Review: Latina Christiana I Complete Set by Memoria Press

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I’ve always had this idea that I wanted my children to learn Latin. So I was excited to learn we’d have the opportunity to review Latina Christiana I Complete Set by Memoria Press  I have some practical reasons.  It’ll certainly help develop their vocabulary which is always a very good thing.  I imagine they’ll have an advantage when they go off to do things like take the SAT test. Reading complicated texts will be easier as they’ll have a better shot at figuring out what some of the most difficult words actually mean.

I also have some less rational reasons for it.  When I was in school I wanted to take Latin.  I really don’t know why.  It seemed like a great challenge and way more interesting than the French class that I decided that I hated and therefore failed.  But I wasn’t eligible.  It seemed Latin was only for those elite students who came from doctor’s families or something.  I’m not kidding. My strong grades in honors classes weren’t enough to get me into Latin.  They said it wasn’t for me.  So now that I’m getting my education for the 2nd time while homeschooling our children I thought we should learn Latin. Let’s just say that I’m enjoying calling the shots for my children’s education.

Memoria Press has long been known for their Latin programs and I had a feeling that we wouldn’t be dissapointed with this program. Latina Christiana I Complete Set is intended for grades 3 and up. I used this with my 9 year and 7 year old boys.  My 5 year old daughter dabbled in it too as she just absorbs whatever she hears when she is around.  This program is simple enough that she can pick up a bit hear and there as she desires.  

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The complete set includes:

  • Student Book
  • Teacher Manual
  • Pronunciation CD
  • Instructional DVDs
  • Flashcards

When I first cracked open that teacher’s manual I was intimidated.  Even though I set my mind that my family should learn Latin I still assumed there was something scary and difficult about it.  After all, I was pretty smart as a kid and I was told I couldn’t do this.  I remember texting my husband saying… “Latin, hmmm… honey I’m not sure you’re paying me enough to do crazy things like Latin with this kids!”  It was a joke of course and he texted back with a laugh and a thank you.  I want to tell you right here and now my trepidation was unnecessary.  This program is designed to help anybody teach Latin, even if they have ZERO experience with it.

The student book contains 25 lessons and 5 review lessons.     This is great! I love review lessons. I am a big believer in repetition and review and I appreciate when it is built in.  Each lesson includes 10 vocabulary words, grammar forms, Latin sayings, and more. You’ll need a separate student book for each child. I picked up a second student book from Memoria Press for $16.  Totally worth it.

The teacher’s manual contains all of the student pages.  I LOVE this!  It drives me insane when my teacher’s book doesn’t include what my children are looking at.  I’m a very visual person and I NEED to see what they see if I’m going to be able to guide them through the work. Everything you need is right here laid out for you.  A recommended schedule, teaching instructions, tests, quizzes, answer keys, and background information.  It is all neatly laid out and so easy to follow.

The pronunciation CD shows you how to pronounce all of the vocabulary and includes prayers and songs to memorize.  The best part of this program however is the instructional DVD.  Here is a teacher, Cheryl Lowe, the author of this program, right there in front of you holding your hand (and your children’s hand) through each and every lesson.  Everything you’ll find in the teacher’s manual is provided right there on the screen plus diagrams, illustrations, notes and instruction.  Each lesson will take you at least a half an hour to watch but watching is oh so worth it.

How We Used It

The pace at which you move through the lessons is really up to your children.  You can move as quickly or slowly as you are able to learn the material.  We generally used this program 4 days a week with some random practice of vocabulary words sprinkled throughout our days to test our memory as we did other things (like drive in the van, fold laundry, etc.)

We generally began the week by watching half of the lesson.  That’s about all of the attention span my boys seemed to have for it.  So we watched the second half of the lesson on the second day.  On the second day we’d complete vocabulary forms and other pieces of the student workbook and drill the new vocabulary words.  On the third day we’d review the pronunciation CD and continue to drill the words.  We liked to make up games where we tried to think of as man derivatives for a word as we could.  This usually lead to a hunt through the dictionary.  On the fourth day we’d go over the quiz, play more games, and review.

Well, this was the perfect schedule in my mind at least and it is doable.  But truthfully we found that we had some much fun playing with these new words and doing crazy things like hunting through the dictionary for new derivatives that often we ended up taking two weeks to complete one lesson and that is just fine.

My Thoughts

Clearly I like this program.  With it my family is learning a lot.  It is easy to teach and low key for my children. One small point of frustration for us is the separation of the pronunciation CD. Half way through each lesson the teacher instructs you to stop the DVD and go dig out the CD to work on prayers or songs.  I guess we just aren’t set up to make this easily happen.  Our DVD player also serves as our CD player.  My computer can play CDs but it doesn’t have external speakers so it is difficult to make things loud enough for everyone or else they all have to crowd around it.  So I’d take the Lesson DVD out of the DVD player and put the pronunciation CD in to do that work.  They I’d have to put the Lesson DVD back in to play the lesson except now I’ve got to fast forward to the lesson to find the spot where we left off.  It think this is why we ended up splitting the lesson into two parts each day.  I’d loose my boys during this whole switching process.  I wish the material we needed on the Pronunciation CD was also right in the Lesson DVD. This is a small inconvenience to an otherwise really well laid out program.

For some reason my kiddos didn’t take to the flashcards.  I haven’t the slightest idea why.  What I did was take Popsicle sticks (the fat ones) and essentially turn THOSE into flashcards and they loved it.  Go figure!  I go with what works.  The flashcards are of fine quality and I think my boys are just quirky.

Since we’ve began this program my children started seeing the Latin words (actually the derivatives) everywhere.  When they are reading or listening to documentaries or even just in conversation they will pick up on words that contain the Latin that we learned.  Each time they discover a new word I write it down.  I don’t think I have to tell you how exciting things like this are to homeschooling mom!

Over All

This is a great program.  I highly recommend you purchase every piece.  I often skip teacher books or extra CD’s.  DON’T! You need every piece to be successful.  This is program we plan to continue until completion.  An this mom finally gets to learn her Latin!

Memoria Press Review
 

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