Tuesday, April 10, 2018

First Form Latin ( A Homeschool Crew Review)

Memoria Press is one of those companies that has become a staple in the homeschool community.  Offering a large array of curriculum for all grade levels, Memoria Press offers enough for homeschool families to provide a solid Christian based education from Kindergarten through High school.  But for our family, one particular subject really stands out from the rest when it comes to Memoria Press - their Latin Courses.

Ashleigh had recently completed Prima Latina, Memoria Press's introductory course to the Latin Language for younger grade students, so we jumped at the chance to continue her learning with the First Form Latin Complete Set.

About First Form Latin

First Form Latin is designed for students grades 4-9th, depending on the situation in which it is being used.   This course is a great follow up for younger students who have already completed Prima Latina or Latina Christiana (like Ashleigh has done) or as an introductory course to Latin for older students (6th-9th).

Most of Memoria Press's Latin courses are written by Cheryl Lowe and 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.

First Form Latin focuses on grammar and vocabulary. Upon finishing this course, the student will have learned 185 vocabulary words and will have mastered six indicative active tenses of the first two verb conjugations, five noun declensions and the first and second declension adjectives.  These goals are accomplished using recitation and review of the materials learned.

What We Received 

There are eight different components that make up the First Form Latin program.  The easiest way to describe how this program works would be to tell you about each component and how they fit into the program.

Instructional DVD Set - This set contains the three DVDs of video instruction for the course.   Each lesson is taught by Highlands Latin School teacher Glen Moore.  The set contains over 9 hours of video for the course with each individual lesson taking roughly 15-20 minutes to watch.

Pronunciation Audio CD - This is an audio only cd that provides proper pronunciation without being tied to a DVD player or computer screen.  Glen Moore will recite the vocabulary and phrases in both Latin and English and then the listener can recite the Latin in response. This is a great way to get more practice while in the car after watching the DVD lesson ( note: the CD contains only the vocabulary and cannot be used in place of the lessons).

Student Text - This 121-page softback text is written by Cheryl Lowe and breaks down the course into five units with 6-7 lessons per unit (34 lessons in total), as well as an Appendices consisting of addition prayers, Latin sayings, oral drills and a vocabulary index.  Each lesson is spread over two facing pages, placing all vocabulary, charts, and material (including diagrams and even artwork or maps) directly in front of the student without the need to flip between pages.  I should also note, this text is small (9x7.5in) and lightweight, making it convenient to carry in purse or backpack for lessons on the go.

An example of a lesson form the Student Text
Student Workbook - This 192 page, spiral bound, softback consumable workbook contains the activities for each lesson.  Each lesson's work breaks down to 5-6 pages of worksheets containing review questions, grammar and word studies, drills and enrichment activities that allow students to put what they learned in the video/text lesson onto paper.

Flash Card Set - A set of 235 individual cards that each contain one Latin phrase and vocabulary word along with its English translation.  These 3.5 x 2.5-inch cards give a quick and easy way to review learned material both in the home classroom setting as well as on the go.

Quizzes & Test Book - This 95-page softback book contains individual quizzes to follow each lesson as well as Unit review tests.  These quizzes and tests are reproducible to be used by multiple students or if you would just prefer not to have the student write in the book. I personally found this to be a good thing for the first few weeks because I had to allow Ashleigh to have a "retake" day. This allowed me to just copy and print directly from the booklet and give her quizzes as a handout instead of having her mark up the quiz itself.  This booklet contains no answers, so older students can easily work from the book directly to keep all quizzes and tests in one place.

Teacher Key - This 152-page spiral bound softcover book contains the answers to each of the worksheets in the Student Workbook, as well as the answers to all the quizzes and tests found in the Quizzes and Test book.  The book uses a landscape layout with two worksheets from the Student Workbook on each page. The worksheets are reproduced "inset style" with the answers to the questions printed in bright blue over an exact reproduction of the workbook page, making it super easy to place the answer key next to the student workbook and check the student's work without hunting a number and answer as used in some answer keys.  I REALLY like this as my poor eyes aren't as good as they once were.

Teachers Manual -  This121 page softcover book lays out each lessons instruction in one convenient book.  The entire student text is included in "inset" style (with answers to oral drills and questions printed in bright blue) as well as notes and tips to help reinforce the learned material.  This manual makes it easy for a parent who has never taken a Latin course to easily and effectively guide students through their lessons and explanations are included throughout to help the teacher understand what is being taught both in the text and videos.

How We Used It/What We Thought

Latin First Form consists of four parts per lesson.  First students complete the actual lesson by watching the video with Mr. Moore as well as reading the Student Text. Next, students begin to use the material that they learned from the lesson by working through the worksheets in the Student Workbook.  Oral Drills through the week (using both the drills found in the student workbook as well as using the flashcards) help to prepare the student for the final part - the weekly quiz or comprehensive unit test.

Since Ashleigh is on the lower end of the recommended grade level for First Form Latin, we found that a one week schedule wasn't working for us.  Each week contains a good chunk of information, combining grammar and vocabulary (which Ashleigh was used to from doing Prima Latina) but the addition of verb conjugation was a bit of a struggle for her to handle in only 5 days.  Because of this, we found it much easier to instead cover each lesson over the course of 2 weeks, giving her time to focus on the new vocabulary for the first week and then the conjugation of those new (but now familiar) words the second week. This works well for us.

Video Lessons taught by Glen Moore
Ashleigh was initially upset to see that Cheryl Lowe did not teach the video portion of the course, as she had become accustomed to seeing her each week with Prima Latina. However, she did quickly adjust to Mr. Moore and his teaching style.  Mr. Moore is plenty enthusiastic about the subject and is able to draw Ashleigh into the lesson both on the DVD as well as the vocabulary CD, which avoids her losing focus and zoning out.

One thing Ashleigh really likes is that the workbook has plenty of room for writing, even for her. When needed, Ashleigh can have really neat handwriting, but when she works on Latin, she tends to focus on the material more so than her writing, and neatness falls by the wayside. Even with this, the areas for writing are more than accommodating for her larger than normal letters.

Another thing that we have really enjoyed is the flashcards.  We already had the Latina Christiana set that came with the Prima Latina course and had made a habit of using them as often as possible.  With each lesson and the addition of a new "Practical Latin" phrase or a new set of vocabulary words, we add new cards into our deck of what we already know so that Ashleigh can not only review her new words but previously learned words as well.

Ashleigh and her large bag of Latin Vocabulary

This also gives Ashleigh a very visible proof of just how much she has learned in what really amounts to a short period of time.

Ashleigh absolutely loves her Latin course and this is one of the very few classes that she tells me we have to do, rather than the other way around.

#hsreviews  #memoriapress  #classicalchristianeducation    #classicalchristianhomeschooling  #memoriapresslatin

For more information about the various curriculum that Memoria Press offers in addition to First Form Latin, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find more information at the following social media websites:

Members of the Crew had the option to review other items from Memoria Press, including a Music Appreciation course, two levels of Traditional Spelling, and six different levels of Latin.  Be sure to click the banner below and read their reviews and find a Memoria Press curriculum you didn't know you needed.

Spelling, Music Appreciation & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

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