Unless you are fortunate enough to speak a second language, or have a gift for languages, teaching your child a foreign language can be a challenge. However, learning languages can be a big enrichment to your child’s education, and for college-bound children, they are often a requirement. For this review, we got to check out Middle School Spanish 2 from Middlebury Interactive Languages.
This course, designed for grades 6-8 is a continuation of Middle School Spanish 1, which my son took last year. Since it starts with Unit 19, I would say it would be pretty hard for a student to begin with Spanish 2 unless they had previously studied this subject before. In Spanish 2, students get into more advanced vocabulary, learning words that go along with professions, clothing, and ordinal numbers, as well as conjugating more advanced verbs like reflexive verbs and others.
The two semester course is divided into 36 units, which are then divided into 10 lessons each. Lessons have different activities, but include things like speaking and listening activities, matching activities, reading comprehension, and writing activities. Quizzes, tests, and exams are also built in to the curriculum, although Middlebury does not keep a record of scores. Basically, my son would complete one lesson per day, four days per week, so each unit took a little over two weeks to finish. At that rate, Middlebury would probably take us just over a full school year to complete, but that’s okay, because I like to have my boys do a little work in the summer anyway.
All of the work in Middlebury is done on the computer, but I did purchase a notebook for my son to write down his new vocabulary words in. This was helpful when it was time for exams and tests. as there was a pretty impressive amount of vocabulary to learn and remember. I do wish the program had some printables for the vocabulary, because I think that would be helpful, but at the moment, they do not.
I will say that we found this to be a pretty challenging program. It is definitely aimed at the right grade levels and I think it is on par with any program you would find in a middle school (it actually reminds me of some of the advanced Spanish classes taught at the middle school I used to work in). The good thing about Middlebury is that you can go at your own pace. When I found my son struggled with a particular section and did not do well on the quiz for that section, I simply had him go back over the lesson and retake the quiz until he did better.
The course also includes cultural information about different Spanish speaking countries and their history, food, and traditions. Middlebury also offers courses in a number of other languages including Chinese, French, and German as well as courses that include support from a certified teacher. The Middle School Spanish 2 course costs $119 per semester.
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