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Foreign Language
Rosetta Stone

By Michael Leppert

By now, Rosetta Stone’s language learning products are known as the benchmark of foreign-language programs. Their “dynamic immersion” approach has won kudos from users of all ages and for all languages. Obviously, the company knows how to successfully teach foreign languages. More good news is that they also are aware of homeschoolers and have developed a special, value-packed, multi-user module to accommodate those of us who teach our own children at home. The RS Homeschool Version goes far beyond any other course available for a full and sophisticated grasp of a language.

Rosetta Stone has solved the problem of “immersion” distance learning, where the student can hear the language spoken all around him/her and pick up pronunciation and imprint vocabulary quickly. RS offers what it calls “dynamic” immersion, using five elements of sensory intake of information: Images, instruction, intuition, interaction and immersion itself. The program provides pictures and spoken pronunciation of vocabulary words, offering the user the opportunity to intuitively tell at what some of the meanings are – just as one learns his/her native tongue. The more one practices this skill consciously with an additional language, the easier it becomes and this represents a large part of immersion in the language. The interaction takes place in pronouncing back words (through the microphone/headset that is provided), as well as clicking on the appropriate picture of a word or phrase pronounced by the program. The program enhances the total immersion atmosphere by not having any translation during the lessons.

Just for Homeschooling families, RS offers the Homeschool Dashboard, which allows the parents to set up the users and choose from a wide variety of variations of the program. To begin with, there are four Placement Tests (General, Listening, Reading and Reading & Writing) for students who may already possess some knowledge and need to pick up at their own knowledge level. The customizable portions include two Full Year Curricula, a 36-week and a 45-week choice, for those using the program for educational credit; the Standard Curriculum for those learning the language new, but possibly with accelerated abilities, as it does not repeat skills that might have been slightly less-than-perfect, which the Full Year section offers. The Standard With Reading Intro section offers letters of the alphabet and letters sounds preliminarily, for student who need this work. There is also a Reading & Writing Focus section that trains attention on those who need to know how to write and read their chosen language of study. The Dashboard tracks the performance of each lesson, its completion and elapsed time, allowing the parent or older student to monitor progress and evaluate areas that might need more work.

The general program offers an Audio Companion™ four-disk set that provides practice and reinforcement of the basic lessons. This set includes Language Basics; Greetings & Introductions; Work & School and Shopping, providing the student with all of the vocabulary, grammar and phrase work needed to converse in the language in all phases of everyday life. The Rosetta Stone package also includes two other disks of supplemental material. One is a practice CD of words, phrases and exercises that can be used after a lesson is completed and played in the car or other “informal” setting to reinforce the material. The second CD is a Supplemental Materials disk which contains printable PDF versions of the Student Workbooks and Exercises, Tests, the Homeschool Parent’s Guide for using the program and Cultural Activities, such as visiting places that coincide with the culture and people of the language being studied.

Rosetta Stone Version 3.3.7, Level 1 Homeschooling Edition will serve as the perfect springboard for your family’s introductory study and ultimate mastery of Latin American Spanish. All three levels are available individually, making it affordable to ultimately obtain the entire program but the entire three-level set is also available at a very low price on various Internet store sites. RS is easy to use in its daily lessons, easy to track one’s progress and fun to boot! Bueno suerte! MjL


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