Every once in awhile a company will ask for an honest review in exchange for the opportunity to give their curriculum or program a try. I love researching resources this way, and in fact have done over a hundred such reviews for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and on the Preschoolers and Peace site.
Mango Languages gave our family three months to try out their online foreign language learning program, and while we were compensated for our time, we weren't forced to give a good review. What I'm writing here is my opinion and that of our 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.
Our foreign language study background:
I took 4 years of high school Spanish and scored a 6 on the AP test. I also took French and German in college for my degree, so foreign language learning is near and dear to my heart. I'm pretty opinionated about what I like and don't like: lots of grammar is what helps a language learner build their knowledge of the language, but grammar without the opportunity to practice the living language is pretty worthless in real life. I prefer a balanced approach, focusing on both the structure of the language and the practical usage.
Lots of Latin study over the years in our home, plus two high schoolers who studied Spanish, one who studied French, and one studying ASL.
Who used Mango Languages in our home?
For this review, our 10-year-old and 7-year-old used Mango Languages online. The 10-year-old daughter loved working on her French while the 7-year-old son learned some basic Spanish.
What were the high points of the program?
Mango Languages gets students talking and interested right away. The interaction with the program is strong and engaging. Both kids would do a lesson and then be trying it out on us all afternoon. Parlez-vous français?
The lessons are a realistic length for an older elementary student to an adult to tackle daily, or several times per week. Our 7-year-old complained sometimes and was trying to get to the end of the lessons; more on that below.
There is an emphasis on understanding the structure of the language, but it's not a huge focus. Mango Languages is definitely stronger on that point than other popular video-based foreign language programs on the market. Because of its strength in getting the student using the language right away, I think it's great for a jumping-off year or an accompaniment to a grammar or text-based language curriculum.
There are over 60 languages to choose from, including helpful courses in Medical Latin American Spanish, Hebrew for Scholars, and French cheese and wine (oui!). I was super impressed by that number. And just for fun, they also have "Pirate", which definitely kept the 7-year-old interested! Actually, between the Medical Spanish and the Pirate, Fletch also voted Mango Languages a winner.
What are our reservations?
My biggest reservation (really, more of an observation) in our home is that our 7-year-old felt a little squeezed: too old for the Little Pim program but the regular Mango Languages lessons were just a tad too much for him. I had to lighten it up and make it fun to get him through the whole lesson or split the lesson up into several days (easy to do).
Of note to homeschoolers:
If you've hung around HomeschoolingIRL for any amount of time, you know we're big believers in making mom's teaching and homemaking jobs manageable. To that end, we love online programs and courses that are user-friendly, and Mango Languages fits the bill nicely.
We think Mango Languages is a perfect fit for homeschoolers: available anytime that works for you and an affordable monthly subscription rate. I've also had homeschoolers tell me that its available at their library!
Mango Languages is $20/month for 1 student or $35/month for up to 6 students. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to see if Mango Languages works for your family.
Use code HS5PM and receive $5 off the monthly subscription rate.
Where else can you find Mango Languages?