The study of a foreign language seems to be a goal in our homeschool that often gets short changed. We started trying to study Latin as a family unit. We never got pass the fourth lesson in that program. This year we made it a bit further in the programs with the older boys studying at their own level. But, after our big move cross country, we pretty much tabled it again.
I guess God thinks we NEED to learn Latin. And, I’ll admit to wanting a decent understanding for the next time we are able to attend a Latin Rite Mass. Plus, there can definitely be a benefit for children within English grammar and composition studies to have some Latin skills on their tool belt.
So, what is this new Latin program we are now beginning to use?
Let me start by saying that if you are looking for a plug and play Latin curriculum, then this is NOT going to be for you.
The teacher manual is thick and begins with a long explanation of how the program came into being and how you use it with your student(s). I’ll admit that in my sleep deprived state over the past few months it took a while to make it through the introductory chapters and start wrapping my brain around the first few chapters of material. Teacher preparation is needed, but you do NOT need to have studied Latin in the past to use the materials. Instead, you learn ahead of the student(s) so that you can effectively present the material.
Along with the teacher guide and student book (both three hold punched loose-leaf format for placement in binders), The Great Latin Adventure includes a pronunciation CD. Some might never have need of listening to this and still be capable of making it through the program. However, the perfectionist in me finds it quite helpful. This is especially true as the author is using the classical pronunciations rather than the ecclesiastical ones found in most Christian Latin programs.
If you have studied Latin in the past, you could skip the first chapter. The primary focus of this chapter is pronunciation of the Latin. Personally, I found this to be a helpful way to start into the new material both to learn the Classical pronunciations and to just get our minds set for learning the language again.
Beginning with the second chapter, you can use the suggested 9 class lesson format for scheduling. Presentation of vocabulary jump starts the chapter studies with the student making their own vocabulary cards. Over one to three classes, you tackle the grammar with the student working on a derivative worksheet and prepare for a pre-quiz. Chapters include several translation worksheets that get spread out with the pre-quiz sandwiched in after the first one. Finally, you wrap up the chapter studies with a final chapter quiz. If you spend 3 ‘class’ times per week, you’ll finish a chapter in about 3 weeks time.
While this program is a bit more teacher intensive than others out there, the teacher’s manual has fantastic teaching notes to walk you through. And, I love that the translations are bi-directional throughout the book: Latin to English for chapters introducing new vocabulary AND English to Latin for chapters that are more of a review of previous material.
I have to confess that we just barely got started with this program in time for writing this review. As we strive to use a product either in its entirety (if a ‘quick’ item like a book) or for several weeks (for a full fledged curriculum product), I feel terrible for not getting beyond the start of the second chapter. Hence, I can not say if this was a fantastic product for our family or a flop at the moment. It’s just too soon to really tell. But, having used other foreign language materials in the past, I can highlights some of the features and how it might compare to other approaches.
I do plan to continue with it as our family wants to continue studying Latin and find a way that helps cement it all. My boys seem to need a bit more repetition than some programs have available. With the plethora of worksheets per chapter, I can see the Great Latin Adventure potentially filling this gap for us. It just means a bit more work on MY part compared to programs on the computer or with a DVD option. But, maybe I won’t be repeating lessons when tests show the material has not ‘stuck’ or having to generate extra work for them to do.
You can preview pages from the curriculum to get a better idea of the program. Either level requires purchase of the student and teacher pages in loose leaf format. These can be purchased with or without the binders needed to house them.
As always, you can read what other TOS Crew mates are saying about Classical Legacy Press on the TOS Homeschool Crew page. Our family was provided with a copy of The Great Latin Adventure, Level One in exchange for our review. No other compensation was provided to me and the opinions expressed in the review are my own.