Latin is one of those subjects that I think is important to teach but rarely seem to manage to squeeze into our daily schedule. Over the years, with Kaytie and Nate, I've worked on it, dropped it, tried another approach, and so on. And with the younger kids, ages 8 and 9, I haven't even really done much Latin at all. So I happily agreed to review Latina Christiana I Complete Set put out by Memoria Press.
We have recently reviewed other products from Memoria Press and enjoyed it, so that was another reason to look forward to it!
- Teacher's Manual
- Student book
- Instructional DVDs
- pronunciation CD
The Student book is consumable and not reproducible, so you need one for every student. We got around this by answering all the questions orally, but it is truly easier just to have one per kid. It contains lessons, maps, History questions, prayers, quotes, forms and a vocabulary index.
The flashcards are on sturdy white cardstock that come in a 8.5 x 11 sheet. They are perforated and you have to separate before you can use them. I separated them as I went and kept them rubber-banded together. They have the Latin word on one side with the derivatives. The English word and its part of speech is on the other side. My favorite part is the fact that each card has the number of its lesson on it so it is easy to put them back in order if needed.
The DVDs are awesome. There are 5 discs and 25 lessons. They contain all of the lessons, taught by Leigh Lowe (the author of Prima Latina, also put out by Memoria Press) so, in effect, I don't have to actually teach anything!
The pronunciation CD contains a pronunciation guide, prayer instructions, the prayers and songs and all the vocabulary from each lesson. In short, everything you will need to say, so you can hear it said correctly. With that in mind, it's ok to speak Latin with your own regional accent! "After all," the CD says,"There are no Romans around to correct you!"
So this is what we did. First, we would all watch the DVD lesson on tv. Then, I would spend a day or two going back over the lesson using the Teacher's manual and the Student book and a white board (if needed). This really seemed to help cement the vocabulary and other info into the kids' heads. Let me walk you through a sample lesson. Let's take Lesson Six
On the first day, we watch the lesson. Since this takes us roughly half an hour, this is all we do this day. Mrs. Lowe greets the students in Latin and waits for them to respond. They have already learned the proper response so they give it. (I might or might not have to nudge a couple of the more reluctant) Next is a recitation of vowel sounds, diphthongs, a conjugation of amo and sum, verb personal endings, and the declension of the noun mensa. Then we are told to turn off the DVD and listen to a new song (Adeste Fideles) on the pronunciation CD.
When we have done this, we return to the DVD to learn the Latin saying for the week. She explains the history behind the saying and then we practice saying it in both Latin and English. Then we move on to the week's vocabulary words. We learn ten new words. She spends a lot of time covering each word's part of speech. Next she talks about the English derivatives of each word and encourages the kids to be on the lookout for others.
Next up is Grammar. We talk about the five declensions and the five cases. She has the kids start memorizing the first declension. And finally, we practice declining a noun.
The last part of the lesson is "homework" or exercises which are all found in the Student book. They actually are the Student book. :)
On the second day, I gather the kids around the table and we work our way back through the lesson using the Teacher Manual. We practice the greeting, the Table Blessing and Adeste Fideles (I use the pronunciation CD for the last two). I have the kids tell me what the Latin saying is and they repeat whatever they remember of the history of it. We review the Grammar quickly, in a question/answer or narration style, depending on how well they seem to know the material and how I feel the lesson should go. Then we briefly review the derivatives. Finally, we review the week's vocabulary words with the flashcards.
On the third day, we pull out the Student book and go through it orally. I write the answers to avoid fighting. (If we are pressed for time, I will just leave them blank, no big deal.) We do the prayer, saying and song we are currently working on. And we go over all previous flashcards.
On the fourth day, we review anything that gave us trouble, say the Table Blessing, the Latin saying and Adeste Fideles. We finish up with another round of flashcards.
We have really enjoyed Latina Christiana and fully intend to continue our way through the program. I will use it with all four kids in the fall. That said, there are a few things I wish were different. I wish the flashcards were laminated. My kids can be hard on flashcards and I'm not at all sure these will hold up to their loving use. I wish the DVD lessons were a little shorter, my kids had a hard time absorbing 30-40 minutes of information in one go! When we start up this program again in August, I will probably see if I can stop in the middle and divide the lessons into two parts. And, of course, I wish the Student books were PDFs so I could just buy one and print as many copies as I needed.
I really liked having the support of both the DVDs and the CD. Not having any real experience with Latin myself, it was nice not having to worry about getting it right or even saying it right. I liked having the Teacher's Manual as well, so I could easily reference information and use it to reinforce the DVD without having to re-watch it. But most of all, I liked that my kids are learning Latin in a fun and engaging way!
Other Crew members reviewed different products from Memoria Press so be sure to check them out!