Are you struggling to find Chinese classes for your child? You might want to try online Chinese classes that allow your child to learn at their own pace and schedule. Online Chinese classes can be more affordable than in-person classes and help reinforce the language education you provide at home. This post is a comparison of our Lingoace and Lingo Bus experience as users in the United States. If you don’t feel like reading too much, scroll down to skim the charts.
Our Chinese Background
We live in the US and started learning Mandarin when my son was a baby. Having a part-time Taiwanese nanny and several trips to Taiwan helped to build a strong foundation for both of my children. They were both considered fluent at preschool age. My son’s Chinese language skills slowed once he transitioned from a Mandarin immersion preschool to an English-only elementary school. His Chinese afterschool program didn’t provide the level of Mandarin immersion we needed so I started searching for online Chinese classes.
Table of contents:
- Lingoace and Lingo Bus Overview
- Programs and Price Comparison
- Additional Learning Resources
- Is my child ready for online classes?
- 25-min vs 1-hour classes
- What is the best device to take online classes?
- Are online classes as effective as in-person classes?
Disclaimer: Information in this blog post comes from the LingoAce and Lingo Bus websites, marketing collateral, and my personal experience. This is not a sponsored post. This article was posted in March 2023. Price and curriculum may change.
Use my LingoAce referral link for a free trial class. During the month of March, get 4 additional classes when you purchase a 30-class package. The form will be in Chinese. To sign up, enter your mobile number and click on the orange button.
Use my Lingo Bus referral link for one trial class and an additional bonus class upon signup.
Lingoace and Lingo Bus Overview
LingoAce and Lingo Bus are online language learning platforms that offer 1-on-1 Mandarin Chinese classes taught by teachers in China. Coincidentally, both companies have similar names and were established in 2017. They have almost identical requirements for teachers, and I assume some overlap in their teacher pools. Lingo Bus is owned by VIPKid, one of China’s edtech unicorns with headquarters in Beijing. Their platform is available for students ages 5-12. LingoAce is headquartered in Singapore and offers programs for students ages 3-15.
Communication and Customer Service Languages
Both platforms are in English and Chinese. If you select a heritage program, your communications (emails, text, and class feedback) will be in Chinese. If you choose Chinese as a second language, your communication will be in English. This has been a point of frustration for me as my children are both on the heritage track since they are quite fluent, but I cannot read enough Chinese to receive emails and feedback in Chinese. Learning advisors for both LingoAce and Lingo Bus message me through WeChat in Chinese. I try my best to respond in Chinese but it has not been an issue when I need to reply in English.
LingoAce homepage in English
Lingo Bus homepage in English
Many Chinese websites offer online Chinese classes, but as a Chinese language learner myself, I find them tiresome to navigate. Google Translate can only help so much! After managing to fumble my way through a few trial classes, I ultimately chose Lingoace and Lingo Bus due to their English interface and responsive customer service.
Traditional vs Simplified Chinese
The most notable difference between the two online Chinese language platforms is that LingoAce teaches both Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters. Parents can contact their LingoAce learning advisor to request the Traditional Chinese curriculum that is available for the 55-minute classes.
If you are at the beginning of your Chinese learning journey and not sure which writing system to learn, here’s an article that might help you decide if you should learn Traditional or Simplified Chinese.
|Chinese Dialect||Mandarin Chinese||Mandarin Chinese|
|Writing System||Simplified Chinese|
|Teacher Qualifications||• Bachelor’s Degree|
• Teaching Certificate
• Must pass a multi-level assessment
|• Bachelor’s Degree|
• Teaching certificate
• Putonghua level 2 and above
• Speak with no accent
• Have more than 2 years of experience teaching Chinese as a foreign language
|Instant Online Booking||YES||YES|
|Free Trial||Yes. Use my LingoAce referral link for a free trial class. During the month of March, get 4 additional classes when you purchase a 30-class package.||Yes. Use my Lingo Bus referral link for one trial class and an additional bonus class upon signup.|
Programs and Pricing
LingoAce and Lingo Bus advertise online classes that are fun and engaging for kids. Their curriculum focus on developing the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. My children have taken both LingoAce and Lingo Bus classes. They are very similar. When my daughter’s favorite Lingo Bus teacher was no longer available we started taking Lingo Ace classes. She barely noticed it was a different platform. When I asked my 8-year-old son which platform he prefers, he replied, “they are the same.”
Both platforms offer students an interactive experience through word searches, matching, writing, and speaking. Classes are conducted in Mandarin. English is used only when necessary. Each class follows structured course materials that teachers guide students through. The visual cues and context provided by the course materials help a child understand what they are learning.
LingoAce and Lingo Bus methods both utilize repetition to enhance student’s ability to retain information. Students are asked to review course content prior to class, then complete homework assignments after class to reinforce what is taught in class.
|Online Class Software||Website or App||Website or App|
|Live 1-on-1 classes||YES||YES|
|Homework||Printable worksheets||Printable worksheets, flashcards review|
|Group Classes||N/A||Super Group classes are pre-recorded classes for beginners or younger students|
|Preschool||Tailored for ages 3-6|
For children with zero or little exposure to Mandarin
Beginners learning Chinese as a second language
|Listening & Speaking|
For bilingual and heritage learners
|Reading & Writing 1|
Speak up Chinese Level 1 – 2
For children with an advanced level of fluency
|Reading & Writing 2|
Speak up Chinese Level 3 – 5
|Pinyin||N/A||The Pinyin course focuses on Mandarin Chinese Pronunciation|
|Pricing||25-minute classes $15|
55-minute Classes $30
25-minute classes $20
50-minute classes $35
Course materials are provided as a PowerPoint presentation to review before class. These files were not intuitive for my child. There were no instructions on how to use the preview file and it seemed like some of the interactive features did not work. After class, students are asked to complete a printable worksheet.
Below are screenshots of LingoAce’s Discovery Program designed for bilingual/heritage learners. You will notice a familiar character, Monkey King, making an appearance in the class. We had no issues with the class. It seems any issues we may have had 2 years ago have all been fixed. If you have previously tried LingoAce, I would give it a go again as they have greatly improved their product.
Lingo Bus Experience
Students are asked to preview class contents by reviewing flashcards in the Lingo Bus learning portal. The flashcards are animated and include visuals and audio. After class, students read and audiobook, complete printable worksheets, and take a flashcard quiz.
My kids have been taking Lingo Bus classes for almost 3 years. I can’t recall any technical issues with the platform. Below are screenshots of the Speak Up class from the Lingo Bus Reading and Writing track. Coincidentally, this unit’s theme is also about the Monkey King! There are many similarities between the two programs.
Additional Learning Resources
LingoAce Cartoon Lessons
All users that complete a trial class on the LingoAce platform will have access to over 100 prerecorded cartoon lessons.
Ace Reading App
Available for Android and IOS, LingoAce has a Chinese e-reader app with a library of hundreds of books to choose from. Most are illustrated stories but there are also books with real-life photos. Categories include STEM, contemporary life, career, global issues, beauty, and family-related books.
Ace Chinese Books Features
- 7 reading levels
- Some, but not all, books have text that highlights in sync with the audio.
- Background music can be turned on or off.
- App language can be toggled between English and Chinese.
- There’s a microphone that pops up. Children can record themselves reading the text and listen to the playback.
- The interactive features in the books do not work. For example, when you are supposed to click on the book or drag and drop. There are activities at the end of each book but they also don’t seem to be working.
- Some books are audiobooks but there’s no indication on the thumbnail when selecting books.
- I can’t figure out how to turn off the microphone feature.
- If you select the English interface, the audio guide is also in English. I would like an option for the interface to be in English but for the audio guides to be in Mandarin. There are many learners that can understand Mandarin but do not read at the same level.
- Traditional Chinese is not available
Ace Chinese Books Price
You can subscribe for $69.99 USD a year or $6.99 per month. There are 8 books you can try for free, plus 10 tokens that can be used to read subscription-only books.
Lingo Bus Library
As a Lingo Bus user, you will have access to a resource library that includes:
- 400+ illustrated e-books
- 1000+ animated flashcards
- 700 podcasts with transcripts
- 100 videos of music and daily vocabulary
- Worksheets, coloring pages, and games
Lingo Bus Resource Library Price
The resource library is free for Lingo Bus students.
Lingo Bus E-Book Features
- Read in a browser or on the student learning app
- There are 6 reading levels and over 400 e-books to choose from
- The Pinyin guide is displayed by default but can be turned off
- The text highlights along with the audio so that children can read along
- The pages can flip automatically or manually
- There is an English translation icon but the feature does not seem to work properly.
- Traditional Chinese is not available
Lingo Bus Flashcards
- Visual examples include real-life images and illustrations
- Click on the character to hear the audio or phrases
- Selecting “I don’t know” keeps the character in the flashcard rotation for further review
The e-books are the most valuable resource for my kids. The flashcards are the same as the class review so technically my kids used them before and after each class. We don’t use the other resources. I did notice that no new resources have been added to the library in the past two years.
If you are looking for worksheets, I have over 500 printables that you can download for free.
Is my child ready for online classes?
When I worked at VIPKid, we conducted a trial with younger students to determine if we could lower the starting age for our courses. Teachers and parents responded that children under age 6 simply do not have the attention span and parents must be there to redirect their child’s attention back to the class. Younger children also need their parents to assist them during class to complete tasks that require them to engage with the device or use a mouse. Online classes may not be suitable for parents seeking independent learning for preschool-age children as they will require parental supervision.
My daughter started taking online classes at age 4 because she was able to sit through a 25-minute class and follow instructions with little help from me. However, I did need to be nearby to troubleshoot any technical issues. This is a video of my her loving her Lingo Bus classes. The teachers did a great job keeping her interested and engaged.
25-minute vs 1-hour classes
My children are now 6 and 8 years old. We have tried a few hour-long classes which prove to be too long for their attention span. If a child cannot remain engaged and focused through a 1-hour class then it might be more effective to have two 25-minute classes instead of one 1-hour class. Plus, it’s a waste if a child is not interested in the class content. An engaged mind
What’s the best device to take online classes?
My preferred device for online classes is an iPad, but any device with a touchscreen is a good option. Through video chat, teachers guide students through the class. Both platforms allow your child to interact with the curriculum through by drawing on the screen or drag-and-drop features. Interaction is more intuitive using a touch screen, especially for younger children. If your child has a lot of computer experience and knows how to use a mouse or trackpad, then a standard computer works as well.
Are online classes as effective as in-person classes?
The pandemic may have forced us to try new methods of learning, but now that we have returned to normal, we still appreciate the flexibility of online classes. While online learning is here to say, you might be wondering if online classes are as effective as in-person teaching.
Both of my children attended a Chinese immersion preschool. My son also attended a Mandarin immersion afterschool program for a few months before the pandemic. These in-person programs were not enough to strengthen their Chinese language skills. I felt they were gaining very little compared to all the support I provide at home, but being their only source of Mandarin language education is exhausting. Online Chinese classes are a welcome resource in addition to any other option that you have access to. If your goal is for your children to have a strong foundation in Chinese, it’s not a choice between online or in-person — you’ll need all and any educational resource you can get your hands on!
Here are some other ways to support your child’s Chinese language education
- Read Chinese kids’ books
- Listen to Mandarin Chinese podcasts
- Watch cartoons in Chinese
- Learn Chinese characters using the Sagebooks curriculum
- Travel and immerse in the language and culture. (Learn more about Taiwan travel)
Conclusion: Should I choose LingoAce or Lingo Bus?
Whether you choose LingoAce or Lingo Bus, both companies offer enough options to customize a learning plan that works for your child. Below are some factors that may help you decide depending on your family’s needs.
- Lower price
- Traditional Chinese characters
- Reading App (additional fee)
Lingo Bus Pros
- Animated/gamified course review
- Free learning resources that include 400+ eBooks
How do I sign up for a free trial?
As with many Chinese companies, the best way to maximize any deals and promotions is to sign up using a referral link. It seems backward compared to US marketing, but Chinese companies really lean into referral marketing. You can sign up through their websites directly, but you may miss out on any extras such as free classes or extra discounts.
Use my LingoAce referral link for a free trial class and access to cartoon lessons. During the month of March, get 4 additional classes when you purchase a 30-class package. The form will be in Chinese. To sign up, enter your mobile number and click on the orange button. A Lingo Ace sales rep may call you and ask for my name, Jeanne Chang.
You can use my Lingo Bus referral link for one trial class and an additional bonus class upon signup.
If you decide to purchase a class package, I may also earn free classes or commissions depending on their current referral promotion. Thank you so much!