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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Latina Christiana (A Homeschool Crew Review)


Ashleigh loves Latin.  After trying our hand with Chinese, Spanish and French, we struck gold when two years ago we were given the opportunity to review Prima Latina from Memoria Press.  Ashleigh absolutely loved it and her choice in foreign language was cemented for her.  This time around, we are reviewing Latina Christiana which is the next level Latin curriculum also from Memoria Press.


About Latina Christiana

Latina Christiana is considered an Introduction to First Form Latin, written by Cheryl Lowe.  As like most of Memoria Press's Latin courses written by Ms Lowe, it follows a Trivium learning path - grammar, logic and rhetoric learning.  In the first stage of learning (Prima Latina thru Fourth Form Latin),  students memorize Latin grammar and vocabulary words to create the foundation needed to progress to the Logic and Rhetoric stages of learning.   The Logic stage brings mastery of syntax and translation skills and the final stage, rhetoric has students reading Latin literature such as Ovid, Caesar, and Vergil.

Designed for grades third and fourth, the course is designed so that younger students will be prepared to move on to First Form Latin with success. Lessons are structured in such a way that even a parent who has had no previous education with teaching Latin can easily pick up the teachers guide and successfully teach the material. 

Latina Christiana picks up where Prima Latina leaves off.  The course is taught by Jessica Watson, Latina Christiana goes beyond simply memorizing vocabulary words and begins to introduce conjugations and declensions.  Designed to be taught as a beginning Latin course for students, the course is broken down into 25 weekly lessons.

For this course, students learn two of the five declensions and three of the six conjugations found in Latin.   By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • pronounce, spell, and translate approximately 200 Latin words, 25 Latin sayings, 2 prayers and 3 songs
  • understand concepts of tense, number, gender, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd person
  • conjugate first and second conjugation verbs in the present, imperfect, and future tenses
  • decline first and second declension nouns and adjectives
  • give the singular and plural forms of first and second declension nouns

What We Received

For this review, we were given the following items:



  • 3 disc DVD Set:  Contains all video lessons for the curriculum.  Roughly 5.5 hours of lessons taught by Jessica Watson. 
Screen Capture from DVD of Ms Watson
  • Pronunciation CD: Audio CD containing complete pronunciation for each lesson as well as prayers and songs covered in the lessons. 
  • Student Book (Fourth Edition):  105 page softcover book that serves as both the student text as well as workbook.  Contains 25 weekly lessons as well as 5 review lessons. Exercises reinforce memory work and teach grammar in incremental steps through simple translation. Grammar coverage includes 1st-2nd declension nouns, 1st-2nd conjugation verbs, 1st-2nd declension adjectives, the irregular verb to be, and 1st-2nd person pronouns.
  • Teacher Manual (Fourth Edition): 187 page, soft cover, spiral bound teacher's guide that is designed for teachers who have no prior background in Latin.  Contains the complete copy of the student book with overlaid answers, comprehensive teaching instructions, grammar overview, as well as tests and quizzes. 

  • Latina Christiana Flashcards:  pre-cut 3.5 x 2.5 inch heavy cardstock cards that contain all vocabulary, Latin sayings, and grammar forms taught in each lesson.  Latin is printed on one side while the English translation is printed on the opposite side.  Cards are numbered in the top corner to indicate what lesson the material was presented.
Flashcards for practice

How We Used It


Memoria Press uses a Classical Education approach to their learning materials, something my kids do not typically do well with, especially with their literature studies.  However, their approach to Latin education has always been well received in our home - Ashleigh does VERY well with their format.  Unfortunately, we hit a stand still last year when we tried to skip right to First Form Latin, which she wasn't ready for so we took a bit of a break.  I was pretty happy to be offered the opportunity to review Latina Christiana, the step below First Form, to allow Ashleigh to jump back into her Latin lessons without being overwhelmed.

Latina Christiana has been perfect for her needs.  While it wasn't part of the review items, we did purchase the lesson plans for the program from Memoria Press, which helped to break down what we should work on each day.  From there, it was really easy to add Latin back into our homeschool routine and only add roughly 20 minutes extra to our day.

Optional Lesson Plans for Latina Christiana

Our schedule worked as followed :

On Monday, Ashleigh watched the video lesson located on the DVDs.  These lessons are roughly 15 minutes in length and we found Ms Watson to be very easy to understand, although there were times we had to pause the video to allow Ashleigh to complete tasks in her book.   Each weekly video does a great job of breaking down the lesson so that Ashleigh can understand it.  Graphic slides, when presented,  are clear and easy for Ashleigh to read and follow along with in her book.

Capture from Latina Christiana Lesson 

After watching the lesson, Ash would work on her vocabulary drill sheet, simply writing each of her ten vocabulary words both in Latin and English as well as the weeks Latin saying.   Monday is also the day we would add her flash cards to her growing pile to work on all vocabulary during the week.

Ashleigh working on her Day 1 Vocabulary Drills

Tuesdays we listen to the included audio cd which helps to solidify proper pronunciation of her vocabulary words.  This audio lesson is also taught by Ms Watson and is perfect for uploading onto her tablet.  We also converted the CD to MP3 and put it on a thumb drive so that we can listen to the lessons when riding in the car.  After listening to the audio cd,  Ashleigh then works through the exercises located in her student workbook.  We also drill through her flash cards at least once and then she works on filling out another copy of her vocabulary drill sheet.  Tuesdays also have her working on her Grammar drill sheets where she can work through the conjugations and declensions of her words.

Day 2 Bookwork

Wednesdays and Thursdays are review days.  We spend a good bit of time working though flashcards, listening to the audio CD, and working on our vocabulary and grammar drills.  Ashleigh's goal over the course of these two days is to be able to write her Latin vocabulary words properly from memory to prepare for her weekly quiz. To help accomplish this, I will dictate the word to her and she fills out her grammar sheet, writing first the word followed by the English translation.

Finally, on Friday, Ashleigh has a quiz.  These quizzes are located in the back of the Teacher's Manual and can be printed out for the student to use.  These tests are pretty short and to the point - simply translating the English translations into her Latin vocabulary words as well as to show knowledge of her grammar portion of the weekly lesson.
One of Ashleigh's end of the week quizzes

Final Thoughts

Latina Chrstiana has been the perfect bridge between Prima Latina and First Form Latin and I really wish we had not tried to skip this step previously.  Ashleigh was completely over her head with trying to figure out the declension of nouns and the conjugations of verbs that it really shook her confidence in learning Latin.  Latina Christiana eases the student into this material, allowing them to get comfortable with it slowly so that they fully understand the process.    This has been a game changer for Ashleigh and I have no doubt that once she finishes this particular curriculum, she will be more than ready to move on to First Form Latin - the next step offered by Memoria Press in their Latin language curriculum.

#hsreviews #memoriapress #latin #readingisfun #classicaleducation #classicalchristianeducation #homeschool #classicallyhomeschooling #poetry #teachclassical


For more information about the many different products Memoria Press offers, including their huge selection of Latin curriculum, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MemoriaPress    Tag: @MemoriaPress     

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/memoriapress/         

Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/memoriapress/    Tag: @memoriapress     



In addition to Latina Christiana, members of the Crew were offered the opportunity to review curriculum for Phonics, Latin, and also Prose and Poetry.  Be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews today. 

Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

Last week, we went hiking up at Red Rock Canyon State Park.  It was our first time there even though it's basically in our back yard and only 40 miles away.  We had a really great time, packing a picnic lunch and enjoying a 6 mile hike though the beautiful desert landscape.   



















Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tied 2 Teaching ( A Homeschool Crew Review)


I love using STEM activities in our homeschool.  It's a fun way to introduce Science and Technology into our day in a way that Garrett and Ashleigh really respond well to.  Hands on learning is always a huge hit in our house.  

Recently we were given the opportunity to review a collection of 60 STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching.  With everything from seasoning activities like designing Cupids bow for Valentines day or a Leprechaun trap for St Patrick's day, to creating suspension bridges and spider webs, I knew that this would be a review right up my kids educational alley. 

About the Product

For this review, we were given a digital download that contained 60 PDF files, one file for each
STEM challenge. Each of these files is 21 pages in length and contains a link to a close reading selection (using the website Wonderopolis.org which is created by the National Center for Families Learning), questions associated with the closed reading selection, a page introducing the building challenge for the lesson and a selection of sheets to walk students thru the process of imaging, plan, create and then improve on their creation.

The 60 challenges offer a wide variety of different possibilities for students to build with.  Ten of the challenges specifically require building blocks such as Legos while others use popsicle sticks, toothpicks, rubber bands, news papers and any other types of recyclable material located in the house.

For this review, we opted to pick three builds that we wanted to work on.  We decided not to work on holiday related units for St Patrick's day only because we wanted to showcase a few of the Challenges that might not be picked by other members of the Review Crew.  


Build 1 


Dad picked out our very first STEM activity, which was about UFOs.  Prior to doing this STEM challenge, I had printed out both the worksheets as well as the closed reading selection for the kids to read aloud together.  This particular reading selection discussed the question of whether or not UFOs were real and gave a few explanations as to what people might mistake for UFOs.  Following the reading, the kids were asked to answer questions in regards to what they read. 

With the close reading portion completed, it was time to issue the challenge.  For this challenge, the kids were asked to build their own interpretation of a UFO using building blocks.  They could design it any way they wanted, however, we had to be able to suspend the build from string in order for it to appear to be flying through the air.   Pages are provided for the kids to jot down ideas as to what they might try to build as they plan out their ideas prior to their actual build. 



And then it was time to bring out the building blocks :)


Asheligh's UFO.  She decided to go for a single alien space craft (complete with an alien flying it).


Garrett on the other hand went for a full spacecraft model that would house an entire crew of aliens.


Alien spacecrafts suspended from the ceiling fan.



Build 2

This weeks STEM lesson was about whether or not all birds fly south for the winter.  Again, we had a
close reading where the kids refreshed their memory about birding and National Bird Feeding month, which we participated in last month.  This reading was more of just a fun read for us, as the kids have been observing and caring for the birds in our yard all winter, providing seed and suet for the songbirds and sugar water for our hummingbirds that have stayed over during the colder months.  Just as the previous challenge, the kids were provided with a packet for the reading, the comprehension questions for the lesson, as well as pages for planning (and re-evaluate and improve their design afterwards).

For the build portion of the challenge, the kids were invited to build a birdhouse using recycled materials found in the home.  So, after rummaging through our recycle bin and collecting everything they thought they might want to use, they began the processes of their design.

Picket (our school mascot) investigating all the build materials piled up in the living room floor.


Garrett reading the challenge before getting started


Ashleigh decided to use a simple plastic gallon milk jug to make her bird house.  She spent most of her time drawing decorations to put on it then she actually put into making the house itself.


Garrett also decided to use a milk carton to make his house, but he decided to use a toilet paper roll to make a perch.  He also opted to cover his carton with paper in order to make a more attractive house.



Finished houses..  Garrett's sign above the house says "Welcome Birdies"




Build 3

Our third week had us learning about the meaning behind the Dog Days of Summer.  Both kids assumed this phrase was about it being so hot that the dogs didn't want to go out, but instead learned that it had to do with Sirius, the Dog Star.

The build challenge had the kids building a dog house.  For this weeks Challenge, both kids did the closed reading and answering the however, Garrett decided to do the build while Ashleigh contributed her stuffed dog.

This particular project was probably one of the best ones we've done so far, as Garrett had originally planned his idea out but then ran into some major design flaws.

He opted to build his dog house using his wooden building planks.  These are about 1/4 in thick, 6 inches long and 1 inch high planks and while they work well for building, he quickly started learning he was facing limitations.


Please ignore the Sprite Box, it's what he uses to keep his planks in.. lol 

In order to get his house high enough to enclose the dog, he needed to build his walls seven planks tall.  However, the stability of seven planks created very flimsy walls.


When he tried to put the roof on, the walls collapsed and he had to start over.  Back to the drawing board with his design.


So, Garrett went to the recycle bin and opted for using 4 coke cans to provide some stability to his corners of his walls.

Then he used additional planks to create a more weight bearing support for his roof.


And now the dog has a house ;)  


I really liked this challenge out of the three we used, because it really made Garrett think on how to improve his design as his originally idea wasn't working the way he would like.

Final Thoughts

With Tied 2 Teaching, we have a full year of STEM activities like the ones above that cover a wide array of different topics.  We really like that there are activities that can be fit in with holidays (although we opted not to use the Valentine day ones this year)  and that they all feature different ideas.  Some ask the kids to make structures that can support objects, others ask them to figure out ways to build vertical structures that won't tip over, while other's simply ask them to design something fun (like our UFOs).  We will definitely be including these into our weekly routine as it's a fun activity that the kids have enjoyed that his highly educational as well.



For more information about Tied 2 Teaching and their vast collection of educational materials, including the full year of STEM activities with closed reading, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms.







Click the banner below to see other build projects and read reviews made by the other members of the Homeschool Review Crew. 

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading {Tied 2 Teaching Reviews}


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