That’s right, I can say, “The sun is yellow and the flowers are big.” in Spanish. – lol – Actually, I can say and translate so much more than I expected to be able to after four weeks using Rosetta Stone. Since our oldest daughters were young and still at home being homeschooled, we have heard numerous grand claims about this product. It was just never in the realm of possibility on our single-income, “5-children must eat” budget. Off and on over the years, I would order their demo cd and “test drive” the program. Four weeks ago, we jumped in with both feet, spent the money and I wish we had done it years ago. With what we have spent on the five previous, and remarkably unsuccessful Spanish programs we have tried in the past, we could have easily paid for Rosetta Stone.
I have zero experience with the Spanish language, which has been a big “crippler” at past attempts to teach it. Talk about the blind leading the blind! This curriculum is computer-based. We bought the homeschool version, so each student, including myself has a sign-in and can pick up their lessons right where they left off the last time. The program comes with voice recognition software, headphones and discs containing five years of Spanish lessons – speaking, reading, writing, translating, pronunciation, grammar. You can select to use the entire program or perhaps only speaking and reading for a younger student.
Currently, I am using the program with a high schooler and an eight-year-old. Our junior high student will get in on the act, shortly. I will say that I believe the reading and speaking portion of the program is more than enough for our eight-year-old. She is moving through the program, but more slowly and needs more practice for retention, than our senior or I seem to require.
Student progress through the course is logged as they work on lessons. A grade is recorded for completed lessons and the amount of time spent on each lesson, as well as time spent on the full curriculum, is logged. Other teacher helps included with the Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish program that we purchased are:
- a parent’s guide
- audio companion cd’s for all 5 years, that can be used in the car or radio to practice our Spanish, when we are away from the computer
- a cd of supplemental educational materials: course contents and index for years 1-3, answer keys for years 1-3 (I wonder if they think we won’t actually do years 4 and 5, lol), a 24-page homeschool parent’s guide, translations of workbook and test instructions (which are all written in Spanish), 100-page, printable student workbooks for the first three years that will further reinforce what is being taught in the curriculum, and printable tests to make sure the material is being retained along the way.
I especially like that as you complete a new lesson, you are taken back to review what was learned in previous lessons, so that you are constantly building on what you already know. Rosetta Stone uses the “immersion” method to teach language. The way your child learned to talk was to listen to you and watch you and imitate what he heard you say. That is how this program works. From the most simple vocabulary lessons in the beginning, no word is spoken without an accompanying image. You “see” what is being said, you hear it pronounced and you are given an opportunity to repeat it. I have progressed from single words to pronouns and verbs and then to grammatically building sentences. None of that is spelled out with a formula or rules, but by the program speaking as the pictures are being shown and I, and my students, learn Spanish in the same we learned English, by hearing seeing and repeating it.
The software “listens too” and corrects your pronunciation and uses a variety of interactive activities to teach the lessons. It seems to be focusing on vocabulary that would most likely be helpful in conversational situations, at the beginning. “The man/woman/girl/boy is eating/drinking/driving/walking/running” or “He/she/they is/are cooking/reading/ writing.” , etc. The vocabulary lists and combinations covered in this first four weeks are already too long for me to put all of them here, but you need to understand that the complexity is also building in the way sentences are formed, understanding tenses, pronouns and helping verbs, etc. And all of that without ever using the words tenses, pronouns, helping verbs. Everything is taught by immersion and I am optimistic that it is a method that will actually help the learning to “stick”, unlike our previous attempts. I believe that it is also extremely beneficial to have the program to communicate back and forth with. It’s fine to learn vocabulary, but if you are not speaking it and having conversations in it, it is much too difficult to retain what you learn. This is another great feature of the Rosetta Stone curriculum.
I will continue to update you on our progress from time to time, but for the moment, my review of Rosetta Stone is highly favorable!