Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Learning a New Language: A Review of Prima Latina Complete Set

Logos of A Mom's Quest to Teach and Memoria Press; text: Learning a New Language: A Review of Prima Latina Complete Set; background image of notebook

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Our son has been talking about learning Latin for quite a while now but it has been hard to find something that will work with a first grader. We were very fortunate to have the chance to review the Prima Latina Complete Set from Memoria Press which is geared for 1-4 grades. It was written as a preparatory course to Latina Christiana from Memoria Press. Even if you have no background in Latin, you can teach your children this language using the set's clear format which presents 125 Latin vocabulary words, numbers, basic constellations, and more.

Why study Latin? It is such a great way to build vocabulary. Cheryl Lowe wrote the course which comes after Prima Latina as well as an excellent post about the importance of studying Latin. The key sentence that stands out to me is that "Latin teaches English better than English teaches English." When I was teaching high school history, I saw that the students who took Latin as their world language did better in their other subjects. As Latin is very rigorous, it does help instill good study habits in students. We want our son to not only gain skills to make him a better student but also be able to learn more about classical history which Latin will help him do.

Prima Latina Teacher Guide book; vocabulary cards; CD
The softcover Teacher Guide, some of the vocabulary cards, and the Pronunciation CD.

What is in the Prima Latina Complete Set?

There are multiple ways to purchase the items that are included in the Prima Latina Complete Set. You can purchase the items individually (say you need a second student workbook) or in the basic set without the DVDs. Personally, I think the Complete Set is the way to go. You will receive the following:

  • Student Book 
Prima Latina student workbook page completed
The Student book is spiral-bound, making it easy to lay it flat on the table.

  • Teacher Manual 

Teacher guide page
The Teacher Guide follows the Student Book and provides answers to the questions. 

  • Pronunciation CD 

CD track list for Prima Latina
The Pronunciation CD has 36 tracks and is easy to navigate.

  • Flashcards (which can be used with the next course - Latina Christiana) 

Prima Latina CD and vocabulary cards
Several of the flashcards with the Pronunciation CD

  • DVDs 

Prima Latina DVD 1 track list
There are three discs in the DVD set and you can easily navigate between lessons.

In the Teacher Guide, you will find teaching guidelines and a simple lesson plan in the back of the book. It also contains answer keys, vocabulary drill and grammar drill pages that are reproducible, and an appendix that lists vocabulary both alphabetically and by lesson.

Prima Latina Teacher guide, DVD, and Student workbook

Studying Latin in Our Homeschool

Prima Latina student workbook; text: Savle! Prima Latina from Memoria Press uses a systematic format to introduce Latin to young students. It teachers grammar concepts, as well as vocabulary, sayings, prayers, hymns, and constellations. There are twenty-five lessons with five review lessons and five tests. We have started with the first five lessons. This has taken us about five weeks – so one lesson per week. These lessons include instruction on the alphabet (the Latin alphabet only has 25 letters), the pronunciation of consonants, vowels, and vowel teams, and an introduction to different types of verbs. Our son has also been learning practical Latin such as how to say hello and goodbye to one person or a group of people as well as how to address a teacher. Finally, the Sanctus prayer was taught over the course of the lessons. Each lesson introduces one new line of the prayer for our son to learn and memorize. Closing up the first five lessons is a very thorough review lesson. It presents all the verbs and nouns introduced along with the Practical Latin and the prayer. Students are asked to copy all the vocabulary words and translate them. There are also a number of questions to review the material taught in the lessons.

Future lessons continued to be grouped in fives with reviews at the end and tests available. In Lessons 6-10, our son will focus upon nouns and numbers while studying the Latin Prayer Gloria Patri. After completing the review and test for those lessons, our son will work on proper nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs in Lessons 11-15. The prayer introduced along with such words as good (bonus), high (altus), and always (semper) is the Table Blessing. In Lessons 16-20, our son will learn the names of the constellations (which will fit in perfectly with his science studies) and several verbs. The Lord's Prayer is the Latin Prayer being taught during these five weeks. Finally, in lessons 21-25, conjunctions and question words like who will be introduced. The lessons close with learning about declensions (specifically First Declension Singular) and one conjugation (for the word I love - amo).

What Did We Think?

I was very excited to use the Prima Latina Complete Set from Memoria Press. We have had experience with other products from Memoria Press in the past that we have reviewed: A Review of StoryTime Treasures, a Review of Classical Phonics, and Simply Classical Writing. The DVD made teaching the lessons so easy. I did not have to worry about my own lack of prior knowledge in regards to Latin. The instructor on the video, Leigh Lowe, pronounced all the words (multiple times) so I could learn the language right alongside our son.

DVD screenshot of Prima Latina with vocabulary words like libero and narro

I really think the DVDs are a great asset to the program. Even though you can learn the pronunciation with the audio CDs, having Leigh Lowe go through each lesson step by step is a great bonus. She asks questions and pauses, giving children the time to respond. The words and information are also presented on the screen. For children older than our son, parents may even be able to start the DVD and not have to worry about teaching the lesson. And finally, if you want a copy of the DVD slides, you can download them from Memoria Press.

DVD slide screenshot: "Four things we will cover in each new lesson"
One of the slides that you can download to accompany the DVD lessons.

Having the vocabulary cards pre-made was such a blessing. As a former history teacher, I see great value in creating notecards for studying vocabulary, key concepts, and more, so I know that our children will be able to use these cards for years to come as they continue to learn Latin.

Our son really enjoys the fact that the Magistra (teacher) Leigh Lowe tells him to say hello and goodbye to his family and friends in Latin. He loves being able to open prayer with Oremus. I think the practical Latin and learning the prayer are his favorite parts so far.

I appreciate that the course is designed for students who are still becoming familiar with grammar but are interested in learning Latin. We had looked at another Latin resource prior to this review period and there were too many assumptions made in the writing of it that the students had a firm understanding of English grammar already.

I would recommend the Prima Latina Complete Set to any family who wishes to teach Latin to their children.  It is a great starting point for grades 1-4. 

working on Prima Latina workbook

Do You Want to Learn More? 

Members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed five other levels of Latin from Memoria Press. So be sure to see how they used the sets in their homes.

No comments:

Post a Comment