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#1 of 13 Old 07-16-2014, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Question A 2014 Foreign Language Thread

I've been reading reviews and looking through foreign language options. My DS1 is 7 and DS2 is 3. My initial plan was to start language with DS1 when he was about 4 or so. Well, I missed that boat...lol! Anyhoo, I'm thinking about getting him going and by default giving his little brother an intro. Some of the info. in the review threads that I read through is so old that I want to make sure they still pertain to modern versions of some of the programs I have in mind. For my oldest, I'm considering Rosetta Stone Homeschool version 3 in German. As much as I'd love to go a tutor route, I don't see it fitting into our budget. I'm hoping that once we're more stable, perhaps I could find a college student who is willing to work cheaply in order to gain experience. But for now, I think I'd just like to use anything I can to get them started. Who has used the homeschool Rosetta stone, specifically version 3? Pros? Cons? Worth the price? I'm considering splurging and getting all five levels because price wise that's the best deal. Effective? Do your kids love it, hate it, etc...? For my little one I thought about just getting the Little Pim set as an exposure sort of thing. I'm hoping that his big brother and I can start to converse in German and include him in that to expand on the Little Pim, since it's not exactly language instruction per se. My familiarity with German stems from high school and college level instruction. It's been a lot of years, but I'm hoping to learn alongside my oldest and jog my memory a bit. I thought about maybe setting aside special nights where we cook German food and only speak German, as much as you can really enforce that with little ones. I imagine that sort of thing will be a little rough just starting out, but those are my thoughts. Has anyone used Little Pim with a youngster? Did your little one like it? Do you feel like it did what it claims to do - gives a good exposure to the language? I've also considered Muzzy. It seems like there's a lot of negative reviews on that one though. But many of those reviews were pretty old. Has anyone used it recently? I know they have an online version now and I think there are games and such? I'm not really sure what all you get with Muzzy and whether or not it would be something worth considering? I appreciate all opinions, experiences from those who are familiar with these programs! Thanks!

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#2 of 13 Old 07-16-2014, 11:47 PM
 
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Well I don't know much about all the different options out there but I've browsed through them for my kids. Rosetta Stone is not an option for us. I just don't see how it's worth the money personally plus I'm not sure how that would work out for us method and schedule wise. We're starting Spanish here. What I've decided to do to start with since my kids are young and have had no real foreign language exposure (dd is 8, ds 7) is to go low key. I've printed out and made some Spanish labels and items for our calendar/morning board. They'll learn things like days of the week, colors, numbers and such that way. I did buy the first dvd of the Little Pim just to try since I found it cheap on ebay. It seems to be decent and my 3 year old loves it. My oldest got a little stressed by it because she wanted to be SURE what they were saying and talking about it and it was difficult with some of the scenes - ie a picture of someone eating with a spoon - she'd freak out. Does that word mean spoon or eat or cereal or or or ? I had to sit with her and translate some scenes so she was more comfortable with it although my other 2 had no issues with it.

I did look at the Muzzy and decided against it because of the price and the negative reviews. We have decided so far to just take it easy in the beginning. I have the Little Pim plus a few cartoons that they can watch in the language. I picked up a few short, easy reader type books as well. I'm not sure how many options there are for German but I was able to find ones they already knew for the movies and books in Spanish. This year that's all we're doing. A few books, movies and songs in Spanish plus some Spanish words labelled around the house and some Little Pim. I might add in a few Spanish games if I find nice ones for them. I'm going to just start with this for them to learn the basics and I'll look again for more in depth curriculum once they get a little experience in foreign language learning. I hope this helps!

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#3 of 13 Old 07-17-2014, 01:09 AM
 
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Dd12 is using the homeschool version of Rosetta Stone German and likes it a lot so far; she's about 6 weeks into it. The only complaint she could come up with (I asked her for this thread) is that the headphones could be more comfortable, but she's not crazy about any earphones she's tried, FWIW. I forget what lesson she's on but it's enough for her to have some very basic conversation with her Grandmom's German nurse. The homeschool version is supposed to be a year's worth, so she's pleased with her progress so far.

I've been meaning to set it up for my 5 yo non-reader for voice only so we'll see how she likes it this week. Hopefully ....maybe this conversation will inspire me to get on it already. I plan on using it myself eventually too. I grew up with German & English at home until 9yo-my Dad was a native speaker-but I retained only receptive language.

I only bought one level for now because it is expensive and we didn't want to spring for the whole package without knowing if it fit either child's learning style. It was around $80 new on ebay.

The only other I've tried was Muzzy when dd1 was a toddler ( so about 10 yrs ago) and it was awful. She lost interest after a few days and the only thing she learned was how to tell me I was fat in French! Worth the yard sale price for the laughs on that one at least.
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#4 of 13 Old 07-17-2014, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay - note to self - look for comfy headphones! And another negative review for Muzzy! It seems like they're everywhere, so I guess unless someone comes along with some outstanding recent Muzzy experience I'm going to close the door on that one.

Crazyms - there are so many more resources for Spanish then there are for German. I'll be relieved when we start Spanish I think...lol. But since German is the one that I have more knowledge of, it makes sense for us to start there! I love your idea of labeling things around the home. I think I will add that to my plan of things to help the language learning along.

I'm also planning on getting some children's books in German. I came across The Hungry Caterpillar as well as some other much loved children's books. There are some nice resources online for buying both multilingual literature as well as books in another language. I'd like to find some good music CDs also.

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#5 of 13 Old 07-17-2014, 12:35 PM
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Another negative review for Muzzy. That was terrible.

My dd tried Rosetta Stone and didn't care for it. At that point we were part of a parent partnership program and using the online log in version. I don't know if we could have disabled the writing portion, but that would have been helpful. However, she got frustrated because there wasn't a way for her to really figure out subtle differences between the pronouns. It would just beep at her if she got it wrong

She later tried www.duolingo.com which is free (they also have German). She prefers this to Rosetta Stone because it will occasionally give you an explanation in English. Back to the pronoun example, she was consistently making the same mistake and it popped something up to explain the difference. She was so grateful for that.

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#6 of 13 Old 07-17-2014, 12:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AAK View Post
Another negative review for Muzzy. That was terrible.

My dd tried Rosetta Stone and didn't care for it. At that point we were part of a parent partnership program and using the online log in version. I don't know if we could have disabled the writing portion, but that would have been helpful. However, she got frustrated because there wasn't a way for her to really figure out subtle differences between the pronouns. It would just beep at her if she got it wrong

She later tried www.duolingo.com which is free (they also have German). She prefers this to Rosetta Stone because it will occasionally give you an explanation in English. Back to the pronoun example, she was consistently making the same mistake and it popped something up to explain the difference. She was so grateful for that.

Amy
I was hesitant to suggest this for younger kids but Duolingo is great. I've been using it myself for Spanish. It's all free and offers a lot of different exercises to help you learn. Babble was similar and had a few more game type exercises I think kids might like but I only did the trial before switching to Duolingo since it was free. I'm not sure what languages Babble offers though.

Oh Wow! Haven't fully checked it out yet but there's a Dino Lingo for Kids and it has German. http://dinolingo.com/languages/german.html
This website also looked like it might be good for kids: http://www.petralingua.com/foreign-l...n-for-kids.php

I think both of those are purchases but might be a lot cheaper than other options if that's a concern for you. It might help either way to let you try it before getting too far in to make sure your kids like the learning style.

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#7 of 13 Old 07-17-2014, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Very nice - I'll check into those links. Thank you. I wasn't really thinking of this, but my DS is not a fluent reader yet, so I really wanted to work mostly on conversation at this point and work on grammar and writing in German at a later point. Is there a way to customize the software for each child when it comes to Rosetta Stone or Duolingo so that he can work on acquiring a vocabulary and practice speaking while he's not yet a fluent reader? I was thinking I might go through it as a student, so I'm good with the reading and writing of course.

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#8 of 13 Old 07-17-2014, 09:50 PM
 
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I don't know about being able to customize it and I haven't done Rosetta Stone but the Duolingo does say things out to you. It has you type words in and translate though which is why I haven't had my kids do it yet just used it for myself. I will be looking into the petralingua and dino lingo more since I'd love to find more of a conversational and game type learning method too. I'll let you know if I come up with anything. Maybe someone else has more ideas.

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#9 of 13 Old 07-18-2014, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really like what I see from PetraLingua. It seems really affordable. I think it would be a great option to get us started - looks like it's geared towards younger ages, so I *think* it would work for children who aren't reading yet. And with the ages it's geared towards, I think I could use this with both my oldest and my youngest! I watched the demo for Dinolingo. The concern I have with Dinolingo is that when it introduced nouns it didn't introduce the gender along with the noun. For example, when fish was introduced as "fisch" in the video, I think it should have been introduced as "das fisch". My reasoning is that when it comes to speaking and writing correctly, it is quite useless to know the noun without knowing it's gender. What I'm thinking is that Dinolingo is perhaps more of an exposure type program and so the focus is on hearing the language and there's not a progression towards learning the underlying grammar?
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#10 of 13 Old 07-18-2014, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just stumbled onto another program through Cathy Duffy's review site. It's called The Learnables and it was one of her top picks. Overall the reviews on Homeschoolreviews.com were fairly good. This program has a beginning that is based on listening and looking at pictures and repetition. Grammar is added after a child can understand some language. I think it sounds like an interesting approach. They have quite a few languages also. I can't remember everything that was listed, but I think it's worth looking into. www.thelearnables.com

Another thing I noticed. I don't know if this is a coincidence or not, but I was reading reviews on Rosetta Stone on Homeschoolreviews.com and it seemed that the people who used the homeschool edition had more issues than people who used the regular edition. I'm not sure if there's any merit to that as there's not a ton of reviews to begin with, but it did make me wonder if I should just get the regular version.

I don't know. At this point I'm considering Little Pim, Rosetta Stone, and the Learnables in combination with one another. That could be overkill though AND that's a pie in the sky list that doesn't really take my budget into account. More likely, we will have to choose when it comes to which large program to go with!

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#11 of 13 Old 07-18-2014, 01:51 PM
 
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Well I like a combination. I don't think that Little Pim would interfere with any other curriculum if you wanted to do it with another one. Honestly I don't think that the Little Pim is a curriculum on its own either. I only have the one dvd though so maybe there's more to it than I've seen? From what I can tell Little Pim is a dvd series. I think that it's really no different than having the kids watch a dvd in the language so it's not interfering with another program you're using. I do remember seeing the Learnables before but haven't tried it either. We are on a budget and honestly with so much to buy this year for homeschooling foreign language got a very small slice of the budget for us

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#12 of 13 Old 07-18-2014, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah. Little Pim is definitely not a curriculum, more just an exposure for younger children. I was thinking that maybe just having his own special "program" would interest my youngest in picking up some words and attempting participation as my older kiddo advances and we start doing some conversation around the house in German. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it...lol. No idea if that will help anything or if they will be DVDs that sit around and collect dust. I'm thinking about reserving them as special just for when older brother is doing school. Yeah, we don't even have a budget right now. There are so many things we need to pick up for this next school year. I'm honestly thinking we won't start any language work until after tax time next year! I may go ahead with some basics though - alphabet, counting, key phrases (things look good morning, my name is ___, stuff like that) and just try to teach them informally until we can get a program. I do have a couple of German board books that I bought years ago that I kind of forgot to use with any regularity. So I could still pull those out just as some exposure while we're waiting for a program.

I did read a criticism on Duolingo on a board. I don't know if it has merit to it, but I'm going to look into it. It was in regards to the French program that some of the translation was literal, word for word, and not necessarily translating for meaning. So I think I'm going to go through Duolingo and see if I pick up on anything in that regards. That being said, my German is so limited from lack of use for years and years that I don't know if I would pick up on it!

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#13 of 13 Old 07-18-2014, 04:48 PM
 
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Things are the same here. We're just using what we have already and basic words labelled and introduced until we can figure out a good curriculum and budget for it. We also have things we need for school and I'm having to shuffle the last of the homeschool budget to what we really need. Okay there isn't even an actual budget for it. I'm just trying to figure out what I really need to get so I can try to get it into the budget

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