Learn Almost Any Language At Home ~ Mango Homeschool #Review
Do you want to include foreign language learning in your homeschool, but can’t decide which one? Or perhaps each of your children wants to learn a different language… or more than one language at a time? Providing the variety your family desires could get quite expensive with traditional language instruction, but Mango Languages has a simple, budget-friendly solution for you!
Mango Homeschool Edition is the specialized-for-homeschool adaption of the standard Mango Languages subscription service. Offering dozens of languages ranging from common (Spanish, French) to rare (Punjabi, anyone?), Mango states that it is usable by ages six to adult. For best results, our family recommends that students be reading reasonably well in their native language, and comfortable with using the computer, unless there is going to be an adult nearby to help during the lesson.
We found sign-up and getting started to be a little challenging. While it wasn’t terribly difficult, it did require some attention to the instructions and following through to learn how things work and how the website is laid out. It’s not *bad*, by any means, but it wasn’t as intuitive for me as I’d expected.
Once the student is signed up and logged in, then the fun begins. See the pic below? It’s called “The Commons”, and shows just *part* of the languages available in Mango Homeschool. The green or blue “people” icon to the right of each language name indicates whether or not you have added that language to the ones you are currently using.
Green means that yes, you have joined it. To join it, you just click on the name of the language, and then on the following page, choose join. (See below.)
Once you’ve joined that language’s “space”, there are a multitude of options available to you, including lists of topics available, downloadable PDF course guides, links to discussions, forums, and to the courses for that language.
When “Login to Mango” is chosen, the program does a quick check for browser compatibility, and you’re ready to go, presented with a screen similar to this:
You now have two options; start the language from the beginning, or take a test to see what you know. Testing has two options. The first is for placement, is quicker, and will give you a place to start the course. The second is an “assessment”, takes about twice as long, and will give you a score demonstrating the percentage of the course material that you already know, in addition to placement in the course.
Courses are broken into chapters, which are further subdivided into lessons, reviews, and quizzes. Once you’ve found a lesson to start with, head on in and you’ll find slides that incorporate spoken instruction, audio cues, grammar and cultural notes, among other learning tasks. While on the surface, it might seem simplistic, there is an enormous wealth of material to be found in Mango. Latin American Spanish includes over 450 lessons alone, not counting chapter reviews and quizzes.
While not all the languages are quite as comprehensive at the moment, more material is being added all the time. (Though some languages, like the amusing and fun “Pirate”, simply aren’t candidates that lend themselves to that sort of in-depth study, but we can forgive them that in exchange for the giggles and constant pirate speak that the shorter course resulted in, can’t we?)
While all of my students and I signed up for Latin American Spanish (as our effort toward greater fluency continues), I made each of the kids choose at least one second choice, too. Thus we have one learning Hawaiian, another learning Egyptian (aka Arabic), and the third wandering betwixt German and Japanese. As for me, I’m dabbling in French for my second language – I took three years of it in high school, so I’m trying to figure out if I remember anything at all, two decades later. (It’s a safe bet that my accent hasn’t gotten any better!)
Some of the tools commonly used by homeschoolers are still in beta or in progress at this time, with more improvements on the way soon. These features are 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
And over the next several months, Mango Languages will be introducing other 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
We’re looking forward to seeing how Mango Homeschool evolves into a fully-realized program, and it’s good to know that the creators consider it a work-in-progress, because those sites are the ones that really respond to the needs of their user base.
Mango Homeschool Edition is reasonably priced, especially if several family members are using the service, because there’s no need to purchase multiple products to fill different language learning needs. As shown in the chart below, it may be purchased as either a monthly or yearly subscription. For families needing six or more accounts, one would need to contact Mango Languages directly for group pricing.
There are such a wide variety of language options available that there was no way for our family to truly try them all, but many other languages were reviewed by the families that are part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, and I invite you to click the button below and discover the possibilities of Mango Homeschool Edition.
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