Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Latin for Children (Classical Academic Press) (TOS Review)

My girls learn a smattering of Latin every week in co-op and I’ve been searching for a way to reinforce and add to that knowledge at home.

Confession time – Latin intimidates me.  Clarification – both teaching Latin and  learning Latin intimidates me.  Hence, there’s been little reinforcement of Latin at home, other than our basic memory work.   

Until now.

Enter Latin for Children by Classical Academic Press, our latest review product as a member of the TOS review crew.  As soon as I learned we’d been chosen to review the program, I viewed product samples from the website – and loved what I saw.

Product Details

  We received the Mastery Bundle for Latin For Children A, which includes one copy of one copy of each: Primer A (textbook), Primer A Answer Key, DVDs & Chant CD, History Reader and Activity Book and retails for $99.95 (a savings of almost $18 over purchasing the items individually at regular price).  Latin for Children is targeted for students in grades 3-5.  In Primer A the students are taught 240 Latin words.   Each lesson is taught on the DVD, and the vocabulary is reinforced on the chant CD.  Each lesson on the DVD (32) is about 15 minutes long.

The suggested schedule, available here, recommends 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  With all of the girls’ outside activities, I decided to spread the five lessons over two weeks. 

The Primer A (textbook) is the "heart" of the program.  It includes 32 chapters filled with grammatical explanations, with exercises, tests and a large reference section, and includes mnemonic aids to help the students remember the material.  You can view a sample here.

The Primer A Answer Key features the actual full-size worksheets from the Primer, with answers to quizzes, exercises and worksheets in bold print.  You can view a sample here.

DVDs & Chant CD - Set in the author's office, the DVD offers a one-on-one teaching experience to your students.  Better yet, Dr. Perrin's Latin students will lead your Latin students through the memory work, complete with motions and songs.  The text from the Primer appears on the screen making it easy to follow along.  The CD includes grammar and vocabulary chants. The set includes 3 DVDs and 2 CDs.  You can listen to a sample of the CD and watch a sample lesson here (scroll down to the middle of the page and look for "samples").

 The History Reader  includes a selection of simple (yet challenging) Latin stories, integrated with the grammar and vocabulary taught in the Primer.  The reader also corresponds with the Ancient Greece and Rome Veritas Press history cards.  Includes a glossary at the end of the book.  It is suggested that the reader not be utilized until the student has finished the first half of the course.  You can view a sample here.


Last but not least, the Activity Book, in workbook format with 32 chapters to correspond with the Primer.  Provides extra practice for your student through games, puzzles, mazes, crossword puzzles - and it's just plain fun!  You can view a sample here


Classical Academic Press also offers other Latin products to enhance your student's (or your!) study of Latin. 

What I like

After a while, I would hear the girls sing the chants in their spare time.

I like that it focuses on the grammar aspect, not simply rote memorization of Latin vocabulary. 

The girls enjoyed the teaching on the DVDs.

The program is flexible in many ways.  With the DVDs, the children can learn fairly independently (although I highly recommend not doing this, I believe it *is* possible).  You can do the program *without* the DVDs if cost is an issue, but it's tremendously easier to have the audio and visual components.

I like that with the mastery bundle you're appealing to lots of different learning styles - auditory (DVD/CD), visual (DVD), kinesthetic (activity book). 

The activity book is fun and engaging - much more so than I would expect from a Latin workbook.

Love that the history reader somewhat correlates with the Veritas Press history cards.  We have been memorizing the VP timeline in our co-op, so that's just a bonus reinforcement for our co-op memory work! Caveat, though - we did not actually use the history reader, as it is recommended not to begin using it until about halfway through the first year of study of Latin. Note too that the readers were not designed to be easy reading, but instead to challenge the student's knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary.

I wish…

I had found this program sooner.  Seriously.

They would do a program like this for German. 

Watch out for

The first decision was which pronunciation to use – ecclesiastical or classical.  We chose classical because that’s what is used in our co-op. 

The chants go very fast.  After a couple times through you get used to it, but initially it seems as though you'll never be able to keep up.  My girls picked up on the English part quickly, but took a little longer to be able to quickly chant the Latin.  Perhaps that is to be expected but at first, until we became accustomed to the speed, it was slightly frustrating.

Be sure to

Check out the other Latin programs  offered by Classical Academic Press - Song School Latin for younger students (primary target age is K-2), two other levels of Latin for Children, and Latin Alive! for more advanced students.  They also offer products for other languages (I now have Greek for Children on my wish list!) You can view their 2011 catalog here.

Read out these great articles by Karen Moore - one on why to study Latin, and one on how to teach Latin.

Check out all the free resources!

Check the FAQ here.  Note the FAQ includes a comparison chart between Latin for Children and another popular Latin curriculum.

Visit Headventureland!  A fun website that offers games, videos and other ways to assist in learning Latin (and other languages)! 

Final thoughts

We have been extremely blessed by being on the crew this year, one of the main blessings being all the great products we've been introduced to.  This product, Latin for Children, is very close to the top (if not at the top) of my list.  I predict we will continue with the next two volumes of Latin for Children and then move on to Latin Alive!

Thoughts of my crew mates

To see other reviews of this product and others by Classical Academic Press, click here. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


Disclaimer: As part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product described in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.


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