As a busy homeschool mom, I realize there are some subjects that are in my wheelhouse and some that simply aren’t. When I come upon those areas I usually try to “farm them out.” So, I drive my kids to art lessons, and ballet lessons, and guitar lessons, and archery lessons, and well, you get my point. I’m a glorified chauffeur some days. I get giddy when I realize we have a day when we have no place to go – a day where I can wear my yoga pants all day and no one (outside my immediate family and the mailman) will know. And, my kids get excited, too. “Do we have to get dressed?” is followed by cheers from the bedrooms.
So, when my daughter looked up at me and asked to learn a new language I thought “Great, another chauffeur trip.” I sighed. Resignedly, I asked what language she would like to learn.
“Chinese” was the quick answer.
Um, wait. Chinese? We live in the South. I could find plenty of Spanish tutors, maybe some French tutors, definitely one or two Latin tutors, but Chinese? Where would I find someone who spoke Chinese?
“Sorry, sweetheart. But, I don’t think that’s very doable. We could probably buy a book and try to learn it together.” But, secretly, I didn’t want to try to learn another language. I was already terribly busy trying to learn Biology all-over-again with her sister.
Then, surprisingly, I was introduced to PandaTree.com the very next day. It was Karma. It was Kismet. It was destiny! Ok, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but it sure seemed like it was meant to be.
Learning Mandarin through Immersion
Years ago, in high school, I took a French class. In fact, I took TWO French classes. Then during the summer I sold a bazillion boxes of candy and raised enough money to go on a school trip to France. I spoke to native French people and strolled my way along the streets of Paris. I learned more French in that week than I learned in the two years of French classes. And, I realized that for all the grammar and spelling of French words my teacher had taught me, conversing with native speakers was infinitely more educational.
A few years later, ok, so more like 20 years later, I speak almost no French. I’ve never used it except to teach my kids to count to 10 and to show off my pronunciation of difficult words in recipes. I came to the sad conclusion that by never using my language skills in conversation, I simply lost the ability to speak it.
I didn’t want to go through all the effort and expense of teaching my kids a foreign language that they would never use in conversation. I knew from personal experience that it would be a waste of time. And, that’s why I love PandaTree.com‘s immersion program. The kids learn like they learn their native language – by speaking it.
What is PandaTree.com?
PandaTree.com is live, one-on-one, online foreign language lessons for kids in Mandarin and Spanish.
PandaTree.com uses its proprietary PandaTree.com Live! video platform to offer kids one-on-one foreign language lessons in Mandarin and Spanish. During each lesson, the tutors and students can see each other, as well as content the tutor shares, which is tailored to the student’s level, interests and rate of learning.
Designed to be engaging for kids, PandaTree.com’s proprietary curriculum includes content modules, videos, interactive games, songs, and even 3D virtual tours, allowing students to put their Mandarin or Spanish skills to work in virtual settings.
PandaTree.com lessons can be used by homeschoolers on a standalone basis or as a complement to other language learning programs. Parents choose the tutor, the time, and the frequency of lessons, and online scheduling is convenient and easy. There are no ongoing commitments, lessons can be canceled or rescheduled 24 hours in advance, and there is a money back guarantee. Lessons are recorded and parents and students can watch them again afterward for a review.
My Daughter’s Opinion of Mandarin Lessons
My daughter was ecstatic to learn she would be getting the Chinese lessons she had requested. This new adventure combined her favorite things: (1) the Chinese lessons she had begged for and (2) not changing out of her pajamas. And I was happy that she would be receiving one-on-one tutoring with a live teacher!
She spent her first lesson learning the numbers 1-5, hello, and goodbye. She and her tutor played a game and got to know one another. Her tutor, Shu, was personable and responsive. When the session was over, a rating screen appeared and A- was excited to be able to rate her experience.
She loved it and couldn’t wait for her next lesson!
Benefits of Using a Live Tutoring Class to Learn Mandarin
I’m always gratified when my kids are excited to learn. My goal in homeschooling is to give them the tools they need to seek out learning and to want to educate themselves. I was impressed by PandaTree.com‘s program. It provided many additional benefits beyond the one-on-one educational sessions.
- Parents can choose the tutor that you feel would be best for your student.
- Sessions do not have to be the same time and day each week. They can be scheduled to fit your schedule (no matter how crazy it is).
- There are no monthly or yearly fees. Just schedule a session and go.
- Reminder texts and emails are sent to the parents, so you don’t accidentally miss a session.
- Follow-up emails arrive after each lesson detailing topics learned in that session.
- In between sessions, students have access to educational games to practice what they learned.