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!