Category Archives: Foreign language homeschooling

Mango Languages For Homeschoolers, A T.O.S. Review

My regular readers are very aware of my seemingly never ending quest to actually learn Spanish with my kids, so when, as a Schoolhouse Review Crew member I was given an opportunity to test drive something new from Mango Languages, I really wanted to give it a try.

Up until now, Mango Languages has been available to be used in businesses, schools (K – 12), and in many libraries (though not OUR library system, I checked). But Mango Languages is now introducing Mango Homeschool Edition, which is very exciting news!

Now, I want to tell you right up front that when I say we are test driving it, I mean that. Mango Homeschool Edition is currently a beta version. However, there is still a great deal available to the subscribing family!

I have permission to share the following directly from the vendor:

“What is currently available on the site:

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

Over the next several months, we’ll be introducing other exciting features like:
Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring – including seat time (for students and parents)
Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)
Resume and Portfolio Builder”

Did you notice that bit about 60 different languages? Let me tell you, this is the very best thing about the Mango Homeschool Edition. When you sign up for your subscription, you are not limited to one language. You may choose, one, or several, or you may do one, decide it is not for you, and change to another! I LOVE that! 🙂

I will be pleased to see better tracking methods however, allowing me to see exactly where the boys are in their progress, along with being able to set goals and lesson plans.

During our review period, we were given a one year subscription to Mango Homeschool Edition for five students (which included one for me as the homeschool mom/teacher). To be honest, once we got our log in information and went to get started, I decided that during the review period I would concentrate solely on “The Artist” for this review. In retrospect though, I think the others probably could have handled it, considering that there were only certain portions of the program I was willing to let him use, so I’ll likely be adding the others in, and maybe even letting them choose what languages they want to try (in addition to Spanish).

We (meaning I) chose Latin American Spanish. It was a little bit confusing getting set up, but then after watching the little videos that are provided, and doing what they said, I got everyone’s accounts set up (that way, when I decide to put the other boys in, we are already set up!).

For the portions we actually used, navigation was quite simple, “The Artist” would just log in to his account, and then into his “Space”. Here he is during one of the lessons . . .

2014-03-10 23.27.14

Whatever language you choose, it will include things such as native speakers giving you audio lessons and pronunciation help, a voice comparison tool (but you need a microphone for this, which we did not have available), which is completely optional, you can do the lessons without it. Not only will you be learning the language, but you will be receiving information about the culture, the customs and the etiquette of the land of your chosen language. There are also grammar and conversational aspects as part of your lessons.

Each unit is referred to as a “Journey”, and is fairly simple to understand, done in flash card style. I do like that. Below is a quick video I snuck while “The Artist” was working in an early on lesson . . .

After that, he wouldn’t let me anywhere near if I had the camera, can you believe it???

Also available on the Mango Homeschool Edition is the “community” aspect of the program. We did not use this portion. It involves online chatting in forums and “eNotes”, a private messaging section. My husband and I are very wary about this sort of thing for our kids, and even though I know that at Mango Homeschool Edition they are working very hard to make certain this is safe for kids, the fact is that this program is being touted as perfect for kids and adults. I just don’t want to take the chance with my kids.

OK, now the bottom line . . .

The cost for Mango Homeschool Edition is as follows:

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

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

The above is the introductory pricing, and is accurate at the time of this posting.

MY bottom line? I probably would not purchase this for our homeschool. I have four children, with special needs, and a lot of what is available on this program is just not going to be useful for them. I would HIGHLY recommend it to someone preparing to travel, however, as I think it would give them enough conversational (whatever their choice of language) to get around.

I AM going to let them all sign up for Pirate (yes, that IS an available language, LOL!), because my older boys have an activity coming up with the teen group in our church which includes pirates and such. They are thinking it will be a blast! 🙂

Here is where you’ll find Mango Languages on social media:

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

To find out how other Schoolhouse Review Crew members felt about Mango Homeschool Edition, please click the graphic below!
Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer
As always, I would just love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”. Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss an update again! Also, if you DO enjoy “My Journeys Through Life”, please go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

Advertisement

Leave a comment

Filed under education, Foreign language homeschooling, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Mango Homeschool Edition, Mango Languages, TOS Post, TOS Review

French Essentials . . . A T.O.S. Review

When I was offered the chance to review French Essentials in our homeschooling environment, I thought about it for a little while first. My kids and I have been trying really hard to learn another language, but I thought it would be fun to take a break and see how we would do with French.

For this review, we received the Full Access Online Program, which has given me everything they have to offer. You can purchase the Full Access Online Program for $149.95, which will give you every one of the modules (there are four so far, with module five on the way), for a total of over 90 lessons and an entire year to get them all downloaded to your own computer! This is a savings of over 57%, as opposed to purchasing one module at a time for the cost of $69.95. Also, with the single modules, you get only 90 days to get all of the lessons and workbook materials downloaded to your computer.

From the French Essentials Home page:

“French Essentials is a complete, downloadable French curriculum with online features that include culture, fun exercises, lesson tests & more.
Designed by experienced French teachers specifically for home learners, it is clear and easy to use and does not require previous knowledge of French. The well designed lessons teach French in an easy to follow, gradual, step-by-step method with video & audio instruction that allows students to interact with the language in a fun and engaging way.”

French Essentials takes your homeschooler through all four language acquisition skills:

reading
writing
listening comprehension
speaking

They use a multi-sensorial approach, beginning with audio. We were able to read the lessons, then click on various characters, letters and words in order to hear the correct pronunciation. These sound files are embedded right in the pdf that we downloaded for each lesson.

Also embedded in the pdf lessons were little videos of a French-speaking teacher giving us time to “watch, listen and repeat”.

We also were able to download the workbook and workbook answer key for each module, which give us the opportunity to practice our reading and writing with the printable exercises, which are there to help us to reinforce speaking and comprehension as we learn to correctly understand the grammar and sentence structures in the French language.

In addition, included in the package for registered users are the following components:

Online quizzes, learning activities and French Culture. The online quizzes include things like online flash cards, listening comprehension & spelling, 2 challenging games (Scatter & Space race) and a test section that gives parents 4 different evaluation options.

The authors of this program are a married couple who are teachers living in St-Rédempteur, Québec, a suburb of Quebec City with their two children, who both attend school in French and are homeschooled in English. They are so passionate about French culture and the French language!

In their own words, here is how they began this endeavor:

“We began as a small tutoring service which came about through requests for tutoring from friends in the homeschool community. This eventually led to the development of a DVD French curriculum for home use. In August 2010, in order to make it more affordable and accessible, French Essentials was converted from top to bottom into a new downloadable format and http://www.frenchessentials.com was launched.”

If your child (or you, for that matter!) have had any exposure to the French language, there is a placement test you can use here in order to find out where you need to begin. WE began at the very beginning, of course, lol!

Here is what you’ll see when you log in after purchasing . . .

You can also go to the online exercises . . .

Or to the section on French culture!

If you go here, you can see a sample lesson from module one, and here is a sample of one of the videos, also from module one . . .

For more information about how the program works, what you can expect, and several sample lessons and videos from later modules, you can go here

What I like about the French Essentials Full Access Online Program is that as I said above, it has allowed me to download everything to my computer. I like that the sound and video files are actually embedded right into the downloaded lessons, enabling us to read it, hear it, see it, and say it.

What I didn’t like was that for some reason I couldn’t do either the sound files or the videos on the laptop computers my boys use for homeschooling, so we had to crowd around my desktop (which is newer) for our lessons. I had no problem at all on my desktop when I was prompted to install needed programs in order to use the sound files and videos, but on the laptops, I got nowhere.

While my kids were able to follow the read it, listen to it, view the video, and then repeat what was being said, at this time the worksheets are proving to be too much for them. But as I’ve said before, I often need to tweak homeschool curriculum to accommodate their various special needs, and it is my hope that a little later on, they’ll be able to handle them. 🙂 Right now, though, I’m hearing an awful lot of “French is too hard, Mom!” 🙂

I believe this is an excellent program, especially for the home learner. In fact, even though this one turned out to be a bit too much for my kids, it isn’t too much for me, and I think I will continue on with it myself to see how much *I* can learn! 🙂

To read all about what my fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of French Essentials, please click on the graphic below!
Photobucket
 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif
As always, I would just love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”. Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog and enter your email information. And please, if you enjoy “My Journeys Through Life”, go here and “like” our Facebook page. Never miss another update! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under education, Foreign language homeschooling, French Essentials Full Access Online Program, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Language Arts, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Post, TOS Review

If You Were Me and Lived In . . . A T.O.S. Review

We were sent four cute little books from Carol P. Roman with Away We Go Media to review in our homeschool.

We received:

If You Were Me and Lived In . . . South Korea . . .

If You Were Me And Lived In . . . France . . .

If You Were Me And Lived In . . . Mexico

and . . .

“If You Were Me And Lived In . . . Norway . . .”

The author was also kind enough to gift us with an inflatable globe, a couple of pencils with international flags printed on them, and a play passport set, all of which my boys thought were very cool, most especially the globe. 🙂

These books are the beginning of a series of books that can be used to introduce other countries and cultures to younger children. They are intended for children ranging from Pre-K through age 8, but my kids enjoyed them as well.

They range in price from $8.99 to $10.79 in the paperback editions, which is what we received, or $.99 to $1.99 in Kindle format, which some of the other Review Crew Members received.

Each of these books follows the same basic formula. It is a short book, approximately 25 to 30 pages long, exploring the culture of a different country.

At the very beginning, we get a picture of the country featured in the book, which has a star marking the capital. Then, we go right into the little story with a boy and girl pointing to their country on a globe. This is followed up by talking briefly about the capital city, and a picture of a scene from that city. Next, there is a picture of the boy and girl in a scene relating to where they are, and talking about three different names you might have if you are a boy, and three names that would be popular for a girl in that country. Next, along with a cute picture of the children doing something with their parents, we learn what you would call your mom and your dad in that language! From there, we next see the children in a place of business, and we discover what their money is called, what they might be buying there, and what the business would be called in their language. In the different books, we learn about a popular sport, a favorite vacation place, a holiday, special things they might eat, and their school. All of these things use words in the language of the country the book is covering.

At the end of the book is a page with a glossary of all of the foreign language words. This is perhaps the one thing I would change, I would have preferred to have the translations perhaps within parentheses right next to the actual words, that way, we would not have needed to go back and forth every time we came upon a word in a different language. 🙂

we did do our best though, to try to guess what the words meant, and occasionally, we were actually successful!

I think these books are nicely done, and very cute. As it turned out, they were a bit young for my older kids, but my twins like them, and I’ve seen them reading them again. And, the bonus is that all of the boys were looking for, and finding the different countries on the globe and on a map we have from a previous review. 🙂

To read what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of these books, please click on the graphic below!
Photobucket

As always, I would just love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email information into the “sign me up!” button at the top right of the blog, and please, also go here and “like” our Facebook page!

2 Comments

Filed under Away We Go Media, education, family, Foreign language homeschooling, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Kids, Language Arts, Learn to Read, read-alouds, Reading, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Post, TOS Review, Ultimate Blog Challenge 2013

Homeschooling? Want to “Try Before You Buy?”

I am coming to the end of my very first year as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew team, and I have loved every second of it! It has been very interesting, being allowed to thoroughly test out all kinds of educational things with my children, as well as a few things that we were given to review that were just for us moms! My boys, “The Batman”, “The Artist”, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” have enjoyed this past year as well (mostly, anyway!), and have been able to give a good deal of their own input as to what was good, or not so good, about different products. Even my husband got into the act a couple of times, like when we reviewed a math program with “The Artist” which they both liked enough that my husband had me go ahead and purchase the rest of the grades we would need!

Why am I telling you this now? Well, I’m SO glad you asked that question!

The Schoolhouse Review Crew will be taking applications for the 2014 Review year from October 24 – November 8!

Are you a homeschool blogger?
Are you a curriculum junkie?
Do you enjoy writing reviews?


Then you might be perfect for the Crew! 



Some requirements for being a part of the Crew include the following: 

  • First of all you must be a homeschool mom or dad. You don’t have to homeschool all of your children, but you must homeschool at least one. 
  • You must be willing to use the review products for about six weeks in your homeschool, before writing your review. Review periods have deadlines and requirements for the reviews. You must be willing to follow these requirements. No, that doesn’t mean you must write a positive review. But it does mean that there are certain elements that are required. And the deadlines are firm. If you are often late for deadlines, the Crew is probably not for you. 
  • You must have a blog on which to publish your reviews, and be sure you have an active blog with a following. By active blog, I mean that you should be blogging regularly, at least weekly, about your family and homeschool (in addition to your reviews). Your blog should have followers — RSS feed or email subscribers, as well as in social media. The Crew does not accept brand new bloggers who just set up their blogs for the purposes of applying to the team. 
  • Are you using social media to promote your blog? Activity on at least one social media platform is a requirement to serve on the Crew. Which one is up to you — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google Plus are the options. You will need to be willing to promote your reviews there and post a widget or plug-in publicly on your blog, indicating how many followers you have in social media. 
  • You must be willing to check into the Crew’s Review Management forum. This is where information is disseminated to the team. The leadership does everything possible to make things easy for us, outside of writing the actual review, but you need to be willing to participate by checking in almost daily. 
  • Sample reviews are helpful. If you’ve never written a review on your blog, go ahead and write one for curriculum you are currently using in your homeschool. This will help the leaders see how you approach writing reviews. 

Why should you want to be a part?

Our Crew of over 250 review bloggers has been serving the homeschool community for more than 5 years. As a respected review team, we take this job very seriously and will insist you do as well. The leadership provides an incredible amount of assistance to help us be the best bloggers, homeschool parents, and of course, reviewers we can be. They provide a mentoring program for new members, a social media networking group, many blog and social media tutorials, and lots of incredible opportunities for our team, including blog carnivals, the opportunity to guest post on the Crew blog, and the blessing of some incredible friendships.

Click here to read about how being on the Crew has specifically blessed ten different families, including mine! You will see each of our perspectives on being a crew member, and perhaps something that one of us has said will strike a chord for you! After reading what we have to say, consider applying to join us, I think it’s a huge blessing, and maybe it will be for you, too! 🙂

How can you apply? 
After making sure you meet all of the requirements, if you believe you would to an asset to the Schoolhouse Review Crew and wish to join us, please click over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to apply.

Come be a part of The Old Schoolhouse family!

I hope to see you join us for the 2014 year with the Crew!

As always, I would love it if you joined me on all of “my Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email information into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and please, go “like” my Facebook fan page, too! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under education, family, Foreign language homeschooling, homeschool products, homeschooling, Schoolhouse Review Crew Membership, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, TOS Post

See It And Say It Flip Flop Spanish . . . A T.O.S. Review

Anyone who is a regular reader here at My Journeys Through Life knows that my family moved all the way from Port Huron, Michigan to Albuquerque, New Mexico a little over a year ago. Ever since then, no matter where we go, we hear the Spanish language being spoken, and have developed a real desire to learn it for ourselves. So, when I was offered the opportunity to review a curriculum called See It And Say It Flip Flop Spanish by Senora Gose from Flip Flop Learning, I grabbed at it!

Flip Flop Learning’s See It And Say It Spanish

is SUPER easy to use . . . all I needed to do was get a three-ring binder with the clear pockets on the outside for the cover and spine (which, by the way, were included in my package), put the curriculum in the binder, stick the first CD (also included) into the laptop, and away we went!

001 (2)

004

005

Flip Flop Learning’s See It and Say It Spanish claims to be a full, two-year Spanish curriculum for ages 3 to 93, and judging by what we’ve seen thus far, I believe it is.

With the very first lesson, we learned six words/phrases, enough to begin making sentences immediately! Now, you all know my motto . . . “instant gratification takes too long”, so this was PERFECT for us! 🙂

Because of an error in shipping, we did not receive our curriculum as quickly as the company intended, but that’s OK, because it really allows me to honestly tell you that you CAN learn a lot in a short period of time, with the right materials. It was already a given that we would be taking this at our own pace, just as we do with most everything, to accommodate the various special needs of my children, but I’m telling you, this curriculum has been a very good starting point for us to move from our desire to learn Spanish, to actually being able to speak several sentences, right away!

Because of the shipping mistake, Senora Gose was very generous and sent me a copy of one of her other books, “The Key To Learning Everything” vol. 1, which I can also very highly recommend to you!

We are learning with three different styles all at once . . . audial, tactile, and visual. We hear Senora Gose give the lesson, we touch the cards with the pictures (the Spanish and English words are on the back of the cards), and we see both the pictures and the words as we go.

Here are the cards we were using by the second lesson, including two that we were instructed to make, for the words “Y” (and), and the word pero (but), which helped us make even longer, more complete sentences.

002

In this picture, you can see all of the boys, as we practice with the cards.

001

Beginning with lesson one, we were instructed to read the manual, lay out the cards called for, and then, listen to the tracks referred to in the lesson while following along. Each lesson is repeated at least three days before moving on to the next, and on the third day, we were told to do the lesson without the CD, that way my children and I are learning to interact with each other in Spanish, not just with the CD (although, Senora Gose DOES have a voice which is very pleasant, easy to listen to and understand, and a clear, smooth speaking style). That’s really all there is to it! Even the description on the back cover tells you there are just 3 easy steps to See It And Say It Spanish . . .

1. Read the manual

2. select the flash cards for the lesson (just 4 or 6 cards per week)

3. play the CD and follow along

Our lessons are taking around 15 – 20 minutes, 3 times per week. The manual says 8 – 15 minutes, but as I said, we take things slower, plus my boys are having fun, so sometimes we play around with making sentences for a longer time.

Here are some short videos of the boys after only our second lesson:

“The Puzzler”

“The Batman”

“The Artist”

“Mr. Loquacious”

And finally, even I am learning! 🙂

Once we did lesson two, we were given a speed round to do. That was harder, and not just for the boys, but I know we will get better at it as we go along! 🙂 After that, the curriculum also added in what it calls “extra fun”. To learn even more, we put the noun cards we had already learned into a brown paper bag and took turns drawing them out. Using the white paddle board and the dry erase pen that came with the curriculum, the person whose turn it was would attempt to draw a picture of the noun on the paddle for us to guess (remember Pictionary?). The first one who could correctly call out what the card was would win that card. We had fun with that, we really enjoy games, and my husband and I particularly like what HE calls “stealth” games, which are games in which you are learning without realizing it, lol!

So . . . you probably want to know what all is included in this curriculum, and whether or not you will have added expense for extra materials, don’t you? Well, this is what you will receive when you order this curriculum:

One curriculum manual, with 150 pages of four semesters of lessons

3 sets of flash cards (135 cards) which are color coded

4 CD’s of audio lessons

1 dry erase paddle

1 dry erase marker

2 card holder pages for sentence building (although we build our sentences right on the kitchen table or the floor!)

Really, the ONLY extra thing I bought was a three-ring binder with clear insert covers, and that was only because we had run out of the right sized binders!

Some included vocabulary topics are:

common household nouns

colors and opinions

animals

clothing

food and family

manners

rooms in the house

places in town

Some of the activities which are included for extra learning are:

charades

Paleta (drawing board paddle)

speed rounds

skits

crosswords

find a word

and others.

Grammar concepts included are:

Spanish phonetics

definite and indefinite articles

conjugation of ser, estar, ir, and tener

regular -ar verb conjugation

forming questions

singular vs. plural

noun/adjective agreement

command forms

numbers up to 50

possessive

adjectives

parts of speech

prepositions

Spanish syntax

According to Senora Gose, we will learn over 250 words, and thousands of possible Spanish sentences!

See It And Say It Spanish can be ordered here for the current price of $99.95, with the regular retail price being $129.95. Our family gives it a resounding “”me gusta – “I like”!

To check out what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew Members thought of See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish, please click on the graphic below!

Photobucket

As always, I would just love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys”, by clicking on the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog and entering your email information. Never miss an update again! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under education, educational games, family, Flip Flop Learning, Foreign language homeschooling, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Kids, moving, NM, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, See It And Say It Spanish, special needs education, TOS Review