Friday, October 12, 2007

Lively Latin

Another course that we are enjoying this year is Lively Latin's Big Book of Latin. Although this course is new and not yet in hard copy print, I think it is a great parts to whole Latin course.

I am using it with my eleven year old son, but have decided that my fourteen year old daughter would benefit from it as well. She is doing Cambridge Latin (a whole to parts course), but I feel the simple and concise explanations found in Lively Latin are very helpful to an overall understanding of the Latin language. So, I added it to her schedule.

We decided to teach Latin in our homeschool because it is difficult to teach a living language without a native speaker exposing the children to conversational language on a daily basis. If my children want to learn a living language, I think Latin will give them a foundation that will make it easier to aquire other languages. Also, there are so many great Latin courses for homeschoolers and so few courses for living languages that are effective and appropriately priced. Also, Charlotte Mason believed every child should know Latin. Last but not least, my son wants to learn Latin because he wants to be a scientist and believes Latin would be the most helpful. Thus, we are pursuing Latin as our foreign language. However, I'm not beginning my children until sixth grade as there are so many other things to learn before sixth grade that are more important, and a sixth grader is more independent with every other subject, so that makes it easier on mom.

I like Lively Latin's approach because it really explains some of the most basic things, such as gender, declensions, inflection and endings in a way that is easy to understand. The program is not teacher intensive, although I stay involved because I'm learning along with him.

Each lesson has a set of vocabulary words that are to be put on index cards and memorized, along with its gender, a set of chants that include declension endings which can be heard on the website so you know that are pronouncing them accurately, as well as a whole series of exercises, history lessons and picture studies. The website also has online games for each lesson to help the kids learn their vocabulary or whatever new material is being presented.

There are 15 lessons, each one quite lengthy, colorful and well organized. Lesson 1 begins with an explanation of nouns, an explanation of gender, a set of vocabulary words, the first declension chants and lots of exercises to get the kids familiar with the vocabulary and the first declension, as well as a history lesson on the origin of Rome. Lesson 2 goes into the cases (Genitive, etc.), by lesson 4, they are learning verbs and reading short Latin phrases, by lesson 8, they are writing their own Latin sentences and by Lesson 13, they are translating very short stories. I think it's a great progression for a beginner Latin course using the parts to whole method. As an aside, I also think the whole to parts method is great because the kids begin reading Latin right away, so I have added in some Cambridge Latin into our week to give my son some fun with reading Latin.

Lively Latin's Big Book of Latin costs $55.00 and comes in a PDF file as an eBook. It's several hundred pages to print, so you might wait until it comes out in hardcopy if you want to purchase it.