Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mango Languages A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2014 #hsreviews #hsmommas #foreignlanguage

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Mango Languages Review

       I admit I was starting to stress a tad with the fact that the boys need a minimum of one foreign language credit to Graduate. Everything we have tried to date has not lasted as the boys get frustrated and lose interest! What is a homeschool Mom to do when this problem occurs? Mango Languages to the rescue with their brand new curriculum, Mango Homeschool Edition.  Mango Languages has been around for approximately 7 years but mostly in libraries. Now while the library version is free, it does not include the ability to do multiple languages at once and also does not include multiple levels like the Mango Homeschool Edition does. Free is not always better.

   Trying to get the boys to agree on one language they could both learn together has proved to be one of our biggest challenges. They have such different interests. That problem was solved with Mango Languages right from the start, with over 60 languages and counting there is something to spark the interest of even the pickiest little learner beginning at age 6 and growing with them through Adulthood. One of the things that caught peeked my curiosity was that the boys could not only pick the language they wanted but they could choose more than one and work on them at the same time, there was even fun languages like Pirate. Oh Boy! What boy of any age would not want to learn true Pirate Speak? I know this would get Taylor excited and could be used as leverage to get him to do the assignments for a language that could count as his credit toward graduation.

Mango Languages Review
   Alyx has been dabbling with Spanish but has struggled with the way other programs taught him, so he chose to stick with Spanish and even got to take a placement test to see where it would be best for him to begin. This was great as it did not make him feel like he was starting all over at the beginning. The first thing I noticed was that Alyx was actually logging in and doing the assignments without being asked or me having to argue or beg. SCORE!

   Taylor has wanted to learn Chinese for a long while but after recently taking a Korean cooking class at our co-op had a change of heart and opted for Korean. It was a little more complicated than he bargained for and after just a week ended up switching to Spanish after seeing how much fun Alyx was having with it. Really?? When I wanted them to both take Spanish all I heard was griping. I digress! All I care about is making sure they get the credit they need and if that means they both take Spanish then so be it. A little Pirate thrown in for good measure and everyone is happy, even Mom!

   We do school 4 days a week since we are at co-op on Thursdays, which aligns perfectly for what Mango suggests for their programs. Some lessons take more than a day to complete, we allot for 30 minutes to an hour per day. Working at this pace you could complete an entire language in one school year. We were given a one year membership for up to 5 people. My oldest who is in public school and has taken Spanish and Italian is utilizing one of the accounts and I am even refreshing myself on French. I took 4 years in High School which was 20 years ago this June( yes I am that old) and I honestly do not remember much at all. I guess the old saying if you don't use it you lose it holds true, but I was amazed at how much came back to me after only a few short lessons. It was there in my head it was just hiding.

    Now you are probably wondering, what makes Mango Languages so different from other programs on the market? Well for one you need no equipment other than a computer and no special operating system to run it. Secondly you can learn more than one language at a time. Also what sets this apart is that it is taught in conversational style which makes it easier to pick up. Using colored words to show you the order the words would be spoken in both English and the Foreign Language helps so much for visual learners, my boys are total visual learners. For the Auditory folks not only do you hear the words and phrases spoken to you, but with your computer's built in microphone or a plug in one you can record your voice and replay it back so you can hear how it sounds. This also helps the program to recognize any errors the student may be making with pronunciation. If at any point you are not sure how something is supposed to be pronounced you can click on the word and it will show it to your phonetically. This is helpful for all types of learners.

   How easy is it you ask? Well you sign up for an account either by the month or save some money and sign up for a whole year.... Here is the cost breakdowns...
Introductory pricing.  

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.

 Next you Activate your account and login. I will admit I was a little intimidated at first as there is so much to take in, but Mango Languages thought of everything and there are video tutorials to walk you through every step. Once I got it all figured out and showed the boys, who by the way did not really need my help. Why is it kids are so much more technologically in tune than us parents. It is starting to make me feel really old. Anyhow, the biggest challenge for my kids was picking one main language and then of course signing up for Pirate for fun. You choose your "Passport" in the commons area. This is the language you are going to learn, and within each Passport is the "Journey" these are the lessons that get you to your destination, completion.
Mango Languages Review

Mango Languages Review
One of the things my kids liked the most is that there is no writing requirements, although Alyx did choose to make some flash cards on Quizlet and Taylor ended up using them as well. My kids are not big writers so this was a big advantage to this program for us. 
After the lessons there are quizzes and although there was not a certain score required to move onto the next level, I did impose a 80% or better rule. This helped prevent the boys from skipping ahead if they were not truly ready. It made them much more accountable. I made them show me their quiz before moving on. There are some modifications to some aspects of the program that are noted below, we tested the beta version so improvements are being made to enhance the program. I did not feel that any of the things we encountered were notable enough to deter us from sharing a rave review, and we have faith that Mango Languages will only make their Homeschool Edition even better than it already is. 

Mango Languages Review
If you feel comfortable with your kids chatting in a safe online environment there are clubs that you can join for the different languages, here you can chat with others and practice what you have learned. My kids are not much into online chat rooms but some older kids and adults might find this addition fun and engaging. 
Mango Languages Review

We have been testing the beta version of Mango Homeschool Edition, in other words taking it for a Test Drive, so many features were not available at the time we started or as of right now but are coming soon. Here are the features that are currently available and those that will be rolling out soon. 
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

I cannot honestly say enough about Mango Languages and Mango Homeschool Edition. My kids are truly enjoying their foreign language studies for the first time ever. I do not have to ask to get them to do their work and they often go above and beyond what is expected of them for the day. This in itself speaks VOLUMES! There is no way possible for me to touch on everything there is to be offered in this comprehensive program so please click the banner below and visit all of the Schoolhouse Reviews from the Crew.

Keep up to date with Mango Languages on all of their social media pages by clicking the links below.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MangoLanguages
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mangolanguages/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MangoLanguages

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