Mango Languages has turned our house it a place that sounds like this:
E: Aloha! Pehea ‘oe?
L: ¡Buenos días! Estoy bien, gracias. ¿Y usted?
E: Maika’i au, mahalo.
L: Que tenga un buen día.
E is learning Hawaiian. L is learning Latin American Spanish. I am trying to keep up with both of them. And J is learning both by osmosis, doing tons better than me, and mumbling in whatever languages appeal to her at any given moment as she practices. All 3 giggly girls are loving it and it makes my heart sing to hear them growing in such unique ways.
What Is Mango Languages?
We have been using and reviewing Mango Homeschool Edition, which is created by Mango Languages. This is a language homeschool curriculum. They have been around for a few years but you wouldn’t have necessarily found them in the homeschool arena. You might have heard of Mango before and found them in your local public library. They have had a product for language learning that many have used successfully from the library. They have now stepped into the homeschooling language learning market with Mango Homeschool Edition.
Mango Homeschool Edition is different from the public library edition in some very significant ways. First of all, as of this writing, there are 61 languages available in the Homeschool Edition but only a fraction of those are available in the library version. In the Homeschool Edition, you have access to all of the languages for the duration of your subscription and can work on more than one at a time. Also, the library only has one level of any given language, while the Homeschool Edition will take you through as many levels as they have available. (An example is that Latin American Spanish has 3 levels and only one is accessible at the library.) Additionally, there are community features (forums and discussion panels, files for printing) that are not available in the library edition.
As Mango grows, their product will expand and change, and, I expect, get even better. For the purpose of this review, we were working with a version that had the community features accessible, the files accessible, and the lessons. One of the big pieces missing for the review and that I am excited to see when it becomes available is a way to track student progress, both in the lessons completed and how the student did on tests, where tests are available. (Not every languages has tests available at this time.) They are currently developing a way to set and track personal goals and create individual lesson plans. Mango has these pieces in development at this time and expect to be adding these this spring.
How to Get Mango Languages
You can visit Mango Homeschool Edition at their website http://MangoLanguages.com. You can also find them on various social media outlets such as Twitter: https://twitter.com/MangoLanguages,
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mangolanguages/, and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MangoLanguages.
The current, introductory pricing model 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.
Each person learning a language needs their own subscription. These family packs offer a substantial savings, as does choosing an annual payment over the monthly payment options.
What Age Range Does Mango Fit
Mango tells us that this program is appropriate for ages 6 through adult. My personal opinion is that this is style of learning is acceptable only for someone who is comfortable reading English first and the age of this can vary from child to child. Age 6 is the low end of the age range for who this program will work for and, really, I feel 7 is probably more accurate. Once English can be read comfortably, this program could be a good fit and it is definitely appropriate up through adult.
How We Used Mango
For us, each person in the family has their own account. J, the youngest giggly girl, has not actually used hers. J is an emergent reader at this point, so it is not a good fit for her. L is using her account to learn Latin American Spanish. E is using hers to learn Hawaiian. She is also planning to start Latin American Spanish before too long. I am using mine to keep up with the Hawaiian and Latin American Spanish that the other two giggly girls are learning. Daddy is using his to learn Latin American Spanish, which will benefit in his job.
When it is time for a Mango lesson, the giggly girl logs onto her own account, clicks through to her community (the term Mango uses for the languages learning space and lesson – each languages has its own community), and logs into her language. From there, she begins working on the lesson. I would sit with the girls through each of their lessons, partly to know where they are, partly to hear how they are progressing, and partly to attempt to keep up with them.
The lessons are audio/visual flash cards, where you control the speed of change with a click of the mouse. Each lesson begins with a conversation between two people being spoken out loud and highlighted on the screen in the language, so you can see and hear at the same time. From there, each card has a word or phrase, some new and some review, read aloud for the student to repeat. Sometimes it is in the language; sometimes it is English. Some of the cards have cultural information that affect how you use the word or phrase being worked on. For the lesson, you click through the flash cards and listen and repeat.
Here is a good example of how the audio/visual flash cards appear on the screen.
Something I really liked about this set up is the constant ability to hear the word or phrase. You can click on button on the screen and it will repeat it. You can click on the word or phase and it will tell you what it is in English. You can click on a different button and see switch between the literal or common translation of the word or phrase. This is also where you can use a microphone to check your pronunciation against the pronunciation of the speaker. (A microphone is not necessary but it is helpful. We saw the girls’ pronunciations grow by leaps and bounds when they started using it. We did not go buy a microphone. We used the video camera that we can plug in through a USB port. There is a microphone built into the camera and Mango recognized it.)
To use the microphone, you click on the little microphone icon. The student then clicks record, waits for the countdown, and the speaks the word or phrase. From there, the student can play back their own voice, the voice of the native speaker, compare the visual interpretation of the sound waves for the two voices, or playback both voices at once. The girls loved this feature! E especially had lots of fun trying to match the sound waves on every single word or phrase where it was available. And, as I mentioned above, we saw huge growth in their pronunciation when they started playing with this feature.
We repeated each lesson more than once to help the girls with retention and pronunciation. The lessons do a great job of review and building on previous learning but we just felt more comfortable repeating lessons. Some of the early lessons were repeated 4 times, especially in Hawaiian, because it is a new sound to our ears with different emphasis and pronunciation of sounds.
Another thing we did to assist the girls in learning and to help this be a portable program for us was to make physical flash cards for each of the words and phrases. We do not have any tech devices that can access the web on the go. If for some reason, we didn’t get a Mango lesson done before we needed to leave the house, we could grab the flashcards and take our lesson with us. The girls worked on flashcards in the car and in the waiting room at dance class. Sometimes, we did the flashcards while waiting for another giggly girl to finish her Mango lesson. These were a definite bonus for us!
Mango Homeschool Edition has been a nice addition to our homeschool routine and learning. We will definitely be continuing to use it for the girls’ language program. It has been fun for the girls and they have grown with their confidence. We definitely think this has been a great benefit to our family.
If you are looking for a language program, I highly recommend that you visit Mango Languages at http://MangoLanguages.com to view more information about their product and to sign up. Join us in a learning community for language. At Home.
Want to learn more and read what others have to say about Mango? Click on the Review Crew banner below to visit the Review Crew home. Then click on the button there to see many other families’ view on Mango.