You may recall I already have LOTS of Latin curricula at my house. This week I bought a few new Latin resources. Currently, we are going through Song School Latin 2 (I also found their Latin Alive 1 & 2 on sale at Half Price Books - now I own them too). Song School is probably a bit too easy for my 9 yo and I haven't really forced it with the 6 yo. So, I am trying to figure out what to do next. I think I found it!
Olim . . . Once Upon a Time in Latin (the orangey color books in the back)
This is my favorite recent find. I have the first set of books. There are 4 available and she is expecting to do 10 in the series. Basically, one book is a reader and you can also purchase the accompanying workbook. A few years ago Andrew Kern discussed using fables in Latin that were simple enough to read aloud to children - this is it!! It has the story in English with simple line drawings, followed by the story in Latin with sidebars that help translate the text. Each page only has a sentence or two and the typeface is large. The workbook focuses on vocabulary in translation to help cement the words in the text. There are also "digging deeper" sections which introduce more complex grammar topics. This is not a grammar based program but you get to see grammar in context! I read the first story - Three Little Pigs - aloud to my 3 and 6 year old and they enjoyed it - in English and Latin. It doesn't say "by the hair of my chinny chin chin" - that is a bit tough to translate, but it keeps the gist of the story in phrases that are easy to understand. She uses fairy tales, fables and Biblical texts for most of the stories.
I have been in touch with the creator and her blog gives tips and reassurance to parents who want to bring Latin alive for their younger kiddos. She is working on audios too! Imagine listening to The Good Samaritan with your kids in Latin! If you want your little ones to love Latin this might be a great way to start. As they get older, your children might need a more grammar based program. Just as we read aloud to kids a ton when they are little and then introduce grammar around 4th or 5th grade (at the earliest). This program allows you to FINALLY follow that same pattern in Latin. I am doing a happy dance here!
I got this book through a friend who is an Usborne consultant. I am sure you have seen these in other languages but you may not have known there is one in Latin. My kids actually thought it was a seek and find book so they loved looking at the pictures. This was an easy way for my husband to get involved in reading Latin with them. Many of the words are not quite true Latin because there were no televisions or computers in Rome - or as my husband mentioned - half the foods included were foreign to the Roman world. So, it is a bit of a stretch that way but my kids have looked at it for a few days in a row now and really enjoyed it.
I am on a quest to get more stories into our Latin studies. When I saw this at my favorite local used bookstore and I had credit - I got it. This comes from the publisher Bolchazy Carducci which carries a variety of Latin texts. I also got their Christian Reader but I am not using it yet. I read the first two lessons with my son aloud and we actually were able to translate it fairly well without looking up too many words. Each lesson starts with background information in English, the story in Latin, followed by a list of the words used grouped by function and then exercises to go with the story. The lesson questions are comprehension questions in English, questions about derivatives and some about grammar. Again, the focus here is reading in Latin and seeing the language in use. I did see that they now have Where the Wild Things Are in Latin. Don't tempt me!
Well that just about says it all. However, this is not your typical grammar. It has one concept per page with a clear explanation, including pictures. As I thumbed through I realized just how much I have to learn about Latin. Who knew there were so many ways to use the Genitive case? This is a great reference and I plan to use it with my kids. If there is a concept they are struggling with we can just look it up and see how it works. We have some of the older grammars but they are much harder to reference.
She also has a website that is designed to help you practice your Latin grammar. Tons of exercises and it grades it for you! This might be a good option if you really want to get those concepts down and don't want to be in charge of grading.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that the creator of Visual Latin has now made his live classes available for a flat subscription fee. You can learn Henle, Hans Orberg, and Greek. It is one flat fee for the whole family to access any of his classes. So if you have students in different levels of Latin - great. If you are trying to keep a bit ahead of your kids - now you easily can. I have seen one class demonstration and it was interactive and fun. I am still debating whether I have enough time to really dig in and use this resource this year. I know I will soon though.