Friday, September 16, 2011

Thumbs Up to Visual Latin!

This year we are learning some Latin!  I say we because I am learning right along side the kiddos!  The only foreign language I ever studied was French.  I took 3 years in high school, but,sadly, can only speak a few words today.  In my many hours of homeschool curriculum research, I see many families incorporate Latin as their first foreign language and they start at a young age.  I've wanted to slide it into our schedule but honestly I've been intimidated since my knowledge is a big FAT goose egg!  Luckily, in our Classical Conversations class, Latin is covered- we are learning enough to translate John 1:1-7, but I felt we needed a more thorough background.  Enter VISUAL LATIN!

A couple of weeks ago we were sent a DVD copy to review courtesy of Timberdoodle.  At first, I wasn't sure it would be a great fit since the kids are only 6 and 4.  There aren't any cartoons, it is very straight forward.  The videos feature "The Latin Teacher" in front of a black board. 
That's it!  He is very engaging and humorous and keeps with the KISS principle I learned in business school - Keep It Simple Stupid!  The simplicity is what makes this such an awesome program.  My 6 year old begs to watch her Latin now.  In fact, I will catch her pretending she is the Latin teacher.  Even my 4 year old will sit and watch for far longer than I ever imagined!

The first 4 introductory lessons cover the following topics:  Why Study Latin?  Latin Then & Now, How to Learn a Language, and Stuff About Latin.  I highly recommend taking the time to watch these lessons!  I especially enjoyed the Why Study Latin? section.  He highlights many of our English words that are derived from Latin.  Studying the Latin, can totally change how you view some of our common everyday words!  Very insightful!

Each Latin lesson is divided into 3 sections:  Grammar, Sentences, and Reading.  A definite plus for this program is each section's video only lasts about 10 minutes!  This short time commitment allows it to fit easily into our schedule.  Each section also has a corresponding worksheet to print.  Since my kids are still young, we do one section plus worksheet 3 days a week.  That way we complete one  lesson each week.  If your student is more advanced, it would be very doable to complete an entire lesson in one sitting.  

Since I'm learning along with the kids, I always watch the videos with them.  However, it could be a completely independent program, especially with those that are very proficient readers.   My 6 year old can fill out the worksheets with my help. 

If you are looking for a Latin program with a lot of bells and whistles and entertainment value, this program probably wouldn't appeal to you.  If you want a basic, straightforward program that is very easy to incorporate into an already busy schedule, give Visual Latin a try!  I'm glad we are and I can't wait to see our progress.

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