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Friday, March 14, 2014

Learn a Foreign Language with Mango Languages ~ Review

Mango Languages is an online foreign language learning site with over 60 languages your homeschool student can choose from to study. They started in the public library sector and have been expanding from there in the 7 years of their existence. Today I'll be sharing with you our experience with the beta version of Mango Homeschool Edition, the online foreign language learning product that I was given to use in our homeschool. Additional features for Mango Homeschool Edition continue to be developed, so there will be even more to love in the future! You can stay up-to-date about these developments by connecting with Mango Languages on the following social media sites: Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Mango Homeschool Edition


Common Questions and Answers About Mango Languages

  • What ages is Mango Languages intended for? Mango languages is intended for ages 6 through adult.
  • How much will it cost? The following pricing options are available for homeschool subscriptions: 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; and 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. Mango languages offers a free 30 day trial, and comes with a 60 day money-back guarantee. This is a great option for homeschoolers who, for the most part, are one-income families on a tight budget.
  • What equipment will I need? You’ll need a PC running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7, or higher, or a Mac running OS X 10.6 or higher. You will need a microphone to utilize the Voice Comparison tool should you want to use this feature. We don't have a microphone and got along fine without it. Minimum 1 GHz processor with 1GB RAM, a broadband internet connection, and 1024 x 768 display resolution are also recommended.


What's Included When You Sign-up With Mango Languages?

There are over 60 languages that you'll have access to with your subscription to Mango Languages. The Help Desk guides you step-by-step through setting up your account preferences and selecting your language course. It was a very easy process. We chose Mango Passport Spanish (Latin American) as our course for this review. After a few weeks, Caleb decided he wanted to learn Pirate, too - yes, Mango Languages offers a Pirate language course!

The "Brochure" page lists everything that is included with all of the online language courses available from Mango Languages.
  • Audio and pronunciation guides from native speakers
  • Voice comparison tool
  • Cultural insights, customs, and etiquette
  • Conversation and grammar goals
  • Phonetic spelling on-demand
  • Grammar notes

Also listed in the "Brochure" are tabs for each journey and the topics covered in the lessons for your selected language. Here is a screenshot from the website showing the tabs I'll be describing below for Mango Passport Spanish (Latin American):

Mango Languages Spanish (Latin American)


Journey 1 Topics: Greetings, Gratitude, Goodbyes; Inquiring About Someone's Nationality; Asking What Languages Someone Speaks; Names and Introductions; Getting Around; Shopping and Payment; Drinks and Dining; Numbers and Currency; Getting Help; Asking for Clarification

Journey 2 Topics (upon completion of Journey 1): Addressing and Describing People and Animals; Describing Surroundings; Making Small Talk; Accepting and Declining Social Invitations; Dating; Foods, Cooking, and Dining; Commenting on the Weather; Using the Bank and Post Office; Planning Leisure Activities; Sightseeing

Journey 3 Topics (upon completion of Journey 2): Culture, Literature, and Art; Discussing Historical Events; Addressing Medical Conditions; Expressing Thoughts and Feelings; Discussing Schools and Education; Names and Their Origins; Talking About Food and Dietary Habits; Physical Descriptions; Making Plans; Sports and Exercise

Course guides are provided in PDF file format for each "Journey". These are listed under the "File" tab. The file for Journey 1 is 168 pages. The course guides contain everything that will be learned in each specific "Journey". This would be a great "textbook" if you wanted to take the file to your local printer to have printed off and bound. Your student could use the printed material to study what they have learned during the week. Or, you could do what I did, and just download the file to your computer. It's there anytime we need to reference it.



How We Used Mango Homeschool Edition

We used Mango Homeschool Edition in our homeschool four days a week. Caleb and I watched one lesson together each day. I loved how I was in control of advancing through each screen. This enabled me to choose how fast or slow to proceed through the lesson.


Mango Lanuages Spanish (Latin American)
The Welcome page greets you and your student each time you log in.

The Welcome page greets you and your student each time you log in, and gives you the option to resume the lesson, repeat the lesson, or proceed to the next lesson. I love that the program remembers where you were working each time you re-enter after logging out. If we had completed a lesson, but I felt Caleb needed to review it, I simply chose to repeat the previous day's lesson. I was thrilled to be able to have this option!

After deciding to move on to the next lesson, we were given an example of a conversation we would be learning in that particular lesson. Each screen that follows breaks down that particular conversation into manageable pieces. The native language guide speaks the word you are learning, in our case it was Spanish (Latin American), followed by the audio guide who speaks the word in English. The student is then given a time limit (that you can adjust) to say the English word in Spanish (Latin American). We advanced through each screen when we were ready to proceed to the next word or phrase that we were trying to learn. Throughout the lesson the audio guide gave various "grammar notes" and "cultural notes" which were helpful in learning the words and also gave interesting facts on the culture of the country whose language we were studying.



Mango Languages Spanish (Latin American)
Screenshot example of how each phrase is broken down into manageable pieces.


Pre-tests and post-tests are provided in each "Journey". Each test can take up to 30 minutes. There is a final course exam as well. All are completed online at the Mango Languages website.

Screenshot of the pre-test window for Unit 1 of Journey 1.


I mentioned earlier in my review that after a couple of weeks in Spanish (Latin American), Caleb wanted to dive into Pirate - so we did. We had a lot of fun speaking in a pirate voice with that one! Here is a video of my son that I made during one of our lessons. I love how animated he is! We had to do several "takes" before I could get a video where he wasn't being too silly. He kept wanting to add in "have" instead of just saying, "Blow me down! The ship's becalmed!" which means "Oh my gosh! The ship isn't moving!"

Here's the video of my silly pirate:

video


My Opinion of Mango Languages

Mango Languages is a great online foreign language learning program for homeschoolers to use if you want your kids to learn a foreign language! I was astounded by the amount of languages that are offered in a subscription to Mango Languages. The prices for monthly and yearly subscriptions are reasonable considering all that you get from Mango Languages.

The only recommendation I have for Mango Languages is to have a designated "Member Log-in" area that is clearly visible on their homepage. For this review, I used the link that was provided in my subscription confirmation email from Mango Languages to log in each time. This link took me to the log-in area on their website where I used our user name and password. After more time on the site, I did discover the member log-in area without having to use the link in my confirmation email after I clicked on the "Get Started Today" button on the Homeschool page. Ta-da, there was the member log-in box! I'm sure a clearly visible "Member Log-in" box on the homepage would be appreciated by new users.

My 13-year-old son loved learning a new language online with Mango Homeschool Edition from Mango Languages! He was excited each day to begin our lesson, which made this homeschooling moma very happy. I highly recommend Mango Languages and Mango Homeschool Edition to those who like to homeschool online, those who homeschool high school students, and ANY homeschooler who is looking to successfully incorporate foreign language lessons as part of their homeschool curriculum.   

Walking in His Grace, 
Laurie




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2 comments:

  1. I'm glad to know that they now have a homeschool option! I looked into this awhile back and the only way you could get it is if it was available at your local library, which of course around here it most certainly is not. I'm also super excited because they have Hebrew, both modern and Biblical! I will certainly be praying over this for our homeschool next school year.~

    ~rose~

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    Replies
    1. Hi, sweet friend! I'm glad to know this can be a possibility for you in your homeschool! We really enjoy it!

      Blessings,
      Laurie

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