The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Print PageClose Window
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Power Glide


Alpha and Omega Publications
www.aop.com


Being homeschoolers, we often favor the traditional and spurn anything that smacks of "new math mentality" - the three R's were good enough for our pioneer grandparents and our great president, Abraham Lincoln, so why mess with it? Then, along comes Power-Glide. Power-Glide breaks all the rules and does so unashamedly. And it works! Moving away from traditional styles of teaching foreign language via grammar and rote memorization, Power-Glide teaches language the way we naturally learn it, conversationally and practically. The process used helps the learner to internalize the language and what we end up with is the ability to actually speak it fluently. Correct grammar comes much easier after learning to speak. Power-Glide promises adventure and from the first lesson, it delivers! It is exciting, comprehensive, and thoroughly enjoyable!
-- Product Review by: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Power Glide: Adventure Tools CD and Flash Cards
www.aop.com

Just when you think you have seen everything there is to see in foreign language instruction, Power Glide surprises you! This is the company that created the innovative language program that immerses the student in an adventure while learning a new language. Their tape and workbook courses are fabulous, but I had the chance to review some supplemental items, which are also outstanding!

A CD is available called Adventure Tools. A total of six different languages are available on this two CD set. You can choose to hear noun pronunciations in Spanish, French, German, Latin, Japanese or Russian. In a clear, no-nonsense fashion, the words are first spoken in English, then translated into the language of your choosing. What a great way to drill!

Also exciting and fun are the brand new Power Glide Flash Cards. These colorful cards contain the same six languages on each card. On the front is a cheery depiction of the noun. On the back are all six translations! It's neat to go through and see the similarities in the languages.

The cards are divided into 22 categories: months and seasons, days of the week, numbers, colors, shapes, body parts, travel, neighborhood, family members, clothing, animals, fruits, vegetables, beverages, snacks, mealtime, outside, rooms, items in the kitchen, items in the bathroom, items in the bedroom, and items in the family room. When the CD and the flash cards are used together, you will experience a powerful drill, although you can use either item separately. These are really neat.

Power Glide is the true innovator in language instruction. What will they come up with next?
-- Product Review by: Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouseâ„¢ Magazine

Power Glide: French Ultimate Adventure
www.aop.com

The Power-Glide Ultimate Adventure French course is a complete foreign language program for grades five and up. An exciting adventure theme sets the stage for learning French, as you and a companion are spies sent to L'Ile de Providence in the Caribbean to discover why it has been seized by invaders. Along the way, you must learn enough French to communicate effectively. As the mother of four adventurous boys (and one adventurous girl), I must say that I think the adventure theme is highly motivating. As I reviewed this program, everyone stopped whatever he or she was doing and stayed glued by my side. I even got requests to "Pleeeeeease work on your French review, Mama!"

According to Power-Glide, their programs meet the content standards created by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (you can view these standards at www.actfl.org). Power-Glide affirms the ACTFL's "Five C's of Foreign Language Education": Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. Communication can be oral or written, and Power-Glide encourages reading, writing, and speaking French from the very beginning. Cultures in which French is spoken are studied to understand the context of the language. Connections are made to wider fields of knowledge, such as science and history. Comparisons are made between languages and cultures to give students a broader view of the world. Finally, students are encouraged to actively participate in French communities around the world.

Everything that you need to fulfill high school foreign language requirements comes in one box: a student workbook, audio CDs, an academic guide, and a supplemental CD/CD-ROM set. The student workbook includes puzzles, games, stories, music, memory aids, and diglot weaves in one big, fat workbook. Nine audio CDs correspond to student workbook exercises, with clear instructions in the workbook regarding when to play, pause, or stop the CD. The academic guide contains a complete overview of the course, scope and sequence, daily lesson plans, tests with answer keys, plus additional learning strategies and suggestions for assembling an academic portfolio.

Lesson plans break the program up into 196 days, so most students could complete the program in one to two years. Lesson plans are very clear and written directly to the student, so this truly is a self-guided program.

Diglot weaves are an interesting component of the Power-Glide program. These stories begin in English, but gradually weave in more and more words in the target language. I was quite impressed with how fluid the transition was between English and French! My husband and children thought the stories were great fun, and my husband even seemed somewhat excited that he was able to understand the French in context. Before long, stories are entirely in French.

From the very beginning of the program, students are encouraged to speak French and not be afraid of making mistakes. I appreciate this emphasis. The idea is that we improve with practice, not by being afraid to try. That is one reason I do not mind that there are non-native speakers on the CDs (don't worry - there are plenty of native speakers, too!). The non-native speakers do a fine job, and students hear lots of different voices speaking French. No one program is going to make anyone a fluent speaker - that comes from immersion in the language, and even then, unless you grew up with the language, you will probably have a noticeable accent. But with diligent study and effort, most of us can learn to communicate in a foreign language. Ultimately, the goal of this program is to be able to communicate in French in a meaningful and appropriate way.

Grammar is picked up gradually and in context, and exercises are designed to allow students to discover grammatical concepts for themselves. This philosophy is rather familiar in homeschool circles, as many apply it to English as well. Personally, I love grammar! I feel that a formal study of grammar helps tremendously in the study of any language if not done in complete isolation from speaking and writing. However, Power-Glide is a great beginning, and any student who completes the program and decides to pursue the language further, perhaps at a junior college, will get plenty of grammar at that point.

In our family, in order to give the children a broad French experience, I use Teach Me French to introduce my children to French. When my oldest child was only one, she would point to her head and nose and say, "Tete, nez." Then, around third grade I have introduced The Learnables foreign language program (please see my Learnables review for further information). But for a complete junior high or high school course, I will definitely use Power Glide. I think the foundation I will have laid will make the course easier, but no background is necessary for either student or parent to use this program. Power-Glide assumes no prior knowledge of the foreign language.

Power-Glide Ultimate Adventure French course is so different from the traditional textbook way I learned French, but sometimes "different" is an improvement over the old ways. I give Power-Glide Ultimate Adventure French five stars for content, methodology, ease of use, interest level, and price.
-- Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouseâ„¢ Magazine

Power Glide: German Program
www.aop.com

Power-Glide German has been a great confidence booster for my 15-year-old son. He attended grades two through four in Germany, where he was introduced to the language as a host nation course taught in the military school he attended there. Being part of a military family has afforded our children the opportunity to learn about many cultures and nations. The German language has long been a favorite of Bobby's. Power-Glide makes learning German fun and exciting. I honestly believe that our children should be taught foreign languages from early elementary levels. However, there are very few public schools that give our children that opportunity. Power-Glide makes it affordable and convenient for parents to introduce the language of their choosing to their children, not only at the early ages, but also continuing on to meet the college level requirements. Thank you, Power-Glide, for presenting the German language in such a fantastic way. I look forward to how far my son can go with Power-Glide as his foundation.
-- Product Review by: Jo-Ann Stitham, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Power Glide: Japanese Program
www.aop.com

I have been wanting to learn a foreign language, Japanese mostly, but could not - until now - find an easy and enjoyable way (I have tried many other ways). Power Glide is so much fun! With Power Glide I learned 20 phrases in just 25 minutes. There are cartoons on almost every page that help you to remember these simple phrases. It is not at all confusing, and if you did it for just 10 minutes a day, I guarantee that you will be pleased at how quickly you will excel. There are many languages to choose from, including Latin, Japanese, German, Spanish, and more! I do not believe that there is an easier way to learn a foreign language than with Power Glide.
-- Product Review by: Coie Igarashi, age 13, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Here's a Japanese Program review from the mama!

Observations from the mama - I have been searching high and low for something, anything, to help my 13-year-old daughter Coie learn Japanese. When one of my students has a true interest and drive for something that will enrich their lives, I am more than eager to assist. Trouble was, we could not find anything that made learning Japanese just "come together"- until now!

I have been so impressed with the Power Glide program. Their system uses all the senses to "make it stick." Students hear it and they see it. The use of visual images, which use English words that go along with fun, animated pictures, makes this program EASY. It's brilliant! For instance, "Ohio Goes Eye-Moss." This means "Good Morning." Power Glide breaks it down phonetically using common English words to help learn and remember pronunciation, and then shows a picture of the State of Ohio, an arrow with the word 'goes' above it, and an eyeball with moss on it. I've never seen anything like it. And I've never witnessed such happy and successful learning.

Where there was once frustration and mutterings of "Japanese is SO hard to learn!" there is now "Nihongo o benkyo shite imasu!" (I'm learning Japanese!). So from my daughter and I - "Tasukete Kudasatte arigato gozaimashita, Power Glide!" (Thank you for helping me, Power Glide!).
-- Product Review by: Jenefer Igarashi, Senior Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouseâ„¢ Magazine

Power Glide: Latin Program
www.aop.com

This course uses books and tapes to teach Latin. It's a good introduction to Latin, because it allows younger children as well as the older child to learn a foreign language. I'm 12 and my brother is nine, and we've been taking the course together. My parents like it because it's a good addition to a classical education. They also say Latin will help a person's writing, vocabulary, and grammar, and it makes it easier to learn other languages such as French, Spanish, and Italian. This course can be divided into two smaller courses: introduction to Latin and first year Latin. The first part of the book leads the learner to discover Latin words they may already know. The stories in the course are written in English with Latin words scattered here and there. It is easier to remember new words this way. There are also different types of exercises. I like the "Fifteen Minute Learning Challenge" the best, because you learn phrases such as "Veritas vos liberabit," which means "The truth shall make you free," and "Ora et labora," which means "Pray and work." Listening to the pronunciation on the tapes makes it easier to read aloud. The narrator and characters on the tapes are friendly and they keep your interest. The characters in the story are reassuring, because they are going through the awkward process of learning a new language with you. By the time you get to the second part of the book, you are well prepared for the grammar. It explains things well so I can do it with little help. It covers things such as tenses, gender, plurals, cases, and verbs. If you're ready to learn a foreign language, I highly recommend the Power-Glide system. This course is enjoyable as a family activity. My family used it as a summer course and we had fun with it. Learning a foreign language isn't necessarily easy, but Power-Glide is an excellent way to learn!instruction. What will they come up with next?
-- Product Review by: Erin McRee, age 12, The Old Schoolhouseâ„¢ Magazine

Power-Glide Foreign Language Verb Flash Cards
www.AOP.com

Alpha Omega Publications
300 N. McKenny Avenue
Chandler, AZ 85226

The Power-Glide language studies supply an important part of the homeschool curriculum without the parent having to know the foreign language. Alpha Omega has Power-Glide Junior, which caters to the younger student, and Power-Glide is for the older learner. Moreover, you can choose from six languages: Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Latin.

In the Power-Glide Verb Flash Card kit there are 201 flashcards. The cards are large and durable. Each card contains a word in seven different languages, including English, for the picture expressed on the other side. The verbs are broken down into 16 different categories:

  • Movement
  • Travel
  • Personal hygiene
  • Mealtime
  • Emotions
  • Work
  • Communication
  • Playtime
  • Outside fun
  • School time
  • Around the house
  • Around town
  • Senses
  • Opposites
  • Health & Safety
  • General

There are also 2 CD's with tracks for each language. Suppose you are studying Spanish, each word is said once in English and once in Spanish. However, if you need to hear the word more than once for pronunciation, you will need to play the CD again. It would also be helpful if they had the pronunciation guidelines for each word on the card next to the word.

Directions for games are listed and explained to make the work of learning vocabulary enjoyable. I believe in having fun while learning, if at all possible. More games are listed on their website so boredom should never become a factor.

Power-Glide is an awesome way to learn a language and the continuity of using the same program developer through the years will make learning easier on your student.
-- Product Review by: Stephanie D. Scarborough, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Power Glide French Two-Year Ultimate Adventure Alpha Omega Publications www.aop.com

1-800-622-3070

An exciting adventure theme sets the stage for learning French with Power Glide Two-Year Ultimate Adventure as you and a companion are spies sent to L'Ile de Providence in the Caribbean to discover why it has been seized by invaders. Along the way, you must learn enough French to communicate effectively.

Beginning in 2004, Alpha Omega Publications became the authorized homeschool distributor of Power Glide. According to the box, new changes include improved graphics, adherence to national testing standards, a detailed scope and sequence, and a 180-day lesson plan per year. I previously reviewed this program and was unable to recall much difference in the graphics; the books are still black-and-white with simple graphics.

I was unable to discover how the books are broken down into 180-day lesson plans. Each year is divided into two semesters, and each semester is broken into three modules. Modules are furthermore divided into a differing number of sections, and each section is divided into a differing number of activities. Year one comprises eighty-seven activities, and year two, fifty. Additionally, a quiz follows each section, and a test follows each module. Adding up each activity, quiz, and test, I counted 107 days' worth of work for year one and sixty-seven for year two. Of course, your student may work at a slower or faster pace, depending on how many of the optional activities he completes.

According to Alpha Omega, everything that you need to fulfill high school foreign language requirements comes in one box: two student workbooks with integrated academic guides, nine audio CDs, and a supplemental CD-ROM. The student workbooks include puzzles, games, stories, songs, memory aids, and diglot weaves in two fat white workbooks. The audio CDs correspond to student workbook exercises, with disc and track numbers conveniently labeled at the beginning of each activity. Clear instructions tell students when to play, pause, or stop the CD. The academic guide (contained within the workbook) offers a complete overview of the course, a scope and sequence, tests with answer keys, plus additional learning strategies and suggestions for assembling an academic portfolio.

The supplemental CD-ROM offers three language choices: Spanish, French, and German. Several simple games allow students to practice shapes, body parts, diglot weaves, and French-only stories. A simple dictionary is insufficient on its own; it offers no conjugations, idiomatic expressions, or usage. Likewise, the grammar guide is weak. A culture section offers statistics about French-speaking countries, and students can listen to their national anthems. Also included is a sample New York State Regents High School French competency test. Unfortunately, this is just to give you an idea of what such a test is like because it lacks the necessary teacher materials to give students the test, such as the listening comprehension passages.

Finally, a link to Power Glide's website takes you to a page where you can find many more cultural links, including links to online French journals. Overall, the CD-ROM was not the highlight of the program for me and will probably get little use in our homeschool.

From the very beginning of the program, students are encouraged to speak French and not be afraid of making mistakes. I appreciate this emphasis. The idea is that we improve with practice, not by being afraid to try. That is one reason I do not mind that there are non-native speakers on the CDs (Don't worry - there are plenty of native speakers, too!). The non-native speakers do an excellent job, and students hear many different voices speaking French. No one program is going to make anyone a fluent speaker; that comes from immersion in the language, and even then, unless you grew up with the language, you will probably have a noticeable accent. Nevertheless, with diligent study and effort, most of us can learn to communicate in a foreign language. Ultimately, the goal of this program is to be able to communicate in French in a meaningful and appropriate way.

Activity instructions are very clear and written directly to the student. I am not sure this is a truly self-guiding program, however. My daughter needed oversight to make sure she was regularly practicing new phrases and vocabulary and not moving on too fast. Because I have a background in French, I was able to practice with her throughout the day, which helped quite a bit. Although the advertising states that the parent needs no foreign language background, I believe it is a definite asset. I would not feel comfortable using Power Glide in a language other than French unless I had a HIGHLY motivated student and a local tutor who could assess my child's progress. While there are progress tests, these are predominantly true/false and multiple-choice questions, which are easy to grade. I would want to know my child was speaking comprehensively and writing the suggested sentences, paragraphs, and stories correctly.

Diglot weaves are an interesting component of the Power-Glide program. These stories begin in English, but gradually weave in more and more words in the target language. I was quite impressed with how fluid the transition was between English and French! My husband and children thought the stories were great fun, and my husband even seemed somewhat excited that he was able to understand the French in context. Before long, stories are entirely in French.

An unusual component of the Power Glide program is the pictograph system. Students learn the meaning of picture symbols, providing a bridge between French words and their meanings. This system fades out toward the beginning of the second year as students have built a sufficient French vocabulary. At first, the pictographs seemed strange, but I gradually came to appreciate their purpose. They gently lead students to think in French rather than translate English to French.

Many interesting "Performance Challenges" are scattered throughout the program. Students should attempt these excellent exercises for the fullest language benefit. A first year example states, "This vocabulary building activity has plenty of words and phrases that you can use in everyday communication. Write an imaginary conversation using as many of these words as you can, then perform your conversation." In year two, another challenge is to "Find the weather forecast for the next week on the Internet. Translate it into French and share it with a family member or friend."

While Power Glide recommends many excellent creative speaking and writing assignments, I would be concerned that my child was making and repeating errors if I did not know French myself. Idiomatic expressions are tricky, and, especially with beginning students, you do not want them translating word for word, which often creates humorous, but incomprehensible, sentences. You will meet this problem with any foreign language program, however, and you can probably find ways to check progress with a friend or tutor, if necessary.

With the Power Glide method, grammar is assimilated gradually and in context, and exercises are designed to allow students to discover grammatical concepts for themselves. This philosophy is rather familiar in homeschool circles, as many apply it to English as well. As an example, students learn the third person singular and plural (he, she, it, they) of certain verbs (as part of a phrase) during the first half of level one without learning to conjugate a verb. Halfway though the book, they are introduced to first person singular and plural (I, we), still without learning how to conjugate a verb. The supplemental CD-ROM offers a simple grammar supplement that explains how to conjugate first conjugation, present tense verbs (-er verbs), plus five irregular verbs (etre, avoir, aller, faire, prendre). Do keep in mind, however, more advanced grammatical structures are present in the stories, although they are not necessarily explained or analyzed.

Personally, I love grammar! I feel that a formal study of grammar helps tremendously in the study of any language if not done in complete isolation from speaking and writing. Power Glide's grammar instruction is insufficient, in my opinion. I intend to use a French grammar book with my children throughout our study to review and consolidate their learning, requiring that they memorize vocabulary and conjugations. I believe these additions will truly bring the program up to the level that I attained after two years of high school French.

I have looked into other popular homeschool French programs, and Power Glide appears to offer the greatest variety of activities. Students listen, speak, read, and write in French using audio exercises, workbook games and activities, creative writing assignments, and cultural projects (mostly histories and recipes). Additionally, if record keeping is important to you, Power Glide Ultimate courses are accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. (For information about receiving credit for completing a Power Glide course, please visit http://www.power-glide.com/credit.)

The main complaints I have heard about Power Glide are the lack of systematic grammar and children disliking the "silly" stories and/or adventure theme. I agree with the grammar complaint, but I think it can be overcome with a good grammar reference book. As for the stories, I think they are quite effective and fun. After all, you cannot simply leap into Les Miserables without first reading The Little Red Hen! These early stories build a foundation of grammar and vocabulary that is quite necessary to later learning. Regarding the adventure theme, individual preferences will vary; my daughter finds it highly motivating. If you have a child who scoffs at "silly" things, Power Glide might not be for you.

The Power-Glide French Two-Year Ultimate Adventure course is different from the traditional textbook way I learned French, but I think it has a lot to offer homeschoolers. My major caveat is that I strongly feel students need the oversight and feedback of a French-speaking parent or tutor to gain the full benefit of this program. Otherwise, I recommend Power Glide for its interesting content, variety of activities, and reasonable price.





-- Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, November, 2005


The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Print PageClose Window

Warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /var/www/vhosts/www.theoldschoolhouse.com/httpdocs/Homeschool_Reviews/reviews.php on line 147
2014 TheHomeschoolMagazine.com is a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC. All rights reserved.
No content may be removed or used without permission from TheHomeschoolMagazine.com.
Webmaster    Legal   Site Map   Advertise