Memoria Press Latina Christiana I [Review]

There are many reasons your children should study Latin, and Latina Christiana I from Memoria Press shines a light on all those reasons throughout this program.

Description:

Latina Christiana I is a comprehensive Latin course for grades 3 and up. It includes:

  • A Student Book
  • Teacher Manual
  • Instructional DVDs
  • Pronunciation CD

The Student Book contains 25 lessons with each lesson introducing 10 vocabulary words, along with some of their English derivatives. Students learn Latin sayings, prayers, and even a song. Lessons build on the previous ones with review woven throughout so students retain more of what they've learned. 

The Teacher Manual gives parents detailed lesson plans and instructions for using the program. It also contains reduced size pages from the Student Book with answers filled in, as well as answer keys to quizzes and tests. 

Even if you don't typically use quizzes and tests, these can help you and your student assess what they remember about their lessons.

There are 5 Instructional DVDs that completely cover the material in every single lesson. The teacher thoroughly explains Latin pronunciation, grammar structure, conjugations and declensions,  vocabulary words and derivatives, and encourages students at home to recite parts of the lesson with her. 

The Pronunciation Key on the CD gives parents and students the correct pronunciation of Latin words, and you can also listen to the songs and prayers being recited. Students can read along and practice with the CD.

The reason this curriculum is called Latina Christiana I is that it uses the 'church' or medieval pronunciations of Latin, rather than the classical pronunciations. 

The program is thorough and full-featured, created for parents who don't want or know how to teach Latin, and for students who are self-motivated and can work independently.

There are a few pages in the Teacher Manual that are reproducible for use within one homeschool, and these pages are clearly marked for you. None of the pages in the Student Book can be copied, so  Latina Christiana I is non-consummable and each student will need their own Student Book

Review and Recommendations:

There's always a moment when I first open a box of new curriculum and begin to flip through the different elements that I think, "What have I gotten myself into?" There are days when the last thing I want to do is try something new, and like many parents, the idea of teaching Latin is a bit intimidating.

That's why the first thing I do when approaching a new resource or method is lay out all the materials, sit down, and read through everything. The Teacher Manual very clearly explains the guidelines and purpose of each lesson. Then I watched the Introduction and first lesson on DVD. I leafed through the Student Manual, and listened to the audio files of pronunciations, prayers, and songs. When I went back to the Teacher Manual again, I was ready to start writing out our schedule for using Latina Christiana I.

By the time I got to that last step, I felt good about the program, and knew Kenny would find it interesting, especially since so much of his science studies lately have featured Latin vocabulary. What's more, I'm a huge fan of learning Greek and Latin roots, and believe that this is an important subject.

We started each lesson by watching it on DVD, and practicing pronunciations, conjugations, and declensions with the teacher. She has a pleasant voice and demeanor, and it's funny that she points out how her southern accent affects her Latin pronunciation. My West Virginia accent doesn't sound much different, so this didn't bother us at all.

Is this what 'relaxed homeschooling' looks like?

Is this what 'relaxed homeschooling' looks like?

I paused the DVD here and there to discuss English derivatives with Kenny, and he began to see (and hear) words and phrases that sounded familiar to him. Latin studies really bring to the forefront how much of our language is rooted in Latin. 

After watching the lesson on the DVD, Kenny practiced with the exercises/worksheets in his Student Book. This only required about 10 minutes, but I could see right away that in order for Kenny to retain and internalize what he was learning, we would need to do some reinforcement. There are perforated flash cards in the back of the Teacher Manual, which made review easier, and also served as 'game' cards to inject some fun. He actually enjoyed learning a Latin table blessing since he is the one called on to pray at meals most of the time. 

The more we use Latina Christiana I, the more we hear and see Latin everywhere we go - in the names of businesses, products, places, and for specialized vocations like doctors and lawyers. When we heard a character on a crime show refer to mens rea, of course we had to look it up (it means "the guilty mind"). 

There is Roman history sprinkled in this curriculum, and I took the list of Roman leaders and events at the beginning of the Teacher Manual to correlate with our own History studies - which just so happened to coincide with the time period covered in Latina Christiana I. If you plan to purchase Latina Christiana I, you might want to consider using Famous Men of Rome, also by Memoria Press, which correlates with  Latina Christiana I and would provide a in-depth study of ancient Rome as well as the language of the time.

We found this program easy to use and incorporate into our studies. The further we get into it, the slower we go, because we want to squeeze everything we can out of it. Latina Christiana I takes some of the intimidation out of learning Latin with its step-by-step approach.

Although parental involvement is needed, in my opinion a self-directed student could use Latina Christiana I on their own with mom or dad checking their work and listening to their recitations.

Personal Thoughts:

I've heard about Latina Christiana I several times during my homeschool years, and all of it was enthusiastic praise. While I seldom invest in curriculum because of our delight-directed methodology, I recognize some subjects do require a more structured approach. I think Latina Christiana I provides a solid foundation in Latin language studies, and its ease of use makes it a good choice for homeschoolers. We will continue to use Latina Christiana I , especially since Kenny plans to prepare for a vocation involving the care of animals, and a Latin vocabulary is important for understanding many terms in Biology.

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