Sunday, June 16, 2013

{Crew Review} Latin for Young Ones: Prima Latina

Levi is having his cake and eating it too.  He just helped me finish up another foreign language review!  This time we reviewed Memoria PressPrima Latina complete set ($90.90), a gentle Latin program for kindergarten up to 2nd or 3rd grade students.

Really, I can’t think of a resource that you would need to add to your beginning Latin studies outside of this set:
  • Teacher book – this has some additional information for teachers, but includes copies of all the student pages with answers typed in. {click for sample-Teacher Manual and Table of Contents}
  • Student book {click for sample-Sample Lesson I}
  • DVD set of Leigh Lowe teaching this course lesson by lesson to students {see a sample here – Prima Latina DVD}
  • Pronunciation CD for each lesson (which includes some Latin prayers and songs)
  • Flashcards (you won’t use all of them, because they are keyed to Latina Christiana)
The goals of this program are to gently introduce Latin to young learners who will:
  1. learn the Latin alphabet and (ecclesiastical or “church”) pronunciation
  2. pronounce, spell, and speak a vocabulary of 125 words
  3. learn 4 prayers and 25 conversational Latin phrases/ sayings (such as ‘hello,’ ‘how are you?’)
  4. Count to 10
  5. learn the names of popular constellations
  6. begin to understand the concept of derivatives – English words that come from Latin words.
  7. learn grammar principals – identify basic parts of speech, understand that ‘conjugating’ is for verbs while ‘declining’ is for nouns, and memorize the 1st declension for nouns and 1st conjugation for verbs.
Each of the 25 lessons (plus a review after each set of 5 lessons and a test) are designed to be completed in one week.  There are not hard-and-fast suggestions on how to accomplish the lesson, written workbook exercises, DVD lessons, and drill practice, but the teacher’s guide has an appendix with some suggestions on elements to include in each lesson.

How We Used This Program:  Levi is a pretty methodical student {so far}, and he likes working at a steady pace.  We usually finished a lesson in 3-4 sittings, which is a little faster than I expected; but really, at 1st grade, I’m just following his lead.  {Which means sometime we completed a lesson in 1.5 weeks because we needed a day off or had an appointment somewhere.}

As suggested in the study guide, Levi would watch the video to begin his lessons.  He really liked it, and didn’t seem to be bored with them at all. That is good, because they are not the most exciting DVDs, but they certainly do the job well. Ms. Lowe has a gentle demeanor and pleasant voice for early elementary students. There is nothing flash or loud about these lessons.  I would describe the video as being very traditional – Ms. Lowe speaks to the camera and written words are put on the screen to help the child with reading comprehension and pronunciation. I’m grateful that Levi is a good reader and he can use these written word cues to help him recognize and pronounce words. I love watching him repeat and follow Ms. Lowe’s directions; he even corrects me when I don’t do the right thing.

After we listen to the lesson, we would find our flashcards.  Each lesson introduces just 5 vocabulary words:

The top card in the picture above is the Latin side – verbs are presented in the first persona case, present case.  For example, the word “amo” means “I love.”  below it are two derivatives to help students build vocabulary.  Levi and I usually talk about these, but Ms. Lowe does discuss them in the DVD lesson. The second card in the picture shows the English side – the translation + the part of speech.  By the end of the course, your student will have been introduced to seven parts of speech – verbs, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions.

OK, so after we practice our vocabulary (I try to remember to have Levi translate his new words both to and from English), I assign a section or two from the workbook (see Sample Lesson I).  You’ll find that each lesson “spirals” with review of information from previous lessons, questions about new concepts (usually grammar-type questions), translations, and reminders to use the pronunciation CD for speaking Latin practice.  The final two sections have the student write out each vocabulary word and its translation twice and there is often a “Fun Practice” to reinforce a concept:

We haven’t gotten to a review or test yet, but both of them involve quite a bit of writing, here’s the sections:
A. Copy all vocabulary words and translate
B. Answer questions (questions about grammar, Latin/ English differences, parts of speech)
C. Practice saying Latin prayers (with space to write this out)
D. Answering English questions in Latin OR translation
E. This is an extra section – Using the optional Lingua Angelica supplement (which is recommended for grades 3+)

Tests incorporate information from these reviews: grammar-based questions, translations into English as well as into Latin, and fill-in-the-blanks with word banks for the Latin prayers that the students memorize. Tests are in the back of the teacher guide, so you’ll definitely want to make sure you purchase it.

My recommendations & thoughts: We’ve really enjoyed this Latin course, and I think my years as a homeschooler is helping me to not stress with a program like this {I’ve used this before with Ben and have to admit that my Type A personality did not make this an enjoyable course}.  Although it is very school-y, there is enough writing in the workbook for older students to gain Latin skills, but there are enough supplements (like flashcards and the teaching DVD) to allow younger students to gain quite a bit of Latin knowledge.  I appreciate having Ms. Lowe teach Latin calmly and carefully on the DVDs, because Latin is just not a language I know well enough to have a comfort level teaching straight from a workbook.  While I think the tests are great to have to gauge learning, I think when we get to the first one, I’ll probably do part of it orally with Levi – we’ll grow into the written work as the summer/ fall progresses.

Crew review members also had the opportunity to review Geography I.
Click to
read more reviews about these two products from the Schoolhouse Review Crew
All prices are accurate as of blog posting. 

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