Rosetta Stone Review

Rosetta Stone has been discounted recently, so we took advantage of the lower pricing and ordered all 5 levels of the homeschool version.

Complete homeschool language curriculum

Rosetta Stone Homeschool features a foreign language curriculum specially designed to provide homeschool students with a rich, fully interactive and engaging language-learning experience, while giving parents the tools and resources needed to manage student progress without extensive planning or supervision.
Rosetta Stone Homeschool is self-paced and designed to make it easy for parents to offer language learning even if they don’t understand the language their students are studying. Students are instantly captivated by Rosetta Stone so they stay engaged. Plus, with positive reinforcement and quick results, their language-learning confidence soars!

A solid foundation for fluency

Rosetta Stone provides up to five levels of instruction in select languages, beginning with a foundation of listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. With Rosetta Stone, your children will do more than learn about a language. They’ll learn to use it.

Parent Administrative Tools

Parent Administrative Tools let you track your student’s progress with just a few mouse clicks. You’ll see which exercises they have completed, assess how well they’ve done and determine how long it took them to finish. You will also be able to select predefined lesson plans and generate progress reports, documenting student achievement for college and job applications.

Rosetta Stone uses the Immersion Method and does not provide translations of words.  By using pictures and context clues, you are able to decode the meaning of each word.

With the homeschool version, each level covers a full year’s curriculum with plenty of review.  You can also select your course of study choosing either a shorter course track which focuses more on listening and speaking or the full curriculum with the grammar and writing added in as well.  Curly is using the shorter version so she does not have to do any writing and she does less grammar and reading, while I am using the full curriculum.  You are able to add multiple users to the program and each user can be on a different track and at different points in the lesson.  The program tracks the progress of each on an individual basis.

The program also comes with an audio CD which we have not yet used.

I do have a complaint about technical issues.  Before I write what we thought about the program, I wanted to mention several technical problems we have had with the curriculum.  Apparently there have been two updates since the new lot of CD-Roms were made.  When my version tried to automatically update to the newest update, I began to get error messages and the program would no longer run on my computer.  After calling them and spending over 2 hours working to resolve the issue (trouble-shooting, uninstalling, reinstalling, reactivating), I finally had a working program again.  I had to update the program manually with the previous update and then allow the system to update with the newest update.  Finally, the program was working again and I still retained my progress information.  A few days later I began receiving other errors with the program and the program would not open.  Back to technical support I went, and this time I had to reset security settings and reconfigure some programs on my computer which were causing problems with Rosetta.  With as much as you spend on Rosetta, these type of problems were a huge disappointment.  However, after my multiple calls to technical support and the updates and reconfiguration, we decided to upgrade to Version 4.  They do not have a homeschool version for Version 4, but the glitches with updates are gone.  The program is basically the same with a slightly different layout on the home screen.  So far so good with Version 4.

Version 4 is similar to the earlier version that we had.  You can still choose the track you want to complete, it shows your progress path with check boxes as you complete each portion, and you can add up to 10 users (by installing the program on two separate computers-5 users per computer).  I’m not finding too many differences between the homeschool version 3 and our new version 4.

The Pros:  The software is colorful with bright pictures that make decoding the words fairly simple.  The words are spoken clearly with an option to have them repeated as many times as you wish.  The program lays out a timeline of the lessons you are to complete in each unit and shows checkboxes on each completed segment.  This allows you to easily track your progress and see how much more you have for each unit.  There is plenty of review, ensuring that you do not forget the words you have previously covered.  There is also a good variety of exercises with some asking you to choose the correct picture for the word or phrase, to speak the correct phrase according to the picture, to type the correct phrase, or to choose the correct form or conjugation of a word.

The Cons:  Obviously, we have had some frustrating technical issues so this was a huge time-waster for me.  You can eliminate this by heading straight for Version 4.
The program often uses the same pictures for each phrase so you can get into the habit of memorizing which picture goes with the appropriate phrase rather than truly understanding the meaning of the words and phrases.
The speech recognition portion can refuse to recognize your speech.  This has probably been the most frustrating aspect for both myself and for Curly.  You can change the speech recognition settings to “easy” where it is more likely to recognize your pronunciation and accept it as correct.  But at times, the program will not recognize my words or phrase as correct.  There have been many times that I know I’m saying simple things correctly (such as “seis” or “si”), but the program continually indicates that my pronunciation is not correct.  At this point, I have started skipping that word and moving on to other words.  If you didn’t skip this portion, you could be stuck saying a word more than 20 times.  Obviously the speech recognition has a more difficult time with Curly’s pronunciations but there are many times when it does not recognize mine or my husband’s pronunciation.

What we think:  Curly loves doing her Spanish and I’m amazed that she can decode the words without the translation.  She has picked up on so many words and phrases and has begun using them throughout the day.  She has been able to easily retain what she has learned and the amount of review in the program seems to help her tremendously.

Because I can choose which program track to complete, Curly is able to do much of her Spanish independently since no typing or writing is required of her program track.  This allows younger children to begin Spanish with the option of completing the full program when they are older.

The program introduces many phrases and questions which demonstrate various verb conjugations.  The program moves at a fairly quick pace with some of these conjugations so it could be difficult to keep up with the changing verb forms if you were not already familiar with Spanish conjugations.  I had to explain to Curly how and why the verb forms change and now she is able to follow along more easily.  For an older student, a grammar supplement might help them understand how and why to conjugate each verb form, especially the irregular verbs. 

Overall, we have been pleased with the program.  Curly thinks the Spanish is fun but it is also challenging enough for her.  Because she can hear the pronunciations multiple times, she has been able to successfully begin speaking Spanish with us and she is confident in trying out her new words.  I have enjoyed going through the extended version of the program and feel like I am able to retain most of the vocabulary as well as learn some phrases with conjugations.

The program is very interactive and works well for students of all ages.  Curly enjoys it and even Tiger likes to watch her complete her lessons while listening in on his own headset.  Learning Spanish together has been a fun family endeavor and I would recommend Rosetta Stone.

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