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The Great Latin Adventure I and II Review by Tina Rice

Katharine Birkett
Classical Legacy Press
2 Cable Court
Montville, NJ 07045

The Great Latin Adventure I (GLA) is a complete Latin course for students in grade 4 and up. It covers vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and derivatives. Included are chapters with Latin to English translation and English to Latin translation. This program does not require a DVD to teach the course. The teacher's manual contains all of the information for a novice Latin teacher to present the material to their student(s). In addition to the teacher's manual and student book, you will need to purchase 3" by 5" index cards to make flash cards and colored markers to code your flash cards. GLA I has 12 chapters divided into 3 units.

The Great Latin Adventure II picks up where GLA I left off and contains 13 chapters (numbered 13-25) divided into 4 units. Both books use classical Latin pronunciation. A Pronunciation CD is included with both levels. It is designed for the teacher to use so they can correctly pronounce the Latin vocabulary words in each chapter. The CDs also include teaching notes for quizzes and grammar lessons.

The teacher's manual contains a master plan that lays out a day-by-day sequence of teaching this course. Notes are included for how to adapt this course to a homeschool co-op that meets one day a week and to its use in a Christian school. It is also noted that older students will work through the material faster than younger students. So, theoretically, an 8th or 9th grader would be able to complete books I and II in one year and then be able to move on to a higher level of Latin, such as Wheelock's or The Latin Road to English Grammar.

Chapter 1 introduces pronunciation. Students and teachers do not need any previous Latin exposure to complete this course. Students need to have been exposed to enough English grammar to be able to identify nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositions before they begin GLA I. They should also be able to recognize the subject of a sentence. While not required by the course, I believe the ability to diagram sentences will help students with translation from English into Latin.

Beginning with Chapter 2, all chapters contain the following lessons and exercises: Vocabulary study, Grammar Lessons, Study Sheets, Derivative Worksheets, Translation Worksheets, a Pre Quiz (study guide for the quiz), and a chapter Quiz. A brief summary breakdown of Chapters 2-12 follows: Chapters 2-4 teach verbs, Chapter 5 is an English to Latin review of chapters 2-4, Chapters 6-7 teach nouns, Chapter 8 is an English to Latin review of Chapters 6-7, Chapter 9 introduces ablative case, Chapter 10 is gender review, Chapter 11 is adjective agreement, and Chapter 12 is a review of Chapter 9-11 with English to Latin review. By the end of Chapter 12, a student will be able to translate into Latin the following sentences, as well as be able to mark nouns, verbs, case, number, and gender: There is a wolf in the kitchen. The wolf is in the kitchen with a terrified girl!

Book II begins with Unit 4, Chapter 13 and follows the same lesson and exercise plan that was introduced in Chapter 2 of Book I. A brief summary breakdown of Chapters 13-25 follows: Chapter 13 is Adverbs, Chapter 14 is Complementary Infinitives, Chapter 15 is the Direct Object, Chapter 16 is English to Latin review of Chapters 13-15, Chapters 17-18 are First Conjugations, Chapter 19 is Prepositions, Chapter 20 is English to Latin review of Chapters 17-19, Chapter 21 is the Ablative of Means, Chapter 22 is English to Latin review of Chapter 21, Chapter 23 is Possession, Chapter 24 is the Indirect Object, and Chapter 25 is English to Latin review for Chapters 23-24. By the end of Chapter 25, students will be able to translate into Latin the following sentence, as well as be able to mark parts of speech, case, number, and gender: You were showing the foreigner the palace's secret storeroom.

The teacher's manual and student book arrive three-hole punched and ready to be inserted in a 3-ring binder. You can purchase the program with the binders included or pay a bit less and use your own. I would like to note that the binders supplied with GLA are of top-notch quality, not the Wal-mart-type economy binders.

Younger students will need to spend between 30 and 45 minutes 3 days per week working with their teacher on GLA. This is not a program you just hand over to your student; it requires parent participation. Each segment is thoroughly explained in the teacher's manual, and clear instructions are given to the teaching parent. Teacher prep is minimal, maybe 5 minutes per lesson.

Older students who want to complete both books in one year should plan to spend 45 minutes per day 5 days per week. As I stated above, this is not a self-taught course. Even older students will need teacher instruction.

I like this Latin course. It is thorough without being overdone. I am using GLA with an older student who did not do well in another well-known Latin course, so we are moving through it at a much faster pace and will finish both books in one school year. My 4th grade son is not ready to begin a formal study of Latin. I don't think he will be ready until 6th grade. My older daughters would have done very well if we had used this course and had begun it in the 5th grade. I would not recommend this course for most 4th graders. I do not think they are really ready to begin an in-depth study of a foreign language complete with vocabulary, derivatives, and worksheets. I believe they need a few years of English grammar under their belt before they begin this type of course.

I would like it if the author would add the track numbers for the Pronunciation CD to the teacher's manual. They are included with the CD on a small sheet of paper, and it was annoying to me that I had to get my reading glasses out to read the small type. I know this sounds kind of picky, but it would be very easy to add it into the TM in a larger type and to include a note in the teaching guide that you should listen to a certain CD track here.

I heartily recommend GLA to anyone looking for a complete introductory Latin course. It is well suited to most teaching and learning styles. Students who do the work to master the material presented in GLA will be well prepared to move on to high school Latin.

Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2009