Do you love the Rosetta Stone language programs? Have you ever tried them and which ones?
Okay, our family has a lot of experience with learning second (and third and fourth) languages. Although neither my husband nor I speaks any language, other than English, fluently, our children are all reasonably competent in both Spanish and Japanese (For validation of that point -- our oldest was placed into "Spanish for Heritage Speakers" when he went to college -- i.e., the class for those kids who spoke Spanish at home -- because he was too advanced for even the second year of college Spanish; and both of our older ones have passed the second level (out of five levels, with the fifth level meaning that one is fluent enough to function at a Japanese university) of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, which is one of the "official" tests used to determine how good one's Japanese is.) Our second son, who loves languages, also does Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, and -- I kid you not -- Old English (i.e., what the Anglo-Saxon's spoke before the Norman invasion). I put my foot down when he wanted to learn Greek. Anyway, we have used Rosetta Stone for Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew and Russian. In my opinion, it is not a bad program, but it will not get you real fluency in a language. It is excellent, however, as a supplement to live classes to help build vocabulary, and learn some standard phases and "model" sentence structures. Both of our older kids did stop using it after a certain period of time, though, because it did become "boring," and wasn't advanced enough. For beginners, though, it can be effective for those limited purposes. However, if you are really wanting to get your children fluent there is no substitute for a live teacher. You might check out "Edufire" at Edufire.com. They act as a clearing house for online tutors. Some are good; some are not. Some are expensive; some are not. Not all will work with children. But there are some excellent ones that are inexpensive. The other thing I suggest is putting up a job notice at the local college (if there are exchange students) asking for students who would be interested in tutoring or "playing" depending on the age of your children, for a certain number of hours a week. We did this, and we have had very good luck in finding wonderful people who have allowed our children to gain a real understanding and love of languages. Good luck!
We love them! We have used;
Spanish (Latin American)
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I personally love it. I have the Latin America Spanish version. I have taken Spanish 1 in high school and it was great in teaching the basics for counting and letters of the alphabet and a few phrases. I took Spanish 1 in college and dropped it. I retook Spanish 1 while teaching elementary school. I must say as far as the grammar and be able to write a sentence correctly......the college class(es) were good for that.
What I didn't like about the college approach was that there was a gap between how the lauguage was taught and how people really speak. My husband's parent's are from mexico and although there were some things that were correct in how I was learning there was still a huge gap in the phrases. It was a constant struggle to be taught in my college class how to say things and then my husband's parents still had difficult time understanding because that wasn't how they would say it.
With Rosetta stone, there isn't that big of a gap in the way in which things are spoken. It allows me to understand a lot more than I ever did with high school and college classes and my inlaws can now understand me. That being said, I agree with pp about needing real live interaction with others. That is a big key to fully absorbing the language.
As for my kids.....I will be using Rosetta Stone but not the homeschool version because I have heard that there are issues with the homeschool program. I will also let them take a college level class so that they would be able to learn to write the language as well.
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