Being married to a German, and working for a German company, I have the pleasure of traveling to Germany for 2 weeks (or more) every year. For years, I tried to learn enough German to not embarrass myself while visiting.
After trying to teach myself with free online websites, I decided I wanted to learn bad enough to spend some money on a quality product, so I tried Rosetta Stone. Man, I kick myself every day for wasting my money on that crap. There are no rules, and nothing is ever explained, so I found myself more confused and frustrated than ever. Admittedly, I learned a few words and phrases, but never enough to confidently put together a real conversation. I mean, how often do you say "The boy runs" or "The man sleeps" in everyday conversation? I finished the whole first section, and could not hold an everyday conversation with my wife.
Next, I tried the Pimsleur Approach. This was 100 times more useful than Rosetta Stone (but still on the pricey side). However, since it's all audio, you don't get to see the words and phrases that you're learning and, to me, that is helpful. Also, the whole first lesson is basically learning phrases for business travel. This was good when I was on business trips, but no real help when dealing with my wife's family, or even the general public. It's also very hard to stick with because it does get quite repetitive (aka boring). You can learn a good bit, but without being able to see things, and write them, and quiz yourself, it's very hard to get beyond basic German.
After a few more programs and audio cds, I almost gave up. Just messing around on the internet one day, I stumbled upon Rocket Languages. Even though I had learned the very basics of German, part of me still wished I could learn more, so I decided to try the free trial.
Wow, talk about the complete package! Even after one lesson, you can tell that this is a different kind of learning system. It provides you with everything you need to be successful. The lessons are fun, and rarely repetitive. It gives you the chance to see and write what you're learning, plus you can check your pronunciation against the speakers. One of the best parts of Rocket Languages is that I can take it anywhere! I don't have to download any computer programs. I can download that days lesson in PDF or audio form if I know I won't be near my computer. Not to mention, the smartphone and Kindle apps are amazing!
Rocket Languages are cheaper than the competition, but so much better! Take it from the guy who has wasted countless time and money on trying to learn a language. Save yourself the frustration!
Rocket Languages should be your first and ONLY choice!