First off - Happy Mother's Day! I hope that you had a great day. My big present was taking a nap! Hopefully yours was great too.
If you have been around a while you might know that I am a little obsessed with Latin. I mostly collect resources about learning it - but have yet to apply myself to studying it. After spending some time with Prima Latina (and the videos) we moved on to Latina Christiana this year. I didn't do the book and we didn't watch the videos (they were a little dry) - we just listened to the vocabulary in the car. I am not sure that much was retained- if any.
Through CC we memorize the noun and verb endings in different years so I am not too worried about those. The tutor for A (so about 7th graders) said that learning vocabulary, knowing their Latin endings and having a firm grasp of English grammar by the time they enter that class would help them a lot. Although Latina Christiana does have more vocab that will prepare them for Caesar and other readings - if you aren't retaining it there is limited benefit. When we finished listening to Latina Christiana I decided we needed to try something different.
So, I splurged and bought Song School Latin. Around here we call it "monkey Latin" and even my 3 yo asks for it. The difference in interest level and retention is night and day. I did get the videos; to me, they are worth it. My boys think Simeon (the monkey) is hilarious and they go around repeating his jokes using the Latin he uses. The humor is spot on for my boys. The songs are fun and they get stuck in your head. The derivative river is just enough to show words we get from Latin but not too long to lose kids attention. We, again, aren't really doing the book part. I do have it and read the stories and do some of the games but I really just want the kids to hear it. My mom learned French in elementary school (through dialogues) and she said in 7th grade when they finally read it they already knew so much. I think now that my oldest is making progress in spelling (YEAH) we could probably do more written Latin - maybe next year. I didn't get the clash cards but I might make something similar to play with over the summer.
Song School Latin 1 teaches just a few words a lesson and uses the words in multiple songs and stories. It focuses on "everyday" language versus a prep for Caesar and is appropriate for this age. It allows us to use it more naturally in our conversation. I can say to the boys "Go stand by the porta" and they can do it. We plan to do levels 1 and 2 and then I'm not sure what next. My 5 yo actually seems to remembers things better than the 8 yo. At that point the choice will probably be between Visual Latin and Latin for Children.
I don't think that entertainment is necessary for education - but I do have to say at this age there is a lot to be said for engaging kids in what they are learning, especially when it is something that most people think of as "hard". I am glad we made the switch and my boys are too!