Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weekly Resource - Beginning Latin Programs

After thinking about it a little more I decided to cut the Latin programs into two large categories.  Last week, we talked about considering your family goals for Latin - anywhere from SAT prep to reading Latin texts as high school students.  There is no one right way - any work in Latin will help your child's vocabulary and work that includes the grammar will develop more systematic thinking and grit!  

Level I - Latin for Vocabulary 

At this level we have programs and games that focus on Latin roots for words.

Caesar's English I and II by Michael Clay Thompson Press - This series is meant for 4th and 5th graders - but can easily be scaled up for older children.  These texts are actually the vocabulary portion of a full orbed language arts program which includes vocabulary, grammar, composition and poetics.  I do think that you can just use this vocabulary module by itself if you'd like.  These texts actually connect Spanish, Latin and English together - so if you are primarily pursuing Spanish and just want to look into some Latin roots this might be a great resource for you.

English From the Roots Up - This text subtitle is "help for reading, writing, spelling and S.A.T. scores".  There you have it.  It looks at root words in Latin and Greek and is a text for helping middle and high school students master these roots.  This does not lead to a formal study of Latin in any way - but it will give you some vocabulary background.

Rummy Roots and More Roots - Actually a card game to help you playfully learn Latin root words. There are several levels of play with the same deck of cards so it can serve a wide age range of students.

Word Up by Compass Classroom -  This is a brand new video series to help teach Latin and Greek roots.  It is meant for older elementary students and introduces 20 roots.  It is brought to you by the same people who do Visual Latin and will be available this summer.

Level II - Introductory Latin 

These programs are not full orbed programs but provide a gentle introduction into the basics of Latin.  They are meant as an introduction to some basic concepts in Latin  - vocabulary, conjugation, and declension. The more recent programs do recommend other programs that you can use if you desire to continue your studies.

Getting Started With Latin - This program was designed just for homeschoolers who wanted a gentle introduction to Latin.  It introduces one word each lesson and a new grammar concept for 134 lessons.  I don't think any lesson has more than 10 questions to answer.  I have heard of mom's doing this with their children aloud.  His website has many resources and mp3 versions of each lesson so that you can hear the Latin spoken correctly (in both ecclesiastical and classical).   The author has now completed the "next step" in Latin which is a free online class using Linney's Latin (it is available from google books or Amazon).   He also provides many links to items that support the study of Caesar's Gallic Wars.

I Speak Latin - This program is designed for late elementary students and uses the total physical response method of teaching.  It does not focus on grammar based learning - instead it uses activity and picture flash cards to help students learn vocabulary.  The text lays out exactly what the teacher should say (there is also mp3 audio companions on the website) to the student during the lesson.  Each lesson is designed to take about 20 minutes.  He recommends two lessons a week.  He actually recommends Getting Started With Latin (above) as a next step after his curriculum for younger students.  This might be a great way to get active boys engaged in speaking and playing with Latin concepts but don't expect them to memorize declensions or conjugations with this series.

Junior Latin: Book One - Google books has a plethora of old Latin books (as you can imagine).  I particularly like this one for practicing nouns and adjectives.  It provides lots of examples and practice for using declensions.  This book introduces a few verbs for the sake of making sentences but does not teach conjugations.  If you are using another program and just want more practice with declensions - this is where I would turn.  The introduction in this book is also helpful in summing up the link between Latin and English grammar and some thoughts about how to learn Latin. I have yet to find a corresponding verb book.

That's it for now.  I know there are many more programs out there - these are just some of the ones I have more experience with.  If you have tried or seen any feel free to leave them in the comments! Next week we will look at programs that are designed for multiple years of study.

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