Once upon a time, there was no chance ever of me thinking about teaching the kids Latin. My husband had learned Latin in High School and I had learned some Latin in my Medical Terminology class in College, but I just couldn't see myself teaching the kids Latin at such an early age. After all, it's considered one of those "Dead languages" that nobody speaks. However, when I looked over Laurelwood Books Latin curriculum for young children I thought it looked pretty interesting. For the last few weeks, I've been using the Olim, Once Upon a Time Reader II as well as the accompanying Olim, Once Upon a Time Workbook II with Ashleigh and suddenly teaching Latin isn't such a scary endeavor anymore.
This Latin curriculum is targeted for students in 2nd through 5th grade and requires no previous Latin education. A very simple curriculum, it consists of a series paperback books - currently there are 6 readers and their companion workbook available on the Laurelwood website. By using repetition and familiar stories and parables, students are gently introduced to Latin vocabulary using the readers and then focus on retention of the material with the workbooks.
The Reader II book contains three stories (The Lost Sheep, The Ant and the Chrysalis and the Good Samaritan) presented first in English and then again in Latin.
Similar illustrations are used on each page that help to trigger students to associate what is on the Latin page with what they have already seen in the English page. The Latin pages also contain a gray sidebar that contains vocabulary used on the page to help students to find the English translation.
The Workbook includes activities involving the vocabulary found in the reader and the activities correspond with the pages found in the reader. Students are directed to complete an exercise in the workbook at the bottom of pages in the reader. These activities include translations both from Latin to English and English to Latin as well as matching Latin words to their meanings.
How Did We Use It?
Because we only had one consumable workbook (I opted not to order a 2nd workbook for Garrett), I decided to use this curriculum with Ashleigh. Ash will be starting 3rd grade in a few weeks so she was in the lower targeted group for this curriculum. Because of this, we worked a bit slower through the curriculum than an older student might and we would work on 1-2 exercises per week. We found the easiest method for us was to work on reading through the Latin page and comparing it to the English on the first day, working through the workbook exercise on day 2, and then reviewing the rest of the week.
I also found it extremely helpful to made flashcards for each page. This was very easy to do as the reference key on each Latin page provided the vocabulary necessary. As we were introduced to more Latin words, I would include those flash cards into our stack.
I'd love to say that Ashleigh loves this curriculum. She was honestly pretty excited about learning Latin at the beginning but that enthusiasm has quickly waned. The exercises are pretty cut and dry and not really something that holds her attention, even though she does really like reading the stories themselves. Ashleigh expects everything to be bright and colorful and those are two things this curriculum are not but she will get over it. There are a few "Digging Deeper for Treasure" sections in the workbook that she really enjoys where additional vocabulary words are printed at the bottom of random pages which are then filled into a Fill in the Blank activity at the end of each stories section in the workbook.
However, just because Ashleigh isn't thrilled with this curriculum, Mom is more than happy with it. Ashleigh has learned so much in the course of our lessons. She is indeed retaining the information she's learning and she's impressed her dad by telling him what she's learning. I have had to resort to making Ashleigh do "Workbook day" in my bedroom with the door closed to separate her from any and all distractions and then she seems to do much better - one of the perks of homeschooling rather than a classroom setting.
Overall, I really like this curriculum and I plan to stay with it and work our way though the series of books. My only suggestions would be: 1.) Laurelwood Books might consider their own Flash cards to sell along with the books as I found them to be invaluable with Ashleigh and 2.) maybe include access to a webpage that would have audio clips of proper pronunciation of the Latin words covered. While a printed pronunciation guide is included in the front of the reader (which was helpful), I did find myself either wishing I knew a definite pronunciation and looking online in hopes of finding an audio clip to listen to. However, these are just slight annoyances and do not take away from this wonderful curriculum.
Members of the Crew were given the opportunity to review not only different copies of the Olim, Once Upon a Time Latin curriculum but also many of the other books Laurelwood Books publishes and sells. Be sure to click the banner below to check out what they thought.