1. Using the ULAT in a homeschooling setting:
2. Using the ULAT in schools:
ACCESS TO ALL LANGUAGES
When a person subscribes to the ULAT, all members of his or her household may also make use of its lessons. Additionally, the subscription gives the household’s members access to all of the languages it teaches (currently Spanish, French and English). One family member can study Spanish and French, another just French, another just Spanish, etc. It makes no difference. The same applies to multiple families subscribing as a group. One family can study just Spanish, another Spanish and French, etc. Each household only needs a single subscription.
WHAT THE ULAT IS … AND ISN’T
The award-winning ULAT program is highly effective and time-tested foreign language curriculum, whose graduates have enjoyed excellent college placement and advanced placement results. It is not, however, a program that keeps track of students’ progress through their lessons nor which corrects and grades the students’ work, though it does provide the tests’ correct answers and a grading guide for each test. Otherwise, in performing their lessons, students simply remember the lesson they last completed and pick up at the same point the next time they return to the program. Though accompanied by hundreds of instructional videos, the ULAT is nonetheless primarily curriculum and, as feedback from teachers and students attests, among the very best and most effective that exists.
HOW TO EVALUATE YOUR CHILD’S PERFORMANCE
If the ULAT is merely curriculum and therefore is not a program that keeps track of students’ progress through their lessons nor which corrects and grades the students’ work, how is a parent to handle the issue of grading? The ULAT provides teachers and parents with the answers to its various tests and a grading guide to help establish a grade, but the homeschooling parent still needs someone capable of evaluating the student in the second language. The following are five suggestions to that end:
1) the parent enrolls the student in a homeschool co-op using the ULAT program and which is directed by a trained instructor
2) the parent is a native or near-native speaker of the language, or has studied it extensively, and is thus able to evaluate the child’s test performance
3) the parent learns the language along with the child and thus becomes able to perform the evaluation (the additional benefit being that the parents provides the child with the opportunity of conversation practice in the course of day-to-day life in the home)
4) for oral tests, the parent makes a recording of the student’s responses and compares them to the answers provided in the answer video that follows each form of the test
5) the parent does none of the above, knowing that his or her child is at least using a curriculum that is best suited to the acquisition of oral fluency, and then has the child take a standardized exam (CLEP, for example) at the end of the second year of study to have an objective measurement of the child’s progress.
OPTIONAL RELIGIOUS CONTENT
Whenever the ULAT invites students to perform a reading activity, it typically provides them with two options – one a secular reading and the other containing a biblical theme. The students or schools using the ULAT are free to choose the option of greatest interest or most appropriate to them. Additionally, the author of the ULAT, Mr. Nesbitt, is a Christian and, on very rare occasions, may make some passing mention of his faith. Wanting to be upfront about this, if either of these realities is problematic for you or for your institution, then the ULAT is not a good solution for you.
DELAYED OR EARLY EXPOSURE TO THE WRITTEN WORD
The ULAT places a very strong and extensive initial emphasis on the skills of listening and speaking. This is so much the case that, during the author’s three decades as a classroom language teacher, even his high school students did not see the language in written form until well into their second year of study.
Occasionally, however, the ULAT receives messages from parents saying that their children are “visual learners” and that they need to see words in print in order to understand and retain them in their memory. Here are two suggestions for such parents.
First, when you go to the ULAT lessons, you’ll find that you have two options as to when your child begins writing the new language. The first options reads: “Table of Contents for Subscribers (initially exclusively oral emphasis). This links takes you to the ULAT’s traditional Table of Contents whose lessons start with an exclusive development of the skills of listening and speaking, followed by elementary reading and, much later, to elementary writing. The second option for a sequence of lessons is entitled: “Alternative Table of Contents for Subscribers (earlier integration of written work)”. This option develops all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in each of the ULAT’s three years of curriculum instead of delaying written work until the second year.
Secondly, by going to any of the lexicons starting in Unit 3, students can see vocabulary in written form simply by resting their cursor on the images in the lexicon. The Unit 3 lexicon, by the way, contains all of the vocabulary from Units 1 through 3.
LENGTH OF A LESSON
Some lessons can be studied sufficiently in a single day, others will take as long as four days. Consequently, determine how much time you intend to devote to foreign language study each day and then, when that much time has transpired on any given day, simply stop your study at that point of the current lesson and then pick up your work the next day where you left off.
THE ULAT’s AUTOSAVE FEATURE
Whereas the early units of the ULAT focus on listening comprehension, oral expression and elementary reading, Units 5 and 9 are exclusively devoted to the skill of writing, and Unit 10 involves both writing and advanced reading. To facilitate the students’ ability to perform and submit their written work in Units 5, 9 and 10, we have built an autosave feature into the ULAT whereby students’ work is automatically saved as they are typing their tests. This allows them to submit their tests to their parent or teacher either as a printed hard copy or rather as a PDF, as well to be able to save it on their computer to a place of their own choosing, thereby having a permanent record of their written work. Here is a quick summary of the primary advantages this autosave feature presents:
- Written work cannot be lost, even if one loses Internet connection or refreshes the page
- Students can return to their work and complete it at a later date
- Students can submit to you their written work in an ink-friendly hard copy form or send it to their evaluator as a .pdf file.
- Since written tests exist in multiple forms, teachers or parents can opt to assign one of the forms as a homework assignment for additional practice and conveniently receive it, once completed, as a .pdf.
- Students can save their written work to a folder on their computer and thereby have a “dossier” of their writing to show to schools and authorities needing to be aware of the content the students have already studied and to what degree they have attained mastery.
COMPLETING ONE YEAR OF STUDY
Generally speaking, if you devote 45 minutes per day to studying the ULAT lessons, you will complete one year of study in approximately 180 days of class.
In the video found at the beginning of each lesson, an instructor will go through the lesson with the students, performing the lesson’s activities with them and providing helpful explanations.
After watching the instructional video at the start of the lesson, and participating in the activities it proposes, the students are to work independently through the lesson, doing the activities that follow the video.
BLACK, RED AND GREEN-BORDERED IMAGES
Be sure to click on any image containing a red border, as it will either play a sound or open a video clip. In the beta version of the ULAT, there are also green-bordered images, which are links to moving images (GIFs). You can click on them immediately to hear their corresponding sound, but you will need to place your cursor on them and wait patiently for the moving image to load. Black borders indicate that the image is not linked to anything and therefore is just there to provide you with information.
The existence of countdown clocks at the top of a lesson indicates that the lesson contains a timed exercise or test. By clicking on the clock, students can go directly to the corresponding timed exercise or test.
TEST ANSWER GUIDES
Lessons concluding with a test will usually contain four forms of that test. A video providing the correct answers to the oral tests is found at the end of the test. A button exists at the end of each written test that reveals its correct answers.
Suggested grading guides are found at the beginning of each testing section. Above and to the right of the first test, you will see the image of a percent sign. By clicking on it, you will be taken to a page which suggests how many points a test is worth and how many points to deduct for each error.
ACCREDITATION AND CREDIT
Sometimes we hear the questions: “Is the ULAT accredited?” or rather “How much credit will my children receive if they use the ULAT?” These questions manifest a lack of understanding of the two issues. The ULAT is curriculum. It is not an educational institution. Educational institutions are accredited. Curriculum is not. Schools grant credit. Curriculum does not. Though the ULAT is far more dynamic than a textbook, substitute the word “textbook” into the two questions above and you will see how they lack sense. The ULAT is simply a tool, like a textbook, that students use in pursuing their education.
What parents mean when they ask these questions is one of two things. Either they eventually intend to integrate their children into a traditional classroom setting and want to be able to prove the learning their children have accomplished while homeschooled or they are thinking of college admission. In the first case, parents can inform the middle or high school of how many years of language study their children completed while homeschooled, but these schools will almost invariably give new students a placement test anyway to determine the level of language course into which to place them. As for demonstrating to colleges the coursework accomplished by homeschooled children in high school, parents do well to have their children take the CLEP language test following completion of the ULAT program. It not only provides the college with evidence of learning accomplished, but can even earn students college credit for the learning performed while using the ULAT (or any other curriculum, for that matter).
TIME TO GET STARTED
At the top of this page, select the language you wish to study. If you simply want to try out the ULAT without subscribing, select “First 15 free lessons”. If you have already subscribed, select “Lessons for subscribers”. On either of those next pages, click on the green button next to lesson 1.1 … and you’re off and running!