Friday, February 20, 2009

Schola Bridge to the Latin Road

One of the latest products that we have been using for review is Schola Publications' Bridge to the Latin Road. This is introductory Latin and Grammar program written as a precursor to the 3 year program, The Latin Road, and geared towards 3rd-6th grade. Perfect for us this year! I have one of each.. 3rd and 6th! :)

From the website:
You CAN teach Latin even if you have never studied it before! Schola Publications introduces The LATIN Road to English Grammar, a comprehensive language curriculum designed for anyone who desires to gain a better knowledge of English through the study of Latin. This curriculum is so complete that you can learn and teach Latin at the same time - you learn along with your students. All the materials you need are included for easy learning and teaching: textbook, worksheets, tests, vocabulary cards, answer keys, lesson plans, verb charts, audio CD’s for pronunciation and teacher training DVDs.
During the course of study each student develops his own Latin-English handbook. All information concerning grammar and vocabulary is presented in a balanced combination of oral and written work. Students will hear, say, see, read, and write Latin and English constantly. In this way all students can learn with their strengths and yet also practice their weaknesses. This multisensory method of learning does far more to instill the information in the student’s mind than a mere workbook method. Everything is clearly defined, and, equipped with the essential components, any student is able to analyze both English and Latin.

So how does this really work? What are the Pros and the Cons of this program?

Well, I'll tackle the Cons first, because they are not many, in our (my kids' and my own) opinions.

*Much of the teacher's Guide is on the included DVD's. I tend to be a person of the written word vs the visual word, so I would prefer to have all of what is on the DVD to be printed in the teacher's manual. There have been a few instances where things were referenced from the Phonics Road To Spelling and Reading (The K-4 curriculum), that left us feeling a little at a loss.
I also would have preferred to have instructions for a verb game included in the print portion of the manual, rather than being required to watch the DVD to figure it out. However, these are not really major issues, more of a learning/teaching style preference.

*The only other complaint that my children had was that the manual that they are creating is not organized in a way that is intuitive for them, and there is a little more flipping of pages back and forth than they would like... again, not a major issue.

Now for the Pros....

This is truly a program that is "a breeze" for the teacher, as long as the teacher doesn't mind looking at the DVD for help in using the manual. Pretty much everything is done for you. The schedule is set, and the DVD scripts what to say (or you can just choose to listen to it with your children, which is what I did).

All of the tools needed for this program are included, down to the pencils and paper, which is already formatted for each part of speech and ready for diagraming, etc... GREAT!

I'm sure that your mileage may vary, but my kids have enjoyed "Solving the puzzles" of their Bridge To Latin pages. They like the step-by-step process of learning pieces of grammar, and filling in their notebooks. They can hardly wait to begin using their "Scaffolding" tools! :)

Which brings me to the practical of the program. Barbara Beers has used the analogy of a builder in her program.

The Foundation of phonics, spelling, reading and writing is laid, prior to starting the building.

Now the Bridge starts the Rough Framing~ Introducing the various parts of speech and parts of a sentence. Throughout the Rough Framing sentences are dictated, so that the students can get a good grasp of what each type of word or part of sentence really looks like.

After the Rough Framing is strong and sturdy, the Scaffolding begins. This is the process of sentence diagraming, and believe it or not, we are all looking forward to it! My kids really do look at this as a puzzle, and they like to figure out where each piece goes, or fits in.

I will also say that I am using this as their "handwriting" practice, as I haven't found a handwriting program that I'm happy with yet, so they are currently using it to "write their best".

Oh, one more thing to mention as a big plus in my Charlotte Mason-slanted bent for teaching~ The lessons are typically no more than 20 minutes, and often far less, depending on the speed with which my kids write.

I believe that while this is a foundation for a 3 year Latin Program, it is also an interesting Grammar program, packaged in such a way that I believe my children will retain much of what they learn, whether they plan to continue on to Latin or not. My only background in Latin was in learning pronunciation for choral singing, and I have forgotten some of those diagraming skills, so I am enjoying using it with them as well.

The cost is $139 for the Teacher's Package and 1 Complete Student Package. Additional Student packages can be purchased for $39.

A scope and sequence can be downloaded if you scroll down the Bridge to Latin Road page. It looks like there are plans to have a sample from the DVD available soon as well. Check it out, and if you have any questions for me, let me know!


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