Does Rosetta Stone really work for homeschoolers?

PencilTreks would like to thank Sarah Carroll, owner of Main Line French Tutor, for contributing the following guest post, “Does Rosetta Stone Really Work?” Please visit Main Line French Tutor to learn more.

As a French teacher for over 15 years, I’ve been asked countless times what I think of Rosetta Stone language learning software.  My first experience with it was long, long ago, when I had lofty goals of being employed to teach French and Spanish.  I purchased the CD-ROM version and worked through several of the level 1 lessons.  I did love how images provided context and therefore the program did not rely on English to teach Spanish.  I did not love that when I recorded my voice as carefully as possible for the speaking section, I would not get a passing mark, but then, in frustration when I blurted out the phrase, I would get the green light to move ahead!  

Fast forward to this past summer when my rising 7th grader is stuck at home in COVID quarantine, counting the days until school starts to have something to do, and jumps on my offer to begin studying Spanish with something other than a level 1 textbook we picked up at the Second Reading Store.  No longer on DVD (company no longer supports their former product), the Rosetta Stone program is entirely cloud based.  My daughter hops on the computer almost every day of the week for 25-40 minutes right after breakfast. 

She loves that she is learning. 

She loves that she is self-paced, not having to wait for classmates to catch up. 

She loves that after some of the introductory lessons, she can choose on which content area she would like to focus. 

After 2 months of working with the program, she is able to take a test with her school and place into Level 2 Spanish.  She was so proud of what she was able to accomplish with Rosetta Stone!

Learning a language with Rosetta Stone is not for everyone, but it can really work!

Does Rosetta Stone work?  It depends.

It depends on how much your child wants to learn the language. 

My daughter is highly motivated, excited to be able to speak to friends in school (once they can all be back in the building) who are native Spanish speakers.  I, on the other hand, always felt a sense of obligation – kind of like having to finish my broccoli.  People ask me how I feel about my daughter studying Spanish being that I teach French.  I love that she’s excited about language learning, regardless of the language!  Don’t pick the language for your child; let your child choose.

It depends on whether your child can dedicate 30-45 minutes on a near-daily basis. 

I used to advise 45 minutes since it took me about that long to complete all four segments of a lesson; stopping before the lesson was complete would have been disruptive.  The structure of the program has greatly evolved since those DVD days, in addition to availability of live support (for an extra fee).  Consistency and repetition is still essential to language learning.

It depends on your child’s learning style. 

As a classroom teacher, I have modified my instruction for students with language learning disabilities; to my knowledge, the Rosetta Stone program is “one size fits most.”  Additionally, this software-based program is not designed for the youngest of learners, those who cannot yet sit in one place for a 30-minute storytime, let alone at a device screen to work.

Land on Rosetta Stone’s homepage and you’ll see the tag line, “How language is learned.”  I would suggest that more accurate is, “how some people can learn a second language.”  Fortunately, Rosetta Stone often runs special and trial offers.  You and your child can test the waters before diving in head first.  

Sarah Carroll of Main Line French Tutor is a teacher of French to the young and young at heart.  She has taught in public and private, city and suburban schools.  She excels at supporting the struggling French student and introducing little ones to French with interactive storytimes, in person and online.

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About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website penciltreks.com. Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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