italki – The Online Homeschool Foreign Language Program I’m Telling Everyone About!

Learning a Foreign Language with italki.com {review of online foreign language instruction} | RaisingArrows.net
{This post contains my personal opinions and experiences.  I was compensated for the time it took to create this review and I received 6 lessons for free.  However, we loved it so much, we have since purchased another 10 lessons, and plan to do another 10 after that.  This post also contains my referral code which would give me free lessons if a reader clicks and buys.  Thank you!}

My oldest daughter, Meg, loves languages.  She is taking formal Spanish via a computer program plus teaching herself bits and pieces of several other languages.  She’s a quick study; however, she has told me on multiple occasions that she really needs someone to speak the languages with her because the computer lacks the interaction and feedback of a live person.

So, when I learned about italki.com, an online foreign language instruction site that provides teacher/student interaction via Skype sessions, I was hopeful this might be the answer to her dilemma.

Answer would be an understatement.

Within a couple of lessons, it was obvious to us that italki was EXACTLY what Meg needed.

italki.com review | RaisingArrows.net

I’m sure by now, you are a little curious about what this program entails.  And if you are anything like me, you might even be a little skeptical of anything involving strangers online.  Let me give you a run down of how we use italki.

How to get started with italki.com

First, we set up an account.  I used my email address and Meg’s name.  That way, every email that came from italki.com came to me.  I chose to leave Meg’s profile blank for safety purposes.  You will need to have a Skype account and input the account name so the teacher can connect with your student.  {Skype is free.  Just download and go!}

Next, Ty and I sat down and looked through French teachers.  Lamar from italki had suggested a few professional teachers to us, so we started there.  {By the way, Lamar is super helpful!  A company with prompt and courteous customer service always gets my attention.}  You’ll see on the italki Homeschool page suggestions for teachers in several different languages. Our teacher, Melissa, is on there!  We chose her because of her credentials.  We absolutely made the right choice!

Once you have a profile set up and you have chosen a teacher in the language you are wanting your child to learn, you need to purchase either by the lesson or a package of lessons.  We did a package because it is cheaper.

Lesson pricing for italki

How much does italki cost?

Each teacher has a different rate, so what you are looking for is the ITC/hour.  Because the teachers on italki are from all over the world, there has to be a standard unit to go by.  These are called language credits or italki credits (ITC).  For Melissa, we pay 197 ITC or $19.75 per hour lesson, but with the package (see the red rectangles on the left that say PACKAGE), we are getting 10 lessons for the price of 9.

Once you have purchased ITC, you schedule a lesson.  Each teacher has a list of times and days that work for them.  They are listed in your time zone, so no need to worry about trying to figure out the time difference.  You will receive a notification from italki shortly before your session is to start.

Meg learning French via Skype | RaisingArrows.net

Meg gets herself up the morning of French and gets the computer ready.  She keeps a pen and paper handy as well.  She also has a headset with microphone if needed.

Now, I get to brag!  After 6 lessons, we were so impressed by what we were seeing and hearing, we decided to record a short video of Meg speaking French.  Take a moment to watch the video!


{Can’t see the video? CLICK HERE to watch on YouTube.}

That girl makes me smile!  Now, after 15 lessons, she speaks amazingly well!  She told me recently she has even begun to dream in French!

Who would benefit from italki?

Let me give you my personal opinion on who would benefit most from italki.

  • A student who shows an aptitude for languages.
  • A student who wants to go on to study a foreign language in college.
  • A student who wants the experience of speaking a foreign language with another person.

Foreign language instruction is an area of our daughter’s homeschooling we are willing to spend extra money on.  I have no doubt her aptitude for languages is God-given.  We want to give her every opportunity we can to hone that skill.  Italki is exactly what we needed to do this.

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An added benefit just for you!
**********

When you register with italki and make a purchase, you will receive an additional $10 USD worth of language credits!  This offer is only valid through September 15, 2013, and it is only available to new italki users.

How to redeem this special offer:

  1. Register on italki.
  2. Purchase italki language credits.
  3. After that, go to this link: http://go.italki.com/1bOUXHJ
  4. The italki team will deposit $10 USD credits in your account!

If have any questions about this offer or other italki questions, write to support@italki.com

So, now you can see why I am telling everyone about italki!  This really has been an answer to prayer.  Head on over to italki and check it out for yourself.  I’d love to hear what you think!

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11 thoughts on “italki – The Online Homeschool Foreign Language Program I’m Telling Everyone About!

  1. Way to go Meg! You look and sound beautiful! I took 1 year of french in high school, but can’t remember a thing. You’re doing great! Keep it up! :) Amy, you must be so proud. :)

    • We are beyond thrilled. We have become those crazy parents who tell complete strangers about their daughter who speaks French. If I had a bumper sticker that said My Kid Speaks French, it would be on that 15 passenger van in the driveway! hee hee

  2. Do they give any recommended age for this? My husband has basically been teaching himself Spanish (after having 2 years in high school). I think he really has an ear for languages. My 7 year old son seems to be taking after him. He speaks a lot of Spanish. They both just got back from a mission trip to Mexico and my son was able to speak and understand most things. Just wondering if my 7 year old could benefit from this.
    Meg sounds great! We have a friend that learned French for the mission field, I love hearing it :)

    • I would email italki to be sure, but I think a lot would have to do with his maturity level. Meg is hoping to do some mission work, so that was neat to hear about your friend!

  3. Hi Amy. We are reading your blog often but we never left a comment. But, since French is our mother tongue (we are from Quebec city), we just wanted to gives a big thumbs up to Meg for her nice efforts ! Honnestly, even without the subtitles, we were able to understand most of what she was saying…. congratulations ! Keep going Meg, learning an other language is a beautiful way to discover other cultures. Bonne chance pour la suite et bon courage ! ;-)

    • Her name is Melissa and she’s on the italki homeschool page under French. For a time, she wasn’t taking any more students, but I see she must be again. :)

  4. Thank you for sharing! We just discovered italki too! I was wondering what you think about the Language Exchange part of the website, where you can connect with other learners, and talk on Skype. Do you think there are any safety concerns with that, if it is an older teenager? That seems like a great way to get some free extra practice with conversation, where you each help each other.

    • We have not done that part…yet. Yes, I do have safety concerns there. However, I do think there will come a time when it could be very helpful. It will need to be a matter of discernment on whether or not your child is ready for that sort of thing.