Rosetta Stone

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  • Reviewed on Tuesday, December 22, 2015
  • Grades Used: 7th
  • Dates used: 2015-present
I purchased Rosetta Stone for my oldest child in grade 7. We live in Canada, but I always felt learning Spanish would be more helpful than learning French. After purchasing a few programs throughout the years that we never really got around to, I realized that the only way Spanish would be studied in our house was if it was something that could be done totally independently. So I took the leap and purchased levels 1-5 of Rosetta Stone. It does go on sale for 1/2 price at Staples from time to time, so keep an eye out for sales so you're not paying full price. At this point, Spanish is a sheer 'extra' course here, so I'm not really following my son's progress at all. But when a 12 year old tells you on a regular basis how much he loves Rosetta Stone, and uses Spanish words and phrases he's learned all of the time, I think it's safe to say it's a great program. Apparently the program is set up to require the user to always score 90% or higher, or else they have to redo quizzes and tests. So he can't move on to the next lessons until he really knows his stuff. We haven't had any issues with the program not running properly on the computer, either. This was a big concern for me after reading other reviews, as I'm quite computer illiterate. All in all, we are very happy with Rosetta Stone and have seen great progress.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, February 4, 2015
  • Grades Used: 5th - 7th (Adult)
  • Dates used: Currently
OK. So here's the thing. This program is great. I'll tell you why in a second. I do not own the homeschool edition nor would I even consider it. I don't believe teaching a foreign language like a school subject is an effective way to learn. Think of how you learned to speak English? You learned as a toddler by immersion. Your parents did not have to tell you WHY you say words in a certain order, you just naturally picked it up. You improved over time by USING the language. This is also how Rosetta Stone was designed to work. That's the brilliance of it if you can step back and not worry about conjugating verbs (something I did for 5 years in French and 15 years later can not honestly speak it because I never had the opportunity to put it into practice).
My daughters and I have been working through level 1 this year (with NO previous knowledge of the language beyond how to count to ten). I have completed half of it, my daughters have completed more. Two weeks ago I spent a week teaching hygiene lessons to 22 children in Honduras. They spoke not a word of English. In the four days I was with them I was able to spend about 3 hours a day effectively communicating with them on simple things. I'm sure I stumbled and my grammar was likely poor, but we were able to UNDERSTAND each other and communicate. I was even able to teach them a little English. I had two teenage boys with me that are in 2nd year Spanish at the local high school here. They both *knew* a lot of words in Spanish, but by the time they could come to agreement on how to form a grammatically correct sentence the children would walk away. Their *school knowledge* didn't help them at all in a real life situation. I wasn't afraid to use what I knew and the children were more than happy to help and try to understand me. I also found that I was understanding quite a bit when our guide was giving the children instructions. Rosetta Stone is wonderful in that it helps you learn how to use the language. The voice recognition is great because it is checking for pronunciation. The boys I was with spoke like gringos. I was so convincing in my accent and speech that I had two people on the trip mistake me for being fluent in the language. To me - that says A LOT!


  • Reviewed on Sunday, December 28, 2014
  • Grades Used: 3
  • Dates used: 2014
This review is based more on my experience with Rosetta Stone as a company rather than on the product itself.

We purchased this for my daughter, who, having been in French immersion classes for 2 years, had quite a bit of previous knowledge of the language. Because of that, I wanted to get her a higher level. After endless online conversations with the staff there about previewing a later level, they finally told me that it is not possible to preview a higher level. Why they didn't tell me that in the first place is beyond me, because I wasted a lot of time going back and forth with them about that. It seems to me that their staff don't know what they have, because I got different stories from different people. Anyhow, no preview. Neither can we buy just the higher levels -- so even though my child has no need of the lower levels, we must buy them anyway.

Okay, after an extremely frustrating experience, I gave up and tried to put together some resources on my own. It worked okay, but not great and my daughter didn't really want to do any more. Not wanting her to lose what she knows of the language, I gave in and got her the full Rosetta Stone package, just for review. To the program's credit, she finds it fun, and it is serving its purpose of giving her engaging review material. Don't know about level 2-5 yet.

We live in Canada, and when I bought it, I went through the Canadian site. It said free shipping. Great. Except that there was no free shipping. After a number of back and forth e-mails with the company, they finally told me that this does not apply to Canada. Okay, so why, on the Canadian site, does it say free shipping. I told them this was false advertising. They had no response. Fine. So I bought the download version, even though I wanted the CD. And then I discover that even though I bought on the Canadian site, I was charged in US dollars.

Honestly, I think that the staff there are not well trained, because they all manage to give me different answers to my questions. Also, even though I state my questions extremely clearly, with no room left for doubt as to what I am asking, they still don't understand what I am asking. Nor do they seem to care at all about things that aren't going well with my customer experience. Overall, I think their customer service is among the worst that I have seen in a company.

I would recommend looking elsewhere if you want to avoid tearing your hair out in frustration while trying to deal with a this company.

Update after 9 months of using the product:
The course itself is fine, but today, my daughter tried to get into the system, and, like many others before us, we began to have technical issues. It would not let us in, and asked for the activation code. I put in the activation code, and it said it is not recognized. I called customer support, who had me enter it again and asked a few questions, then told me that since my purchase was made longer than 3 months ago, they could not help me over the phone. I could try online support.

Frankly, I don't care at this point what the program itself is like. I hate this product because of the difficulties I have had in trying to buy it and get it to work. The company and its customer support is, quite honestly the worst I have ever encountered. I would steer clear and look elsewhere.


  • Reviewed on Sunday, October 19, 2014
  • Grades Used: 7th
  • Dates used: Sept-Oct 2014
We purchased Levels 1-3 of the Homeschool Edition for Spanish. While my daughter seemed to enjoy it at first, the addition of the worksheets which help with writing and grammar made this program very frustrating. While she did well on the computer based part, we found translating that knowledge to the worksheets became very confusing because the program had absolutely no explanation of how sentences are structured, why you put certain words in certain places, why some words can end in 'a' or 'o', etc. All the basics that I remember learning in Spanish 1 in high school! It didn't teach what the letters all sound like, so there was no way she could pronounce words she had never seen on the screen.

But that's just the first problem. The even bigger problem is that I could not get it to work with my computer (and yes, my computer had all the requirements necessary to make it work). It worked fine for the first few weeks, and suddenly we started getting errors every time we opened the application, preventing it from even opening. I spent multiple times on Live Chat with Tech Support trying to figure out what the problem was. Not only did they give me sometimes very sketchy solutions ("restart your computer three times and it will reset the program"), but we even did remote access where they went into my computer over the internet to try to fix it. Five hours later, and it STILL boots up with an error! AARRGGHH!! I'm asking for a refund.... we'll see if it happens.