Monday, June 17, 2013

Memoria Press Prima Latin Review

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Memoria Press is a family run company that creates amazing, easy to use classical Christian education materials. Memoria Press was founded in 1994 by Cheryl Lowe to help promote and transmit the classical heritage of the Christian West through liberal arts and great works of Western tradition. Memoria Press offers curriculum for every grade level.

A Moms Review:
Salvete! That means hello in Latin! I took Latin for 3 years in Jr. High. I always said I would teach my children Latin at least for one year so they could understand where the English language as well as many other languages are derived from. I think learning Latin can greatly assist children with various tests (SAT, ACT, etc) as well as help them with future careers (medical, law, writing, etc). My husband always gives me a crazy look though and says there is no need to learn Latin because it's a dead language. Well I beg to differ and am thrilled that we were able to review Prima Latina by Memoria Press

We received several components to review a student workbook, a teacher manual, flash cards, an audio CD and 3 DVDs. I will break these each down below. Children will learn 125 Latin words, over 100 English derivatives, over 30 practical sayings, English and Latin grammar, 4 prayers, hymns, constellations and more in the Prima Latina program. 

If Latin scares you and you think that you cannot teach it, don't worry you can learn along side your children. Despite what you may think Latin is really not that difficult to learn...well until you get into the more advanced tasks like translating. Prima Latina introduces children (and even adults) to Latin using an easy to use, clear and systematic approach.

I used Prima Latina with my 7 year old daughter. The program is designed for children in grades 1st - 4th. We enjoyed watching the DVDs once-twice a week. We often watched one lesson multiple times to really make sure she grasped the words, derivatives and phrases before moving on. My daughter did well with the DVD lessons as well as my verbal instruction when we could not watch the DVD, however she struggled with the workbook. The teacher manual makes lesson plan recommendations but states that you should make adjustments to meet the needs of your teaching environment. Prima Latin is a great program for all learning styles!

The DVDs provide 9 hours of instruction on 3 DVDs for a total of 25 lessons. Each lesson is about 15-20 minutes so they are perfect for wiggly children. The Magistra (teacher) is Leigh Lowe. She has a very kind, sweet voice so children are really drawn to her. In the first lesson you will learn the Latin alphabet and a few words. It is very important to learn the alphabet and the sounds the letters make! Each lesson only introduces about 5 words so children (and parents) don't ever feel overwhelmed. I love that the program follows the same format for each lesson, so you know what to expect each time. The program also consistently reviews material from previous lessons making it a great mastery program. There are on-screen notes, diagrams and examples provide throughout the lessons as well.

Each lesson on the DVD includes:
-Practical Latin
-Grammar lesson
-Latin vocabulary and derivative
-Latin prayer

Objectives each week include:
-Learn new lesson
-Recite vocabulary
-Overview exercises

Student Workbook and Teacher Manual:
The student workbook and teacher manual are soft cover books that are written in easy-to-read, large, two color text.  The lessons and exercise sections in both books are nicely broken up by bold text and lines. In the student workbook the lines where children write their answers are fairly large so children with large handwriting (like my daughter) won't become frustrated. There are a variety of exercises including matching, translation, fill in the blank, writing, etc. Many of these I had to assist my daughter with (we plan to go back over them at a later time). A couple of the exercises in each lesson will review material from previous lessons and every 5 lessons children review material and take a test. In the front of the student workbook are grammar overviews, punctuation rules and more. In the back is a great vocabulary and saying appendix.

The teacher manual provides verbal instructions for each lesson (this was great when we were on the road and unable to watch the DVD). All of the answers are provided for the exercises (where applicable). In the back of the teacher manual there are answers to the reviews, an appendix, tests and keys and the very important general teaching guidelines. I found the guidelines to be very helpful. I read these (there are only a few pages) and highlighted important details prior to beginning the program. It is a really simple program to use. I love simple.

Audio CD:
The audio CD is a huge help because it included pronunciation direction for each lesson. There are also 4 beautiful hymns from Ligua Angelica. The CD is great for on the go learning. Just pop it in your cars CD player for review. 

Flash Cards:
The flash cards come in sheets will need to be separated, I had my daughter help with this. The flash cards include every word in Prima Latina. They are a great study aid and a great investment if your children plan to continue with Latina Christiana. The flash cards contain vocab words with derivatives, Latin sayings and Conjugations & Declensions. We used the flash cards as her reviews/test. We would play a fun iSpy type game with them. She would have her 5 (or more) vocabulary cards and have to match them up with the correct object in the house (or a book if we didn't have an object).

Want to know more? Be sure to watch the sample video. Also check out these resources  Table of ContentsSample Lesson ISample Teacher Manual

Still not sure about teaching your kids Latin, here is a great article on why to study Latin. 

Wrap Up:
I am very happy we had the opportunity to review this. I am not 100% sure Gwyn is ready for the full Prima Latin program because she is still learning English grammar, reading, writing and spelling. And struggling with them. However we will continue to work our way through the DVDs very slowly. We will probably hold off on completing the majority of the workbook though. What we will continue to do is focus on the vocabulary and derivatives. Why? Well because it is definitely helping her with her English vocabulary and reading comprehension. And I am a huge advocate of reading comprehension!

Valete (Goodbye in Latin)!

Gwyn review (7 yrs old):
I am having fun learning Latin. It is fun learning where our words come from. I like learning new languages. Some of the words sound like Spanish words too.

Links to follow:
-Memoria Press Website
-Memoria Press Facebook page 
-Memoria Press Twitter 

Where to buy:
The Prima Latina set *everything we received above) can be purchased directly off the Memoria Press website for $90.90. You can also purchase the text set (student and teacher manual and CD) for $32.95.

Click here for more Memoria Press reviews from the The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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