As most of you know, I am a Latin teacher at a public high school and a homeschooling dad for my seven children. Over the last 12 years I have experimented with many Latin programs for my children at home and for my high-school classes. The short list of texts I have purchased and taught includes Rosetta Stone: Latin, Artes Latinae, Latina Christiana, Cambridge Latin Course, Ecce Romani, and Jenney’s Latin.
After all those curricula, I settled on Lingua Latina per se Illustrata by Hans Ørberg for my high school classes. For grades 6 and up there is nothing better if you really want to learn Latin (and not just memorize some vocabulary and a few charts.) However, for my children at home I had not found a program that would serve as adequate preparation for the rigors of LLPSI, that is, until this year.
This year we adopted a program called Latin for Children at our homeschooling co-op. This program is the perfect complement/prequel to the LLPSI series for a number of reasons. It offers a complete course of study for grades 3-5 (i.e. there are three levels) and after finishing Level C students have a solid foundation in grammar (all major noun/adjective/pronoun declensions and six active verb tenses) and vocabulary (720 common Latin words). All of this is taught in the traditional American order (nom., gen., dat., etc. for nouns and amo, amare, amavi, amatum for verbs) which students are likely to encounter in college, so by studying Latin for Children and LLPSI, students will know both the American and European noun/verb systems. Students also have a choice of ecclesiastical or classical pronunciation throughout the program.
I advocate a balanced approach to learning Latin, using the grammatical method to train the brain in ordered, logical, and systematic analysis of language, and using the natural method to develop long-term memory, vocabulary, and depth of understanding. Children in grades 3-5 are naturally going through the “Grammar Stage” of learning, so Latin for Children is perfectly suited to them. Around 6th grade students begin to enter the “Dialectic Stage,” and the constant inferences required by LLPSI is perfectly suited for them. LFC and LLPSI complement each other well.
LFC helps make learning permanent with many creative games, songs, and activities. The songs for the declensions are catchy. I love using Lyrical Latin and Latin Verbs Rock in my classes, but the LFC songs are as good or better. The video lessons add a lot of humor. Dr. Perrine has a great sense of humor and it shows in the videos (particularly when he takes his children’s toys and parades them in front of the camera in a spaghetti western meant to teach verb conjugations!) On the website there are many learning games (very professional, very entertaining) which correlate to the chapters. There is a card game (it comes with the learning bundle) to reinforce vocabulary. The activity book includes crosswords, puzzles, word searches, and many other fun opportunities to practice what the students have learned.
I’m so glad that I found Latin for Children. I believe it completes my Latin program and gives my children a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning. You can learn more about Latin for Children on the Classical Academic Press website (www.classicalacademicpress.com). The learning bundle includes all of the materials described in this review.
As a homeschooling dad, a Latin teacher, a Classics major, and a graduate student in Latin and Roman studies, I can say unequivocally that the Latin for Children series is in a class by itself. If you are considering Latin for your children, you will find no curriculum more thorough, more professional, more rigorous, and more fun for students in grades 3-5. –Joe Klomparens, homeschooling dad and National Board Certified Teacher