Fisher Hart Academy provides virtual, live-streaming Spanish, French, and Portuguese foreign language courses to homeschooling students. Fisher Hart Academy is a new company using what many would consider an innovative approach to language learning. They have a small class size, with grade levels ranging from 7th through 12th.
Updated Review: 1/4/2017
Brynne and Sean finished their semester. Both parents and teens agree this was the best foreign language program they have ever taken,
“When I hang out with my Spanish speaking friends, and they speak in Spanish, I can understand what they are saying.” Sean Lee
“French is my favorite class I am taking this year.” Brynne Keller
“We love this program. Brynne is really learning to speak French.” Christina Keller
“We have tried many different foreign language programs, and this is the first one where I Sean actually seems to be able to speak in the language without a great deal of prompting.” Blair Lee
I was delighted when Fisher Hart Academy contacted me and asked if I would review their course. Foreign language learning is a tough one for many homeschoolers, me included, because unless you have some fluency in a language it is hard to teach it. Sean and I have tried to learn Russian, Hindi, and Spanish in the past. We worked at it together, and neither of us really succeeded. I like to tell people I know 100 words in the language of every country I travel to, which is only enough to get us out of the airport and to order food. In order to review their course Sean (16 years old) and Brynne (14 years old) will be taking the course this year. Sean is taking Spanish, and Brynne is taking French. They have different teachers. There will be three parts to the review. The first part, this one, explains the structure of the class. Sean and Brynne have just started the course. At the end of the first semester Sean and Brynne will make a video review of the course from the student’s perspective. The last review will be at the end of the second semester when Christina and I (the two moms) will give an end of the year review.
Blair and Sean’s Review
The course started with an online parent how-to tutorial with one of the teachers. I really liked this session. It helped me know what was expected of Sean, how the program worked, and how to help him access and negotiate the materials.
There is no textbook. Students use something called Quizlet and Schoology for the class. Each week a list of words and phrases are posted. Students are instructed to work on them for thirty minutes each day leading up to the next class. The list is on Quizlet. In addition to the word list there are games and a practice quiz. There is a cultural component, including homework, in addition to the language component.
The class: Students meet with the teacher online. During the online session they go over the words and concepts that students studied that week. Class size varies depending on the number of students who enroll and the number of students who can meet during that session. The class uses a blackboard, prepared slides, an audio, and a video box. It really has it all. A real benefit of the online class is that Sean and his teacher, Morgan, were able to discuss any problem areas, and Sean got immediate feedback on pronunciation. Sean says he likes this course better than any of the language programs we have used in the past.
Every Sunday there is a quiz due. Sean does not have that much experience taking classes where there is a quiz. He got online on Sunday, and took the practice quiz thinking it was the quiz. He was dismayed to miss a couple of questions on the practice quiz. Then he realized his mistake and took the actual quiz. He was quite happy to learn the practice quiz was harder than the actual quiz.
Brynne and Christina’s Review
Brynne and I are thrilled to have this opportunity to review the Fisher Hart Academy French class. After signing up, I received a welcome letter with all of the information required to set up an account on Schoology and Quizlet, the mediums FHA uses to provide their classes. Once we had our parent and student information, we were given an orientation about how to use both sites. I am very happy with both the resources and the approach. There is prep work required by the students, so they are able to fully participate in the class. The class was taught primarily in French, with support in English for clarification. If a response was off or incorrect, the teacher, Deborah, engaged with the student so that all of the students learned the proper pronunciation. The teacher used a marker to highlight specific sounds so there was visual as well as auditory engagement. She provided frequent positive feedback to all of the students for their engagement and responses. The class is structured so students participate equally throughout the class. The students can see each other and the instructor, providing more of a conversational feel to the interaction. Brynne genuinely enjoys the class and the format. This program is better than anything we have seen. It is the full package as far as the attention to the details of how language learning happens. Brynne and I are happy with the interaction with the teacher, and she is looking forward to learning French with her this year. This program is definitely worth the money when compared to Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone.
We had two hiccups, one with clarification of different class options and one with the quiz. Both were responded to quickly and thoughtfully with full resolution. From this I was able to see that their customer service is good. This program seems to cover all of the bases: culture, grammar, and speaking. I am looking forward to seeing how Brynne’s French develops from this excellent beginning.
There is still time to enroll in a standard or complete package for our fall classes using the discount code SEA15. Don’t worry about your child being behind other students – the professors at Fisher Hart Academy will be offering a review session to get your child up to speed on what he/she missed during our first week of classes.