June 3, 2015

Latina Christiana I~ A Latin Program for Beginners {Curriculum Review}

Latin. A dead language...or is it? After much research we decided that having Little Britches learn Latin as his foreign language during third grade (this year) was worthwhile, for it is a gateway language to most of the romantic languages--as well as a key component of much of the English vocabulary and sciences. We had a curriculum we were already learning, but when I was able to have a chance to review Latina Christiana I Complete Set from Memoria Press, I decided that we would give this other curriculum a try!
Latina Christiana from Memoria Press~ Curriculum Review

Product Information

Latina Christiana I Complete Set is a Latin program from Memoria Press. It is a beginning Latin grammar course for all ages, but was designed for students as young as third grade. This is a one year Latin course for parents and teachers without any Latin background. The core of the curriculum is the Teacher Manual w/CD and Student Book, but there is  DVD lessons and flashcards available for additional help.

The Latina Christiana I Complete Set retails for $98.90 and includes:
*Student Book
*Teacher Manual
*Pronunciation CD
*Instructional DVDs

Here is a sample of the DVD that comes with the Latina Christiana I Complete Set:

We were given the Latina Christiana I Complete Set to review. Little Britches (age 9) and I reviewed this product together.

How Did We Use This Product?

When this product arrived, I knew that I needed to look it over to get a handle on how it worked. I immediately pulled out the teacher manual to give it a go over. The first thing I liked (which I mention this a lot) is that it has a spiral binding. This is always a win-win for me! A few things I noticed included:
1. It is very detailed and thorough in describing how the program works
2. It includes pronunciation charts.
3. There are a couple pages of reproducible charts to be copied for the students, including quizzes.
4. It is written for a class and/or homeschool
5. It offers up suggestions on how to incorporate the program into your schedule.

6. Every page of the student book is in every lesson of the teacher manual.

This is one of the things I really appreciate about Memoria Press. They do this simple thing and it makes the teachers manual so much more teacher friendly. I also like that the answers to the exercises are right there on the mini student pages, so I don't have to try to find them.

Little Britches wasn't highly excited or motivated to try a new Latin program, but was willing to give it a shot--especially since it included a DVD like our other one did. We got started--he sitting in the recliner and I on the couch with the rest of the materials. While we listened to the Welcome and Introduction message, I worked on punching out the flashcards which were included in the package--I did them up to chapter 10.

Right away during the welcome and introduction I noticed Little Britches eyes glazing over...the DVD is presented very much in the style of a lecture hall with a teacher and slideshow. Not the ideal set up for a always on the go 9 year old. He actually at one point was upside down in the recliner listening.
Can't you tell how enthralled he is? LOL
Once we got to the Lesson 1, I had him sit up and pay more attention. He didn't mind this part since it began with greeting the teacher and learning the commands to: stand, sit and pray. He already is familiar with these words from our previous program and was glad to recognize them. Although he did look at me funny when they said we would be praying (learning prayers) as part of this program since that was something very new. At this point in the DVD, it told us to stop the DVD and listen to our CD with the prayer and song for the week/day. I already had the CD in our player, so we just switched over and listened to it, then returned back to the lesson.

Once this is done, the teacher dives right into the first lesson.
We did this for our lessons two times--but it was just way to boring, so we ceased using the DVD’s and just attacked it in a way that worked for us—with me leading the lesson (easy to do when it's written out for you in the manual) and using our whiteboard. We still did the opening dialogue and recitation, but ditched the CD’s after the first two lessons. Little Britches responded much better once we did this.

Here is how we ended up working through the lessons:

Day 1: Introduce the lesson
I wrote each word/phrase and translation on the board and had him repeat them.

Once we had them all written down, we went through and identified the nouns and verbs. It was a good reminder of ending identification. Next we read either the conjugation or declension and looked at the endings to remind ourselves about what they mean.

Then we recited them a few times. I simply followed the teacher information in the teachers guide to teach the lesson.

Day 2: Derivatives
I started by reviewing the conjugation and phrase we learned the previous day. Then, I skipped ahead and did the derivatives portion as a reminder of what the words meant. I encouraged Little Britches to think of words with the Latin root in it and 9 out of 10 times he could think of at least one. Then we wrote down the words on the board—and he picked the one he knew the best to write on his vocabulary list next to its Latin root. From here we completed the derivative exercise in his workbook.

Day 3: Vocabulary and Translation
Again we reviewed the assigned conjugation/declension through recitation. Then we worked through the exercises in the workbook for translation, vocabulary, and pronoun endings.
Practicing our phrases

Day 4: Review
On this day we began with the recitation of the new conjugation or declension and then we played the flashcard game I made up. I had him start on the other side of the room from me and I held up and read a flashcard. If he got the translation correct, he got to take a step forward. If he didn’t, he had to take a step back. If he stumbled over the translation, I would give him the derivative words to help and they always give him the assistance he needs. He likes this game a lot and it helps him remember what everything means.

The book provides some other ideas for review...

We completed a lesson a week, but there was a week or two where we reviewed instead of learning new vocabulary. I made up review lessons using our vocabulary--like a lot of matching.
Working on matching chapter 1 verbs
As of this week, we are working on our review of the first five lessons. We were easily able to do it, even while we were travelling in the car.
Finishing the review for first 5 chapters

What Are Our Thoughts About This Product?

Little Britches: 
“I do not like the DVD. The lady was boring so I had mommy do the lesson herself. I didn’t like the music or prayer recitation. I liked the flashcard game mommy did to help me remember the words. I just think this program was boring.”

In general, I have to agree with Little Britches. I think this program is very classical in nature—much more textbook style where you watch a lesson, recite, and then do worksheets. The DVD’s are very useful, but not geared for a younger age, so Little Britches asked if he HAD to watch them, because he’d rather I teach him myself.

I do think that the way I adapted the program to fit us, made it work. He seemed to have a pretty good retention of the words as long as we did LOTS of review. The derivative portion of learning Latin ended really being helpful in regards to determining translations. For instance, Little Britches knows what spectacles are, therefore it helps him remember that the base root “Specta” means “too look at”. I personally think learning the derivatives was the most helpful and useful portion of the whole program.

Little Britches quickly caught on to the process of conjugating a word, for Latin makes it easy since it uses the same ending for nearly every verb. Little Britches rattled off his conjugations with ease every morning and week.

I think the DVD is something I would use myself, but not something that I would or will continue to use with Little Britches. I am confident that I can teach it using the teachers guide—though I like knowing I can watch the lesson on DVD if I need help with a pronunciation or lesson.

While the CD with the prayers and songs was helpful, we ended up just saying them ourselves without listening to the CD because we felt it was “boring.” It also started feeling like I was in a Catholic church hearing vespers. I picked and decided which prayers I liked for us and which I was just going to pass on. The prayers are written out with complete pronunciation which is lovely!

I really liked that the teachers guide was spiral. I adore spiral books because they tend to hold up better. The flashcards were thick and I liked how they had the lesson they went with clearly marked on each card, as well as having the translation and derivatives. I totally forgot about the reproducibles, but plan on using them for the rest of our units because I think they will be very helpful. I also forgot about the quizzes that are included for each chapter. I will use them from here on out for sure.

So will we continue to use this program?
For now, yes, but with the adaptations that I have made. I don’t know that I necessarily like this one over the other Latin program I purchased. It think I like them each for different reasons, so I might just sort of combine them.

Would I Recommend This Product?

Yes, but with reservations. This is not a program designed to really be “kid friendly”. It isn’t flashy or “fun”, but it is very well done. Completing the program would give you an excellent grasp on beginning Latin, and you will notice and find Latin in our English words all the time after working just a couple lessons. I would definitely say that this program fits the Classical teaching style, so if you teach in that manner, you would probably enjoy it. The DVD’s are very helpful if you aren’t confident in teaching the program yourself—especially in regards to pronunciation. I am enjoying it myself and find myself picking up the words very quickly.

If you are seeking out something with fun kids songs, fun graphics, games, kid friendly video lessons—I would NOT recommend this program.

Want To Know More About This Product?

We reviewed Latina Christiana I Complete Set ($98.90) from Memoria Press. You have read our thoughts on this program, but what did other crew members think? Did you know that our team also reviewed two other Memoria Press products? Make sure you check out those reviews as well!
Memoria Press Review
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Latin is a fascinating language and the more I learn about it as I teach, the more I realize that it is NOT a dead language, but one that pervades through out modern day language and vocabulary. I also think that even having a basic handle on it, will make studying other languages a lot easier because so many of the popular romantic languages have their Latin influences. I know that regardless of Little Britches thoughts on it, I am enjoying learning more and more about the language!
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