Middlebury Interactive Languages {a review}

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
My eldest has had, for a few years now, a love of studying China.  He's been asking for a while now to "please, mom, please can I learn Mandarin??"
Last year we spent some time with Middlebury Interactive Languages, when my daughter took Elementary French 1:  Grades K-2.  I remember then we had a very jealous big brother.  So this year when the opportunity to work again with Middlebury Interactive Languages came up, I decided to give my eldest a chance at Elementary Chinese 1 (Grades 3-5).  He was just so excited.  (see pic below of my "reveal" to him about what he was going to be learning.)
Middlebury Interactive Languages is a company that provides digital language courses for grades K through grade 12.  The language courses can be completed independently or with the help of a certified virtual language teacher, all done online.
Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
There are 16 units for the Elementary Chinese 1 course as well as a "welcome" course that walks you through what to expect, and how to complete the steps needed to advance through a lesson.  Each unit has 6 lessons to work through where the student will learn to read, speak, write and hear the Chinese Language (Mandarin) as well as learn about the culture.
The Units are:
  • Unit  1:  Numbers
  • Unit  2:  Greetings
  • Unit  3:  Family
  • Unit  4:  Home
  • Unit  5:  Adjectives/Colors
  • Unit  6:  School
  • Unit  7:  Food
  • Unit  8:  Review (3 parts in lieu of 6 lessons)
  • Unit  9:  Animals
  • Unit 10:  Friends
  • Unit 11:  Nature
  • Unit 12:  Seasons
  • Unit 13:  Clothing
  • Unit 14:  Places
  • Unit 15:  Professions
  • Unit 16:  Review (3 parts)
Each Unit has a unique story, all told in the native language.  The student listens and watches the animation and picks up on new vocabulary.  Each subsequent lesson will gently teach the student new vocabulary for that unit's theme, through an interactive format.  The lessons start off fairly easy for each unit, having the student click to listen to the word or phrase spoken, or click to match to a Chinese Character.  The lessons get progressively harder, and include the "speaking labs", where the student will first listen then say the word or phrase himself.  
My son has been using this program independently (without the offered virtual language teacher).  The lessons are wonderfully self-paced.  Mandarin is a hard language to learn.  He's been moving steadily along, and even though he is moving slow, that is fine.  Currently he is in Lesson 4 of Unit 3:  Family.

The lessons are run in an online "app" within a internet browser and are presented with the current lesson on the right, and previous and upcoming lessons are on the left.  Completed lessons are shown checked off.

I like that at any time he can click "Browse Activities" and go back and review anything he is struggling with.

So far my Chinese enthusiast has learned to count (and write!) up to number 10, and how the Chinese count on their fingers compared to how we do. 

He has learned how to greet others and how the Chinese greet each other compared to us.  ( Such as elders have highest respect and are to be greeted first).

Currently he is learning the names of family members and how to introduce his family, all while also learning what a typical family in China is like.

Connor has enjoyed his Chinese Language lessons and while it is a hard language to learn, he continues to want to learn.  The story videos are enjoyable and entertaining enough for the 9 year old and his side kick 4 yr old kid brother, who always runs over to eagerly watch alongside big bro.  I find it fascinating that even a 4 year old will watch a video that is fully in a foreign language! 

We'd definitely recommend Middlebury Interactive Languages to any family looking to learn a second language.  To see additional reviews of Spanish, French, German and Chinese courses, click the banner below:
Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
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