This complete immersion course by Hans Ørberg is designed to get students comfortable reading and understanding Latin, and after completing the first part of the course, able to read some classic texts for themselves outside the program. Through the second part of the course, students will be reading classical texts by themselves, refine their syntax, and accrue a Latin vocabulary of over 4,000 more words. The publisher assures that after students have completed the second part of the course, they'll be able to read fairly difficult classical texts.
The first portion of the course consists of a reader, Familia Romana, a student manual, Latin exercises, a Latin grammar booklet, and a list of Latin-English vocabulary used in the reader. The reader is written entirely in Latin, follows the daily life of a Roman family set in the 2nd century A.D., as told through 35 chapters and a 1500-word basic Latin vocabulary. The last portion of the book features readings from classical poets and Donatus' Ars Grammatica, a popular Latin school text. Each chapter consists of two to three readings, followed by short sections on grammar highlighting grammatical points that have been used in the reading text, as well as grammar and vocabulary exercises to further solidify the student's grasp of words and usage. The new words introduced in the reader are used in context, are explained through the illustrations, and are often noted in the margin. Altogether, it is designed so that the student should be able to read and advance through the book without extensive breaks to look up words, and reorient themselves. The chapters subtly advance in complexity so that the student gains new vocabulary through the context of words he or she has already become comfortable with, building onto their previous knowledge to acquire new knowledge fairly seamlessly. The Latine Disco, or student's manual, functions as the student's guide to pronunciation, and offers instructions and information on key points featured in each chapter of the reader. The Grammatica Latina manual contains paradigms and forms of Latin grammar, as used in the reader. Exercitia Latina offers the student multiple exercises to practice grammar, usage, and vocabulary using content and text from the lessons in the reader. Nearly a dozen or even more exercises are included in this book, offering extensive practice that would be highly beneficial to the student in learning the content more quickly and efficiently. The Lingua Latina: Glossarium replaced the Latin-English Vocabulary for Part 1 and contains glossaries for Familia Romana, Colloquia Personarum, Fabulae Syrae, and Fabellae Latinae. A College Companion is also available, which you would use in place of Latine Disco, Grammatica Latina and the Latin-English Vocabulary. Designed for college students using the course who wanted more grammatical explanation, it "provides a running grammatical commentary" on Familia Romana. Chapters of the College Companion correlate directly to chapters in Familia Romana, with Grammatica Latina and the Latin-English Vocabulary appended in the back of the book. Because this book goes into so much more detail than the Latine Disco, it is also recommended as a good companion for teachers who have little knowledge of Latin. Compared to Latine Disco (50 pages), the College Companion is much heftier with 324 pages. For those who would prefer the Companion, we are offering it individually and in a package, replacing the other three booklets. While use of all components would certainly be best for a well-rounded and complete study, the publishers add that the use of Familia Romana and the student's manual will get the student off to a good start as well.
Nearly the same components are included in the second part of the program, with a few exceptions. First, the Instructions for Part II serve the same function as the Latine Disco in Part I, but also includes background historical and grammatical information for each chapter in the corresponding reader. The reader for Part II focuses on Roman history through the eyes of Roman authors, and the 21 chapters include portions of the Aeneid I-IV, Livy's Book 1, and the writings of Ovid. Indices for Part II is available separately and features lists of Roman consuls and their accomplishments, as well as name and word indexes for the whole course.
Several types of instructional aids are available. Teacher's Materials includes chapter-by-chapter exercises for Familia Romana and Roma Aeterna, answer keys to these exercises, and answer keys to Exercita Latina I and II. The Teacher's Manual-like Latine Doceo does not contain answer keys, but does include plenty of information and advice for the teacher, tips on lesson planning, and helpful appendices. An audio CD is available for the first ten chapters of Familia Romana in classical Latin pronunciation. Other CDs have also become available, which contain the text from some parts of the program, or interactive exercises. See individual CDs listed for details.
Through immersing the student into Latin through the readings and exercises, it is expected that they will be "up and running" with a basic understanding of the Latin language, grammar, and acquire a basic Latin vocabulary in a focused and fairly easy way. The stories in the readers are written with humor and charm, and readers should find the content fairly interesting. I have to admit, when I first begin looking through the program, I was not too excited to be writing about it, but when I really starting examining it, it began to look organized, well-written, and hey, not even as intimidating as other Latin programs I've been familiar with. Fairly inexpensive and user-friendly, I'd give this one a try for your upper level students. - Jess