The Butterfly (now age 9) has been interested in learning French for the past three years.
We tried a couple of different programs, including computer based games and audio / CDs, but they didn’t keep her engaged, excited and actively learning French. Both approaches felt like a chore after a few lessons. The joy of learning a new language was – temporarily – lost.
This summer we had the pleasure of trying out the new homeschooling language site italki. Using the iPad and Skype, we connected with a teacher in France.
We received 6 free lessons in order to evaluate this program. I was compensated for my time writing, but I was not required to post a positive review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.
About italki Professional Tutoring Sessions for Homeschoolers:
Italki is an online learning tool that connects students with professional language teachers all over the world. During my daughter’s first lesson, her instructor Lea showed her what late afternoon in Paris looked like through her window!
The process is pretty simple: register at italki, purchase lesson credits (called itc) and schedule a lesson with the instructor of your choice. To help you choose the perfect instructor for your needs, italki provides recommendations and up to date evaluations from students. Next, you “meet” the instructor via Skype (a free service) at a set lesson time. If you’re not happy with your instructor, you can easily find another teacher to suit your child’s needs and personality. You can find out more about the italki teachers here.
Online Tutoring vs. Local Tutoring:
The best way to learn a new language is through one on one instruction with a professional instructor and native speaker. Typically, this is also the most expensive route. SO, before I tell you anything else about the program, I want you to know that it’s quite affordable in comparison to local options. Teacher fees at italki vary, but you can expect to pay between $7- $12 per 30 minute lesson. In our area, language tutors charge $35 and up for a 30 minute lesson or per 45 minute class (with other students). Additionally, purchasing a package of lessons will save you money long term.
And then there is the convenience of online learning. I don’t have to load all the kids in the car, speed across town (because we are always running late) then attempt to find a way to entertain my younger daughter during her sister’s lesson! That’s a huge plus for me!
Benefits of Using italki Professional Language Lessons in your Homeschool
- Complete lessons anywhere with internet access.
- Flexible schedules. You can design it around your families schedule and priorities and can change lesson times from week to week. You are not locked in to a particular day/time.
- Cost effective.
- It’s fun and engaging! Individual attention is terrific for students who lose interest in traditional book learning or get distracted in a classroom environment.
- Provides a safe, protected online environment for homeschool students.
- Works for all student levels, from beginning to advanced.
- Teachers can teach from structured lesson plans or work on conversation skills, depending on the needs of the student.
- Offers lessons in dozens of languages. Take your pick!
- Lessons can be customized to your child’s needs.
More about our experience:
In our situation, my daughter wants to learn a language that I don’t know. Okay, I took a year of french in middle school and don’t remember much beyond bonjour. Although we could choose to struggle through it together, italki takes this challenge off my shoulders. Truthfully? I cannot match the skill and knowledge of a native French teacher.
The Butterfly was a little nervous going into her first lesson. I stayed with her while she got to know her instructor Lea. During the next 5 lessons I stayed close by, but my daughter rarely needed my assistance. Lea made the lessons fun by adding games and activities to introduce and then reinforce vocabulary words. She was always patient and encouraging.
My daughter loves learning French with Lea. I love it. She’s looking forward to continuing her French lessons this fall. Can you guess her favorite French word? Le papillon, of course! It means the butterfly. See, I’m learning too!
I’m a proud mama. Mon petit papillon est étudie français.
Special limited time offer from italki:
When you register with italki and make a purchase, italki will give you an additional $10 worth of language credits to be used to take lessons with any teacher on italki.
Be sure to enter your italki user info on this page before September 15, 2013. This offer is available to new italki users only.