Sunday, December 9, 2007

Considering Latin Programs, part 1

Latina Christiana by Memoria Press

Key facts:
2 levels available with Henle recommended to follow
Cost: Text set $32.95, DVD $48, supplemental game/activity $17.75 (based on Rainbow Resource 07-08), could probably find some materials used
Vocabulary: 10 words/lesson or 250 per year
Pronunciation: ecclesiastical

Thoughts based on website sample:
Student text contains no explanations, just vocabulary, declension or conjugation, and fill in the blank type exercises. This would mean require Jessie to question me for anything that she forgot or didn't understand instead of being able to try to look it up on her own and figure it out first. Teacher text does contain lesson plans, but based on the sample I'm not sure there is enough information for me to pick up the manual and go. It would most likely require some teacher prep time on my part in addition to working ahead through the book to be more comfortable with the material. The sample chapter didn't include a lot of information on the grammar being taught, and outside the lessons there are only 2 pages of grammar overview in the book. This tends to make me think I might need to purchase the DVDs. It would be nice if they had an online sample so I could get an idea of the production quality and the teaching style of the instructor. The Ludere Latine book sounds interesting and might make Latin a bit more fun, but again unfortunately I couldn't find any online samples.

Thoughts based on reading posts from WTM boards:
As far as the program goes, some posters seem to be very happy with the program calling it a solid foundation and a good no frills program. Other posters who dislike the program tend to have older students (10+), complain about memorization with lack of explanation, consider it dry and boring, or would like to see more components like readers along with the program. The DVDs also received mixes reviews. Moms who love them think they get the job done, do a better job at explaining the material than the book, or have kids who enjoy them. Moms who hate them take issue with the instructor's accent, stuttering (new version has better editing for this), and mispronunciation of terms and either can't stand the DVDs personally or have kids who loathe them. I can't find any specific information on the Ludere Latine book.

Final thoughts:
While this program would probably work fine for Jessie as a solid Latin foundation based on what I could find online and our experience this year using Prima Latina, I don't believe it will get her or me for that matter excited about learning Latin. Not having explanations in the student book for Jessie to refer back to previous material (which she does sometimes in Prima Latina) is a major drawback to me. Purchasing the book set, DVD, and activity book would bring the cost up to $98.70 from Rainbow Resource putting the cost on par with most of the other programs out there. This probably won't be my first choice in a Latin program, but I feel confident that if I can't find another program that I like better that this one would be fine to fall back on.

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