La Clase Divertida Level One: A Little Review

My fourth-grader, Rose, and I have been learning Spanish this year using La Clase Divertida Level One. We have just a few weeks left of the program, so I wanted to share a bit about our experience with using it this year. This is my second time through La Clase Divertida ~ I used Levels One and Two with my older kids. I really love this program and think it’s an ideal introduction to Spanish!

I purchased the La Clase Divertida Level 1 Kit, which includes everything we needed for the year. Please note that I purchased my base kit many years ago, and this year I only purchased a $15 student pack so that we would have a new workbook and craft materials. I do not believe that the program has changed much (if at all) since I made my initial purchase, but just keep in mind that I did buy the program a few years ago.

The kit includes:

  • Two DVD’s of lessons
  • One audio CD, for additional practice
  • A craft kit containing most of the items needed to make the crafts in the program
  • A teacher’s manual
  • A student workbook

How we use La Clase Divertida:

The teacher’s manual has a suggested schedule in it, and we pretty much follow that. At first I was dubious about the included schedule, because it involves a ton of repetition, but I decided to trust the process and I now think it’s perfect. This is not a “watch one lesson a week” type program. We watch each lesson several times over the course of two weeks, plus we use the audio CD for practice. She also does some workbook work over the two weeks, then we wrap up each lesson with a fun activity.

We stick pretty closely to this routine:

Day 1: Watch the lesson on DVD

Day 2: Listen to the audio CD to review past lessons

Day 3: Watch the DVD lesson again

Day 4: Listen to the audio CD

Day 5: Watch the DVD lesson and do the first page of activities in the student workbook

Day 6: Watch the DVD lesson again

Day 7: Listen to the CD

Day 8: Watch the DVD lesson one final time and finish the second page of student activities

Day 9: Listen to the CD

Day 10: Do the fun activity included in each lesson

Each new lesson begins with watching the DVD. The DVD lessons are super fun; you get to follow along with a real Spanish class. Each lesson begins with the class reviewing previous material and “spaces” are left for you to answer questions before the class does. We have learned many Spanish songs, lots of vocabulary, conversation starters, and more.

These are actual kids in an actual class, so things don’t always go as planned, people fidget and sometimes forget the answer, but I like the informal nature of it. The teacher even brings his dog to some lessons! The kids in the class are often asked to “interact” with the audience. For example, they will ask us a question and then wait for us to answer, then we are told to ask them the same question and they answer.  Each DVD lesson takes around 20 minutes to watch.

The next major component of the program is the audio CD. You are meant to use it in between watching the DVD to reinforce what you are learning.  The whole CD is about an hour long. We only listen to the parts we have already covered in our DVD lessons.  How we handle it is – when we start a new lesson, we start at the beginning of the CD, but we only listen for 15 minutes total on our “CD day”.  I keep a note of where we stopped and we start from that point on our next CD day. In the beginning, when we hadn’t covered as much of the CD, we just listened to the same tracks each time until we got to unfamiliar material. Now it is too long to listen to the whole thing each time, so this has been our solution to get in that review without spending too much time.

The next component is the teacher’s manual…this is actually the item I use least of this program. It has a list of objectives each week and some vocabulary words. It also has the answers to all of the workbook exercises, which comes in handy. But it doesn’t contain the actual lesson: that’s on the DVD.

Next we have the student workbook. There is very little writing in this program, which makes it great for younger kids. Rose completes just two workbook pages every two weeks. You could even skip the workbook pages if it felt like too much ~ my older daughter did this program in kindergarten before she was comfortably writing and we just focused on the DVD, CD, and projects.

At the beginning of the program, we were instructed to choose Spanish names for ourselves. Rose chose Adriana (and wrote it on the front of her workbook). I chose Elvira.

Here’s a peek inside the workbook. For this lesson, she practiced writing the days of the week and parts of the body in Spanish. I love how they give separate little lines for writing the letters on ~ makes it easier to learn the spelling!

Another workbook page:

Learning the Spanish names for animals!

So basically, we just carry on watching (and rewatching) our Spanish lesson and listening to the CD in between. By the time the two weeks are up, we really know our stuff and we are excited to see what’s next. We don’t always get to Spanish every day, so sometimes the lessons take more like three weeks to complete. When all of the watching and listening is done, we do the fun activity! This might be a craft, a cooking project, or watching a puppet show about some aspect of Mexican history on the DVD.

Just a few of the projects we have done:

A Xochimilco Float

Ojo de Dios

Mexican wedding (and flag) cookies

And tissue paper flowers!

We will definitely be moving on to La Clase Divertida Level 2 next year. I cannot really think of anything negative to say about this program. The only caution I would give is that the age range suggested on the website is K-8. I have a seventh grader and he doesn’t participate in this program with us, mainly because he wanted to learn French this year, but also because it seems a bit young for him. There is a lot of singing, some dancing, and some overall goofiness that I think is better received at a younger age. This would depend greatly on the child in question though – my 7th grader has no patience for singing! La Clase is definitely introductory Spanish ~ we have learned lots of vocabulary and conversation starters but we will in no way be proficient in the language after finishing this program. But our goal is to get a fun introduction to the language, and this program has definitely done that for us! We give La Clase Divertida Level 1 two thumbs up!

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.

    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!