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Posts posted by jplain

  1. On 5/21/2021 at 8:45 AM, Orin Conor said:

    sorry, can you please tell me if WTMA Spanish 1 might be suitable for an adult student? I recently decided to start learning Spanish, and now I'm trying to figure out which program is better to choose. 
    thanks in advance 

    I do not believe adults are allowed to enroll in WTMA’s catalog of classes for homeschoolers.  There are occasional classes aimed at parents, but I don’t believe they have ever done language classes for parents.

  2. Forgot to mention, the Y in Quebec teaches French via their virtual language school.  We don’t have experience with their French instruction for adults, but my older daughter is happy with the Brazilian Portuguese class she is taking from them.  Given the exchange rate, the adult classes are very reasonably priced.  Note that the daytime and evening course options are quite different.


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  3. Gymglish, meh.  Yes, it seemed appealing to me at first, but after a month trial I am not a fan of their products.  The cost is not small, and they throttle annoyingly (they limit how much you can do per week).

    Alliance Française, regarding quality your mileage may vary, plus a lot of them only offer classes in fall/winter/spring.  I was really disappointed with the $$$ class I took with my nearest AF chapter.  One serious problem with adult classes is that adults have adult responsibilities and wildly varying background and motivation.  IOW your classmates may be an obstacle to progress.  But maybe an advanced level class would be more satisfying.

    If the main goal is to improve speaking skills, MeetUp groups (free!) might work, along with working through a grammar workbook independently.  There are tons of French conversation groups on MeetUp, and many are currently virtual-only and welcoming to non-locals.

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  4. Quote

    College Physics" is algebra based and will not satisfy the requirements for science and engineering majors ( with the exception of biology). Those would require University Physics which is calculus based.

    Just a note that the names “College Physics” and “University Physics” are not universally used, so I am not sure the original post was referring to algebra-based physics.  Our community college offers both algebra-based and Calc-based physics, distinguished by course number and prerequisites.  Since the student has already taken Calc BC, a Calc-based physics class offered on a college campus may be what was meant.

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  5. We have been really happy with Ray Leven’s small group classes.  After finishing up Sr. Gamache’s Spanish 1-3, my older one took Sr. Leven’s Spanish 4 and AP Spanish Language classes.  My younger one has been with him from the beginning of her high school level Spanish study, and she is currently finishing up Spanish 4.  Ray’s classes are not inexpensive and they can be a lot of work, but my picky kid wasn’t happy with the other providers she tried that had larger class sizes and/or lower expectations.


    Note that Ray is not currently teaching AP Spanish Language, but he does teach Spanish 1-4, and he can offer a literature-based Spanish 5 class when there is enough interest.  With new students he does a brief interview to confirm correct placement.

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  6. If he has no preference, I’d go with Spanish.  ASL is not universally accepted for college entrance purposes.  Spanish is easier (grammatically) than Latin, and it is so easy to find help for Spanish online: YouTube has tons of short topical videos created by Spanish teachers.

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  7. We considered AP Spanish Literature, but ended up pretty annoyed by the process and made other arrangements.  YMMV, and our issues may be specific to Spanish.  It may also have had something to do with overwhelming demand for their programs earlier in the pandemic, but I felt as though I could never get good answers to my questions.  I had to send some questions multiple times before getting a response.  We definitely weren’t allowed to correspond with the teacher to determine fit; we weren’t even allowed to know the teacher’s name or anything beyond assurances that the instructor had taught the course several times.

    The placement test was beyond ridiculous; it included a ton of Spanish poetry-specific vocab that is typically taught during (but certainly not prior to!) AP Spanish Lit.  The person who scored the placement test did not seem to be the AP Spanish Lit instructor — so probably wasn’t familiar with its curriculum — and a large number of points were lost for penmanship.  (Okay, so that was kind of funny, but it was fully legible, and scans of handwritten documents are never going to be perfect.  Do they really think penmanship is the right bar to set?)  The initial recommendation was that she retake AP Spanish Language with them instead.

    They grudgingly changed their minds when two weeks later she got back her score of 5 on that exam.  But I was fed up, and we made arrangements for private instruction via Skype, which has been both wonderful and slightly less expensive.

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  8. Bonjour TLM !

    I’m looking for French 3 or 4 for a 10th grader.  (Exact placement TBD.)  She’s hoping to find a provider she can stick with for at least 2 years.  Live class meetings are a requirement, and she prefers 2x/week unless the class is quite small (like Ray Leven’s Spanish classes).

    Right now I’m looking at WTMA French 4 (Françoise Agena), TPS French 3 (Madame S), and Aim Academy French 3 or 4 (Sally Barstow).  If there wasn’t a schedule conflict, we’d be considering WTMA French 3 as well.

    I’ve read lots of positive things about Mme Barstow and Mme S.  My only concern with TPS is that we are a non-religious family.  Does anyone have feedback on Mme Agena?  I believe she is new to WTMA this year.  Is there anyone else I should consider?  Feel free to private message me if you feel odd giving “public” feedback on instructors.  

    Merci !

  9. 44 minutes ago, cintinative said:

    I had wanted to sign my kids up for Italki to supplement our Spanish study at home. Do you mind sharing the reasons why you are not finding it helpful?

    Oh, my issue is finding the right fit for me.  iTalki, Verbling, etc. are kind of like Etsy: lots of variety, but you may have to search for a while to find exactly what you're looking for.  There is one French tutor that I am meeting with weekly, and she's lovely, but I'm not counting on it for more than getting my mouth moving. 

    My kids have once or twice weekly sessions with their language tutors, who all happen to be on other platforms: LiveLingua for Spanish, HeyLangu for German, and ofrench for French, but it could just as easily have been iTalki.  Their tutors have been amazing for their language skills.  They've been with their Spanish tutor for 2 years, and they adore her.  The French and German tutors are newer.  My older daughter liked the first German tutor she tried, while finding the French one for my younger daughter took some trial and error.

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  10. Ah, I have found my people! 😊

    I’m forever working on Spanish (kids zoomed past me years ago), and I recently decided to dust off French to help my 9th grader.  Yeah, she doesn’t need my help.  But I’ll keep at it. 😂 

    The last 10 months of language learning have been crazy.  Lots of productive periods, and others not so much.  I tried group Zoom classes in both Spanish & French.  Nope.  No matter how good the teacher is, adult students have such varying levels of previous exposure and motivation/energy that hardly any meaningful progress was made in any of my classes, even the expensive ones. 😳 I’m trying 1-on-1 tutoring now (iTalki), but I think I’ll make as much or more progress on my own.

    Right now I’m flitting between lots of materials.  Some graded readers, some fiction, some audio (Lupa app, Pimsleur French), some video (French series for fun with English subtitles, EXTR@ in both languages, Destinos, Gran Hotel).  In my head I have unlimited time and should be able to do all of the things, every day.  Must work on managing expectations and picking a few things to stick with!

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  11. Thank you, that’s really helpful. But yikes, I hope your daughter regains her confidence and is able to enjoy language learning in the future!  

    Mine was also enrolled in that first WTMA Spanish 1 class in Fall 2018, but she decided it wasn’t a good fit after the first few meetings.  I’m sure the last minute instructor change threw everyone for a loop, but it is a shame WTMA didn’t realize sooner that there were also issues with the new instructor.

    (It probably seems like my timeline is a year off, but after rejecting a second provider’s Spanish 1 class in late Sept 2018, my daughter finally landed in Leven‘s Spanish 1.  Third time was the charm, and her cohort was strong enough to accelerate and complete both Spanish 2 & 3 the following year.)

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  12. In the event Ray Leven cannot get enough students for a Spanish 5 class next year, does anyone have suggestions for a student with very strong Spanish skills?  (BTW, if anyone is interested in Spanish 5 w/Ray Leven next year, feel free to message me.)

    She wants a synchronous (once or twice weekly) online small *group* class with very little in-class use of English.  We already have twice weekly one-on-one Skype tutoring/conversation covered.  She wants to continue improving her Spanish language skills, so a mom-created film or history course won’t check the box.

    Dual enrollment is not an option; the local CC uses the same textbook she used for Spanish 1-3 and offers no advanced courses.  The local private college has suspended single class enrollments and audits.

    She is not interested in the AP Spanish Language exam (and I don’t blame her), but she might consider an AP Spanish Language class as long as soul-sucking AP exam prep is not beat to death.  

    The Potter School’s sample classes look okay . . . but we’d very much prefer a non-religious provider.  (Edit to add: on watching the sample classes more carefully, the teacher uses a LOT of English.  Far too much for advanced Spanish classes, IMO.)

    Pennsylvania Homeschoolers has a new instructor this year (Erin Weber), but I haven’t found any video samples or feedback on her class, and  it sounds like class size may be larger than we’d like.  (Edit to add: I spoke with Sra Weber, and although there are 17 students, there are 3 different time options for the weekly live meeting, which brings it down to a very reasonable meeting size. 👍)

    Debra Bell/AIM Academy has an Advanced Spanish class taught by David Nance, but I haven’t found any instructor videos that aren’t more or less all in English, though to be fair the videos I found are aimed at novice students.

    Even though their class descriptions look great, the Johns Hopkins CTY eligibility gauntlet doesn’t appeal to this kid, the instructors are a complete black box (they are always hiring), plus we can’t afford their prices anyway. 😜

    WTM Academy is offering Spanish 4/5 for the first time next year.  (They added Spanish 3 this year.)  I’m intrigued, but since most of the other students will be coming from Spanish 3, I wonder if it will end up being less challenging than Leven’s Spanish 4 . . .


  13. I may lose my mind trying to secure AP exam seats this year.  I’ve managed to find one of them.  Five more to go. 😳

    In my daughter’s case, it kinda does matter. Passing AP scores on some of those exams would waive prerequisites for community college classes she wants to take next year.  Based on past experience, without AP scores she is unlikely to be granted prerequisite waivers.  

    I’m not interested in rushing her through college, but I’d also prefer she be challenged with new material instead of rehashing stuff she’s already learned.  As it is, community college courses have been a cakewalk for her so far.  This year’s AP-heavy lineup is actually a challenge, which is good for her brain. 😜

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  14. Thanks!  I know Jody Best’s class filled last year, so I’m surprised no one around here seems to have feedback!  

    I’m certain mine isn’t ready for AP yet.  She did all of WWE and has done WWS1&2, but she’s balking at WWS3 and wants a change.  Thanks  for the Debra Bell recommendation.  That might work for next summer — this one is looking pretty full already.

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