Review of Latin for Children Activity Book

Latin For Children Activity Book
Latin For Children Activity Book

In the beginning, the Latin for Children Activity Book that we purchased for Primer A put out by Classical Academic Press was the favorite part of Latin for my kids.  It was word puzzles and crosswords and mix and match and all relatively simple.

At about chapter 20, the activity book became tedious due to the repetitiveness of the activities and the increasing complexity and by chapter 23 the workbook was abandoned all together.

The main reason is it is full of complicated crossword puzzles and if you’re not a crossword fan, you won’t like them.  My kids I think are a bit too young (9 & 7) and both just don’t want to spend the time on it.

Furthermore, some of the other activities require you to draw lines and match and the graphics are just too big so the lines become entangled and you can’t tell what is matched to what.

Lastly, it’s all in black and white.  For my young kids, they’d prefer some color graphics every now and then to spice it up.

I love Classical Academic Press and I hate writing this review that may be construed as negative but it’s my honest opinion.  I rely on homeschool reviews when I purchase items and as homeschoolers every penny counts since the government doesn’t give us $10,000/child for education.

We are about to purchase Latin for Children Primer B and we will be skipping the workbook this time around.

If you like crossword puzzles, then this is for you.  Otherwise, save your money.

Drive Thru History

Drive Thru History is a video series that teaches history and how God’s word fits into it. The Series is broken down into:  Holy Land, Ancient History, and American History.

We got the entire Ancient History series from our local library, which includes “East Meets West…”, “Greece and the Word…”, “Turkish Delight”, and “Rome if You Want To…” from our local library.

Drive Thru History
Drive Thru History

We follow the host, Dave Stotts, on location to where history actually happened.  Each video has 3 episodes each approximately 30-40 minutes in length.  We see the underground caves in Cappadocia where Christians hid in order to worship.  We learn all about Paul and see how he fits into history. We visit the Colosseum in Rome and the Temple of Delphi in Greece.

He took us into the Hagia Sophia, an ancient church that is now a museum.  I loved this part because when we studied this in history I searched the library for pictures of the Hagia Sophia and came up empty.  In this video, he actually goes inside the church and shows us an early mosaic of Jesus that scholars speculate may have been the model of what Jesus looks like in art for centuries to come.

We get to visit Biblical locations without actually “visiting” them.  Great stuff!

The host, Dave Stotts, does a superb job of mixing the facts with funny antics my kids enjoy.  He makes fun of his rental cars, picks a fight with the pretend Roman soldiers at the Colosseum, and talks to turkeys and camels.  My kids love the outtakes at the end. Hilarious!

This is a great series I would highly recommend to bring a visual aspect to history.  Visit their site http://www.drivethruhistory.com/ for detailed descriptions of the videos as well as clips.

You can also order on Amazon and read reviews (all were 5 stars–that’s the first I’ve seen on Amazon!).  I cannot say enough about this series that is sure to entertain and teach–something us homeschooling parents constantly strive for!

Homeschool Curriculum 2012-2013

Here’s my curriculum for the forthcoming school year (my kids are 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and preschool):

Math:  Singapore Math 3A and 3B and 2A and 2B and Miquon Math and Kumon Math Workbooks for Grade 2 and 3

Science:  Apologia’s Astronomy Textbook, Journal, and Lab Kit.  I do want to do an Earth Science unit but I’m seeing how long Astronomy takes us before I decide.

Writing:  IEW’s Medieval-Based Writing Lessons

Handwriting:  Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting

Grammar:  Michael Clay Thompson’s Caesar’s English, Grammar Voyage, Paragraph Town and Practice Town

Spelling:  Riggs Institute Level 2 and Level 3

History:  Story of the World Volume 2:  Medieval History and accompanying Activity Book

Bible:  BSF’s study of Genesis and leftover curriculum

Latin:  Latin for Children A

Spanish:  Spanish for Children A and Rosetta Stone Latin America

Greek: Greek for Children A

Geography: The Complete Book of Maps and Geography

Art:  Artistic Pursuits Book 2 and Art of the Middle Ages (Art in History)

Music:  Guitar Lessons and Note Study from Hirsch

Nature Journaling:  Weather Permitting

Miscellaneous purchases:

Medieval History Wall Timeline from Knowledge Quest

National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers

What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know

The Kingfisher Atlas of World History

Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations by C. E. Thompson

Note for Preschooler:  My goal is just to teach him to read, which I will start with the phonograms and then move on to The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington.  Anything else he picks up from our daily school is just an added bonus.  He won’t be Kindergarten until next school year but I’m hoping to jump start him.

Review of Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar Program

Introductory Note:  I purchased this on my own.  I did not receive a free copy to review.  Hence, these are my honest opinions and assessments on the curriculum.

Last year, we used Shurley English for our grammar curriculum.  We finished up Shurley English in February and March so I was stuck:  what do I do for the last 3 months of school?

I didn’t want to invest in more Shurley English.  I like what they do but it doesn’t move fast enough for me.  Plus, the material does not cover a whole school year.

So, I began the search i.e. googling and found Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar Program.

It appeared stellar.  Rave reviews from homeschoolers.  Material difficult.  Classically-driven (my cup of tea).

So, I invested in a only couple of books because I spent A LOT of money last year on curriculum.

And I was glad I did.

This program is everything it says it is and more.  I can tell you right now I am a better writer just in the 3 months we completed this and I can’t WAIT to begin in August!

We ordered:  Grammar Town, Practice Island, and Sentence Island.  We skipped over Grammar Island because my kids already had that knowledge from Shurley Grammar.  My kids loved Sentence Island which is written using animal characters.  Here, I only ordered the Teacher’s Manuals.  I really don’t think you need the Student Manuals in a homeschool setting.

We only did this for about 3 months or so so I will update sometime later for a full write up but I wanted to get my recommendation out there.

This forthcoming year we are doing:  Caesar’s English, Grammar Voyage, Paragraph Town, Practice Town and Music of the Hemispheres

There is no recommended implementation schedule (again, my cup of tea) so you can customize it and do what you want when you want to.  I’m excited to see what we learn next!

Review of Anne Elliott’s Foundations Bible Curriculum

Introductory Note:  I purchased this on my own.  I did not receive a free copy to review.  Hence, these are my honest opinions and assessments on the curriculum.

We used Foundations 1:  Preparation for Christ by Anne Elliott last year.  I chose this one because it starts in the beginning (Genesis) and goes chronologically.  This is simple to use.  You read a bible passage, do bible drills, discuss it, and then move on–exactly what I was looking for.  She also uses Calvary Chapel’s coloring sheets for the little ones.

However, this covers the entire Old Testament so huge chunks are left out in order to squeeze it into one school year.  We often added our own when we wanted to read more. This really needs to be broken into two books.

Ms. Elliott writes two more books that cover the New Testament after this is complete.  You can preview these on her website HERE.  This looks to be a bit more thorough because it is broken into the two years.

For this year, I haven’t decided on Bible Curriculum yet.  We are doing Bible Study Fellowship’s study of Genesis and finishing up Foundations 1 when we have the chance. I’m unsure if we will continue onto this or jump over to Apologia’s What We Believe Series.  I will see how this school year goes first and maybe invest in this in December.

Review of Artistic Pursuits

Introductory Note:  I purchased this on my own.  I did not receive a free copy to review.  Hence, these are my honest opinions and assessments on the curriculum.

Artistic Pursuits is an art program put together by a homeschooling Mom.  This is a review for Grades K-3 Book.

My kids love art as all children do and I have been well pleased with this book.  It offers lessons that pertain to history so we do those lessons as we discuss those historical areas.  It also offers lessons on different aspects of art such as what artists do or see.  I particularly like the historical background and the paintings covered in this book.  It was definitely unexpected and a welcome addition to my curriculum.

On their website you can order their pre-packaged bundle which comes with all the art supplies you need.  I ordered the supplies from one of their links so I could customize it to what I needed and didn’t need.

Art as most of us know is pricey.  It is for public schools as well.  But the kids love it and it is so good for them to express themselves in different mediums.

There are 5 levels from preschool through high school that focuses on different areas.

Conclusions:  Overall great job on educating the student on art and how it pertains to history.  It covers the basics as well.  I am not interested in perfect form or drawing lessons per se since I doubt my kids well be the next Picasso so this book fit well for our needs.

I am unsure if I will continue with this next year.  I like it but I want to focus more on famous artists and am considering the Core Knowledge area as well.  There are some Medieval Lessons in this book that I will save for next year however.  Highly recommend.

Review of Latin for Children: Primer A

Introductory Note:  I purchased this on my own.  I did not receive a free copy to review.  Hence, these are my honest opinions and assessments on the curriculum.

We just started this after completing Song School Latin (see review HERE) and we love it!  Written by Dr. Aaron Larsen & Dr. Christopher Perrin for Classical Academic Press whose motto is “Classical Subjects Creatively Taught” this begins the first of many levels through the high school level offered by them.

I invested in their bundled package of the Primer A textbook, activity book, and DVD/CD offerings.

The DVD features kids reciting all the vocabulary as well as the CD.  They expect more from the kids, memorizing 10 Latin vocabulary words per week.  Conjugations are included as well as Endings and Grammar.

The Activity Book is what my kids love best.  Although not in color, the activities are fun and reinforcing for the week.

Their website has tons of support materials including fun videos, supplemental materials, and more vocabulary reinforcement.

In my opinion you cannot have a classical education without the classical languages.   I believe the benefits in teaching the classical languages are much more important than other subjects.

Conclusions:  I cannot help but be impressed with this company.  I have always had quick responses to email questions, no problems ordering online, and the content is top-notch.  I am grateful every day that someone has finally decided to form a company that focuses on the fundaments of 150 years ago in terms of education.  Their values line up with mine perfectly.

They also offer a Spanish program, Bible curriculum, Logic, and much more–things I will consider in the future.

Many companies offer a Latin program (thankfully) so you have a lot to choose from.  I have discovered CAP and I am sticking with them.  Their formula is fun and engaging for my kids and they are learning things I never had the opportunity to learn in school.

Gratefully, God has given me another chance and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Review of Rosetta Stone Latin America

Introductory Note:  I purchased this on my own.  I did not receive a free copy to review.  Hence, these are my honest opinions and assessments on the curriculum.

I knew before we even started homeschooling I wanted to try Rosetta Stone for my family.  I had heard so much about it and it always gets great reviews.

So I broke down and invested in all 5 years.  It was a lot to cough up ($459 I paid but it appears the price has risen) but it offered a savings over the years and I looked at it as that.

Rosetta Stone is all immersion.  They believe in teaching you like you learned as a baby:  hearing it and mimicking the sounds.  You listen and then choose based off of what you’ve heard.  There is a written portion as you go along and it does appear on the screen.

I like this approach for my kids but I find myself explaining a lot of what they are doing.  I explain the grammar side and I feel as an adult I would be curious to know what I was speaking.

For instance, they do not go over the endings.  This annoys me because I would like my kids to know.  But Rosetta Stone emphasizes learning to speak, not how the language is put together.  I’m hoping this comes into play in the upper levels.

But my kids are young.  I want them to hear the language correctly (since I have a horrible accent) and learn that way.  There will be time in the later years when they are ready.

I bought the homeschool edition which comes with extra practice worksheets and a guide for parents.  It also tracks your child’s progress so you can review their scores at the end of each lesson.  You can set up different users that saves where you have stopped individually.  This is great if you have kids working at different levels.  You also don’t have to remember where you stopped!

The worksheets provided I have to do with my kids.  They are too young to do them on their own.  But great practice seeing Spanish written.

Each chapter reviews the previous chapter’s work.

Conclusions:  I think this is a great investment for the younger years.  This allows my kids to focus on English and Latin Grammar before we switch to Spanish Grammar.  With Spanish being so prevalent I believe teaching this is essential and the younger years is the place to begin while they are still absorbing everything.

My husband wants to use this for his work and I see us using this program for years to come.  A lot of money but worth it if you are seeking the spoken word.  They also offer a Latin and Greek program but I am hesitant to invest as it’s emphasis is on speaking and the value in Latin and Greek is on grammar and vocabulary work.

Review of Song School Greek

Introductory Note:  I purchased this on my own.  I did not receive a free copy to review.  Hence, these are my honest opinions and assessments on the curriculum.

Since I had experience with Song School Latin I thought I’d try Song School Greek by Michelle Hahne.  I looked into Hey Andrew!  Teach Me Some Greek! but I had experience with Classical Academic Press (the company that produces this stuff) and admire them so I ordered this.

Now I understand the saying, “It’s all Greek to me.”

Greek is NOTHING like English.  Ok, so it is.  But compared to Latin, Greek is completely foreign to me.

I struggled with Song School Greek for a whole month before I broke down and bought the Teacher’s Edition.

The Teacher’s Edition comes with a viewable CD that introduces each chapter’s vocabulary so you can see how it’s pronounced.  I watch this alongside my kids at the beginning of each chapter.

It is set up much like Song School Latin with 4-5 vocabulary words each week, all set to music, and reinforcement activities.

Now we are progressing but it is not easy to say the least.  We finally have the alphabet memorized and will work on the numbers next.

I did not purchase the Greek Alphabet Code Cracker which helps children learn the Greek alphabet because I did want something more meaty.  In hindsight, this might have been a better place to jump in and I did consider purchasing it when we were struggling but I felt I had made my choice and I should stick with it a bit longer.

Conclusions:  Unlike Latin, there is not as much out there to choose from for Greek.  Learning Greek is definitely not for the feint-of-heart.  But I love it!  Absolutely love it!

Classical Academic Press does offer one more course after this but that is it.  I was told more is in production but it probably be too late for my kids.  But I will buy it when the time comes and pray more becomes available in this definitely under-utilized market.

Review of Song School Latin

Introductory Note:  I purchased this on my own.  I did not receive a free copy to review.  Hence, these are my honest opinions and assessments on the curriculum.

My kids actually were introduced to Song School Latin by Amy Rehn and published by Classical Academic Press during their year in charter school.  However, they didn’t finish it so I bought it and did two chapters in one week and we finished right before Christmas.

It comes with a CD with all the vocabulary on it so you can hear the pronunciation, all set to music.  My kids love singing along.

In each chapter only 4 or 5 vocabulary words are introduced so after listening to the CD and completing the exercises the vocabulary became easy to master.

I did not buy the teacher’s edition as I don’t feel you need it for such an easy level.  The answers are easily found in the chapter.

Classical Academic Press has a great bonus website for extras pertaining to their curriculum including color sheets and other goodies.

Conclusions:  This is a great introduction for younger children to Latin.  It’s fun, easy, and has great illustrations.  The songs are catchy.  This book makes it easy to teach Latin as well for those hesitant to try.

If you are thinking of trying Latin, try this first before you dive into a more in-depth approach.  Latin can be fun and the crew at Classical Academic Press have found that balance.