We hope to raise our kids to be trilingual.  I speak French; my husband speaks Spanish.  It should have been simple to raise trilingual kids. Though both J-jo and Bear have tremendous ability to understand ninety percent of what we tell them in those languages, they are so reticent to speak them! So when I was asked to review Mango Homeschool Edition from Mango Languages, I was interested.  Would it make Bear more confident to speak in French?

Mango Languages provides access to over 60 different languages, at all levels of coursework, and is intended for ages 6 through adult. All lessons are online and you can learn more than one language at a time. You need to enable pop-up windows, and have the correct version of Adobe Flash Player for the program to work. 

I had Bear do the French course.  I took the Spanish one. They even have different courses for the different major dialects (French from France versus Quebec, and Spanish from Spain versus Latin America). There is a plethora of language choices.

Things I like:

  • The placement test – they don’t make you go through a whole bunch of stuff you already know.  However, I didn’t find the placement test completely accurate.  It was easy to deduce the answer to many questions from my knowledge of French and Spanish since they were giving me choices of words. (See photo above.)
  • Lots of repetition, which is important for learning a language.
  • The cultural notes are interesting and help one learn more about the culture.
  • It progresses nicely.  The lessons build on each other.

A wish: I am SO rusty on my Spanish grammar, but my vocabulary is pretty good.  I wish I could have the choice to focus JUST on the grammar portion without having to go through all the lessons.  It’s good in context if you are learning it for the first time, but when you just need a refresher, not so much, at least not for me.  Nevertheless, I am enjoying the review and learning interesting things about Isabel Allende, Juanes, and Laura Esquivel.

How we use it:
Bear sits on her own to go through the lessons and does a lesson per day.  This is a very independent program and it is self-explanatory.  I love that aspect of it.  I am not seeing much retention yet, in spite of us adding a notebook for her to write out the vocabulary and sentences she is learning.  I also think that the phrases she is learning are not relevant to her at this particular moment so perhaps this is a reason for the lack of retention.  For example, she is learning how to introduce herself and greet others, but it would be more relevant for her to be able to tell her grandmother what she did today when we Facetime.  Of course, most programs or curricula that teach a foreign language spend a large portion of the time teaching you phrases useful for traveling, not for conversing with your grandparents. {Edited: After a month of using Mango Languages, Bear began speaking to me in French.  Randomly, out-of-the blue, she stuck French words all over the place within a few sentences!  I mean, she still has far to go to be a fluent speaker, but yay!} 

I also noticed, being much farther ahead of her in my Spanish studies, that the courses do progress to a place that would provide her with more relevant vocabulary for having fulfilling conversations that go beyond asking for directions.  I am excited for her to get there.

Bear’s views on the matter are mixed.  Is fickleness a 6 year old phase?  She never complains when I assign her to do her French lesson, but when I ask her how she likes it, she tells me it is kind of boring and that it is not her favorite thing.  I can see why she might say that.  There are no bells and whistles; it’s quite a simple presentation, but I do like that about it.  Not everything should have to be bells and whistles.  It’s just that it feels like a program geared for an older crowd, even though a 6 year old can handle it just fine.  There is also lots of review, which is great for learning a language and having it stick.  Unfortunately, things that repeat and review a lot are often deemed boring by Bear.  She wants to move on as soon as she can, even when she needs review.

Here are some details I love:

  • The class is done like flashcards.  Each flashcard teaches or reviews a snippet of info.
  • The phrases and sentences are broken down into the parts.
  • There is use of critical thinking when you are asked to create a sentence you have never seen based on the parts you have been studying.
  • There is voice recognition and you can record yourself saying the word or phrase to compare your accent and pronunciation.
  • The sentences and phrases taught are very practical ones to meet people, order food, find places in a city, etc, and later to have conversations about things like which schools to choose for your child and if you have read anything by interesting authors.
  • You learn information about the culture of the people/country where the language is spoken throughout the lessons.
  • I can check on Bear’s progress (that is, see where she is in her lessons) without actually signing into her account. I can also switch back and forth between as many languages as I want to learn.

Overall, I am pleased with Mango Homeschool Edition.
 The true test for me though, is how much French Bear will be spouting after 6 months of the program.  Time will tell.  

Note that we reviewed the homeschool edition, which is still under development.  What was available to us on the website was:

Over 60 different languages
Progress Assessments
Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
Collaborative learning spaces
eNote messaging
/chat rooms
Access to embedded/downloadable content
Support from other community members
Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups

For my 6 year old, I only used the lessons and the progress assessments.  I am not ready for her to be using chat rooms and collaborative learning spaces so we did not utilize that aspect of it.  I encourage you to read other Crew reviews if you are interested in seeing how these were used.

Over the next several months, Mango Languages will be introducing other exciting features like:

Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring – including seat time (for students and parents)
Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)
Resume and Portfolio Builder

The pricing is as follows:

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
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.

If you are interested in connecting with Mango Languages, here are their social media links:


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