Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Latin For Children New TOS Review

One of the central components of a Classical Education is the inclusion of the study of Latin. For people I know this is one of the most forbidding and fear inducing parts of the Classical curriculum plan, but it no longer has to be.  Thanks to Classical Academic Press. Now Latin, can be one of the best parts.

I just don't know how to contain my enthusiasm, this is an awesome curriculum!! I hope it isn't breaking any of the rules to say it, but I just can't think of a better way to share how much I like and appreciate Latin For Children. It is wonderful. My children are extremely enthusiastic, they are eager to do Latin each day.  I think I can fairly say that in the last few weeks, Latin has become their favorite subject.

So what has me all excited you may ask.

It is Latin for Children (LFC) from Classical Academic Press.   As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received several products which comprise the Latin For Children Primer A bundle.  These include:
  • LFC Primer A student book
  • LFC A Activity Book
  • LFC A DVD and Chant Cd set
  • LFC A Answer Key
  • LFC A History Reader

Latin For Children is an introductory Latin course for children as young as 3rd grade. It teaches Latin vocabulary, grammar, and derivatives in a simple, straight forward manner which makes it easy to learn the language.

The material is presented in 32 chapters with approximately 5 -6 pages per chapter. It is designed to be used at the rate of one chapter per week.  There is a review chapter after several chapters of new information. The pages are black and white.  Interspersed throughout the text are pictures of ancient Roman artifacts, people, or buildings.  These are also black and white.

The activity book is laid out in a  very similar manner and feel. There are  approximately 4 pages of fun activities and puzzles per chapter. One of these may be the same as the last page in the Primer chapter. These puzzles reinforce the vocabulary and grammar taught in the chapter in a fun and unique manner.

A teachers answer key provides answers for the written work in the student Primer.

The DVD's teach the material, so unless you have a Latin background they are essential. On the DVD you have the option to choose from Classical or Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation. Each session begins several children and youth presenting the chapters vocabulary list in an engaging chant.  The leader says the word and the English translation then the rest of the children repeat both the Latin and English. There are also short Latin sayings which are learned via this chant also. From here the DVD moves to the Grammar instruction.  I believe the teacher is Dr. Christopher Perrin, one of the authors of the program. He is very personable and clearly has a passion for his subject and it shows in his presentations.  He presents all of the information both verbally and drawing it on a white board at the same time.  Thus the student both hears the proper pronunciation and sees the spelling of words along with seeing how the language works.  This is very conversational and relaxed. I found it easy to listen to and understand. 

The CD's are the Vocabulary portion of the program and done in the same manner as the DVD.

The Latin History Reader contains 15 short stories of history from the Roman empire and the life of Christ. This little book provides translation experience for the Latin student.  It is recommended to begin using it once the student reaches approximately the half way point of the primer. Each lesson features several sentences to translate, a glossary containing words or phrases which may be unfailiar along with their endings if applicable. There is also a short historical note to explain more of what is being read.  The lesson then closes with several questions to ask and answer in Latin.

In addition to all of these resources, Classical Academic Press's website offers a large number of free resources.  They also have an interactive website, Headventureland, which gives opportunities to watch short videos reinforcing vocabulary and presenting Roman culture in a fun manner.  There are also opportunities to practice declensions and conjugations by putting together the respective charts.  This is done in a manner similar to online jigsaw puzzles.

So how much does this all cost?  The bundle which I received and just described costs $99.95.
All of the items are available individually also.

Latin study continues with Latin For Children Primer B and C as well as another series for 6th grade and up.
Classical Academic Press offers a beginner Latin book for students as young as Kindergarten in addition. 
There are also a number of fun items such as a card game, poster, Bingo, and crossword puzzle book available.

The website offers free samples of LFC A to download and look at.  However, I will admit that when I looked at the samples I felt the program was too complex and unmanageable.  But with the teaching on the DVD the written work is not that hard.  So don't let the sample pages scare you.

You may find information about all of these Latin programs as well as other academic subjects offered by Classical Academic Press at the Classical Academic Press website.

How we used Latin for Children

Both my 6 and 10 year old have used LFC and love it.  I love it, too.  The presentation and materials are varied enough to prevent boredom, but still teach good solid mechanics and vocabulary. The vocabulary chants are catchy and memorable.

I started out having both of them do the written work in the student book and activity book.  However, after the second week this became too much for my 6 year old.  So I just have him learning the vocabulary, conjugations, and declensions as well as watching the video. He walks around the house all day conjugating verbs, the principal parts of the verbs and vocabulary words. These he has picked up effortlessly. He is totally enjoying the vocabulary. My daughter has also picked up the vocabulary and pronunciation effortlessly, she evens corrects me at times.  Sometimes I get sloppy and slur my ends but, she is quick to point that out to me!

My daughter really enjoys the activity book.  I want one for myself.  Not that I would find time to complete it though. She is disappointed that the ink fades away when she has to erase.  This occurs in both the Primer and the Activity book.

As I described above the DVD's are really well done.  We have enjoyed learning from them.  They are serious, but also have moments that are funnier or make Mom smile.  At the end of the grammar lesson there is also a fun extra, like a mini interview with one of the children who does the chanting or a segment of a cartoon "How the West was Unos". These are a little bit of spice to make learning Latin even more fun. My children wish "West" was on at the end of each lesson, not just every 4th lesson!

One thing which I feel would make the program better is to make the answer key  into more of a teachers manual by adding the grammar instruction pages to it.  Later in the week, on a day we didn't watch the DVD, we would review the grammar for the lesson and I would have to share with one of my children in order to lead a discussion.

We have not used the History reader yet, as it is suggested to begin this about halfway through the course and we are not there yet.  I have looked through it and believe it will be very interesting when we have enough vocabulary to make full use of it. Even at this point I am able to translate some of it.

My children have also really enjoyed Headventureland.  They have done the charts numerous times and don't seem to tire of putting them together.  They have also been having friendly competitions with each other to see who can complete them quicker or with a better grade. We have also enjoyed the videos on that site.  The video featuring amo,amas,amat  is hilarious!  Check it out to see what I mean.

The pronunciation on the DVD is correct as verified by my husband, who studied Ecclesiastical Latin in his Seminary studies.

We have enjoyed Latin For Children so much I purchased several of the supplementary items which go with the series.  When I placed this order I received it in a very timely manner.

I just can not say enough positive things about LFC A. Before receiving this program to review we were using another beginning Latin program, but after seeing how well my children responded to and learn from LFC A we will definitely be continuing with all three Latin For Children Primer levels. My son has said learning Latin is totally fun! I agree, Latin For Children is a fun way to learn Latin!

Read what other Crew Members have to say here.

Disclaimer: I received a free Latin For Children A bundle to use to write this review.  I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions expressed here are solely my own.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like this one is quite thorough. We loved our Songs School Latin. I'll have to research this more and see how this compares to our other Latin program.