Song School Latin (Gr. K-3)
If you expect a program with this name to be a gentle auditory introduction to Latin, you’ve nailed it! But be sure to note that this program is also well-constructed, easy-to-use, and FUN. After all, you have a monkey illustrating each chapter, familiar tunes introducing the vocabulary, understandable explanations (i.e. Latin nouns are grouped into five families, or declensions), and just the right amount of practice. What more could you ask for as a painless way to infuse some Latin into your young child’s day? Each chapter is a week’s worth of instruction. New vocabulary words are introduced and featured in a song. These songs are primarily English with appropriate words in Latin and are often set to familiar tunes. (i.e. If you’re happy and you know it, touch your nose – na-res!) The words to each song are printed both in the student text and the teacher’s book along with the specific CD track where the song is found. Actually, I should say “tracks” because each song and its Latin words are presented in two tracks – one with classical pronunciation and one with ecclesiastical. A two-page guide found in both the teacher and student books delineates the distinctions between the two pronunciations and concludes “ultimately the decision (about which to use) is not a significant one.”
Each chapter has a short lesson (grammar) which includes an historical linguistic tidbit as well as a famous Latin saying the student is to memorize. Some chapters include a story which intersperses Latin words with the English. Then it’s up to the student to Practice Your Latin (writing the words), Show What You Know (brief vocabulary identification), Grow Your English (English words with Latin roots), and Review Words (past vocabulary words). Often a cut-and-paste (or some other sort of hands-on activity) is included for reinforcement. Review chapters are included regularly. The Student Book is a worktext which includes the song CD. The Teacher’s Edition is identical to the Student book (but no CD) with answers filled in and teacher’s notes inserted as shaded boxes. While most moms/teachers will be able to figure out the correct answers, the notes and additional activities in the Teacher’s book flesh out the course. DVDs for each course contain 24 ten-minute episodes – one for each lesson in the book covering new material. Each episode features vocabulary practice (ecclesiastical and classical pronunciations), grammar lessons, and coverage of derivatives. Each DVD also features a bilingual story featuring Simeon the monkey, providing another opportunity to use the vocabulary from the lesson. The CD is now available separately and includes the same tracks as those found on the CD in the Student Book. For those who aren’t ready to commit to a Latin curriculum, the CD introduces cute and kid-friendly songs that can be learned by all. There are no printed words with the CD; those are included in the student and teacher books.
For extra vocabulary practice, consider the Latin Monkey Match Flashcard Game. This flashcard set contains over 100 Latin words (with the English translation appearing in small upside down type); use this set to play the suggested games, or simply use them as traditional flashcards. This program is designed as an introduction to Latin for Children but could be used as a stand-alone, get-acquainted-with-Latin experience. ~ Janice