Learning German Using an Online Foreign Language Course

Middlebury Interactive Languages provides online learning for kids of all ages. Read my review to learn how it worked for our homeschool children.

{Disclosure: I received free access to Middlebury Interactive Languages in order to review it. I also have been compensated for my writing time. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.}

My History with Foreign Languages

When I was a teenager, I had a friend whose parents were deaf. Not only were they deaf, but they were also from Puerto Rico and spoke no English. In order to communicate, we used a notepad. The friend's mom would try her best to help me understand what she was saying by pointing to an object, write the Spanish word and then teach me the sign.

I was so fascinated by it all, then I set out to learn these languages myself. Of course, the family was Hispanic and used a different sign language than ASL, but ASL is what I chose to learn. My step-mom used to buy books to help me learn it. I learned much Spanish in my east Orlando neighborhood, but also signed up for it in school.

Although I didn't stick with ASL long-term, I did stay with my Spanish classes all through middle and high school.


Teaching Foreign Language in My Homeschool

When I began teaching foreign language in my homeschool, it only seemed logical that I would teach these two languages. Unfortunately, my daughters haven't had a strong interest in either. They were just doing what I said we would do. We had success with a Spanish program last year, but if the kids aren't interested, why press onward?

When Lorelai began 6th grade earlier this year, I asked her what she wanted to learn. The answer? German.

Great. I don't know German.


Don't get me wrong. I was excited that she wanted to learn it. Her father was part German on his mother's side. Although she barely remembers her dad, I thought it would be nice for her to make this connection with his (and her) heritage. I immediately shared this with her grandmother, who was pleased to know she wanted to learn the language.


Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

There are a number of documented benefits that come with learning a foreign language. I will cite a few here.

  • Learning a second language challenges and improves cognitive function, leading to better performance in reading, social studies and math. Research has shown that students who learn a foreign language outperform students who do not. (Armstrong & Rogers 1997; Saunders 1998; Masciantonio 1977; Rafferty 1986; Andrade 1989; Kretschmer & Kretschmer 1989)
  • Learning a second language leads to a better understand of one's own language. (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004)
  • Learning a second language can increase listening skills because the brain must work harder to listen to different types of sounds. (Krizman et al., 2012)
  • People who are bilingual find it easier to multitask due to more cognitive flexibility. (Gold et al., 2013)
  • Learning another language can make a person more culturally sensitive. (Athanasopoulos et al., 2010)
There are benefits to learning a foreign language and this may lead to a special connection to her German heritage. That's all great, but I still don't speak German. How do I teach her?

Enter Middlebury Interactive Languages.


Learning German Using an Online Foreign Language Course

Just as the subject of learning German came about, we discovered Middlebury Interactive Languages. Lorelai and I looked over the available languages. I showed her videos of people speaking the different languages to be sure of what she wanted to learn.

She was certain. German was it. At this point, we signed up for German language lessons with Middlebury. 
That was a few months ago. How is it going?

We are loving it!


Lorelai is learning and retaining the language. She uses her vocabulary words and phrases all the time. You know what else is great? I'm learning right along with her.


What We like about these Homeschool German Lessons


Middlebury Interactive Languages ...

...is simple to use. - Although I do sit with Lorelai during her lessons (I want to learn, too!), she could easily navigate the lessons on her own.

...uses an immersion approach. - You've been there. The verbs. Conjugating. Repeating. Not fun. Did it stick with you? Probably not. This is nothing like that. 


Right from the first lesson, my child was learning vocabulary and phrases, matching German phrases to English phrases (translating), and practicing pronunciation in a speaking lab.

...easy for parents. - Again, I do sit with her while she does her lessons, but I don't have to. She could do it alone. I don't need to evaluate or grade her lessons at all. There's a handy-dandy gradebook that I can go to when I want to see how she's doing.


...interactive. - Moment of honesty here: I usually dislike online learning. Rarely do I find an online program that we enjoy or stick with for the long haul. Although I'm usually not big on online lessons, we have thoroughly enjoyed them.

...works. - My child is retaining each and every thing she has learned. Finding language programs that actually teach my kids and help them retain it has been like a needle-in-a-haystack hunt for us. Rarely do we find the one that works. This one does.

Even when life gets busy and we don't get around to lessons for a week, Lorelai remembers everything she's learned.


That has made this a rewarding language-learning experience for us.
That is why we are excited to jump back into lessons each day. 
That is the inspiration and motivation to do the next lesson.

We're going to continue using these online German courses.

Lorelai loves learning German and I am sharing in her joy. We practice while taking afternoon walks or even while snuggling before she goes to bed. German is becoming a natural part of our life and that's exciting.

I've already decided that as long as Lorelai is enjoying this German curriculum, I will continue to sign her up, year after year. These language courses are well worth the investment.

Here is a short video in which Lorelai shyly shares a bit of her German vocabulary. 



More about Middlebury Interactive Courses

Middlebury Interactive Languages offers courses to elementary, middle and high school students. Courses are available in the following languages:


How to Purchase these Online Language Courses
The courses at the Middlebury website are available with and without a teacher.

  • Without a teacher is $119 per semester. 
  • With a teacher is $175 per semester. 
Code HomeSchoolFirst10 gives homeschool families 10% off their initial order. Ongoing discount - no current expiration.

Connect with Middlebury


Happy Homeschooling!

6 comments

  1. My daughter has been begging to learn Spanish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a great program. I wish we'd found it years ago.

      Delete
  2. My daughter needs this for her highschool curriculum. She wants to learn German.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great program, Tammy. I highly recommend it.

      Delete
  3. Andrea6/23/2015

    Hi! I'm trying to teach my kids German also, and I just came across your site! I'm definitely checking this curriculum, but I also notices a tiny mistake on the video. Your lovely daughter answers to the question how are you, es geht so. But this would mean she's not ok, nor bad, something in the middle, but with a slight negativity. She should rather answer Mir geht's gut. Also very important in the German language is the informal you -du- and the formal you -Ihnen.
    I also buy material directly from Amazon.de :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback. She was only a couple of lessons into the program, so she only knew what she was already taught. However, I do think it's fitting. If you notice, she wasn't doing very well. She was most uncomfortable at that moment, not even looking at the camera. lol

      Delete

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