Have you heard of Cafetalk? You must check it out. It is one of my favorite Japanese-learning resources! (Special promotional link at the end of this post!)
Cafetalk is a website that connects you to tutors from all over the world. The tutors teach languages (TONS of Japanese teachers!), music (piano, voice, ukulele, etc), arts and crafts, hula, abacus/soroban, and a lot more. There are thousands of lessons offered.
As you know, I am passionate about exposing my children to as much Japanese language and culture as possible, so I searched the Cafetalk website for tutors who teach Japanese to children. I was a little bit overwhelmed with all the choices, so I asked a Cafetalk representative to recommend teachers to me (you can chat, call, or email them and they are very helpful!).
I registered online (very easy), entered my Skype name (you must have Skype to use Cafe Talk), then signed up for some lessons! It was all very straight-forward, and I thought the lessons were priced very reasonably (cheaper than hiring a tutor to come to my house). Many tutors even offer free or discounted Trial Lessons.
The day of our first lesson came, and my kids sat anxiously in front of our computer, waiting for our Skype tutor to call us. The lesson was for my two older kids, but Baby Sister wanted to join in the fun.
Our tutors were always right on time. I love that. And I love that we didn’t have to leave the house, and my kids could be in pajamas.
I sent each tutor specific requests before each lesson. For example, “I want them to practice katakana”, or “Could you help them increase their vocabulary?”. The tutors went above and beyond my expectations, catering their lessons to my children and sending a follow-up message after the lesson was over, which included what was taught during the lesson, and what my kids could work on during the week. One of the tutors sent me a message ahead time asking me to print out a worksheet to use during the lesson.
One tutor did such a great job keeping my kids engaged during their entire 20-minute lesson. She used a game of guesstures to teach action words. My kids loved it, as evidenced by this video! My kids are always sad when their lesson comes to a close.
Sometimes the lessons were face-to-face conversations, and sometimes the tutor would use a feature on Skype where they can type on the screen during the lesson. I thought that was pretty neat. Here’s an example from when my kids were practicing katakana:
Overall I was very pleased with our Cafetalk experience. I was impressed with the number and quality of tutors available on the website, the customer service, and price.
The only downside for us was that since we live in the New York Time Zone and most of the tutors live in Japan, many of the lessons I wanted to try were not available during my children’s after-school hours (because that would be the middle of the night in Japan). The tutors we found were Japanese teachers who had moved to Hawaii or the mainland.
Our family was given a few free lessons in exchange for a review. To be honest though, we enjoyed Cafetalk so much that I’ve already paid for a few lessons as well!
I think this service is a great supplement to my children’s Japanese education. I know that in a few years, Japanese School may become too difficult or sports will get in the way of attending. So Cafetalk may become our alternative to Japanese School at that time.
I highly recommend Cafetalk if you want to learn Japanese (any level– beginner or advanced, and any age!). It is great for people who want to learn from home, or live in an area where getting a private tutor is difficult or expensive.
Cafetalk has generously offered Hiragana Mama readers 500 free points! You can use your points to purchase any lesson. Click HERE for your free points!
The 500 points will be delivered to your account only if you sign up using this special link. Also, the points will be usable only for 30 days after you sign up.
Please let me know what lessons you tried and how you liked it!
Love, Hiragana Mama