Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Version 3 Level 1 with Audio Companion (Homeschool Edition)
I purchased this for my freshman. We covered half of the material this year. The strength of the program is definitely the listening and speaking component. The weakness is grammar. The workbook pages appear to be an afterthought written by a fluent speaker without consideration for the limited capabilities of a beginner. I am glad I did not purchase a multiple level package deal. I will be using the listening and speaking options as a great intro for my younger children as long as they think it's fun. However, after going through the program myself, I feel the claims of avoiding repetition are misleading. The only way to learn a language is through repetition, and there is plenty of it in Rosetta Stone.
Additionally, after this experience, I have found that the method a child learns a language over the course of many years of total immersion is not equally appropriate for an adult with greater reasoning skills and necessarily limited exposure. Merely having seen and memorized the conjugations of "Ser","Estar", "to make", "to have", regular verbs, etc. and their applications; various forms of the personal pronouns; a chart of cardinal and ordinal numbers; rules for adjectives; how to make possessives, ... All these things are easily absorbed in a very compact format by someone familiar with English grammar and would have removed a lot of the mystery for my daughter. Honestly, "to be" is the most common verb in any language, it is never regular, and there are two versions in Spanish!
I have purchased a basic Spanish grammar text and will see how it works. I merely perused it while developing a lesson plan, and immediately Spanish made a lot more sense and became easier to decipher and properly speak.
I am 11 years old and have completed version 2 Rosetta Stone Spanish, Level 1 and now am doing version 3 Spanish Level 2.
Rosetta Stone version 3 is very captivating. I was always bored with version 2. But the time just flies with version 3. It is way easier to catch onto and doesn't keep doing the same thing over and over.
Version 3 has conversation with another person in which you must respond. It has very good variety, including speaking, reading, writing, and listening. There is no need to take other courses. It's very interesting.
I believe that it is very easy to go from version 2 to version 3. Version 3 starts with two-letter words and goes from easy to hard. Version 2 was a big waste. Both versions start off the same way, but version 3 is easier to learn. I am very glad to be doing version 3. Version 2 was boring. Version 3 has better graphics and has conversation which helps you learn how to answer questions. Version 2 doesn't teach you how to answer questions.
Unfortunately, neither version explains what the words mean, forcing you to guess.
My husband and I love this version (V.3) of Rosetta Stone! The addition of the speaking element has added so much to our children's learning of the language. I would not choose any other program without this option. There is also a setting to allow variances in the level of speaking perfection which is very helpful. It has been wonderful to hear our children SPEAKING the language in a smooth way.
Rosetta Stone has always had graduated learning levels and frequent repetitions and reviews of the words and phrases which are excellent for learning. Both my husband and I have taught German in the past, and this is our favorite program for independent learning.
The one drawback to the program is that we think it could occasionally use some more explanations for some of the questions/answers during the lessons. (The kids may have questions about something about once a week for us.) For that reason, it is helpful for the teacher/parent to be familiar (not mastery!) with the target language.
For those reasons, I would recommend when parents are choosing a language that they have some familiarity with the language itself or have a motivated student who is willing to do a little extra when stuck on a question.
We have used this product for 4 years and it is still my NUMBER ONE curriculum recommendation when people ask the best way to learn a language, (even though it can be pricier than people are thinking about paying). My husband and I both speak fluent German but have failed to pass it on to our kids the easy way - in every day conversation. We have screened a lot of programs and curriculum, and have not seen a better, all-encompassing program for a foreign language. We have been very impressed with the kids improvement, pronunciation, and understanding of the language. Version 3 is also a big improvement over version 2 because of the audio and speaking additions - don't skip these! The only problem I see is that occasionally it is not clear what the program is asking of the kids and once or twice a month (more when you first start the program) they will ask us for clarification or help with the lesson. Since we speak the language, it is never a problem. But when we screened a Chinese version for a friend, we were totally lost! So I do caution people before investing so much, it may be best if you, or someone you know, are at least familiar with the language (not fluent), and can help out if/when needed. I like the way the program is set up that they may not go to the next lesson until they have adequately passed the current lesson. It has been great that this is all controlled by the computer (meaning: removed from us). There are no arguments about whether something is right or wrong or close enough. It is between them and the "black and white" computer. For my kids who like to debate details, this has been wonderful from the teacher perspective! One other problem for us is that the microphone has a hard time picking up my daughter's voice for some reason. The other 4 of us have no problems, but if you do have one with a problem - they will need to slow down a little and speak clearer, which overall, is better for their pronunciation anyway. Since we think it is an excellent program, and we have five kids that will use it, we have been very happy with our decision to purchase this program. The set-up took longer than I expected (but I am terrible with computer things), but the Rosetta Stone help desk was quick, thorough, and helpful. I know I will continue to recommend this product for a long time!