High School Foreign Language

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  • Hi,

    We have been using Rosetta Stone Spanish for my dd16 for the past 3 years. My dh isn’t that happy with it. I was wondering if anyone has used something different for High School Spanish and what your thoughts are? I have heard good things about Tell Me More Spanish also. Has anyone tried this?

    Thank you for your time!




    Hi, Danielle. I’m not happy with Rosetta Stone as a high school choice either.

    Here is what I use:

    Latin in the Christian Trivium for Latin

    Spanish and French–Breaking The Spanish Barrier or Breaking the French Barrier. I recommend these highly, the only caveat being that I consider it a MUST that there be someone who can converse with the student for the conversation exercises.

    The website for these is http://www.tobreak.com/

    I have the demo of Tell Me More, and while it does seem somewhat more complete than Rosetta Stone, I still think it a less attractive option than the above book/CD/conversation combination, not to mention you can get all 3 years for the price of Auralog. 🙂 Because IMO you’d still need to find at very least someone to converse, and the conversation exercises in the Barrier books are a very good place to start.

    My oldest son, who has spent a fair amount of time studying Spanish, French, Latin, some German, and has recently added Indonesian, says if you have any doubts or questions about foreign language study at the high school level, he thinks the most “bang for the buck” or the best thing to do with limited time is to put the time into Latin–if he had to pick just one, that is the one he would want to focus on.


    Michelle D

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you so much for your words of wisdom! I will be looking into what you suggested. She did do 2 years of High School Latin in Junior High. We used Artes Latinae and she just did it independently. We live in Southern California and my husband is from Spanish/Mexican heritage (our last name is Perez :D) so he really wants our dc to learn Spanish.

    Again thank you so much!




    Danielle, does he speak at least some Spanish? If he does, then the affordable book courses I mentioned could be a very good solution. You might need to check, though, as I am not certain whether Breaking the Spanish Barrier uses European Spanish or Latin American Spanish. I have used the French for 2 years but will not likely use the Spanish version unless my sons find someone better to converse with than me–my French is tolerable but my Spanish is, well, half-French. 🙂

    Lesley Letson

    would you all mind mentioning your problems with Rosetta Stone? My husband is also fluent in Spanish and we are trying to teach our children while they are young (he speaks a lot in the house – if only mom would comply it would be helpful!). I have looked at RS and heard all the great reviews. If there is a better option (that may work for younger ones as well) I’d love to hear it – and it is so expensive too, I’d hate to waste my money. I need better conversation practice and he needs better grammar. THanks!


    Well, two of the things that Rosetta Stone does NOT provide are conversation practice and grammar! You’ll get precious little of either. Rosetta Stone can do well if all you want to do is pick up some vocabulary. But there is no explicit grammar teaching–after more than two years of work, my sons could not even do something so simple as figure out when to use “ser” and when to use “estar”. I found this very, very frustrating! Also they just rarely picked up on verb conjugation–they simply used third person singular for everything. RS “mentions” some of that in passing, but on my kids it just did not stick! And there is no conversation practice at all. There is no way for there to be–it’s a computer program. It talks about its “speaking” components, but all that really means is it gives you something to say, you say it, and you get a weird readout on your pronunciation. Not very helpful if what you really want to do is TALK to a real person. 🙂

    Anyway, the other problem was that I had a hard time keeping on top of what vocabulary they were learning–I could try to reinforce with a little conversation if I knew, but since it was just each child and the computer this was very difficult.

    I do know of one product line that is designed to help the non-language-speaking spouse help raise young children bilingually. http://www.oneilllanguage.com/greatEight.html

    I do have one of these kits and we enjoyed it but after the little one got bigger, I just didn’t seem able to keep it up and transition to older conversation topics. (I do still remember how to say “Put on your bib!” LOL) It also didn’t help that I was the closest thing our household had to a Spanish speaker, and I’m really not very good. When I get stuck for a word it comes out in French. 🙂

    We use Auralog, Tell Me More computer program for learning German, we did not like Rosetta Stone at all. There website is: http://www.tellmemore.com/ – we have found this program absolutely brilliant. My daughters found Rosetta Stone boring and I found it incomplete (I speak almost fluent German) so I contacted the people at Tell Me More by phone, and they were wonderful in demonstrating their program by hooking up my computer to theirs and answering all my questions. It is also a bit cheaper than RS. I liked the fact that there was a variety of exercises to complete, loads of levels, and also grammar. We have also had success with various books for German, so there is a lot our there. However we love Tell Me More. I think most of these programs work better if someone in the household has some knowledge of the language being studied, that way if the child has a difficulty the parent can help out, but that is just my thought, and these programs should be able to stand alone with a beginner. Also, not every program will work for every family – language learning can be very individual and what we love, you may hate – so it is not easy. Hope this adds to the conversation. Blessings – Linda


    I’ve been watching this post and hoping to find a good Spanish language program. It seems that everyone mentions the need for one parent to speak the language for the children to learn. Neither my husband or I speak anything other than English. Any ideas for this situation?

    Thanks, Rebecca

    Hi if no-one speaks the laguage then find a good book with a disc which also has the language and lesson spoken. The book should have translations and a native speaker on the disc. Native speakers are better because then you are sure of pronumciation and don’t get British or American accents being taught. I was taught German by my mum and all my German relatives so learned correct pronunciation as opposed to some school friends who had a British teacher and they spoke German, but with a British lilt. As such I much prefer the native speaker.

    I would suggest a course like Living Language – – they have boohttpwith good translations, CDs to use in the car and discs for the computer to listen to which help with pronunciation and such. I have used the German version when I was working with a child in England and it was very successfull. They have various options on the website to purchase, sometimes Barnes and Noble will have it. I used the Ultimate version.


    is the webpage. That might work well for you, I found the student I had, worked well independently between our lessons just using the discs and books, he had no German knowledge and his parents did not either.

    Hope this helps. Blessings – Linda

    Sorry Rebecca the link is broken, just type in http://www.randomhouse.com/livinglanguage and navigate to the Spanish page, sorry about that, I added it wrong. Linda

    Gosh it must be late in the day, did I make some typos!!! Sorry – in my first post I was trying to say they come with books with good translations under the lessons and grammar eaching along with writing practise and then etc. the http that arrived in the middle of the sentence I suspect should have gone with the link! Apologies to all. Linda


    For those using Tell Me More, how much grammar does it have and how thorough is it? Will using the program count for one full credit of foreign language in high school? I speak Spanish, but I never learned the grammar portion of the language. When my oldest dd took Spanish in PS, they taught grammar throughout the three years she took it.

    I do have a question about RS. Which version did not have grammar?  I know version 3 has some grammar, but I’m not sure how much it has. Has anyone used version 3?


    I found some resources on AMazon called Bienvenidos for Spanish. They are meant for use in high school and I have found a couple schools that actually use them. But I am using them for my 8 year old along side LIving Languages and it seems to be going well. THough I’m still working out some planning kinks!


    A friend gave us a Powerglide foreign language program to try. Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with this one?



    bumping this up..


    I just bought Power-Glide and have gone through a few of the exercises. Does anyone else have experience with this program and liked it? I assume they are native speakers on the cd’s? I want something inexpensive right now (got levels 1-3 for $35 on amazon) until we get more serious with learning Spanish–my girls are 7 and 5 right now. Just need a fun intro!

    Any suggestions on where to go after Power-Glide? Living Language? I do want them to learn grammar someday, so guess I’ll steer clear of RS!

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