Better Chinese

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Makita

  • Reviewed on Thursday, August 14, 2014
  • Grades Used: 1-6
  • Dates used: 2007-Present
We first started using Better Chinese curriculum when my 5-year old daughter expressed an interest in learning Chinese. At the time, it was the only curricula that I could find that was aimed at the English speaker. As I don't speak or read Chinese myself, this was critical. I wanted something that be easy to follow for me but fun and interactive for my daughter.

We began with My First Chinese Words and she quickly moved through the readers, catching on to vocabulary with ease. Thereafter, we moved on to My First Chinese Reader and her younger brother joined in on lessons around this time.

In addition to the text and workbooks, my kids also worked with a native speaker and trained teacher. He used the Better Chinese materials as his spine and created extension activities related to the material in each lesson.

The Better Chinese materials were perfect for homework assignments, providing ample opportunity for the kids to practice their budding language skills at home with little input from me. They love the accompanying multimedia components (online or via CD) and eagerly did their homework.

Now that my kids are older (ages 9 and 12), they have moved on to Discovering Chinese which is targeted at middle school. While much of the content vocabulary is familiar to them, the activities encourage greater interaction between themselves and provide opportunities for them to put their skill to use in real-life applications.

kyliej

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, June 14, 2011
  • Grades Used: K
  • Dates used: 2008
I was really disappointed!

My daughter attends a Chinese school. I only paid for a yearly access to the online learning. I thought it would help her with practicing her Chinese, as I do not speak the language.

The voice was very difficult to understand. My daughter only used it for 2 weeks & became so frustrated with it that she never used it again. (What a waste of money). Since I had paid for it for the year, I offered it to my friend (Mandarin is her first language) if she wanted to use my login for her kids, as we were never going to use it. She looked at it & knocked back the offer. She agreed that the voice was really hard to understand.

The CD's & books may be ok, but I wasn't going to waste any more money then I already had...

Minniewannabe

  • Reviewed on Thursday, May 29, 2008
  • Grades Used: Age 3 to adult
  • Dates used: 2007-2008
Mandarin Chinese is now the second most widely spoken language on the internet. In addition, the Chinese economy is strong as well as the work ethics of the people. This makes China conceivable to become the next world superpower. Therefore, we felt it very important to add this language to our multi-lingual family.

We started with Rosetta Stone, Muzzy, and a multitude of DVDs, CDs, and books. All were either too boring or too hard. We really thought it was impossible for our family to learn Chinese. Then we found BetterChinese.com.

I cannot say enough good things about BetterChinese.com. We started with the 3 to 5 year old program (since everything else was so hard). Let me just say that even adults should start here. There are little storybooks that introduce about 5 or 6 words each. Both Pin yen and symbols are presented. The CDs that go with the book are wonderful. The speakers are clear, slow, concise, and loud. No rapid mumbling like the other programs we had purchased.

Then there are simple workbooks that make learning the symbols fun and easy. We also enjoy the computer CD which includes the same stories as in the storybooks as well as fun activities after each book.

Finally, there are two types of colorful flashcards which are used to play card games. My daughter has no idea she's being drilled. She loves playing "Go Fish", "Old Maid", and all the other fun card games we play with the flashcards.

There are also some music CDs, but honestly, we don't use these as much as I would like to. The music is beautiful and would make good bedtime music for little ones, but isn't needed for learning the language.

Doing about 15 to 20 minutes per day, the 3 to 5 year old program should take a home school family about 1 1/2 years to complete. After 6 months we were able to entertain the local Chinese restaurant owner by proper greetings and ordering our meal completely in Chinese. I don't think we're ready to go to China yet, but we've got an excellent start.

-Minniewannabe
Still using as of 5/08