italki – The Online Homeschool Foreign Language Program I’m Telling Everyone About!

August 27th, 2013 | Posted by Jim in feature | media | tips

This post originally appeared on Raising Arrows – a personal blog site run by Amy Roberts. Reposted with her permission.


My oldest daughter, Meg, loves languages. She is taking formal Spanish via a computer program plus teaching herself bits and pieces of several other languages. She’s a quick study; however, she has told me on multiple occasions that she really needs someone to speak the languages with her because the computer lacks the interaction and feedback of a live person.

So, when I learned about, an online foreign language instruction site that provides teacher/student interaction via Skype sessions, I was hopeful this might be the answer to her dilemma.

Answer would be an understatement.

Within a couple of lessons, it was obvious to us that italki was EXACTLY what Meg needed. review |

I’m sure by now, you are a little curious about what this program entails. And if you are anything like me, you might even be a little skeptical of anything involving strangers online. Let me give you a run down of how we use italki.

How to get started with

First, we set up an account. I used my email address and Meg’s name. That way, every email that came from came to me. I chose to leave Meg’s profile blank for safety purposes. You will need to have a Skype account and input the account name so the teacher can connect with your student. {Skype is free. Just download and go!}

Next, Ty and I sat down and looked through French teachers. Lamar from italki had suggested a few professional teachers to us, so we started there. {By the way, Lamar is super helpful! A company with prompt and courteous customer service always gets my attention.} You’ll see on the italki Homeschool page suggestions for teachers in several different languages. Our teacher, Melissa, is on there! We chose her because of her credentials. We absolutely made the right choice!

Once you have a profile set up and you have chosen a teacher in the language you are wanting your child to learn, you need to purchase either by the lesson or a packageof lessons. We did a package because it is cheaper.

Lesson pricing for italki

How much does italki cost?

Each teacher has a different rate, so what you are looking for is the ITC/hour. Because the teachers on italki are from all over the world, there has to be a standard unit to go by. These are called language credits or italki credits (ITC). For Melissa, we pay 197 ITC or $19.75 per hour lesson, but with the package (see the red rectangles on the left that say PACKAGE), we are getting 10 lessons for the price of 9.

Once you have purchased ITC, you schedule a lesson. Each teacher has a list of times and days that work for them. They are listed in your time zone, so no need to worry about trying to figure out the time difference. You will receive a notification from italki shortly before your session is to start.

Meg learning French via Skype |

Meg gets herself up the morning of French and gets the computer ready. She keeps a pen and paper handy as well. She also has a headset with microphone if needed.

Now, I get to brag! After 6 lessons, we were so impressed by what we were seeing and hearing, we decided to record a short video of Meg speaking French. Take a moment to watch the video!

{Can’t see the video? CLICK HERE to watch on YouTube.}

That girl makes me smile! Now, after 15 lessons, she speaks amazingly well! She told me recently she has even begun to dream in French!

Who would benefit from italki?

Let me give you my personal opinion on who would benefit most from italki.

  • A student who shows an aptitude for languages.
  • A student who wants to go on to study a foreign language in college.
  • A student who wants the experience of speaking a foreign language with another person.

Foreign language instruction is an area of our daughter’s homeschooling we are willing to spend extra money on. I have no doubt her aptitude for languages is God-given. We want to give her every opportunity we can to hone that skill. Italki is exactly what we needed to do this.

So, now you can see why I am telling everyone about italki! This really has been an answer to prayer. Head on over to italki and check it out for yourself. I’d love to hear what you think!

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