Learning a Second Language with Muzzy: A Review
What is Muzzy?
Muzzy is a giant cartoon character that wants your children to learn languages with him. You may have seen the advertisements on television, promising your child will be a whiz at speaking a foreign language in a few short months. You may have even considered taking advantage of the "free" thirty day Muzzy trial costing just $10.95 in shipping and handling. But, for some reason, you hesitated. Perhaps this is when you saw the $249 price tag for each of two levels and an additional $129 for the software (each of two levels). Maybe you just wanted to know someone who had experience with Muzzy. Well, my son used Muzzy in Kindergarten and here's the verdict: If you have the money and the time to invest in Muzzy, it's worth it (like anything), but as far as producing a fluent child? That's another story entirely. Read on to find out the details.
- Toddlers - features a see-and-say game where the toddlers repeat what they hear in the game. Colors, numbers, and words are featured.
- Preschoolers - features immersion techniques with colors, numbers, shapes, animals, and objects
- 5-7 Age Group - Again focused on immersion (this is the level my son used), standard vocabularies dealing with colors, basic conversation, and more. The retention of this information was limited (Six years later, we're re-learning much of the vocabulary covered by the program, but when he was in the class, his vocabulary was impressive).
- 8-12+ Time, Health and feelings, days of the week, home life, and more are covered. This is the most vocabulary extensive of the groups. Both the 5-7 and 8-12 age group versions feature two levels.
So far as I could tell, the program on all levels was focused primarily on vocabulary acquisition. At least in my experience with the program, there was a huge lack of grammar instruction at the 5-7 age level of the Spanish program. While the program did teach a lot of vocabulary, the grammar and ability to put the vocabulary to use in sentences was lacking in the program.
Ease of Use
The program is easy to use for parents. Simply pop a DVD into your player and your child is immersed in a world of language. The downloadable activities are also easy to use. This category earns high marks for Muzzy.
This depends on your child. Many will like the design of Muzzy, other children may find it boring since the program lacks modern day computer assisted graphics in the animation.
Price to Value
I found Muzzy to be way overpriced for what you get in terms of instruction. If you are looking for great Spanish programs for children, you may want to check out some of the other, less expensive programs out such as KidSpeak Spanish. Also, I found that the lack of focus of the 20th anniversary Muzzy was distracting from the program's intentions.
Is Muzzy for Your Family?
Like most children's learning products, you get out of Muzzy what you put into it. If you do not invest time into drilling your child on vocabulary outside of the DVDs and CDs, then your child will be less likely to retain the information presented. If you have the money and time to invest, Muzzy can be a great addition to you family's educational library - but don't purchase Muzzy thinking that the program does all the work, otherwise you will set yourself up for disappointment.