Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Science Club

Off and on over the years, I’ve hosted a science club for our homeschool group. It has provided a good social outlet for the kids and gave them opportunities to work in a group. It has also kept me accountable for coming up with activities since I had others coming to my house at a specified time!

Just a few of the many activities we’ve done…

Learning about electrical circuits

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Learned about imaging through the Science by Mail program

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Built and tested rafts

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Learned about chemical reactions

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Dissection

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I think a lot of the other parents have appreciated the opportunity as well, since some families don’t do a lot of hands-on-science at home.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Curiosity Quest (Schoolhouse Review)

Curiosity QuestWith our latest review, we’ve just discovered another fun and educational show for kids: Curiosity QuestThis series, geared for ages 7-14, begins with a question sent in from a viewer. The host takes the audience on an intriguing field trip to learn about a new topic and to answer the question. The topics include such varied topics as cheese, how to make drums, recycling, glass blowing, and dog sledding.

We viewed the following Combo Packs, which each include 3 30-minute episodes.

DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the SeaDVD Combo Pack - Produce

Emily and I both enjoyed this fun show. We love field trips and these shows felt like field trips to places we might never have an opportunity to visit in person.

Each episode begins with a viewer question that introduces the topic. The show is interspersed with “fun facts”—quick tidbits explained by children, and related questions asked of kids or adults “on the street.”  For example, in the Cranberry episode, the questions were, “What does buoyant mean?”, “What is a harvest?” “How do you know when cranberries are ripe?”, and “Why do they flood the cranberry fields?”  It’s fun to hear the (often confused) answers from the kids who are questioned.Curiosity Quest Review

The host, Joel Green, visits a site (such as a cranberry bog in Wisconsin), and observes and often joins in the process. At the cranberry bog, he put on waders and walked out in the marsh, exclaiming about how cold the water was. He tasted cranberries straight from the vine, drove the 4-wheeler pulling the cranberry trailers (They wouldn’t let him drive the harvester!),  and visited the processing plant to see the cranberries blown dry, cleaned, and sorted. Meanwhile, he asked the kinds of questions that a curious child would ask. “Why do you have to dry the cranberries?” “Are these fields always under water?”

I found the topics very interesting. I had NO idea how mushrooms were grown. It is quite an elaborate and labor-intensive process, beginning with the fermentation of hay in which the spores are sown. Mushrooms are actually grown indoors, where the conditions can be kept ideal, and picked by hand by amazingly fast workers! 

I did know that salmon swam upstream to lay their eggs in fresh water, but had certainly not ever seen the process. Nor did I know about the elaborate facilities that salmon hatcheries build in order to keep the wild salmon population up. Did you know that salmon travel as far as Japan, then, 3 or 4 years later, return to the very same streams in Alaska to lay their eggs?

It was enlightening to learn how involved the process of sorting and cleaning oranges is, in order to prevent spoilage. Oranges are always picked by hand, but much of the sorting and packaging process can be done by machine.

Curiosity Quest Review

I love how the shows look at topics from a child’s point of view. The guide for each location gives a very interesting tour. Joel Green asks questions about every  aspect of the topic, which enables the viewer to learn more. The key points are repeated frequently, which aids in the learning process, and the occasional “fun fact” and “question time” breaks keep the viewers’ interest up as well. He gets to do things that we would all like to try, like feeding and touching penguins and sea turtles, wading in a cranberry bog,

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I think that many children even younger than the suggested age of 7 would enjoy Curiosity Quest. At the other end of the age range, even I, as an adult, learned a lot and enjoyed the show as well. On at least one occasion, Emily was in a bad mood, and grumbled about sitting down to watch it, but was quickly drawn into the show. We expanded the educational aspect by having her write quizzes for ME or taking notes as she watched some of the episodes.

If you have curious kids at your house, you will surely love this show!

 

 

Click to read Crew Reviews
I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Supercharged Science (Schoolhouse Review)

 
Age range:  K-12
Price:         $37 a month for K-8 materials; $57 for K-8 plus the expanded 9-12 content.
 
We were introduced to Supercharged Science last year and had a lot of fun with all the hands-on activities (2013 Supercharged Science Review) so I was excited to have the opportunity to review it again this year and share some more of the fun science activities on the site. We were given the e-Science Premium Membership to use for the purposes of this review.
 
These excerpts from the e-Science User Guide explain how it all works. Basically, you pick a topic (from the topic list, or within a grade level), watch an introductory video, watch videos for individual experiments and do the experiments, then, once interest is piqued, read about the topic, and answer the review questions.
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There are two ways to approach the vast amount of material on the Supercharged Science site—by topic and by grade level. Each grade level includes experiments, activities, and reading material from a few specific topics that are typically studied at that grade level. The “topic” option allows the student to pick and choose a topic of interest or to coordinate activities with a science text.
I think the grade level option is new since last year, and that might be a comfortable way to begin for a family that wants to focus on topics that might be traditionally taught in each grade. Since we covered several complete units last year (Chemistry, Mechanics, and Motion), there was some overlap with the eighth grade curriculum and we decided to just pick another unit of interest and jump in. Emily has been studying physical science this year, so we started with Unit 3: Matter (Atoms, Density, and Solids), completed it, and are just beginning Unit 4: Energy 1 (Pulleys and Levers).
 
Usually, new users to Supercharged Science will only have access to the first few units. Access to additional units is unlocked each month. This makes the site less overwhelming, because it includes a vast amount of material once everything is accessible! However, if the user has particular interest in a particular topic, he or she can just request access to it, and it will be unlocked. (The company is very helpful, and wants you to be able to have the best possible experience.)
 
The e-Science program offers 27 different units and is heavier on physical science concepts, but also includes units on biology, chemistry, the scientific method, and science fair projects. Each of these units takes 2 weeks or more to complete, and includes videos, experiments, reading material, and review questions. Some activities are labeled “for advanced learners.” These activities tend to require solving mathematical equations or involve more dangerous materials, and are more appropriate for high school, or possibly middle school ages.
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The “heart” of the e-Science program is videos and experiments. Each experiment is accompanied by, not only clear instructions, but a video of Aurora Lipper performing the experiment and explaining it. Aurora’s enthusiasm is contagious and is sure to spark your child’s interest in the topic. Ideally, the student will pick and choose from the projects that spark his interest, watch the video, and jump into doing the activity himself. Each unit also includes reading material and review questions that can be used as a test. Many of the experiments also include printable worksheets that lead the student in thinking through the process and documenting findings and conclusions. I really like these, because I know that Emily can rush through an experiment or activity without taking away from it what she is expected to learn. The worksheets help the student relate what he or she sees to the concept.
 
Last year, I helped Emily with most of the activities. This year, she wanted to be more independent, so I let her do everything on her own. The only requirement was that she come to me to explain each experiment after she was finished and that she read the informational material in addition to doing the experiments. So, I’ve just spent several weeks teaching NO science. Emily made an “A” on the final test of Unit 3, so the process obviously works. And she had fun doing it! While younger children will certainly require assistance, middle schoolers and high schoolers should be able to work independently with this program.
 
Here are some of the experiments Emily performed while learning about atoms, density, and solids:
 
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“Blowing up” soap in the microwave oven
 
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Homemade lava lamp
 
 
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Making moon sand
 
 
 
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Growing salt and vinegar crystals
 
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Making a penny “crystal structure”
 
 
If you would like to add more hands-on activities to your current science program or to try teaching science in a whole new way, you may want to take a look at the Supercharged Science e-Science program. You can try out the Supercharged Science e-Science curriculum for just $1 for the first month.  This is a great opportunity to see if the program is right for you. (Use the above link.)  Or grab a Free Copy of the Science Activity Video Series and Guidebook to try selected activities. 
 
Connect with Supercharged Science:

https://www.facebook.com/superchargedsci
http://www.twitter.com/aurora_lipper
https://www.youtube.com/user/auroram42
http://pinterest.com/superchargedsci/
https://plus.google.com/u/0/112193545312804826871/posts
http://www.superchargedscience.com/blog/

 
 
 
 
Click to read Crew Reviews

I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Making Paper

We have just started using the Artistic Pursuits book, Sculpture Technique: Construct for an upcoming review. The first project we did was making paper. It created a bit of chaos in our kitchen for almost a week as we made multiple batches of different colors of paper, but was fun.

First, we soaked torn paper in water.

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Then we put the paper and water in the blender until it turned into mush (paper pulp).

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Then we used a Grummer’s Dip Handmold to scoop pulp from the water, drain it, and press it dry. P1040205

We made an assortment of colors, which will soon be used in future sculpture products.

 

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Victus Study Skills (Schoolhouse Review)

Victus Study Skills Review

Does your child have poor study skills? Or does he or she want to become more efficient or effective in keeping up with homework, studying for tests, or organizing his or her time? I know that study skills have been a weak area for Emily. Some of my older children seemed to intuitively manage their time well and developed fairly effective techniques for studying on their own. Emily hasn’t done this, so I was very happy to have the opportunity to try the Victus Study Skills System with her.

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There are several components to the Victus Study Skills System:

  • Teacher Edition ($40) –Teaches the 3 foundational cornerstones of the program and teaches each study skill in detail
  • Student Workbook ($20) –Helps students learn and practice each study skill
  • Student DIY Workbook ($25) –Can be used by students independently
  • Classroom Video ($30) --Shows the process being taught to a classroom
  • Power Point ($25) –Slides for classroom use

We received the Teacher Edition and Student Workbook for the purposes of this review. (Although there are different purchase options, depending on customer need, the program is complete with these two components.)

The Victus Study Skills System, designed for 5th through 12th grades, can be easily used in either a classroom or homeschool setting. The program does not teach an assortment of unrelated skills, but rather, is a system of study that aims “to equip the student for success in academics and in life.” It is based on three Foundational Cornerstones:

  1. Where am I now? P1040136
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. How do I get there?

Within each section are checklists, worksheets, and questionnaires that help students discover and articulate their learning styles, their strengths and weakness,  and their goals for the future. Within the “How Do I Get There?” segment, which comprises over half the program, students are taught guidelines for managing time and organizing their study environment. They learn and practice techniques for studying a passage of reading material, taking notes, and test taking. The Appendix includes flashcards that review the key points of the program, and some additional surveys and practice materials that reinforce the 10 program lessons.

Our Experience:

First, I skimmed through the entire Teacher’s Guide to get a feel for the entire program. There are 10 student lessons, but a suggested teaching schedule is provided that groups lessons together so that the whole program can be taught in just 5 sessions. We actually devoted 7 days to the program, then spent several more days doing some of the additional activities in the appendix to reinforce the lessons. We typically spent about an hour each day learning study skills. While covering this program, Emily discovered her primary learning styles, learned the difference between goals and learning objectives, and practiced writing and implementing learning objectives. She learned techniques for better reading comprehension, taking notes, and test taking.

Most of the time was spent learning the skills, rather then using them, so we are now spending time putting what she has learned into practice.

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I thought that this program was a nice length. I was rather surprised at the suggestion to complete the entire program in 1-2 weeks, but we found this easy to do. I felt that Victus gave Emily tools that she could use (and tools that I could suggest to her) in a short period of time, then set her free to practice them in her regular schoolwork. We will be reviewing the techniques frequently, and I’m already reminding (or assigning) Emily to use the PQRST technique while she reads a science chapter or English assignment in the hopes that it will improve her comprehension and memorization of key facts. Since note-taking is a skill that she has not had to use much before now, I’m having her start to take notes on our read-aloud history time. I am sure this will improve her retention as well as give her a skill that will be valuable in high school courses and in college.

Although a few of the suggestions given in the books were applicable only to traditionally-schooled students, such as writing down homework before leaving each class, and checking planners before leaving for home, most of the material was very useful for homeschooled students. In fact, I found a few areas, such as note-taking, that she might have learned already were she in public school. We’ll be sure to work those into our days.

If you would like your students to become more disciplined and effective learners, I highly recommend the Victus Study Skills System.

 

Connect with Victus Study Skills

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/VictusStudySkillsSystem
Twitter: @VictusStudy

 

Click to read Crew Reviews

I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Review School

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One of the necessities of my role as a Schoolhouse Review Crew member is that I be flexible in our schooling plans. Because I get to express an interest level in reviewing various products, most of the books and curricula that we review are ones that I think will be fun or useful in our home school. But I still have to find time in our already busy schedule to use each product for a month or more in order to fully try  it out.  Some products are just added to our schedule, while others displace our regular curriculum for the review period.

Right now, quite a lot of what Emily does each day consists of products we’re reviewing. This week, she is working on:

  • Philosophy Adventure (replacing some of our regular history)
  • Supercharged Science (replacing our regular science for now)
  • Artistic Pursuits (one of their brand new sculpture bookP1040131s)
  • Mango Languages (Spanish)
  • Victus Study Skills course

 

 

 

My Mango Languages review has already posted, and I look forward to sharing our experiences with the other products soon!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Captivated (Schoolhouse Review)

Captivated Movie Review
 
Everywhere I look these days, I see evidence of children, teens, and adults addicted to media…preschoolers playing with  iPads and their parents’ iPhones, boys spending hours playing video games, and teens and adults texting on their cell phones instead of interacting with the people around them. Technology is a wonderful thing, but I think that most of us acknowledge that it can be easy to abuse or over-use. The Captivated DVD, produced by Media Talk 101, takes a serious look at the history of media in society and the positive and negative effects of media consumption in our current world. While watching this DVD, I learned a lot, heard about many of the studies that have been done about the effects of media, and heard personal testimonies about individuals’ experience with TV, video games, and cell phones.
 
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Captivated would be of interest to teens and adults. I’ll admit that my 13 year old wandered in and out while it was playing, but didn’t watch the whole movie. (I think she was afraid of what she might hear!)
 
What I learned and heard:
  • We think of media use as a modern invention, but the age of media usage (and abuse) actually began in the mid-1800’s with the invention of the telegraph! Telegraph operators chatted and played games, such as checkers, long-distance with each other. This sometimes interfered with the work they were supposed to be doing! A nineteenth-century novel even chronicles the tale of a couple who fell in love, sight unseen, over telegraph communication!
  • One concern about media consumption is the time spent on the activity. Whether computer or TV usage is beneficial or not, it still consumes time that could be spent with others, working, exercising, creating, or even sleeping. 
  • Media usage affects the brain.  One speaker claimed that “The more television you watch, the dumber you get!”  Numerous studies were cited, showing that screen time really does affect the brain. Playing video games can produce a drug-like “high,” making the players to want/need more and more. In fact, playing games on big or small screens can trigger a response in the brain that gives the player a feeling that he or she has accomplished something.  (Think of all the young adult males who prioritize gaming over work and relationships and other responsibilities.)
  • Media usage affects children’s development. Children that watch more that 1/2 hour a week of media use use have higher rates of ADHD and behavior problems.
  • Media promotes self-absorption, causing us to be less other-focused and less relational. Note the YouTube slogan, “Broadcast Yourself!” Are most of us really that remarkable that we need to be broadcast to the world?
  • Media influences behavior in both positive or negative ways. Studies have long shown that children exposed to violent programming tend to behave more aggressively with others. Producers certainly understand this fact, and for many years, have shaped society’s values and behavior through television and movies. It is so easy for us to believe that a show is innocent fun while we are being influenced by negative attitudes or gratuitous s*x.  David Frost says, “Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your house.”

In addition to the full-length Captivated movie, the disc also includes several hours of bonus material, consisting of full interviews with many of the experts that contributed to this documentary. I tend to skip over the bonus material on DVD’s, but found this well worth watching, since it went more in depth on many of the issues.

While the Captivated DVD does address the many dangers of media consumption, it also acknowledges the benefits. It is certainly hard to imagine our lives without the advantages of cell phones and the internet. These tools can be time savers and are very useful in education, communication, and business. Watching TV and movies can be an enjoyable way for families to spend time together. But, I think that most of us agree that there are negative effects as well. We each need to make decisions for ourselves and for our families as to what place media will have in our lives and how much time it will consume. I think that Captivated is an excellent tool for opening discussion on this topic and in aiding families to discern possible limits.

The Captivated DVD sells for $16.95 (free shipping), with discounts for purchases of larger quantities.

Connect with Captivated, the Movie:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaptivatedTheMovie
Twitter: @CaptivatedMovie

 

  Click to read Crew Reviews

I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Teaching Language Usage or Pragmatics to Your Child

 pragmatics button

This is an excerpt from my book, Language Lessons: From Listening Skills to Conversation (available in PDF or Kindle format).

The ultimate purpose of language is to communicate. The ability to communicate well has many components, including auditory memory and comprehension, syntax or grammar, vocabulary, and processing spoken language and formulating a reply. Non-verbal actions are also part of the communication process. All of these skills are pulled together into language usage in the area of "pragmatics." Children who have trouble relating appropriately to others may have difficulty in this area. They may not answer questions or carry on conversations in a socially acceptable manner. They may talk too much or jump from one topic to another inappropriately. They may not have picked up on the expected social responses to phrases such as "thank-you" or "How are you?" Typically, children absorb the usage and nuances of communication with others without a lot of specialized instruction. But if they do not, specific behaviors and responses must be taught one by one.

Does your child…

· make eye contact when speaking and listening to others?

· respond to questions?

· ask questions and wait the answers?

· stay on topic in conversation?

· share the conversation rather than monopolizing it?

· exhibit turn-taking skills in conversation?

· use appropriate voice volume levels?

Can your child…

· answer the questions, "How are you?", "What is your name?" or "Do you like to _______?"

· give the appropriate response to "thank-you?", "good-bye," or "hi?"

· answer questions about a favorite book or TV show?

· ask for help when needed?

· listen to a speaker attentively?

· express his feelings when he is sad, happy, hungry, or angry?

· politely ask for what he wants rather than giving commands?

· give a compliment?

· politely ask the speaker to repeat something that he didn't hear or understand the first time?

 

Here are some ideas for practicing pragmatic language skills with your child:

Practice "mirroring." Make facial expressions or strike poses and have your child imitate you. Then let the child have a turn leading.

Make facial expressions. See if your child can identify the emotion (sad, excited, angry) that you are displaying.

Practice conversations while your child thinks about facing the speaker and making eye contact.

Identify skills (including those in the above list) that your child needs to learn. Have conversations to specifically practice those responses and behaviors.

Play act different scenarios to let your child practice responding appropriately. ("I'm so sad. My dog just died." "Guess, what? We're going to Disney World!" "I am angry at you.")

Say a sentence for your child to repeat. Have him say it in a monotone, then repeat it, using a lot of expression. You may need to model the intonation for him.

When your child uses a vague phrase, such as, "Where is that stuff?," model a more descriptive sentence, such as "Where is the toothpaste?"

Contrast loud and soft voices. Have your child learn to monitor his volume levels by saying something loudly, then softly. Talk about appropriate voice use in different settings. You may want to develop a nonverbal cue to give him when he needs a reminder.

Play board games to practice turn-taking.

Pass an object back and forth during a conversation. Only the person holding the object may speak. This helps the child alternate between listening and responding. This technique can be helpful with children who interrupt. It can also be a useful way to illustrate the need to ask a question or make a statement that encourages the other person to respond and keep the conversation going.

Have your child think of two questions he could ask in response to each statement.

· I made $35 at my lemonade stand last Saturday!

· My birthday is next week.

· I just got back from the doctor's office and he put my arm in a cast.

· My sister took me to the movies last night.

· I just got a new puppy!

· I am so mad at Jerry!

· I am taking swimming lessons.

· I really like school.

· I am going to the beach next month.

Ask your child to restate each command or remark in polite way.

· Give me a cookie! (May I have a cookie, please?)

· Don't touch me!

· Wear your hat.

· Give me some money for lunch.

· Close the door!

· I want a new toy.

· Your clothes are a mess!

· You never share.

· This room looks like a pigsty.

Teach your child how to apologize by saying, "I'm sorry. Will your forgive me?" or whatever phrase you prefer. Play act various scenes to let him practice responding.

Use play phones to practice making phone calls to these places. Help your child plan what to say before each call.

· grandparents

· the library—Find out the hours of operation

· 911

· pizza restaurant—Order a pizza.

· grocery store—Ask if they have Cheerios in stock.

· a friend—Invite him or her over for dinner.

· your mother—Ask her to pick you up from swimming lessons at 3:30.

· a neighbor—Tell her that her dog is loose.

· the doctor--Make an appointment.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

TV Station Tour

Last week, our homeschool group enjoyed a tour of a local TV station. We arrived in time to watch the 12:00 noon news. During the breaks, our guide, who also happened to be one of the meteorologists, explained everything to us—the sets, the scripts, what happens when there is breaking news, and so on. After the show, the kids all had a turn sitting at the anchor desk and trying to give a weather report in front of the green screen. Okay, I admit, I took a turn with the green screen too! It was actually harder than it looked to point to the correct spot while watching the monitor.

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After seeing the studio, we walked through the newsroom and other offices, then paid a visit to the control room, where we got a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes action.

It was a fun trip, and it has been fun afterward to recognize the sets and the weather person that we now “know” on the daily news broadcasts! If you are looking for field trip ideas, ask if your local TV station gives tours!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mango Languages (Schoolhouse Review)

Mango Languages Review
 
We have tried out quite a few foreign language programs—several Spanish programs and a couple of Latin ones. Learning Spanish has been our priority, so that’s been great for us. But what if we want to learn some more unusual languages? Enter Mango Languages! Mango Languages offers over 60 different language courses through their online programs. This is amazing! Want to learn Irish or Russian or Polish? Or maybe you want to learn or experiment with Yiddish, Tagalog, Japanese, or Hawaiian. Or even---PIRATE! How fun!
 
As members of the Schoolhouse Crew, our family was given a 1-year subscription to the new Mango Homeschool Edition to try out. There are some great features in the Mango Homeschool Edition:
  • Access to multiple languages for each family member. (I can learn 3 languages at a time, if I choose, and my children can each choose a different language.)
  • Ability to track the progress of my children.
  • A collaborative language-learning community.
  • Useful for ages 6 to adult.

I was excited to try this out, because I wanted to improve my own Spanish speaking ability. I had 4 years of high school Spanish (a very long time ago), so beginning programs aren’t much help to me. I can still read Spanish fairly well, but my understanding and speaking ability is poor, and most verb conjugation beyond the present tense—Forget it!

Emily was eager to use it because—well, frankly—she likes to try out new things. I liked that this was something she could use independently.

Our Experience:

I found that the initial sign on experience and user interface was a bit complicated. We were provided videos that clearly explained how to set up accounts, link accounts, and choose languages. These were very helpful and made the process easy, but the process would have been confusing without them. Basically, we had to sign into the Mango Homeschool Community site, where there is an opportunity to participate in chats and discussions with other users as well as sign up for any of the language instruction. From there, we had to sign into the particular language and log into the instructional page for that language.

Since I’ve studied Spanish before, I started with a placement test. I listened to dialogues, answered questions, and assembled sentences, then was placed in Chapter 6 of Journey One (the first of 4 units). Since much of the content was still review for me, I was able to progress quite quickly, finishing Journey One in just a couple of weeks. I’m currently working through Journey Two.Mango Spanish Lesson

This is how Mango works: Each chapter begins with a dialogue. Then the dialogue is broken down into words and phrases, with each part being taught separately. A word or phrase is spoken, the learner repeats it, then is quizzed on the next screen. The phrases and sentences gradually become longer and more complex. Grammar is not taught separately, but is instead interwoven into each lesson, with concepts such as verb conjugation and proper usage of plurals and adjectives taught as they are needed. After a concept is introduced in one context, another slide may expect the learner to generalize it to another situation.

Before you know it, you are speaking lengthy sentences in the foreign language! Because of the incremental approach, learning is almost effortless! Grammar helps and cultural information are interspersed throughout each lesson.

Mango Spanish language lesson

I have really enjoyed using Mango, finding it almost addictive. I tend to do several lessons at a sitting, even if I sat down planning to do just one!

Mango Language’s focus is primarily for the traveler; the concepts taught include concepts such as:

  • asking for directions
  • greetings, names, and introductions
  • dining
  • numbers and currency
  • shopping and payment

These topics are, of course, useful for any language learner, but the focus is less on classroom vocabulary, writing, and grammar memorization than you might find in a more traditional academic program. I do think that the reading-hearing-repeating-producing approach might be more effective than the typical textbook approach, though.

There is not a written component built in, but this would be fairly easy to add, by having the student construct a written dictionary from vocabulary learned, or by making quizzes from the PDF course guide files that include the text of all the lessons as well as the grammar and cultural notes and a vocabulary review.

Emily has really enjoyed using Mango. She says, “I like Mango because it’s easy to use. It helps me learn Spanish better because it actually makes sure I know it! It has me repeat everything, which makes sure that I know it well and am ready to move on.”  (Because she has used other Spanish programs, the lessons at this point are probably 50% review for her, and this does make it easier than if she were a brand new learner.)

Additional Features:

The only time I used Mango’s community features was when I had a question about the upper levels of Spanish not being accessible. (It turned out that they were temporarily offline, but that problem was corrected.) Although the community features enable users to interact with each other, I wasn’t able to figure out why this would be particularly helpful for us.

I understand that more features will be available very soon in the Mango Homeschool Edition, such as goals and lesson plans, printable quizzes, recording of “seat time” and progress reports. I’m looking forward to these new features, because right now, I have to log on as Emily to see where she is in the program. It is also hard for me to determine what she has actually learned, rather than simply what lesson she is on. (She claims that she is mastering the lessons, and does tell me her score on the end of chapter tests, but at 13 years old, doesn’t like me hanging over her shoulder to watch her do her lessons. It will be great to have detailed reports and additional tools at my disposal.

Cost:

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

Connect with Mango

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MangoLanguages
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mangolanguages/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MangoLanguages

Many of my fellow TOS Crew members also reviewed Mango languages. Please click on the banner below to read about their experiences with other languages.

 
Click to read Crew Reviews

I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.