Is Rosetta Stone Worth The Money?

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Rosetta Stone

From my own personal experience, I can watch a TV cartoon show in Hebrew, slowed down to 0.75 speed, and put on the English subtitles.  Although I still need the English subtitles to fully understand what is being said, I can definitely recognize and understand in context all of the Hebrew words that Rosetta Stone has already introduced.  I am also getting a feel for common slang words and how they differ in Hebrew.  “Guys” in English is “Friends” in Hebrew.  Not to mention which slang words (and other words) are just transliterations.

Is Rosetta Stone Worth the Money and What Can I expect to Have Learned After Completing Level 1 (Level 2 Unit 5)?

Expectations

Can I say Fair Go casino bonus in Hebrew after completing Rosetta Stone Hebrew Level 1 (Level 2 Unit 5 Lesson 4?  No.  I know the word “go”, but I still do not know the words “Fair”, “casino” or “bonus” in Hebrew.  Although by this point, I know enough to make the educated guess that the word “casino” is transliterated into Hebrew.

Just looked it up on Google Translate, and yes, “casino” in Hebrew is just transliterated.

Where does Rosetta Stone expect my Hebrew to be after completing Unit 5?

Level 2 Unit 5 Lesson 4 is the first lesson where the “Teacher’s Handbook” writing assignments (using traditional pen and paper)  are actual paragraphs, multi-paragraphs, and actually interesting enough to write that I will take the time to actually do the writing assignment.  In other words, something that one would actually realistically expect to write in the real world (not a made up school assignment).

I feel confident enough to start a private WordPress blog in Hebrew. Sorry, I still do not feel confident enough to write something in Hebrew that somebody else (besides a co-student) would actually read.

What is the Rosetta Stone Teacher’s Handbook and Where can I download the Rosetta Stone Teacher’s Handbook?

These are the links to download the Rosetta Stone Teacher’s Handbook in English.  They are divided by levels.

https://resources.rosettastone.com/CDN/us/pdfs/TeachersGuide_Level1.pdf
https://resources.rosettastone.com/CDN/us/pdfs/TeachersGuide_Level2.pdf
https://resources.rosettastone.com/CDN/us/pdfs/TeachersGuide_Level3.pdf
https://resources.rosettastone.com/CDN/us/pdfs/TeachersGuide_Level5.pdf
https://resources.rosettastone.com/CDN/us/pdfs/TeachersGuide_Level5.pdf

Except for the most popular languages (eg. Spanish), the Teacher’s Handbook is only available in English.  For Level 1, I only used the Teacher’s Handbook for the Grammar Lesson Descriptions and the vocabulary lists.  For Level 1, the activities did not interest me.

For Level 2, I am definitely going to start doing the suggested activities.  Starting in Level 2, Unit 5, Lesson 3 and Lesson 4, the activities start to get interesting and I can realistically see myself doing them either by myself or with a study buddy.  I really want to start a written journal, and I want to start making video blogs as well.

Is the Rosetta Stone Teacher Guide that is written in English helpful for the language I am learning?

Yes.  I am trying to learn Hebrew.  If the Teacher’s Guide was written in Hebrew, I would be completely lost.  This is how I used the Teacher’s Handbook for the lesson I worked on today, Level 2 Unit 5 Lesson 4.

I have a 5 subject notebook that I use for Rosetta Stone.  Up until now, I have not really had the need to use the notebook regularly.  But that changed starting for this lesson.

I opened up the Teacher’s Handbook.  I read through the grammar lesson as I usually do.  Then I wrote down all of the vocabulary words from the lesson as a list in my notebook.  These are listed on the side of the lesson pages.  Next I went to Google Translate, and tried to use Google Translate to find the definitions.  Only 1 word Google Translate got wrong, “sunny”.  But I was able to figure out the mistake as I worked through the core lesson, so it was not a problem.

I also looked through the activities for example sentences.  I wrote them down in my notebook, and I used Google Translate to try to translate them.

It took time to do this prework before actually starting the Rosetta Stone lesson, but it made working through the core lessons not at all stressful.  If from a picture I did not understand what exactly the picture was asking or saying, I could just look at the new vocabulary list, and then it was just “oh, so that is what the picture is about.”

It is the difference between starting a journey without a map vs. with a map.

What is the Price of Rosetta Stone and is the Price Worth It?

If you are planning to invest $179 for a lifetime subscription to Rosetta Stone, it is safe to assume that you are serious about learning the language you are trying to learn.  You are investing in intensive learning (not just as a hobby in your free time).

Here are some price comparisons when talking about intensive learning options:

Tuition: full-time Intensive ESL Program (20 hours per week)

Fall and spring semesters (14 weeks): $3,550  ($250 per week)

For some of these intensive courses, the books themselves can cost $200.  From that perspective, Rosetta Stone is very cheap.

For my own learning, I spend 20 hours a week trying to learn with Rosetta Stone with a buddy (my son).  We spend around 2 – 3 hours using Rosetta Stone or other traditional Hebrew learning stuff.  But I will admit that we take a lot of breaks, so it is probably around 2 hours per day.  On top of that, we alternate.  First I will do the lesson, and my son will watch me.  Then he will do the lesson, and I will watch him.  So realistically each of us is spending 1 hour actually working with Rosetta Stone (active learning), while spending a second hour watching the other person working on Rosetta Stone (passive learning).

We also spend an hour each night watching a TV cartoon in Hebrew together.  We watch with the audio in Hebrew and the subtitles in English.  Neither of us is at the level where we can use the subtitles in Hebrew (or even do both Hebrew and English subtitles).

Supplies Needed When Trying to Use Rosetta Stone?

I recommend the following supplies:

Good quality speaker.  I study with a buddy, my son, so we need a speaker, so we both can hear.
Good quality microphone.  I have not had too many problems with speech recognition, so I am guessing that the quality of your microphone can make a difference.
Second monitor.  It makes using Rosetta Stone so much nicer when you can display Rosetta Stone on one screen, and then have a second screen available to use Google Translate, look up a grammar issue, or just pause Rosetta Stone (without closing it or covering it) to do some research.
Keyboard with the characters of the language you are trying to learn.  If you cannot actually get a keyboard, you can get stickers.
Setup your operating system to switch keyboard input from English to the language you are learning.
What are some examples of activities from Rosetta Stone Level 2 Unit 5?

Until Level 2 Unit 5 Lesson 5, I personally did not bother to do any of the activities.  But starting with this lesson, I am going to start doing some of them.  Here are some examples of what to expect:

Traveling Travelogues – Comic Strips

Draw a wordless comic strip with a minimum of 6 panels that illustrates an airplane or train trip.  Then write a description of your comic strip on a separate paper.  A second option is to show your comic strip to another person, and let them write a description of your comic strip.

Another option would be to write actual conversation balloons.

Today’s Weather Report

Create a mock television weather report about current weather conditions.  Include words about beach, lake, mountains, and various cities, as well as weather describing words: hot, cold, sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy

If you want to do a two person activity, have one person be the news anchor person, and the other person be the weather reporter.

Tomorrow’s Weather Report

Create a weather report to talk about future weather conditions.  Everything else is the same as the Today’s Weather Report activity.  Include reports for tonight, tomorrow, and next week (5 day forecast).  You can also add on field reporters (reports about different cities), especially if you are working with a Facebook study group.

Circle Time (Yea, we made it to preschool. I need to give myself a pat on the back)

If you are learning with a study buddy or an online group, for example a Facebook Group, this could now become a daily activity.  Do you remember circle time in preschool?

First the teacher would do calendar time.  “What day is today?  What was yesterday?  What day is tomorrow?  What month is it?  What was last month?  What is next month?  What season is it?  What year is it?”

Next would come the weather.  What is the weather now?  What will it be tomorrow?  What was it yesterday?  What do we wear in this weather?

Circle time does not have to be the first activity.  In my son’s school, they did it after lunch and play time, while the children were “resting” and drinking water.  It is a lot easier to talk about the weather, after coming inside after playing in the weather.

What-To-Do Report

Describe something that somebody can do.  This can either be a written report, and else you make a video blog.  With a video blog, you can either use a blue screen (as Rosetta Stone does with some of their pictures) or else you can actually take a trip to someplace and do an on the scene video.

Summary

By the time you finish Level 2 Unit 5, you have enough vocabulary that you can actually start doing “fun language activities” in your learning language.  You should still use Rosetta Stone to continue to build your vocabulary and other stills, but you are starting to have enough of a foundation to go beyond Rosetta Stone.

If you truly want to become fluent in the language you are learning, you have to work on the recommended activities from the Rosetta Stone Teacher’s Handbook.

What other resources does Rosetta Stone have?

Rosetta Stone has image documents.  Some are just image documents, while others are in the format of a memory game.  This is only available in English, but then you just print out the images, and then create your own translations.  The English translations are provided in the images PDF file.

Rosetta Stone also has a Student Workbook for English (and a couple of other popular languages).  They do not have this for Hebrew.

For Level 1, I did not find the Student Workbook useful enough to even bother trying to convert it to Hebrew.

For Level 2, I would use the Student Workbook to practice translating sentences from English to Hebrew.

Conclusion

I started to regularly use Rosetta Stone at the beginning of February 2021.  It is now the beginning of July 2021. That is 5 months, and I have just completed 5 Units of Rosetta Stone.  But we took breaks there, so it was not a consistent 5 months.  Also, for Units 1 to 3, we worked fairly quickly through them.  But then things slowed down for Units 4 and 5.

But now, since I want to start adding in “outside of Rosetta Stone” activities (traditional pen and paper activities, writing blog articles, making video blogs), it will definitely slow down the pace we are working at.

On the flip side, it will help us to become truly fluent with the vocabulary that Rosetta Stone teaches.

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