Lingobus Chinese Lessons: An honest review from students

 

I asked my daughters what they really thought of their Lingobus Chinese lessons after about 7 months of weekly lessons.  Here are there responses:

Best things:

  • Unique Skill
  • Whole family project
  • Nice Teachers
  • Fun rewards
  • Learn through music

They both echoed that they love having a unique skill that is “cool.”  Mia said, “I’m the only kindergartener who knows any Chinese in my school!”  I like that they have a unique interest and are pursuing it, despite it being different than most kids their ages’ interests.

They both have found regular teachers that they really enjoy.  Their personalities are very different, so they gravitated toward different styles of teachers.  Kayla mentioned that she loves working toward a reward, and Mia enjoys the music component of learning songs in a new language.

Hardest things:

  • Difficult language
  • Sometimes classes feel long
  • Homework

Chinese is difficult.  There’s no arguing that.  But I like that my daughters are taking on a big challenge, and learning to work at it bit by bit.  It is definitely not an overnight skill. They do get discouraged at times, but I think generally they’re quite confident in their abilities!

Mia, who is a kindergartener, mentioned that the classes feel long.  Kayla, on the other hand, who is 9 disagreed and thought they were a good length.  This, understandably, probably has to do with their age and attention span.  Both teachers do a great job of making the lessons fun and engaging.  We have also played with the timing of the lessons, finding a good time frame when the girls aren’t too tired or distracted.

There is a homework component, and the girls moaned about that a bit.  I’m not super strict about them doing their homework pages every week, but I do insist on doing the video preview and the flashcards before each lesson.  Kayla said that it is easy homework compared to her normal schoolwork, but just having more to do during the week was a chore for her.

 

So that’s our honest review, straight from the kids.  Overall, we are still enjoying the lessons very much!  I often ask the girls if it is too much for them or if they are discouraged, and they don’t feel that at all.  They love the lessons.

One positive that they didn’t mention, but I hope someday they’ll both realize is the amazing cross-cultural experience they’re getting.  We live in rural Minnesota, where our community is 97% white.  There is very little diversity.  Doing Chinese classes is just one way where I can purposefully expose my kids to people of different cultures, who look and speak differently than us.  Someday I hope they’ll appreciate that aspect.  But for now, they love the songs and the rewards!

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Hello! My name is Laura and I am a mom of 2 Lingobus students, ages 6 and 9. We’ve been taking Chinese lessons weekly with Lingobus since April 2019.  Watch to see how it is going and why we chose Lingobus Chinese classes!

 

If you’re interested in trying a free demo class, follow this link to get started https://www.lingobus.com/?referralCode=PAR49P

 

Email: laura.risdall@gmail.com Instagram: minnesotateachermom Thanks for watching! -Laura from Minnesota

 

Our Lingobus videos and blogs:

April 2019: Our first Lingobus classes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVKvm0irDC8&t=103s

May 2019: How to help your Lingobus student.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlKO4uL9lww

June 2019: How much can they learn in 2 months?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agqqpz_XPOs&t=8s

July 2019: Lingobus for littles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvdpgUDpRMY&list=UUt7Yh4f0WaKvRBH7uvhrATA

August 2019: Lingobus in the summer!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvdpgUDpRMY&list=UUt7Yh4f0WaKvRBH7uvhrATA

August 2019: Happy Birthday, Lingobus!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIb_C0UDoXI&list=UUt7Yh4f0WaKvRBH7uvhrATA&index=1

September 2019: Scheduling and Cancelling Lingobus Classes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgcraao8u08&list=UUt7Yh4f0WaKvRBH7uvhrATA&index=2

October 2019: Learning Chinese is FUN

https://youtu.be/sUMCKrl1CP4

November 2019: Six Month Progress Update

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC39dOdf6Zg&t=23s

December 2019: An Honest Review from Lingobus Students

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qj90e1KPzc&t=2s

 

 

Related, for VIPKID TEACHERS!

June 2018: Learning from Lingobus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYMe9aejmiY&t=153s

 

 

Meet VIPKID Teacher Laura #onlineeslteachertag

Here’s a fun way to get to know other online teachers! It’s called #onlineeslteachertag. In the video above, I gave “rapid fire” answers to most of these, but here’s I’ll expand a bit so you can get to know me!

Thanks to Teacher Lori for getting it started! Head over there to watch the original video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPc4d…

ONLINE ESL TEACHER QUESTIONS:

  • Where are you from?
    • I’m from rural Minnesota, in a small town of about 5,000 people.  I grew up in the Twin Cities, but moved out to the country a few years ago.  I love it out here!  We get LOTS of snow in the wintertime.
  • How long have you been a VIPKID teacher?
    • I started with VIPKID in November 2017, and Gogokid in February of 2019.
  • Did you get book immediately?
    • Yes and no.  With VIPKID, I got bookings trickling in right away but it took a full two months to have a full schedule.
  • What hours do you typically work?
    • I teach mornings, from 5-8am, sometimes 4:30-9am.
  • What is your typical #teacherootd (outfit of the day)?
    • I wear plain colored shirts, or my teacher shirts made by some amazing instagrammer teachers!
  • Are you a brick and mortar teacher?
    • I used to be.  I taught in the public schools for nine years, then did some subbing, and now only teach online.
  • Who are you favorite youtube/snapchat/ig teachers?
    • See the video for my faves!
  • Are you team meg, mike or Dino?
    • Honestly, I’m not really into collecting the characters.  I just use some simple 2D cut outs of Meg and Mike when necessary, and I do have a plushie Dino, but I could take them or leave them.  They’re not a big deal to me.
  • Why did you decide to join VIPKID?
    • When I had my 3rd daughter, I was subbing.  Most of my income was going straight to daycare, and it didn’t make sense for me to work full-time.  Now, I’m loving the “work from home mom” life, and don’t plan on returning to the brick and mortar classroom until my youngest is in school.
  • What is your most used prop?
    • My small globe is my most used prop.  I think this is probably because I teach a lot of level one, and they’re always traveling around the world in that unit.
  • What advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining VIPKID?
    • My advice is that you should examine your motives.  I’ve chatted with many people who are just looking for a quick buck, or a job that pays full time money for part time work.  This is not that job.  Only apply if you truly love teaching, children, cultures, languages, and want to really make a difference.
  • What advice do you have for a newbie teacher?
    • My best advice is to get as many certifications as possible.  You’ll want to have the opportunity for as many people as possible to see your profile.
  • What is your best teaching tip?
    • Learn a language yourself.  You don’t have to learn Chinese, but practice learning any language that interests you.  It’ll make you more compassionate toward your students!
  • What does your morning routine look like?
    • I get up at 4:30am, press snooze a couple times, quickly do makeup, brush my teeth and hair, make a quick Keurig coffee, and get my lights on.  Then, I’ll pull up my Feedback Panda tabs for each student and prepare the feedback, which I’ll edit between the classes.  I can go from dead asleep to ready to teach in about 10 minutes if necessary!
  • What is your favorite course to teach?
    • Level two is my favorite because they’re really ready to learn.  I love watching them grow in confidence throughout that level.
  • What is your least favorite course to teach?
    • Trials. I feel like I’m pretty good at trials, and I do like the variety, but it’s not worth the IT problems and high frequency of no-shows.  I’ll take Major Courses any day.
  • The best thing you like about this job?
    • The flexibility is my favorite part.  I am so grateful to be able to pick my schedule.  It has made our family life much more calm, organized, and peaceful to have a mom that is home more.
  • The worst thing you hate about this job?
    • The hours are tricky for my sleep schedule.  I have to take a nap in the afternoons to function past 8pm.  I can almost always squeeze in a 10-30 minute nap, and it makes all the difference in the world.
  • Can you say anything in Chinese?
    • Yes!  I’ve been learning with YoyoChinese, and my girls take Lingobus classes!  We’ve learned a lot!  Watch the video to see me attempt some phrases.
  • Have you been to china?
    • No, but I’m dying to go!  Who wants to take me?  I’ll hop on a flight tomorrow!

Thanks for reading or watching!  You’re welcome to participate in the video or blog version!

____________________________________________________

Hello! My name is Laura and I teach online for VIPKID and Gogokid, teaching English to Chinese students!

 

I write blogs here to connect with other teachers and applicants. If you’re interested in these companies, follow the links below or email me!

Email: laura.risdall@gmail.com

Instagram: minnesotateachermom

GOGOKID referral code: X73CTGPA

VIPKID referral link: https://t.vipkid.com.cn/activity/popu…

VIPKID referral code: 05IOD5

VIPKID/Parenting Blog: http://www.laurarisdall.wordpress.com

Feedback Panda Referral: https://www.feedbackpanda.com/?_teacher_ref=1k0QBN

Lingobus Referral: https://www.lingobus.com/?referralCode=PAR49P

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

-Laura from Minnesota

 

#vipkid #onlineeslteacher #vipkid #teacherlife

 

Six Months of Chinese Lessons: Lingobus Class Update!

 

I can’t believe it, but we have been doing online Chinese lessons now for over six months!  My girls have learned so much!

Last week, we were sitting down for dinner and we were chatting about how it was going, what they liked about the lessons, what their favorite words and phrases were to learn.  I put a camera on them and just recorded our conversation!  Listen in and hear their progress! Thanks for watching!

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Hello! My name is Laura and I am a mom of 2 Lingobus students, ages 5 and 9. Watch to see how our first classes went and why we chose Lingobus Chinese classes! If you’re interested in trying a free demo class, follow this link to get started

Email: laura.risdall@gmail.com

Instagram: minnesotateachermom Thanks for watching! -Laura from Minnesota

 

Our Lingobus videos and blogs:

Learning Chinese is FUN with Lingobus!

 

My daughters are really enjoying their online Lingobus Chinese classes.  I have been sitting with them lately, to help them with the lessons.  When I sit with them, I’ve been noticing how FUN and INTERACTIVE these lessons are!  Researchers say that it takes 400 repetitions of a new skill for it to be learned, unless it is learned through play!  Then, it only takes 20 repetitions!  Wow, what a difference!  I can tell that Lingobus is using this strategy to teach Chinese.  My kids are picking it up so quickly, and I think the fact that they are learning through fun activities is speeding up their progress.

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 6.39.59 AM.png

The lessons are very interactive.  In the video above you can see:

  • Drag and drop activities like sorting items by color.
  • Sorting activities to learn “boy” and “girl.”
  • Audio clips to make sure they pronounce the word perfectly
  • Filters on teachers faces that make her look like a cat

And those are just a few examples. Every lesson has slides that the student has to actually move or manipulate the material.  As a side note, parents may need to help younger students learn how to use the mouse or trackpad to accomplish this!

Since our kids love screen time and computer games, Lingobus is using that to their advantage.  It can feel like you’re playing a video game sometimes, rather than just sitting in a tutoring session.

My girls love the lessons and truly have fun during them.  I think they were a bit intimidated at first about learning Chinese, because it’s known to be a complicated language that is so different than English.  But the interactive nature of the lessons has really helped to give them confidence and engage them in learning the language!

Stay tuned for our next Lingobus video and blog!

-Laura

________________________________________

Hello! My name is Laura and I am a mom of 2 Lingobus students, ages 5 and 9. Watch to see how our first classes went and why we chose Lingobus Chinese classes! If you’re interested in trying a free demo class, follow this link to get started https://www.lingobus.com/?referralCode=PAR49P

Email: laura.risdall@gmail.com Instagram: vipkidteachermom Thanks for watching! -Laura from Minnesota

 

Our Lingobus videos and blogs:

Lingobus: How to schedule and cancel Chinese classes.

Hello again!  My daughters have been taking Lingobus classes for a few months now, and I have become quite adept at scheduling classes for both of them.  I like to have their classes back to back, specifically 9:00 am and 9:30 am if possible.  This way, we don’t forget and they can plan on it being a “Lingobus day.”

So scheduling these classes takes a bit of careful planning.  To schedule two classes with separate teachers, follow the directions in this YouTube video!

Also included in this video are detailed directions with screen captured video to show how to cancel classes too.  Don’t feel bad if something comes up and you need to reschedule or cancel a class.  Teachers understand, and they will understand.  As far as their cancellation policy goes, check your current policy as it can change.  But currently, for us, we can cancel anytime up to 24 hours before without penalty.  If we schedule within 24 hours, the class is lost and may not be refunded.  This is because the teacher has already had a chance to view and prepare the class.

Once this summer, I accidentally double-booked my girls for classes at the same time as swimming lessons.  I realized it almost as soon as I had pressed “confirm.”  Oh no!  But it was very easy to cancel and reschedule.  There was no penalty because it was nearly a week in advance.

If you are new to Lingobus, take a look at this video so you understand the cancellation process before you ever need to use it.  I hope it is helpful to you!

-Laura from Minnesota

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Hello! My name is Laura and I am a mom of 2 Lingobus students, ages 5 and 9.  If you’re interested in trying a free demo class, follow this link to get started https://www.lingobus.com/?referralCod… Email: laura.risdall@gmail.com Instagram: vipkidteachermom Thanks for watching!

Lingobus: Keep it up in the summer!

 

It is summer in Minnesota!  The weather is sunny, beautiful (finally!) and we just want to be outside every minute possible!  Who has time for online classes?!

Actually, we do!  My girls have actually increased the number of Lingobus Chinese classes we’ve been doing and have really enjoyed doing classes this summer!  Here is why I think summer is a great time to start or continue Lingobus classes.

1. Consistency is key!

As with anything, you need to be consistent to really increase your learning.  Any classroom teacher knows that “summer slide” is real.  You cannot take 3 months off from learning Chinese, and expect to jump right back into it.  So I would recommend keeping a consistent schedule… or at least as consistent as possible!  You can take classes anywhere that you have strong wifi, so don’t be afraid to take classes on vacation, in a hotel, at Grandma’s house, or even while traveling!

2. Break up the routine!

I love a good routine, but I also love variety! This summer we’ve broken our routine of evening classes, always taken in the office, always on the laptop.  We’ve tried the laptop and the ipad.  We’ve tried inside and outside.  We’ve tried morning classes and evening classes. We’ve done a class sitting on the deck, in our beds, at the kitchen counter, in the playroom. It’s been really fun and kept us “on our toes!”  See our video above to see some of the fun places we’ve done lessons!

3. Involve the whole family!

Generally, we have more “family time” in the summer because everyone is home from school and jobs are more flexible.  We have really adopted the idea of learning Chinese as being a “family project.”  It’s more fun that way!  We watch the practice videos over breakfast.  We count in Chinese in the car.  Even the baby tries to repeat after us!  Grandma and Grandpa regularly ask to hear what the girls are learning.  It has been a great activity for the whole family!

I hope you’re enjoying Lingobus this summer!  As always, if you have questions about these online Chinese classes, I’d love to chat!  It has been a great thing for our family and I’d love to share our experiences!

-Laura

 

_______________________________________________________

Hello! My name is Laura and I am a mom of 2 Lingobus students, ages 5 and 9. If you’re interested in trying a free demo class, follow this link to get started!

Email: laura.risdall@gmail.com

Instagram: vipkidteachermom

 

Language Learning for Littles: Ages 3 and up!

It’s a commonly known fact that young students can pick up a new language more easily than an adult.  But how young is appropriate to start language lessons?

We have been doing an experiment with this for a few months.  My 5 year old has been learning Chinese through Lingobus, one on one language classes.  I also have a 9 year old taking lessons, so I have a comparison between the two ages.

After three months of weekly lessons, I can say with confidence that 5 years old is a great age to start.  She is excited and bold, and has less inhibitions than my older daughter.  But the younger age has its own set of issues too.  Here are some tips to help make the most of your language lessons with young kids!

Before the Lesson
1. Schedule wisely.

Don’t just pick any random time.  Think about your kid and pick times that are good for them.  We were doing evening lessons, but my daughter was getting too tired. She was yawning through the whole lesson!  So we moved them up to the morning time and it has been great!

2. Limit distractions.

Preschoolers are easily distracted.  It’s just a fact of development.  So do everything you can to limit distractions during class.  We keep the table clear, keep siblings away if possible, and don’t have music or TV on.

3. Prepare as much as possible.

If your student is not prepared, she’ll be lost and the lesson will be so much harder for her.  Doing even a few minutes of practice beforehand will make the lesson so much more effective.

 

During the Lesson

1. Sit with them.

Yes, it’s time-consuming and maybe they don’t completely need you.  But it will help.  Some families even have their student sit on the parent’s lap.  But at the very least, be in the room and be available to direct their focus back to the teacher if needed.

2. Prepare them for the technology.

Your student will need to circle and click on the screen during the lesson.  Prepare them for this, and get them comfortable.  The more they can engage in this way, the more the lesson will benefit them.  I use a trackpad (graphic tablet), and my daughter loves it.  It’s not too hard for her.  She loves drawing circles or tracing letters.  It keeps her engaged longer.

 

When it isn’t going well..

1. Be okay with them just listening.

Listening to a new language is the first step of fluency.  So if your young student’s attention span isn’t lasting 25 minutes, let it go.  It is still beneficial for the student to just sit and listen to the teacher, even if participation is weak.

2. Try a toy or prop (Only for some kids!).

Some kids would benefit from holding a prop or toy throughout the lesson.  This may help some, or distract others.  Do whatever is best for your student!

 

Those are my tips!  Do you have a young language learner?  Share your tips in the comments!

-Laura

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Hello! My name is Laura and I am a mom of 2 Lingobus students, ages 5 and 9. Watch to see how our first classes went and why we chose Lingobus Chinese classes! If you’re interested in trying a free demo class, follow this link to get started

Email: laura.risdall@gmail.com Instagram: vipkidteachermom Thanks for watching! -Laura from Minnesota

 

 

 

 

Lingobus Chinese Classes: Two month update!

 

Wow, we have been doing Lingobus for two months already!  It has gone by fast!  We are so happy with the progress that both girls have made.  Here is an update of what they’ve learned and how they’re enjoying it!

They have learned:

  • Greetings (hello/goodbye/introductions)
  • Numbers to 10 (counting/adding)
  • Paper/Rock/Scissors Game
  • Family words (mom, dad, sister, brother)
  • Food words (rice, noodles)
  • Sentence frames (I have_____, I eat_____)

Beyond that, they have learned a few other phrases and words from watching Lingobus’ YouTube videos and online books.  Isn’t amazing how much they can learn!  This has been only 8 lessons, with only 25 minutes per lesson! Wow!

I’ve been very impressed with the pacing of the lessons. They don’t go too quickly and frustrate the girls with too much information, but they also don’t go too slowly and bore them.  It’s a great balance.

Also, the way they teach sets the girls up for success.  For example, they learn a word (coin), then a sentence (I have a coin), then a way to change the sentence (I don’t have a coin).  It’s very progressive, so they feel successful before moving on to the next thing.  It all builds on each other slowly and carefully, so they really understand what they’re saying and how to pronounce it perfectly.  They correct them kindly and patiently.

I’ve realized that these lessons require some practice between lessons, in order for my girls to feel really successful.  We need to review during the week, or they forget.  It takes a lot of practice to learn a new language.  One way we are practicing is our flashcard notebook.  Instead of using loose cards that could get lost, we created flashcards in a notebook.  There are online flashcards, which we used to create our paper flashcards.  Both are great ways to practice.  The video above shows how we are practicing.

Overall, I’m really impressed with how much my girls are learning.  Beyond the actual language acquisition, I feel like they are developing other skills too.  They are becoming braver at trying new things.  At first, Kayla was so shy and hesitant.  Every word was whispered.  Now, she is much more confident.  When people asked her to speak, she would refuse.  But now, she likes to show off some of her phrases.  It has been such a fun experience!

As always, if you’re interested in trying this, Lingobus offers a free (no strings attached) demo class.  Head over to Lingobus to give it a try!  I hope your child enjoys it as much as mine has!

-Laura from Minnesota

How the parent can help your Lingobus student BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER your class!

We are about two months into our weekly Lingobus Chinese classes!  We are really enjoying the process, and I’m impressed at how quickly my kids are gaining confidence with this new language.
Parents play an important role in this process.  I have been taking notes about how parents can help their students before, during, and after the classes. Hopefully this can help some families get the most out of their Lingobus experience!  Here are my tips:
Before the class:
1. Schedule wisely.
You know your family’s schedule and when a class would best fit into your days.  We chose different times for both of my girls, depending on when they are best ready to learn.  Consider your other activities and also your child’s bedtime.  We scheduled one of our classes too late last week, and Kayla was yawning the whole time.  Put some thought into it and write it on whatever calendar you use to stay organized.  Do your best to never miss a class!
2. Get your technology and gear organized.
You really don’t need much to be successful at this process, just a computer or ipad.  We use my laptop.  We do have headphones, but the girls don’t use them every time.  It’s good to show the kids how to use the mouse and how to write on the screen because many kids aren’t used to using a mouse since so much technology is touch-screen now.
3. Watch the preparatory materials (video/flashcards/online library).
Your level of preparation really makes a difference in how successful the class goes.  Our best classes have been when we took the time to watch the video, read some books, and do the flashcards beforehand.  Our worst classes were the ones where the girls felt unprepared.  It doesn’t take much time at all!  Even 10 minutes helps a lot.
Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 6.26.04 PM.png
Click on the purple “preview” tab and you’ll find the preparatory materials.
During
1. Assist with entering the classroom.
Sometimes students need help getting into the classroom.  This is also a good time to check the lighting and the angle of the camera.  Also, make sure your child can write on the screen.
2. Support during any technology issues.
We have yet to have a single technology problem during our classes.  But if something happens, your child can become worried or anxious.  So stay nearby in case they need help.
3. Don’t speak for your child.
This was hard for me because I found myself wanting to encourage my daughter, but was often just giving her the answers.  Do your best to stay involved, but don’t speak with them.  Let the teacher guide them.  You want them to be taught by a native speaker, so don’t get in the way.  You can always sit next to them and learn too!
After
1. Leave a comment for the teacher.
This is really important to build the teacher/parent relationship.  Tell your teacher what the child enjoyed and what was difficult.  Ask any questions that you don’t understand.  It’s a great way to work together for the success of the child.
2. Read the teacher’s comments.
The teacher will also write feedback for your student.  They will be available on the portal, and they also send it in an email.  Listen to what the teacher wrote, and if they suggested practice, take time to work on those words.
3. Do the follow up practice on the website.
There are so many ways to practice between classes.  You can review your words, read books from the online library, and do flashcards.  We try to get on the website at least a couple times during the week, to keep the words and phrases fresh in our memories.
If you’re considering starting Chinese, or any new language classes, with your kids, please leave me a comment!  I’d love to answer any questions!  It really has become a special part of our week, where we connect around learning this new skill.  Our whole family, even Dad, is interested!  Friends and family have begun asking the kids what they’re learning when we get together.  They are gaining confidence.  It is really fun to watch!  I recommend giving it a try- the first trial class is free!
Laura