Monday, March 17, 2014

{Crew Review} Mango Languages

Foreign languages.

Yes, along with math, English, and science, most of the states in our country require that high school students have one year of a foreign language. Which, if you don't speak yourself, can be tricky to teach. This is where Mango Languages is very helpful to the homeschooling family.

Mango Languages is offering a new section to their language instruction: the new Mango Homeschool Edition. Created specifically for home educators, this easy to use, online program is just what our family needed this year.


Mango Languages Review


What It Is:

Mango Languages has over 60+ languages to choose from. Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin), Farsi, Scottish Gaelic, and Yiddish are just a few.

After you sign in, you can easily  create a profile. Then you will head to The Commons. This is the place where you can see all of the languages offered and join the different courses.

Mango Languages Review

You can join as many languages as you like. Once you join, you can then see the scope and sequence of what is offered.

Some of the more common languages have three to four units or 'journeys'. Each unit has chapters, and each chapter has lessons. The number of the lessons for each language is varied; I looked extensively at four different languages and found that Spanish has 477 lessons, German has 549 lessons, Japanese has 496 lessons, and Indonesian has 55 lessons. That is a lot of learning to do!

The lessons begin with an assessment, if desired. Each lesson is interactive, with a pleasant voice walking through the lesson with you. For example, at the beginning of one of the Japanese chapters in the first unit, a female voice says,

"Listen to the way you would say Are you sightseeing?"

Then a male says, "Kanko desu ka."

Then the female says, "Now you try. Say Kanko desu ka."


And so on. You can also hover with your mouse over any of the words to see the pronunciation. Each of the words, both in English and in the language, are highlighted a different color. This makes it easy to see how word order can differ.



You can also use the back arrow to repeat a word or phrase. Throughout the lesson are timed questions: the student is asked to say a phrase or word, and a stopwatch appears at the top. For instance, when asked to say "Are you sightseeing?" in Japanese, the student was given ten seconds to respond. After the ten seconds the answer was both displayed and said by the narrator.

At the end of each chapter is a chapter quiz. This assesses the student by having them listen to numerous conversations in the language and answer questions from it. They also are given sentences to translate into the language with a word bank at the bottom to choose words from. 

What You Get:

Mango Languages has been used extensively in public libraries, in schools, and business organizations. The Homeschool Edition is a new section to this language learning course, so I was given a beta version to use. 

This is their introductory pricing for their Homeschool Edition: 

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. 

 For that price you will receive access to the entire website and the 60+ language courses available. On the website you are a part of a larger community of learners and can message through eNotes, chat, and receive support from other members.

Included with most of the languages are downloadable files; these show at a glance what phrases and words your student is learning in each lesson.


You can sign up for a 30 day free trial and see if it would be a good fit for you.


How We Used This:

The recommended age range for Mango Languages is ages 6 to adult. This made me a bit excited, since I love learning along with my kids. I had my older two choose a language to study; Mr. Lego chose German and Bookworm chose Spanish. They spent at least a half hour doing lessons, 4 days a week. 


Some days they could get through two lessons, other days they needed reviews and didn't move as quickly. I want to count this towards a high school foreign language credit so I required them to write out their vocabulary words each day.


Bookworm put hers alphabetically.

I really do believe that you learn by writing so I also had them write out the phrases they learned.


Every five or six lessons is a chapter quiz, and at the end of the quiz, the percent of correct answers is given. I required them to get at least 85% or better before they could move onto the next chapter.

If they got more wrong, which happened a few times, they had to redo the lessons.

One thing we did notice that bothered Bookworm was that you are not told which part of the quiz you got wrong.  We are reviewing a beta version so there are a couple of minor things that are still in development, and quizzes is something that they are improving in the next few weeks. They do plan to have pdf, printable quizzes, which would indicate what sections need more work and would also keep track of long term progress.

Since this was meant for adults I thought I would give Japanese a try; my mother-in-law speaks fluent Japanese and I would love to try to talk to her that way.

I got through the first two chapters, and was able to say things that she understood. That is saying something, people. I really liked the repetitiveness of the program; the amount of words you do per lesson is perfect. 

By the fourth lesson though I started getting confused and forgetting some of the words. At this point I realized that I was making my kids write out the vocabulary words and I wasn't doing this, so I started my very own Japanese Vocabulary Notebook. And let me just say that there is something that happens in the brain when you write things down; by doing that regularly I improved immensely.

What We Thought:

I really liked this program. You cannot learn a language unless you are hearing it spoken, and the engaging and interactive style of this program made it very effective. The curriculum was very helpful; at any point you could hover over the words with the mouse and see the pronunciation. Another feature that we did not utilize since we don't have a microphone was the voice comparison tool. I am actually thinking to get a headset and microphone so that my kids can really work on their pronunciation. There are helpful grammar notes, (things like subject/verb order), and cultural notes and insights which are valuable to understanding language. 

Did my children learn German and Spanish? Well I was pretty impressed when, a couple weeks into his studies, Mr. Lego came up to me and said in German, 

"Do you speak English? I speak English. 
Beautiful weather here, isn't it? Thank you, goodbye."

Sounding properly German, at least to my ears. And when I verbally quizzed him by asking how to say weather, or thank you, I realized he knew the individual words and not just the phrase as a whole. 

I am planning to have them both continue in their respective languages through the rest of our school year. I also plan to keep learning Japanese so that I can share secrets with my lovely mother-in-law. 

Do check out what others thought on The Crew by clicking below; you can learn Hebrew, Latin, Hawaiian, and so many other beautiful languages.

 
Click to read Crew Reviews



Crew Disclaimer

2 comments:

  1. My daughter studied Japanese, too. I agree with you about writing being beneficial. My son did that on his own; I should encourage my girls to do so too as they continue their lessons.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for commenting, Jennifer! I am loving learning Japanese, although the accent is hard to get sometimes. :-)

    Have a blessed week!

    ReplyDelete