Monday, April 27, 2009

Discovering an old language - Latin


Memoria Press was the last vendor to participate to the TOS Homeschool Crew and they suggested some products to review with the possibility to change the choice if we wanted. I personally modified my selection a little bit asking for Prima Latina and Latina Christiana I so I can present both options to other homeschoolers in my area. I must tell you that I don’t have any experience in Latin so I was a little bit concerned with starting with Latina Christiana I. I was expecting to receive only the books for both curriculum and I had the surprise to receive not only the books but the CDs and DVDs as well. The teacher manuals contain a complete copy of the student book with answers as well as additional explanation of lessons if your student found it difficult.

For someone who never did any Latin in her life, I was glad to get the DVDs. And I must honestly say that the DVDs are a must. Leigh Lowe takes the time to explain and repeat the teaching for whoever sit down and listen to it. I find this curriculum uses the various ways of learning, listening, saying, and writing.

Prima Latina is an introduction to Christian Latin for Grades K-3.
On the website, you can access the table of contents as well as examples of lessons. You can also see some pages from the teacher’s manual and access online games.

In Prima Latina you will recognize English and Latin verbs as well as nouns, prepositions, proper nouns & pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, to be verbs, present and future tenses, first conjugation, first declension, 125 Latin vocabulary words, about 150 Latin derivatives, 25 great Latin sayings, and many more. It is the precursor of Latina Christiana.

Latina Christiana I is an introduction to Christian Latin as well but geared for students in grades 3-6.

Again on the website, you can access the table of contents and a lesson from both books. You can also get from flashcard drill form, printable frill forms, fun Latin songs, extra worksheets and keys, online games and a list of online resources for Latin.

In Latina Christiana I, you will study 200 vocabulary words, 250 derivatives, grammar forms, 25 Latin sayings, history lessons, and much more. Latina Christiana I can be paired with their book Famous Men of Rome. In the teacher’s manual, you will find a small free study guide for Famous Men of Rome and the stories of 30 great Romans will make the study of Latin come alive. The introduction of Latina Christiana I also review the lessons learned in Prima Latina for the base of Latin.

As I mentioned above, I personally had no experienced with Latin. So my eldest son and I sat down one day and started the first lesson of Prima Latina. By the end of it, we were both excited about it and were looking forward to continue. My son enjoyed it to the point that he was using some expressions during the day. For example, before starting a prayer he would sometimes use the term for Let Us Pray which is Oremus. We learned that the Latin alphabet has only 25 letters (I will let you search for which letter is missing) and the pronunciation of the letters are sometimes different that the regular alphabet.

We had some reactions about us wanting to learn Latin. The “Why Latin?” question came and my answer to it is simple. Latin is the base of many languages in the World – French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian to name only a few. I think it would be nice to learn this language and have a good base for other languages as well. Did you know that for the English language only there are over half of the words that come from Latin? I didn’t know this and I think it is pretty impressive. Latin also helps to learn English grammar. I am a French Canadian and I am finding that I am learning a lot in both English and French with these lessons. Besides Latin is used a lot in science and understanding it would help to decipher the terms used for animals, plants, and other science terminology.

The DVDs are a must. I highly recommend getting them as well. It makes the lesson so much easier and you learn the proper pronunciation right away. Leigh Lowe is just wonderful in her lessons. The videos are professionally made and you can sense her passion for this language. The lesson on DVD is very interactive as well. Leigh takes the time to repeat multiple times to make sure the students understand and as some point she let the students answer her in the video. I think it is a great way to keep the attention of the students. She also make the lesson so easy to grasp and apply by explaining the meaning and giving the derivative. You won’t look at an English word the same way anymore – I guarantee it! By combining the student book with the DVD lesson and the CD, Leigh makes certain that she uses all senses to learn a complex language. The student will see it on the TV and in the book, hear it multiple times and also say it in response to the lesson.

For younger students I strongly recommend to start with Prima Latina as it would present the basic of the language. As soon as your student is more comfortable in learning grammar and expending is knowledge in a second (or third) language, then I would recommend considering in Latina Christiana I which can be followed by Latina Christiana II later on.

Prices and certificate of accomplishment
The Prima Latina texts, DVDs and Flashcard is priced at 90.90$ US while the Latina Christiana I is priced at 97.90$ US for the text books, DVDs and flashcards. I didn't get any flash cards in the set I received so I can not comment of these. When you complete Latina Christiana I or II, you can also request a certificate of accomplishment for a nominal charge. Details of this opportunity can be found at the following link .

Confused to which program would be better for your student? Simply go to and look at the chart to determine which Latin program you would need.

Oh I almost forgot... If you are wondering what Salvete! means it’s Hello when there is more than one person. This is my last review for the TOS Homeschool Crew and I am telling all my fellow crew members Valete amici (goodbye friends). I am forever grateful for the time spent together during the last 9 months and look forward to continue this relationship on facebook and our yahoo group. See you all around the corner of the digital world!

As for me, the TOS Homeschool Crew made me rediscover a love of writing to inform others. I made contact with various publishers and companies and will continue to review products in the months to come. I just enjoy doing this and think I have found my niche (a marketing terminology)! Keep reading to see what I will discover in the future. Blessings!

NOTE: At our recent homeschool conference in our city, I discovered with joy that Memoria Press was offered by at least two vendors. However, I didn't see the DVDs on the table.

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