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Latin for Children Primer A Review by Karen Ciavolella

Timberdoodle Company
1510 E Spencer Lake Rd
Shelton, WA 98584
Dr. Aaron Larsen
Dr. Christopher Perrin
Latin for Children Activity Book
Rob Baddorf with Dr. Christopher Perrin
Libellus de Historia
Karen Moore

The Latin for Children Primer series (LFC) is a wonderful Latin program offered by Classical Academic Press (CAP). I received this product to review from one of the companies that distributes it, Timberdoodle. The first time I saw it I was initially won over by the beautiful illustrations and its organized layout. Upon closer examination I soon realized it wasn't just another pretty face, but rather a meaty Latin program that is grammatically challenging and offers clear explanations so that anyone can successfully use it.

From the CAP website we see that Latin for Children:

  • Is Integrated with Shurley Grammar (although it is not necessary to use Shurley Grammar. All concepts are covered in the LFC primer)
  • Latin Stories Integrated with Veritas History Curricula
  • Classical or Ecclesiastical Pronunciation (your choice inside all three texts & videos)
  • Integrated and Clear Explanations of Grammar in Every Chapter
  • 240 High-Frequency Latin Words in Each Text
  • Workbook Format, 32 chapters (proposed teaching timeline: one chapter a week), perfect-bound book
  • Tests, Games and Puzzles in the Text
  • Professional and Classical Lay-out and Design
  • Quickly-rising Latin series among classical schools and home schools
  • Yearly revision of each text based on critical feedback of our customers
  • Each book (Primers B & C) is a succession upon the previous book. They are intended to be taught sequentially beginning with Primer A (target grade: 3rd)

Each primer has available (sold separately):

  • Answer Keys -- features the actual text with answers in bold print
  • Activity Books! -- Play games and puzzles that help to ingrain the Latin vocabulary and grammar from each Primer.
  • History Readers -- Read Latin stories from history that are geared towards what is being learned in each Primer.
  • DVDs & Chant CD -- offers chapter-by-chapter training by the author with 2 students. The chant cd contains all 240 vocabulary words chanted and sung in both the classical & ecclesiastical pronunciations.

For this review I looked specifically at Latin for Children Primer A.

As mentioned above, the Latin for Children Primers are integrated with the Veritas History Curricula. This does not mean you must use Veritas, but rather you will find that the illustrations, maxims, and some translations in Primer A reflect the Veritas third grade "New Testament, Greece and Rome" history series. Most chapters, excluding review chapters, follow the same pattern, Memory Page, Grammar Page(s), Worksheet, and Quiz.

The Memory Page begins with a chapter maxim, in Primer A this is often a verse from Scripture or a quote by a famous Roman. There is also a grammar chant and ten vocabulary words. All the verbs introduced in the weekly vocabulary include the four principal parts. This is something that is not included in most elementary Latin programs, but it serves the students well to learn these now. As they progress in Latin it will be much easier for them to learn the many verb forms.

The Grammar Page follows the memory page. One of the many things I appreciate about Latin for Children is that the student primer contains all new concepts being taught and the grammar pages include all the new grammar for the week; this gives students the ability to refer back in their own text if they need to review any information.

The chapter ends with a weekly worksheet that reviews vocabulary translation, chant, grammar, and introduces a couple of derivatives. Lastly you will find a weekly quiz.

Every five chapters or so there is a review chapter. These are a useful tool to see how much your student is retaining with regard to vocabulary and grammar and to find out what needs further review. You also have the opportunity to look more closely at derivatives and to work on translation skills.

In the back of the primer there is an extensive reference section containing the Apostles Creed in Latin and English, grammar reference charts, and a complete list of vocabulary learned organized by chapter and alphabetically.

There is no teacher's manual for the Latin for Children Primers; there is an answer key which replicates the student worksheets and quizzes with all the answers to quizzes, exercises, puzzles and worksheets filled in with a large bold font. This is one area of criticism I have for the program, I would like to see the complete student text, including the memory and grammar pages, included in the answer key.

Classical Academic Press offers supplemental materials to use alongside of the student primers. These are not necessary to successfully use the program, but I encourage you to give them consideration.

The Latin For Children Activity Book follows the student primer chapter by chapter and offers fun puzzles, games, and mazes to enhance a student's study of Latin vocabulary and grammar. Following the tradition of the primers, the activity book is wonderfully illustrated and laid out. It is a very useful and fun addition to your weekly Latin studies.

If you are looking for a supplement that packs a bit more punch you need look no further than Latin for Children's history reader, "Libellus de Historia." Reader A contains fifteen stories that, like the primer, correspond to Veritas' "New Testament, Greece, and Rome" history series. It contains vocabulary and grammar covered in the student primer, along with some new vocabulary. The author, Karen Moore, suggests beginning the reader when the student is about half way through primer A. In this text students are introduced to more vigorous translation exercises then those found in the student primer. Written and oral translation are both excellent tools to help students grow in their knowledge and understanding of Latin. Classical Academic Press has done a good job with their readers. In addition to the fifteen stories, there are two songs and a complete glossary of new vocabulary. These readers are an excellent supplementary text for students using other Latin curricula as well.

I have found Latin For Children to be a very thorough, challenging, creative Latin curriculum that engages the students and does a fantastic job with teacher support. I recommend it highly.

-Product Review by Karen Ciavolella, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2006