Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Latin~ Dead or ALIVE? (Classical Academic Press)

High School "Language" choices are upon us. Eldest has NO desire to learn Spanish, French, or Italian. So what is a mother to do? After toying with sign language and Japanese, and knowing that English is "Rooted" in Latin and Greek (as well as the  aforementioned "romance" languages), we have determined that perhaps the study of Latin would serve Eldest well.


Enter an amazing curriculum from Classical Academic Press,  the Latin Alive 1 (Bundle). (Thank you, TOS!) Other TOS Crew Members received CLA's Latin programs for younger children, Song School Latin for K-3rd grade, and Latin for Children, which is intended mainly for grades 3-5. You can read their reviews here
Here are some facts, and then I'll get to my review.

  • Latin Alive is intended for upper Middle through High school. Latin Alive 1 and Latin Alive 2 are the current offerings with plans to publish Latin Alive 3, for a complete 3 -year program. 
  • The Latin Alive 1 bundle ($139.95) combines the student text, the teacher materials, and a DVD/CD set. (These are all available individually. Purchasing the bundle is like getting the teacher's manual for free! )
  • Latin Alive 1 contains 36 chapters, with 29 new content chapters and 7 review and "reading" chapters.
For an "overview" you can watch Karen Moore introduce the program in the video below~ 

Being more or less a "novice" when it comes to Latin, here is how Latin Alive works for our family. I'm not going to hit every single feature (There are a lot!), only the ones that really stood out to us.

  • The DVD's are the "meat" of the course, as they are the lessons, being taught by Karen Moore. What does this really mean? Why, that *I* don't have to "Teach" Latin, of course! ~ I can sit alongside Eldest and learn right along with her! :D 
  • Karen is very personable and easy to listen to. Her enthusiasm for Latin is evident, and transmits itself to her "discipuli" or students. 
  • The format is well thought out and produced. Karen teaches directly to the student, utilizing the text throughout the DVD as if she were standing in the same room with you. Be prepared, though, to hit the pause button in order to complete the exercises in the text as you go through the DVD.

  • My daughter appreciated that the "how" and more importantly the "why" of conjugating verbs was introduced right away. Although learning another language can certainly be confusing, the way Latin is presented here has so far been very easy to follow along. 
  • Eldest was very impressed with the fact that she was able to translate to and from Latin fairly early in the program, and with sentences that weren't just "nonsense", but actually made sense: "I rule, and they work" becomes " Regno et laborant" (Timely phrase for mom as we encourage household chores! ;) )
  • She was also amazed that one could express a thought in Latin with ONE word that takes THREE words in English. " We are singing" becomes "Cantamus". ("We were singing" becomes "Cantabamus") Very cool! :D 
  • From Lesson 4 on, each lesson includes a reading selection. These "Readings" in Latin are modified from actual Roman texts and tell of Roman history from the time of Helen of Troy through the death of Julius Caesar.  Starting in Chapter 7 there are entire paragraphs to be read. In order to encourage success, glossaries are included below each reading with vocabulary which hasn't yet been learned. We have found this very encouraging. :) 
  • Another section that has garnered interest in our home is the "Colloquamar" (Let's Talk) with activities and phrases that can be incorporated into every day life. 
So far, we have not run into any questions that could not be answered by looking back in the text, or listening to the DVD again.

Beyond that, Classical Academic Press maintains a website "HeadventureLand" with many free, fun "Extras" which can be incorporated into your Latin Study. There are games, videos, readers, coloring pages (For the "littles" who are tagging along or in their own study), and extras for teachers. These are offered in Latin, Greek, and Spanish to coordinate with all of CAP's offerings. They also offer a "Weekly Derivative" which focuses on one Latin Root or Derivative each week.

If you are a "Facebook" person, you can "like" Classical Academic Press.

Oh... wait... I just realized... I didn't complete my list... I gave the Pros... but.... forgot the Cons~

  • Considering that I haven't run into a vacant stare, or complaint from my student, I'd have to say that the "cons" may be dead(in our household), but Latin is Alive! :D 
 As always, I hope that this was useful to you as you consider where to spend your homeschool budget. Local friends, if you would like to see this BEFORE convention, please let me know! :D
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. You are so creative... and Latin Alive was a huge hit in my household too...

  2. Great review, mama!! We reviewed LfC A and loved it, too. It was nice to be doing something *I* think is important and not have to fight the kids to do it, too.


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