Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Latin Alive: A review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the product and share my honest opinions with you. In today's review, Random and Paperboy had the opportunity to try this Latin  program.

Just the facts about Latin Alive 1 by Classical Press:
  • The bundle pack includes the teacher guide, student book, 7 Dvd lessons and a pronunciation cd.
  • 29 lessons classically taught, in seven units, with tests. An average lesson is 30 minutes.
  • $139.95 for the bundle pack, products may be purchased separately.
  • Latin Alive 2 available.
  • Appropriate for grades seven and up. Students need no previous knowledge of Latin.
What I liked about Latin Alive:
  • Everything! I'm serious. In one word: Thorough.
  • The lesson starts with Great Seals, a motto or United States symbol. I love the tie in with modern day symbols, this appealed to the boys, also.
  • Karen Moore, the instructor, is engaging and correctly assumes, in our case, that the student or the parents are unfamiliar with any of the terms. Because of her clear precise teaching, I finally understand declensions, first conjugations and can parse a verb. Random doesn't have to be led by his confused mother anymore. I have Karen Moore to boost my confidence tackling a subject that intimidates me. If I ever meet her at a homeschool convention, I will be sure to hug her and buy her some grown up chocolate. 
  • I loved the format of the lessons. She breaks each one up with assignments, bits of history, chants and pronunciation. Since it was on the long side for Random. we just take it in smaller chunks each day, rather than the whole lesson at once. There is an easy way to do that with the formatting of the Dvd's. There is also a recommended schedule on the web site.
  • Student book. This is meaty, the only thing is I need two, the boys can't keep sharing. I have not been letting them write in the book. There are available worksheets at the website to use and forms from the teacher book to practice declensions, conjugations and sparsing of verbs.
  • There was no need to purchase additional resources. This is my pet peeve about bundle packs. They only recommended a Latin/English dictionary which I did buy. We haven't needed to use it yet, but, I am glad to have it. My boys are more comfortable utilizing an online dictionary.
  • This meaty program will count as a high school language credit. Completing this course will be a challenge for my boys.
  • The variety of the lesson content: Oral practice, parsing and labeling, Latin passages, culture corner, interesting reading passages, tests, and my favorite culture corner. Here the students learn about the Romans and their everyday lives. Now if I was teaching in the true classical sense, I would get my kids out of their Early American History lessons and go back to studying the Romans. Nevermind.
  • Random enjoyed choosing his new Latin name. He decided to take Julius Ceasar. Paperboy is simply Matthias. Salve, nomen mihi este Teresia.
  • Headventureland hosts an online game called Flash Dash to practice the vocabulary taught in Latin Alive. As a companion to the curriculum, you choose which book, lesson#  and the level of difficulty, it quizzes the student on the words. 

I want to include the things I didn't like, because I need to be strait up with you.
  • The plastic case that holds the dvd's is flimsy.  The plastic rings are broken. The Dvd sleeves inside need the punched holes reinforced. I'm sorry that's all I could find. 

Years ago, when I considered their Latin for Children, I decided to wait, since my boys were still mastering English grammar. I am thankful for this opportunity to try it with my boys, it has given me the tools I need to teach Latin. They have made this language "alive" for our family.

Don't just take my word for it, see what other crew members thought of this and other products from Classical Academic Press here.

Thanks for stopping by, Teresia, a.k.a.

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Loretta said...

I'm glad your kiddos like Latin Alive! It's always nice to find others who like the same curriculum I do!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you reviewed this, as I was thinking about getting it for next year, but I couldn't make up my mine. After reading your review I feel confident it will work for us. Thanks!