easy. I just clicked on available languages and made my choice. With their student accounts linked to my teacher/parent account, I also have the ability to see their online activity within the Mango Languages community.

 

It's all online, but there is also an option to print the lessons, which I loved because while I enjoy having it all on the laptop screen, complete with sound bites for correct pronunciation and progressive lessons that provide encouragement, I also love having a paper version to hold and take notes on, if nothing else, to use as a backup to the online note-taking that is allowed as part of the online dashboard tools.



Since there were so many languages to choose from, it was fun to explore the first lessons of several languages before deciding upon one to focus on. The way the program is set up makes it really easy to dabble in a few languages before deciding on one particular language to learn, or to even learn more than one language at the same time. 


Depending on the chosen language, experience, and age of the student, each lesson seemed to take about 20 minutes to complete. Though, it is presented in a format that allows for replay and backward arrow tapping as often as necessary to grasp a word or concept. So, the lessons could take less or more time as needed.

Age Recommendations:

The program lessons are intended for anyone age 6 through adult with various levels of coursework available. My youngest child is 7, and my oldest child that I set up on Mango Languages is 12. I found it to be excellent and extremely appropriate for my middle schoolers, and for myself, yet a bit challenging for my newly turned 7 year old.


Yo, Ho, Ho, HO, We're Doin' the Pirate Dance!

I thought it would be good for her to start with a language she was somewhat familiar with, such as Spanish - Thanks to Dora the Explorer, or Chinese - Thanks to Ni Hao Kai Lan. However, while I was searching through the languages, I found the perfect ice-breaker language to learn:

Pirate!


Shiver Me Timbers! She found it funny to hear me following along and talking like a Pirate! But, was exactly what she needed to break the ice.

The Meat of the Lessons:

The lessons certainly cut to the chase without bogging down lesson time with learning ABCs, 123s, colors, and other basics. Instead, they jump right in from the first lesson, with conversations that are usable, realistic, and practical, especially if you are planning on visiting the country that speaks the language, or if you want to dive in to watch movies or read books in the language.

As a family who has known only the ABC, 123, and basics style of teaching, it required some adjusting to get used to the more conversational way of learning. Though, after only about two lessons, I discovered that even my 7 year-old could easily follow along.

My Olympic Dream


Since the Olympics were on when I began the review, It seemed like starting with Russian was a good idea. I thought it would only add to the experience and be fascinating to listen to the lessons and listen to hear if any of the Russian commentators or athletes in Sochi were using recognizable words,  speaking Russian in the background of all the Olympic coverage. Since, I had a small background in the Russian language from my own Middle School foreign language courses as well as a classmate who taught me some basic sentences and words; I was, of course, faster in picking out some similar words - like Sposeba (phonetically spelled) for Thank You - than my children were, who had never been exposed to Russian before other than my telling them "I Love You" in my very broken and limited prior Russian learning.

What I Liked About Mango Languages:


What I discovered is that the Mango Languages Homeschool lessons presented more than just conversational instruction of common terms. It also provided some basic grammatical explanations (thankfully, nothing as intense as what I was used to in my traditional foreign language class from high school that bogged down on grammar to the point of killing interest in any language).






What I loved the most, though, is how it would also incorporate cultural tidbits as well as ask the student to use their common logic to make sense out of how one might say a specific phrase properly.

Along the way, the lessons offer plenty of encouragement and are at a manageable, individual pace. I also really loved that on the languages, like Russian or Chinese where the letters are completely different than English letters, I could hover over top of the words and see a phonetic pronunciation.


At the beginning of each language selection, you are given the option of where you want to start, selecting lesson 1, or taking a pre-test.  At the conclusion of a lesson, you are given the option to take a chapter test to test what you learned.


The lessons seemed to all begin with a typical conversation:

Mango Languages Review homeschool curriculum homeschooling home school homeschool online how to homeschool homeschool high school



Mango Languages Review homeschool curriculum homeschooling home school homeschool online how to homeschool homeschool high school

From your dashboard, you can see other members who are also taking the same languages as you, or are part of your team, and take part in forum discussions. Some people even begin conversations using the sentences they just learned to try it out in a "real-life" conversation.

Where I Hope To Go From Here:


I am also interested in learning Biblical Hebrew and Greek with my children, so I plan to dabble in that as well.


Pricing:

Currently, Mango Languages is available at some local libraries for free use. What the library offers, however, is only the first levels of a limited choice of languages. What this means is that once you get going and excited about a particular language, you suddenly hit a brick wall in learning as the first level ends.

With Mango Homeschool Edition, you receive every learning level of more than 60 languages allowing for almost limitless foreign language learning. Plus, Mango Homeschool Edition offers a free 14-day trial and monthly paid subscriptions with no contracts and no obligations to continue after each month. You are completely in control.

The Mango Languages introductory pricing is as follows:

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
Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate that will depend on the number in the group.

Find Mango Languages on social media sites at:

Twitter: @MangoLanguages
Pinterest
Facebook

Please read what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought, or click on the picture below:

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1 comment:

  1. Great review! I really like how you discussed the upcoming features.

    ReplyDelete

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