Let’s get it out of the way: I am in no way affiliated with Rosetta Stone. I do not receive any compensation of any kind from Rosetta Stone and the following is my opinion as a paying customer of Rosetta Stone.
I have studied French casually for a very, very long time. I have the basics down. I survived studying abroad in college and I could still get along just fine with the little bit that I know. France and French is part of my personality and I want to share it with my children.
My oldest son, now six, just began using Rosetta Stone Homeschool to learn French. My plan is for him to continue French until he is ten when he can choose to continue with French or switch to a different language.
I was excited to see how the Rosetta Stone program worked because I have the full French program as well as the Mandarin program. I practice French occasionally and think it is excellent and because I have used the Mandarin program I can attest to the fact that if you follow the Rosetta Stone program, you will learn another language. (I had absolutely no idea what Mandarin and was surprised at how much I learned in a short amount of time).
But to be quite frank, the homeschool program is a huge letdown.
1.The homeschool program is the same program I already own.
I blame Rosetta Stone for this one. They have great videos making you feel good about learning a language but they do not share what the program looks like. I do understand that they do not want people ripping them off but it would have been helpful to actually see some of the program before I signed on for six months with an agreement of automatic renewal at the non-discounted price which I have to call customer service as they try their hardest to convince me to keep it in order to cancel.
The layout is slightly different from my version but the learning is THE EXACT SAME! Again, this bothers me as I already own Rosetta Stone French 1 – 5 and would have just had him use mine rather than purchase the homeschool version.
The results you get to see only indicate what they got wrong. There is no breakdown of elements they need to work on. When you look at Unit 1 for example, you can see each section is graded (122 correct or 45 correct/1 incorrect). When you get into that specific section it will show you which number they got wrong but not how many attempts (to help you figure out if they were just guessing) or if this a pattern (do they not understand il and elle for example).
You are entirely on your own which means, if you don’t speak the language your child is studying, your child is on their own.
2. My son is six – he isn’t interested in learning a language like an adult.
As an educator and curriculum writer who creates mostly academic games, I don’t believe games need to have a prominent place in the classroom but a six-year-old needs something more than what Rosetta Stone gives him. Something fun. Something rewarding. Something that drive him to want to continue.
He can complete about 30 minutes at a time. But if Rosetta Stone had actually designed a homeschool software that included some kind of…I don’t know – game or reward that time could be extended a few extra minutes.
He gets bored with it and gets tired of the amount of each type of exercise (the core lessons are the worst for his attention span as there are too many exercises). If I didn’t sit and help him and motivate him, I am not sure how much he would be learning or retaining. I am finding myself gathering resources for supplemental review and fun because it isn’t integrated into the program.
3. The language software has a hard time understanding what he says.
I have to sit with him and listen to the pronunciation of the words because the software just doesn’t pick up on what he is saying. The first reason it doesn’t understand him is that at six, children have a hard time timing their responses to a beep. They tend to blurt the answer immediately or miss the period of time entirely.
The second reason it doesn’t understand him is that he has a speech impediment. After a year in speech therapy, he has made leaps and bounds but he’s still working on a few sounds in English. I’ve noticed those sounds don’t always translate to French but sometimes they do and the software just doesn’t like his answer.
This frustrates him and me. If he were speaking to someone in France I absolutely believe they would understand him – but the software hasn’t been adjusted to accommodate a young child. (This is being ultra picky but at this point, I’m not impressed and all my irritations are going to come out.)
4. They chose the worst font for children.
When children are learning to read and write in any language, they have a difficult time discerning I and L if they look the same.
In French, one of the first words he learns is He. He = Il in French. That is an I and an L. But when the I doesn’t look like an I, he doesn’t understand the spelling and is beginning to develop a sound and letter recognition with L. He thinks Il = LL or more accurately ll.
Even the font on my blog uses better font than Rosetta Stone.
5. The program progresses too quickly for children learning to read.
Before he moved from Unit 1 to Unit 2, he had to have a 100% on everything. So when he moved to Unit 2 and began the core lesson, it was too advanced for him.
Since you are learning to speak and hear the langauge at the same time as reading, there needs to be a better plan for children. My six year old reads at a second grade level but not in French. In French he doesn’t read at any level yet.
If Unit 1 was about learning “she is eating,” and “she is running,” then Unit 2 went immediately to, “Milk and eggs for breakfast are healthy and delicious.”
Too complex. Too difficult for my son learning to read in English to try to learn to read in French as well.
It is difficult to critique something that I see is working however. He is actually learning French. In less than a week, he is differentiating masculine and feminine words, remembering the vocabulary, and frankly says the words really well. A month in, he is beginning to feel confident in truly differeniating sounds and tenses.
And as for the software not understanding him, I have no idea if that is something they can tweak. I would absolutely understand if someone told me that they could never accommodate the speech impediment aspect but the period of time for responses could definitely be changed.
I will be the first to admit, elementary education is not my expertise but I also do not believe that anyone with a background in elementary education was consulted when they created Rosetta Stone Homeschool.
They repackaged their language program with a new name. (My opinion based on my experience and in comparison to my own Rosetta Stone program, not a proven fact.)
I can’t tell you NOT to get Rosetta Stone Homeschool because it is working and at least having exposure to another language is better than not having any, but do not expect to get this program and leave the room.
I don’t hate it. I’m just disappointed. I’d give it 2 stars out of 4.
Your young child will need you there with them because it was not designed for them.
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