I was very lucky. As a child of immigrants, I was immersed in languages from an early age. I wasn’t even aware I was learning! Later in life, I chose French immersion and other languages. I’m sure I had a much easier time than my monolingual friends.
My kids don’t have it as easy. They get some Spanish from me, but will not go the French immersion route.
When my 11 year-old said she really wanted to learn French, I looked into some lessons and tutors. No go. Too inconvenient, too expensive.
I first heard about Rosetta Stone through my kids’ school, before the ubiquitous booths cropped up at malls and airports.
What is Rosetta Stone? A “dynamic immersion” foreign language learning program (with many languages available) delivered via CD-Roms or Online.
Although I loved the convenience, I was skeptical about language learning on the computer. I learned languages the good old-fashioned way: With people!
Nevertheless, I took the plunge and purchased the Homeschool French Levels 1&2 CD-Roms for $279.00 Yes, it’s expensive, but I reasoned that in the long run it’s cheaper than paying for a private tutor or lessons since my other kids can also use it.
The verdict? Still too early to tell if my money was wisely spent, but I am impressed so far. “Dynamic Immersion” is based on five language components:
1- IMAGES 2-INTUITION 3- INTERACTIVITY 4-INSTRUCTION 5-IMMERSION
Learners speak, write, and read the language in an interactive way without translation. Headsets with mikes (included) are used to practice speaking and pronunciation, and record students’ sounds while assessing pronunciation. Grammar and spelling are taught both implicitly and explicitly throughout. Images help to instill vocabulary, and lend a worldly flavour with people of various cultures and ages.
Each lesson lasts around 15 minutes, and tracks each learner’s progress. The program even allows for a few learners simultaneously, and will track each one’s progress individually. Could be fun for families and siblings to learn together.
The Homeschool edition includes lesson guides for parents to follow, but I haven’t looked at it closely yet.
So far, my daughter is enjoying this way of learning and doesn’t want to stop. Time will tell how successful Rosetta Stone will be with my kids, but so far, so good.