‘Hardly any lawful price would seem to me too high for what I have gained by being made to learn Latin and Greek.’
A guest post by Carol from Journey and Destination.
I’d always wanted our children to study Latin but, like many other home educators, I had no background in the language myself, unless the medical terminology I learned years ago counts.
I’ve attempted Latin with all seven of my children but, like our French language learning, I spent quite a bit of money on curriculum that either wasn’t comprehensive enough, too difficult for me to teach or for them to use independently, or it was dull and lifeless. This was most noticeable around the ages of about 11 or 12 years when they were ready for a challenge, could handle the grammar, but also needed a creative, lively approach.
I started using French for Children by Classical Academic Press (CAP) with my daughter nearly two years ago just before she turned eleven & she loves it.
She had also been studying Latin using some resources we already had, some of which were good introductions to the language, but as time went on she started to complain about the lack of explanations, that the material was boring, and that it all seemed rather pointless. This was the same scenario I faced with her older siblings.
One day she said, “If Latin was taught like my (CAP) French I wouldn’t mind learning it.”
Classical Academic Press kindly provided me with a free Latin Alive! 1 bundle to use and review. This is our sixth week of using this approach and I’m very pleased with how much my daughter is actually enjoying Latin. Here are my honest thoughts on the curriculum and how we are using it:
Latin Alive! Book 1 by Classical Academic Press is the first in a series of three texts designed for about 7th to 8th Grade students and up. It is the next step after CAP’s Latin for Children but it is also suitable for students with no previous Latin knowledge and the DVD’s allow the student to work independently. (see video samples on YouTube)
My 12-year-old finds it challenging but not overwhelming. This is partly due to the grammar she has covered in her French studies and her ability to think more logically now that’s she’s older.
Classical Academic Press recommend that younger students follow one of two options, depending on their academic level (see their FAQ):
- Complete all three Latin for Children Primers (Levels A–C), then start Latin Alive! Book 2
- Complete Latin for Children Primers A and B, then move into Latin Alive! Book 1.
I did consider using Latin for Children C before commencing Latin Alive! 1 and I have to admit that I was a little overwhelmed when this curriculum arrived and I started looking through it. I thought perhaps I’d made the wrong decision.
Latin Alive! is extremely comprehensive and chock-a-block full, but after going through the introductory section of the first DVD, it was much less daunting. Now that we’re six weeks in, I’m confident that it’s an ideal fit for my daughter.
Latin teacher, Karen Moore, shares her own story of learning Latin on the first DVD: she explains how her love of Latin developed after her mother made her take Latin in Year 7, and why the study of Latin is relevant to us today. This was so good for my daughter to hear as well as being an encouragement to me.
The Latin Alive! bundle:
- 36 weekly chapters – 29 of these contain new material, the others are review
- A section is included at the back of the Student Edition listing vocabulary chapter by chapter and reference charts for declensions etc
- Latin Alive! Level 1 Teacher’s Edition – 323 pages; includes the complete student text & answer keys. The answer key to each chapter is found at the end of each chapter in the Teacher’s Edition; Student pages directly correspond with the Teacher’s pages
- Teacher’s Extras in the back of the book contain various worksheets, projects and seven unit tests to be given after the unit review chapters are included
- Latin Alive! 1 – DVD & CD set with over fifteen hours of teaching on seven DVDs. The audio CD contains unit review Latin readings so that students can practice proper pronunciation and accent. The DVDs use the Classical pronunciation and a streaming option is also available
What Latin Alive! looks like in real life:
- Each of the 7 DVD’s in Latin Alive 1 contain between three to five chapters, and each chapter is about 30 to 50 minutes long.
- We decided to cover one chapter per week over three days. This usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes per day, although some additional time may be added for writing exercises. My daughter also keeps a Latin Notebook where she writes definitions or other material she wants to remember. It might be better for some students to spread the lesson over the week but this works best for us at present.
Last week we completed Chapter 5 and this is how it looked:
Day 1: Watched a section of the video that went over new vocabulary and explained transitive and intransitive verbs. The video teacher directs the student to stop the video and complete exercises in the student book as they go through the chapter together. Wrote definitions in Latin notebook.
Day 2: Continued with the DVD, going back where necessary to review the previous day’s explanations. Learned about the accusative case and direct object and completed assigned exercises. Finished watching the video for the chapter.
Day 3: Chapter reading – these readings started in Chapter 4 and at the beginning consisted of short sentences in Latin about Greece and Troy. By the time the student reaches Chapter 7, the readings are about two paragraphs long.
Read the Culture Corner, a short section to help the student learn about the culture and history of the Romans.
Derivative Detective – found a derivative for amat, nautical and spectat
Collaquamur or ‘Let’s Talk’ – used some questions and responses to review nouns; used ‘eye’ Latin to try to identify words.
I asked my daughter to say what she liked about this curriculum and this was her response:
-Well laid out
-It doesn’t assume you know all your grammar, but teaches you everything step by step
-Good teacher, explains things well
-Teaches you how to pronounce words properly
The Student and Teacher editions plus the DVD & CD set include everything you need for this course, although it is suggested that you have access to a Latin/English dictionary.
Here are some free online versions:
A support page for Latin Alive! is provided on the CAP website.
The only negative comment I have to make is that the Latin Alive! 1 text has recently been revised but the DVD won’t be updated to match the text until next year. I understand that this primarily affects Chapter 1 and that CAP has created an errata sheet for families to use in the meantime. This wasn’t an issue for us as it was only a matter of page or exercise numbers and it only took a few seconds to find the correct one.
Learn more about Classical Academic Press and their excellent products at the Classical Academic Press website.
Thank you, Carol, for providing this review of Latin Alive! You can get to know Carol by visiting her at Journey and Destination.