But, then we had two more children, and I quit my full-time job. We couldn’t afford the Japanese school anymore. Slowly, painfully, we watched Bookworm’s Japanese skills fade away. Now he can say and read very little in Japanese.
However, all is not wasted. I know that by learning the language early as he did, it’s all stored away in his brain. The key is to find a language program that we could do from home to unlock his previous learning.
Enter Mango Languages.
As part of the Review Crew, we were given access to Mango Homeschool Edition for one year. This has proven to be an excellent language program for our family.
About Mango Languages
Mango Languages Homeschool edition is suitable for children as young as 6 all the way to adults.
This is an excellent way for homeschooling families to gain exposure to other languages.
Our Experience with Mango
We found the program to be very intuitive. For instance, the question “Excuse me, are you Mr. Tanaka” appears on the screen and is said aloud by an English speaker. “Excuse me” is written in blue; “are” is written in pink; “you” is written in gray; and “Mr.” in green; “Tanaka” in yellow and the question mark in purple.
When you hear and see the answer in Japanese, you can see how the parts are placed in a sentence. This is very important in a language like Japanese where the sentence order is not the same as romance languages. Essentially, in Japanese, you say “Excuse me, Mr. Tanaka are you?” Seeing the corresponding parts of the sentence in Japanese colored the same way they were in English helps the learner understand the sentence order in Japanese.
When you stop the program, it saves your place. The next day when you resume lessons, Mango takes you right back to where you left off. We all liked this feature.
We studied Mango for the purpose of this review for about 6 weeks. During that time, we studied 4 to 5 days a week for 15 minutes at a time. We covered the following topics:
- Greetings, Gratitude, Goodbye
- Inquiring about Someone’s Nationality
- Asking What Languages Someone Speaks
- Names and Introductions
This includes one time when we decided to go back and restudy an entire section because we didn’t feel that we learned the material well enough. With Mango, you can go back and review as much as you like. In addition, review is automatically included in the program. When we were studying a lesson, embedded within that lesson would be things that we already learned in previous lessons, so we were always reminded of what we previously learned.
Downsides to Mango
I loved Mango as did Bookworm. We plan to make good use of our full year’s access and both hope that within a year, when my mother in law calls, we can finally talk to her in basic Japanese.
However, there were a few drawbacks. PB & J Girl is 5.5, and the program was a bit too difficult for her, which makes sense since she’s under the recommended age range. However, I don’t see her really understanding the program until she is 8 or so.
Another drawback is that there isn’t a writing component to the lessons. You can write down the translation in the foreign language you’re studying, but that is it. Mango is much more a conversational based approach to language.
A Program That Is Continuing to Improve
Currently, Mango offers many features:
- Over 50 different languages
- Progress assessments
- Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
- Collaborative learning space
- eNote messaging/chat rooms
- Access to embedded/downloadable content
- Support from other community members
- Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups
I should be clear that because of Bookworm’s young age, we didn’t access many of these features. However, I could see where many of them would be very valuable for high school language learners.
Because Mango is new to the homeschool market, there are a number of features they have in the works that I was not able to review because they’re not yet accessible:
- 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
Operating and Subscription Details
Mango works on both Macs and PCs. It can be used on Firefox or Chrome.
How much you pay for Mango Languages yearly depends on how many individual students you have studying, NOT how many languages each student wants to study. Price currently 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
If your child is interested in not only studying a foreign language but also being able to communicate in that language, I highly recommend Mango Languages. We’ll continue to subscribe even after our trial period is over because we enjoyed it that much!