TeLL Me More Homeschool Language Programs

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Please note that Tell Me More has been purchased by Rosetta Stone, and they are no longer maintaining online support for Tell Me More.


In our years of homeschooling, we tried a number of language programs always looking for the perfect and painless way to learn a foreign language. While we met with varying degrees of success, we never found one that was perfect - but then we never used the Tell Me More program either! This program is just about as close to our sought-after ideal as I can imagine. If not perfect, then it's practically perfect! Tell Me More provides hours and hours of language instruction all wrapped up in one tidy computer-based package. Some of the program's features include customizable study plans, speech recognition software, transportable audio content, and a broad base of instruction covering vocabulary, grammar, and culture through exercises that include conversation, reading, writing, and speaking/listening.

Version 9 recently released retains all the valuable features of the previous edition plus brings some very desirable changes to the program for the European languages (French, German, Italian, and Spanish). Now, when activating the program, the user can select five consecutive levels of instruction from a spectrum of ten. This means that if your student already has some basic vocabulary and grammar in the language, they can take an initial assessment test and choose the appropriate levels which might be levels 2-7 or even 5-10 if previous instruction has been more extensive. May I just say that this is an amazing option! Levels are roughly comparable to one year high school or one semester college study (although they can be completed in less time). Please note that Version 9 courses include DVD-ROMs instead of CD-
ROMs, so you will need a computer with a DVD-ROM drive.

Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese programs are not yet available in the latest version. The Chinese and Japanese programs have 3 CD-ROMs for a total of 300 instruction hours each. The Arabic course contains 4 CD-ROMs and 800 hours of instruction, from "complete beginner" to "advanced."

As with the previous version, all the audio files can be downloaded and burned to a CD or placed on an MP3 player. This allows for listening anywhere (and everywhere) a very important component to language acquisition. Tests are now built in from the initial assessment to regular progress tests at the conclusion of each level to a final achievement test after all five levels. For fun, Version 9 has added a Euronews Bonus link where the student can access a news story in the language of study. For help, Version 9 provides 24/7 access to an online advisor.

Tell Me More is an immersion program. As the adjective implies, the student is immersed in the language from the beginning all instructions, exercises, and dialogues are in the target language. Research indicates this is the most natural and effective way to learn a new language. However, with Tell Me More you can choose to put instructions in either the target language or in English. While young minds deal fairly well with the immersion approach; older, visual learners will find a certain degree of comfort in having an English option. One of the other great features of this program is the translation and conjugation tools that are available at all times during the instruction and activities. A simple click of the button will bring up the translation of a word or phrase or a verb conjugation. The student can also quickly access a 10,000 word glossary it's just a click away. While "immersion" usually refers to being totally in the target language, with Tell Me More, it actually has a broader meaning. All the skills needed to learn a language are covered not only reading and writing, speaking, and listening, but also grammar/conjugation, vocabulary, and (delightfully) culture. In fact, the history, geography, and recipes provided in the culture workshops could provide the basic components of a unit study.

Navigation through the program is very easy. After signing in, the student can choose the mode they wish to employ dynamic, guided, and free-to-roam. [Guided the lessons are in strict order; Dynamic student sets goals and the program follows these individual needs; Free-to-Roam student can choose between the workshops.] When a student completes an exercise in the Dynamic Mode and moves to the next exercise, the program does a profile analysis looking for strengths and weaknesses and tailors the curriculum accordingly, de-emphasizing the exercises the student shows adequate proficiency in and re-emphasizing the exercises where the student needs some help. This sounds very appealing and parents/students will often want to start with this mode but the Guided Mode is a better option for an introduction because it places an equal emphasis on all areas of the curriculum. There are six different workshops cultural, written, vocabulary, grammar, oral (pronunciation), and lesson. Each of these workshops has its own icon, making them easy to identify.

Strong in grammar, vocabulary, and composition exercises, most students will complete these on the computer to allow for grading and grade-tracking. However, any screen can be printed out. In addition, an internet link is included which gives access to the full content of the courses as pdf documents either with or without solutions. This enables the homeschooling family to print out workbooks if they so choose. (Keep in mind we're talking about hundreds and hundreds of pages!)

What sets any computer-based language program apart from the more traditional audio/workbook approach is the possibility of pronunciation feedback. Tell Me More excels in this area. Included with every course is a microphone/headset. Not only is the student expected to repeat back all words, phrases, etc., but he can also engage in an interactive conversation. Within the oral/pronunciation workshop, there is an extremely helpful animated 3-D head which shows the mouth/palate/face movements needed to make the various sounds. Additionally, the program provides a graphic rendition of both the native speaker's voice pattern and the student's. The student can see before his very eyes how his pronunciation differs from the model's and make changes to bring it into alignment. Wow!

The grading and tracking system is also pretty impressive. As you would expect, you can use the program with an unlimited number of students and track their progress. At a glance you can see which exercises have been completed and even a percentage-based graph that shows the amount of correct versus incorrect answers.

System requirements for Version 9 (French, German, Italian and Spanish): 1.7 GHz processor PC with Windows 7, 2000, XP, or Vista 32/64 bits, 256 MB RAM (512 MB for Vista), 110 MB available on hard disk, DVD-ROM drive, 16-bit sound card, 24-bit 24 x 768 graphics card, headset or speakers and microphone.

System requirements are slightly different for Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Arabic: (Windows XP, 2000, or 2003; requires Arabic language support, 256 MB RAM, 140 MB available on hard disk, 24x CD-ROM drive, 1024 x 768 graphics card (24 bit), 16-bit sound card, microphone and speakers/headset. Chinese and Japanese: PC running Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000, or XP; 32 MB RAM (128 MB for 2000 and XP), 110 MB available on hard disk, 12x CD-ROM drive, 16-bit sound card, 1024 x 768 graphics card, microphone, speakers/headset. Tell Me More will only work on Macs running PC environment software. ~ Janice

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TELL ME MORE Spanish Homeschool Complete Item #: 040131
Grades: 7-Adult
Retail: $319.99
Rainbow Price: $195.00

TELL ME MORE German Homeschool Complete Item #: 040128
Grades: 7-Adult
Retail: $319.99
Rainbow Price: $185.45

TELL ME MORE Italian Homeschool Complete Item #: 040129
Grades: 7-Adult
Retail: $319.99
Rainbow Price: $155.00

TELL ME MORE French Homeschool Complete Item #: 040127
Grades: 7-Adult
Retail: $319.99
Rainbow Price: $195.00

TELL ME MORE Arabic Homeschool Complete Item #: 040125
Grades: 7-Adult
Retail: $309.00
Rainbow Price: $150.00

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