First Form Latin: A Little Review

We have been studying Latin in our homeschool this year, which I am so excited about! I am really enjoying learning this language along with my kids. Quite possibly, I am enjoying it much more than they are;). But they are humoring me and going along with it, so all is good. Today, I want to share a bit about First Form Latin, which I am using this year with my ninth and seventh graders.

First of all, I am a huge fan of this program! I only wish I had found it earlier in our homeschool journey. We have been using First Form Latin for about ten weeks now and it is going so well. This program is very understandable and teacher-friendly even to me, someone with very little Latin experience! The lessons are clearly laid out and we were able to quickly develop a good routine for going through them, which I will share below.

For First Form Latin, I purchased the “complete set”, plus duplicates for some items.
                             
This includes the following:

  • Teacher’s manual
  • Student texts for each of my boys
  • Student workbooks ~ one for each of my boys, plus one for me to work in alongside them
  • Teacher key with answers to the exercises and quizzes
  • DVD
  • Audio CD 
  • A booklet of reproducible quizzes
  • Flashcards
  • In addition to the above I purchased:
    • The First Form Latin schedule from Memoria Press – I love having a daily schedule; this one keeps me on track and tells me what exercises to do each day ~ and it has boxes I can check!
    • Desk charts (not shown) ~ I will confess I have not used these grammar helps yet, but writing this post reminded me that I should get them out!
    • Lingua Angelica set ~ I loved the idea of listening to Latin hymns as part of our learning so I also purchased this set, which includes an audio CD, teacher’s manual, student workbook, and songbook.  We have not been using the workbooks at all, so in retrospect, I could have done without them. We just listen and follow along with the lyrics in the songbook.
    So how do we do all this?
    On Mondays (typically) we watch the lecture for our assigned lesson. I feel like this time gives me a little break and really, we could not do this program without “our” Latin teacher. Hearing someone else explain something really helps those words on the page sink in!

    After we watch the DVD lessons (about 20 minutes) we head to the kitchen table and get out our textbooks. Each lesson contains assigned Latin grammar questions for us to go over, and Monday is typically the day we do this. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Next, it’s on to the heart of the lesson.

    Each FFL lesson contains several  components and I try to review each component each day we do Latin. We typically start with a recitation, then review the Latin saying and vocabulary for the week. Next we have “chalk talk” where we learn about conjugating various forms of the verbs and other grammar points.  We are usually told to conjugate a couple of the new verbs on a white board.  Then, on subsequent days we slowly work on conjugating the rest of the verbs on the white board.  Teaching the lesson takes about 10-15 minutes, on average, usually a bit more the first day.
    .
    Next, we do the assigned exercises (from the MP schedule). As I mentioned above, I purchased a student workbook for myself and I do the exercises right along with my boys. This has made a HUGE difference to me  in learning and teaching Latin! The exercises usually take 15-20 minutes to complete, after which we all check our answers together. I am not sure why one of my kiddos is working with a sock on his hand, but whatever works, right?

     

    After we check our answers, we listen to our assigned Lingua Angelica song for that lesson – we usually listen to it twice.

    On subsequent days, we review each lesson for about 15 minutes, then do our exercises. Typical exercise include filling in tense ending charts, working with derivatives, writing out the saying, and working on translations. And each day we listen to our assigned hymn. On Wednesdays (or the third day of our lesson) we use the audio CD to review. I try to do Latin five days a week, though we don’t always get to it.

    On Fridays, we do the oral drill from the lesson and go over flashcards. Then, we all take the quiz for that lesson, and we are ready to move on to the next lesson.

    I honestly cannot think of anything negative to say about this program – it is well-laid out and organized and makes Latin so much easier for me to understand and teach than other programs I have tried. My hope is that we will be able to continue on with Second Form Latin next year.

    You Are an Artist Chalk Pastels: A Little Review

    Last week I shared a bit about the woodworking my boys are doing for their homeschool art this year. This week, I want to share about what my youngest Rose is doing. (In case you were wondering, my oldest daughter is planning to use Oak Meadow’s photography program for her art course this year, but with one thing and another she hasn’t quite started it yet).

    Okay, on to the pastels! Rose (9) specifically requested to work with pastels this year and I was fortunate enough to stumble across an absolutely wonderful resource ~ Hodgepodge’s You Are An Artist. This site offers video art tutorials and art e-books. I chose to go with the e-books both for my budget and my sometimes spotty internet connection. Both of us have been so thrilled with this resource! So far, Rose has completed A Seasonal Start in Fall Chalk Pastels and has been working through Chalk Pastels Art At the Beach. Tomorrow she will begin A Simple Start in Christmas Chalk Pastels and she is very excited to get started creating some fun holiday art!

    What’s included ~ When you order a chalk pastels e-book you receive a link to download your e-book, which you can either print out or use right from your device.  I save all of our e-books to a folder set aside specifically for our homeschool downloads so they are easy to find later. I print out each e-book, because pastels are messy and I think it’s easier to work from a printed page.  I print out just the cover and the project pages. To save ink, I don’t print the introductory material about how to work with pastels, though I definitely recommend reading through these, especially if you are new to working with pastels. There is a lot of good information in there.

    What you’ll need ~ To use the chalk pastel e-books you’ll need pastel paper, pastels, and baby wipes. I order pastel paper from Amazon; it’s much cheaper than at the craft store.  For pastels, Rose uses the Prismacolor brand, which we have been happy with. FYI, if you are new to pastels, they will break and look all messy like ours do ~ but they still work just fine! Using baby wipes for clean-up is a trick I learned from the e-books and boy does it work well! I just bought a tub of inexpensive baby wipes and keep them right with our supplies. They clean up both hands and any lingering dust on the table easily.


    How to do it ~ Rose usually does her pastels on Friday morning. I have her spread some newspaper over her work-surface before she begins. I keep all of her supplies together in a basket so she can  grab it and cart it out to the kitchen table. For reference, Rose is 9, and she can do these projects entirely on her own. The directions are written to the artist and have a lovely, chatty style that she really responds to and understands. There are plenty of illustrations as well, making it easy to follow along. I spray each finished pastel work lightly with hairspray to keep the pastels from smudging. After it’s dry Rose either hangs it up in her room – she has quite the gallery – or gives it away to a lucky recipient.

    You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels are a huge hit in our homeschool this year! If you want to try it out,  there are free sample lessons at the website.

    Woodworking for Homeschoolers

    My boys (ages 14 and 12) requested woodworking for their art program this year. They are pretty handy with tools and loved the idea of building things for schoolwork. We researched several books and they eventually settled on The All-New Woodworking for Kids.

    This book is the only resource ~ besides tools and wood ~ we need for this year’s woodworking. It lays out step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions with plenty of photos, and my two have had no trouble completing their projects independently. I love that they can do this totally on their own!
     The book begins with a section covering different types of tools, safety measures to take, and technique. I had each of my boys read through this section before they started their first project. Here are a couple of the projects they have already completed:
    A miter box

    A toolbox (they each made their own)
    They are currently working on making their own workbench ~ that one’s taking a while because it’s a bigger project and we’ve had a couple of Fridays off. Typically, they devote 2-3 hours on Fridays to their current project, which has been working well. We have a lighter day on Fridays, so the sawing and hammering aren’t as disruptive to the girls. They handle these projects mostly by themselves, with occasional input from their Dad. I failed woodshop (seriously) so I told them upfront I was not going to be much help. They have really taken off on their own with this, which has been nice to see.
    We turned a corner of the basement over to them for their projects. I would post a photo of their work area, but our basement isn’t terribly photogenic;). They have an old workbench down there, plus a large folding table to lay out their tools. My rule for them after finishing each project is that they look ahead to the next one, decide what materials need to be purchased, and text their Dad a list. He picks up the supplies when he gets a chance, and they are ready to go for the following Friday.
    Woodworking is a huge hit in our homeschool this year and I am looking forward to the other projects they will build this year! As for my other kiddos, Rose isn’t quite ready for woodworking and Grace had no interest, otherwise I would have loved to get them involved too. I’ll share what my girls are doing for art in a future post.

    Till next time!

    A Review of Prima Latina

     I have tried (and mostly failed!) to include Latin in our homeschool in the past. We have tried both Lively Latin and Latin for Children, neither of which “stuck”. This year three of my kiddos are using Latin programs from Memoria Press in our homeschool…. and I am happy to report that Latin is going very well so far! Today I’m going to share some thoughts on Prima Latina, which I am using with my fourth grader.  In a future post I will share about First Form Latin, which I am using with my boys.

    For Prima Latina, I purchased the whole kit and caboodle: the complete set as sold by Memoria Press. I also purchased the lesson plans from Memoria Press for a few extra dollars. You don’t necessarily need the complete set, but I appreciate and use each one of these items. Having them all makes teaching Latin much easier for me, which is key.

    Here’s what I purchased for Prima Latina:

    1. A schedule – I purchased the Prima Latina schedule, which lays out a day-by-day plan for completing the program in 32 weeks. This is not strictly necessary, but I love checking boxes and it helps me stay on track. The schedule prompts me to do things like review previous lessons and tells me which exercises to have Rose complete each day.

    Prima Latina complete set

     2. The Prima Latina DVD –  I love our Prima Latina DVD day! We start each new lesson with “our” Latin teacher, right in our living room.  It has been so nice to have someone else introduce the lesson and go over the vocab, while I just sit and listen with my cup of tea!

    Watching our Latin DVD
    3. The teacher’s manual and student workbook – The Prima Latina Teacher’s manual and student workbook are really the heart of the course. The teacher’s manual lays out everything that you are to teach and I love the format – it’s so clean and simple. It makes teaching Latin feel doable and not overwhelming. The workbook contains the important parts of the lesson for the student to look at, such as the new vocabulary words and sayings for that week. It’s spiral-bound, which makes it super easy to work in. 
    Teacher’s Manual
    Working in the student workbook

    4. Prima Latina CD – You could do without this if you had the DVD’s (and vice versa). I personally like having both to add some variety to our lessons. It’s nice to hear someone else pronounce things! We listen to the CD once a week, usually on day three of our lessons, to review pronunciation. 

    5Flashcards – The flashcards are sold as a set combined with flashcards for Latina Christiana. I use these on the last day of our lesson, just as a different way to review our vocab. 

    Here’s how we do Prima Latina in a typical week:

    Monday (or Day 1) – We watch the DVD lesson. We also very briefly review previous lessons (although often Leigh Lowe includes a review in her DVD lesson).  Rose does her vocabulary drill sheet – this is a reproducible part of the workbook designed to be done three times a week. She simply writes out each vocabulary word and it’s meaning.

    Tuesday (or Day 2) – We review the lesson material (less than five minutes) and focus on the derivatives included in our vocab list – what they mean, and what Latin word they come from. Then, Rose does the next section of vocabulary drill on her sheet.

    Wednesday (or Day 3) – We review the lesson by listening to the CD and Rose does the first page of exercises in her workbook.

    Thursday (or Day 4) – We review the lesson and Rose does the second page of exercises in her workbook.

    Friday (or Day 5) – We go over all of the vocabulary we have learned so far using the flashcards and Rose does the final section on her vocabulary drill sheet.

    Now, we hardly ever follow this exact schedule to the day, because much as I’d like to hit Latin every day, it just doesn’t always happen. So, for example, tomorrow is Monday but we are actually going to be doing “Wednesday” work. I would estimate that we spend about 15-20 minutes a day on Prima Latina.

    Prima Latina is a Christian curriculum and we are a secular homeschool family, but I still greatly prefer this program to others we have tried because it is so user-friendly. It is not “preachy” at all, it just includes some religious words in the vocab from time to time. We are also asked to learn a Latin prayer each week, and I do this with Rose because I think the language is beautiful and it’s an easy way for us to practice speaking in Latin. You could skip the prayers and still have a full program, but we find it fun and challenging to learn them.

    So those are just a few of my thoughts on Prima Latina ~ I think it makes a very doable introduction to Latin and my only regret is that I didn’t try it with my older kids!

    Poetry in Our Homeschool This Year

    I have a whole bunch of  things I want to share about how we are doing things this homeschool year. Last week I shared our math picture book list. Today, I’d like to share what we are doing for poetry this year. We do two things for poetry: read it and memorize it. Our poetry reading this year is as follows…

    My fourth grader is reading through A Child’s Introduction to Poetry with me, like all of her siblings before her. I love this book! A Child’s Introduction to Poetry is a selection from BookShark’s American History 1.  Each day we read a few pages about a certain form of poetry and the poets who wrote it…so far we have learned about nursery rhymes, nonsense verse, and limericks, among others . After we read, we pop in the accompanying CD and listen to a narrator read several poems in that style aloud. If you are looking for an easy-to-use, engaging introduction to poetry, I highly recommend this resource!

    My seventh grader is reading through Favorite Poems Old and New with me. This is a selection from BookShark’s World History 1. But we owned the book long before that…in fact we are on our second copy because our first one literally fell apart from use. We are usually assigned to read a few poems each day, which I read aloud right before we do our literature read-aloud. If you could only  have one poem book in your homeschool, this would definitely be the one I recommend!

    My ninth grader is reading A Treasury of Poetry for Young People, a selection from BookShark American History 100. He is doing all of his own reading this year, except for poetry, because I think it “goes” much better read aloud and discussed, just a bit. This book is unique because it focuses on just six poets. Each poet has their own section, which includes a biography followed by several poems. It’s an all-in-one poet study and I enjoy the focus on just one poet at a time. Note: this book is out of print on Amazon, but BookShark carries it. It is a bit spendy though, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying it outside of the program since there are so many other great poetry books out there.

    My eleventh grader is reading Heart to Heart this year, a selection from Sonlight’s Core 300 20th Century World History. It’s a pretty light poetry year for her; I believe she is typically only assigned a poem or two a week to read. Still, the book is a nice addition to this core and quite unique.  Each page depicts a painting, sculpture or other artwork, and then an accompanying poem that was inspired by that artwork. Such a neat idea! She prefers to do most of her work independently at this point, so I don’t read this one aloud with her, but I look forward to doing so with Christopher when he starts this Core later this year. 
    The second piece of our poetry study, besides reading, is memory work. My three younger kids are memorizing several poems this year. They choose their own poems from any of the poetry resources we have, though Favorite Poems Old and New is their favorite resource by far. Each day, they read their poem to themselves several times.  Once they have it down, they recite it to me, then type the poem up (I type Rose’s) and file it in their binder. I usually ask them to memorize around five poems a year, depending on length. Memorizing poetry is one of the few things I remember from high school – I can still recite Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” from junior year English class.

    So that’s this year’s poetry study in a nutshell.  Thanks for stopping by!

    Math with Picture Books

    For several years now I have been determined to gather a collection of math picture books and use them to add interest to our math studies. I have failed to accomplish this each year, but this year I actually did it! I’m going to share our reading list in a minute, but first I’ll tell you how we’re using math picture books in our homeschool.

     We read a picture book each week.

     That’s it. Everyone reads a math picture book each week, from the 14 year old down to my 9 year old (my 16 year old is trying to finish up Algebra 2 while doing Geometry, so she’s excused).   Some will be overly simple for my older kids, or go over the head of my younger one.  Others may give a little food for thought, or explain a concept in a way that finally makes something click.

    Our Math Picture Book List

    1. Perimeter, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book

    2. Shape Up! Fun with Triangles and Other Polygons

    3. Multiplying Menace

    4. Multiplying Menace Divides

    5. Full House: An Invitation to Fractions

    6. What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras?

    7. Actual Size

     8. The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Early Mathematics

    9. Mummy Math

    10. Apple Fractions

    11. The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

    12. Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci

    13. A Remainder of One

    14. On Beyond a Million

    15. Math Potatoes

    16. Spaghetti and Meatballs for All

    17. Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra

    18. Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

    19. Math Curse

    20. One Grain of Rice

    21. Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone

    22. Cut Down to Size at High Noon

    23. If You Made a Million

    24. The King’s Chessboard

    25. How Big is a Foot?

    So far, this is a great success! I have my youngest choose a book for me to  read aloud to her each week. That way I get to experience them all too. Math with picture books is one of my very favorite things about our new homeschool year.

    Till next time!

    Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

    It’s been awhile since I’ve been on the blog…summer just kind of got away from me somehow. I hope to get back to a more regular blogging schedule this fall. We start our new school year tomorrow and I just realized that I never shared our full plans for this year! So, without further ado…

    Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

    Rose ~ Fourth Grade

    *Language Arts*

    *Math*

    *History & Literature*

    *Science*

    *Electives*

    James ~ 7th Grade

    *Language Arts*

    • Advanced Language Lessons (Well-Trained Mind)
    • Writing Strands 5
    • Spelling Workout G
    • Memorize 3-5 poems
    • Follow The Well-Trained Mind logic-stage suggestions for learning 3-level outlines and literary essays

    *Math*

    *Logic*

    *History & Literature*

    *Science*

    *Electives*

    Christopher ~ 9th Grade

    *Language Arts*

    • Advanced Language Lessons (Well-Trained Mind)
    • Writing Strands 5
    • Wordly Wise 9
    • Memorize 3-5 poems
    • Follow The Well-Trained Mind logic/rhetoric stage suggestions for literary essays and outlining work

    *Math*

    *Logic*

    *History and Literature*

    *Science*

    *Electives*

  • All-New Woodworking for Kids
  • The Annotated Mona Lisa
  • What to Listen for in Music
  • First Form Latin
  • Fluenz Spanish, supplemented with Duolingo Spanish
  • What Color is Your Parachute for Teens

  • Grace ~ 11th Grade

    *Language Arts*

    *Math*

    *Logic*

    *History & Literature*

    • Sonlight Core 300 (starting with week 12, going into Sonlight’s Economic & Goverment Core after)

    *Science*

    *Electives*

    She also plans to take the SAT next spring so she’ll prepare for that over this year, using Kahn Academy. And hopefully we’ll get some driver’s ed in the mix as well!

    Then, with everyone, I plan to do:

    In addition, everyone is continuing with their busy sports schedules, so I think we’ll have plenty to keep ourselves busy! I’ll be sharing more on just how we’re using all of this curriculum, and some thoughts on it, as we go about our year.

    Thanks for stopping by!