Update 6/3/2016: We're just about finished with Primer A, and the boys look forward to Latin just as much now as they always have if not more. We are looking forward to Primer B, and I can't wait to see just how far they go. We're translating sentences, understanding the accusative case (in both Latin AND English), and beginning to use full, if simple, sentences throughout our day. I really love how easy this is to teach and learn. My Ovid's Metamorphosis copy in Latin doesn't look quite so intimidating anymore...
It’s no secret that Latin is one of our very favorite subjects. We have been studying for about a year and a half, taking our time and enjoying every bit of it. So when Rebecca from Classical Academic Press offered the opportunity to review their Latin for Children Primer A, we jumped at the chance to see their approach to this ancient (but still relevant) language.
They generously sent the full set, which includes the Student Edition workbook, Answer Key, DVD & CD set, Activity Book, and History Reader. In addition, Rebecca included access to the corresponding level of HeadventureLand.com for each of the boys.
One of the things we really like about Latin for Children is that they introduce nouns and verbs from the beginning. Homeschool Latin should be fun and engaging, and Latin for Children certainly fits the bill. I like seeing the boys integrate the vocabulary into their conversations, which they had not done previously. Dr. Perrin teaches the lesson itself, his teaching style is gentle but thorough, and not the least bit dry. Each lesson has a chant led by a couple of students, which teaches the weekly vocabulary, and they are catchy. We have caught ourselves idly humming them or just outright singing the chants on several occasions! The boys like to watch a few of the lessons one after another, and then do it all over again. I have seen them spend a couple of hours just watching and repeating Latin from the video lessons. When you combine that with the student books, there is a lot of learning going on, and the kids are having fun.
Latin for Children includes both the classical and the ecclesiastical pronunciations in the DVD & CD set. So you could alternate if you wanted, or just pick and go with one or the other. My boys have a love for all things old, so the classical is what they prefer, but the ecclesiastical is a bit easier and sounds more like Italian in its rhythm (at least to me).
Primer A includes noun declensions and verb conjugations adding up to 240 vocabulary words in the year. We like that the Student Edition and Activity Book are very engaging and kid-friendly, the grammar explanations are clear and concise, and the games and puzzles make learning Latin fun. It’s the sort of curriculum that makes you feel as though it’s almost too easy, and you worry your kids may not be learning much. That’s usually when you turn around to find them using Latin words to replace English in their conversations – correctly. When you see students use it in their conversations, you know they're really getting it.
The History Reader is slightly less secular than the rest of the course, but only slightly, and everything is approached from a historical literature perspective and we love it. It’s an optional book, but I find it very helpful in seeing real Latin stories and phrases to help connect everything. The nerd in me loves this, because it helps me pick things apart to understand them. I can then help my boys learn to do the same thing.
Now, a little bit about HeadventureLand.com. We love this website, and the activities help enrich and give added practice. Kids can log in, play games, read silly stories, quizzes, and watch entertaining bilingual cartoons. All the activities correspond with what they are learning in Latin for Children, chapter by chapter. You can log in to their account and see what they have done, how well they did, and keep tabs on what they are doing.
I’ve begun using it as homework for them, in addition to our regular Latin studies. The derivative exercises are the most difficult, because they really make you think! But I haven’t heard a single complaint about Latin homework since we started using HeadventureLand, and they will do an activity over and over until they get everything right. They like the instant feedback that the site provides, and I like that it’s easy for them to use on their own.
Everything in Latin for Children is designed to work together seamlessly, facilitating the learning of a fantastic language that’s had a tremendous impact on our own and many others throughout the world. Latin for Children is secular-friendly, and easy to use. It’s available online at http://classicalacademicpress.com/latin-for-children-primer-a-program, the full course is $99.95, and a one year subscription to headventureland.com for one child is $19.95.
Disclaimer: We received Latin for Children and HeadventureLand at no charge in exchange for our honest opinions, and we were not required to give a positive review.