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Song School Latin Review by Nancy Casari Dayton

Amy Rehn
Classical Academic Press
3920 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011

Song School Latin is a program that has been eagerly anticipated by those familiar with other quality curricula published by Classical Academic Press. This company seems to have a knack for producing materials that are academically sound and very user-friendly for both parent teachers and students. (I previously reviewed the Bible for Children program.) Song School Latin does not disappoint.

Geared for kindergarten through third grade, this program provides a fun and practical introduction to the study of Latin. The student text contains 31 weekly lessons and 7 chapter reviews, more than 100 vocabulary words, and a CD with 30 songs and chants. One of the appealing aspects of the program is the common, practical applications of Latin to children's everyday life. Lesson topics include such things as greetings, friends, family, household items, manners, pets, the body, weather, food, and playing outdoors. These topics provide a very natural way to include the practice of the language throughout the day.

Here is a breakdown of the typical lesson format. Each lesson is 3-4 pages long.
Words to Learn: 4-5 topical vocabulary words or a few phrases
Chapter Songs: one or more related tracks on the CD
Chapter Lesson: an explanation of the lesson concept
Practice Latin: a written exercise
Grow Your English: an exercise that demonstrates the connection between English and Latin. For example, in the first lesson, we are told that the English word "disciple" means "a follower." Students are asked to choose the Latin word that looks familiar from a list of 4 words. The correct answer is "discipuli."
Chapter Story: a fill-in-the-blank story to be read by the teacher. Students are to write (or say) the word they hear dictated.
Show What You Know: a fill-in-the-blank exercise

The review chapters include separate exercises that review each chapter, a "Master Your Songs" review, a longer story, and an activity. There are pages in the back of the book that contain cut-outs for some activities. An introductory page includes pronunciation guidelines and an explanation of the classical and ecclesiastical pronunciations. (The accompanying CD contains both pronunciations.) Appendices include a chapter-by-chapter glossary and an alphabetical glossary. One other factor worth mentioning is that the workbook, as well as the teacher edition, has a landscape format, making it easier for young students to manipulate the book and write in it. The student text costs $22.95

The teacher edition is essentially a duplication of the student text with the answers filled in. There are some brief additional teacher notes and some ideas for activities. If you feel you don't need a separate book with the answers at this low level, you might not find the teacher's edition worth the additional expense ($22.95); although, it certainly is a convenience for you to have your own book, and there may be some exercises that you would have to improvise. A bundle that includes the student text, CD, and teacher text sells for $42.95. In addition, the website includes sample audio files of both styles of pronunciation, sample chapters, sample songs, and sample teacher edition pages.

Even though I have no formal background in Latin, I am so excited to begin the program with my son who will be starting kindergarten in the fall; I plan to include my pre-K daughter to whatever extent she is interested. I feel no pressure to finish this program in a year. I would be comfortable stretching it over 2-3 years and continuing into their Latin for Children program.

Product review by Nancy Casari Dayton, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2008