I think that I have written before how much my family likes languages. When we first began homeschooling when our oldest, John Allen, was in 4th grade, one of the things I was determined to do with him was emphasize the study of different languages. We began with Latin since it is the basis for many different tongues. Now, let me tell you, the curriculum we used wasn't a "oh let's learn how to count to ten and the days of the week and look how good you are doing" type curriculum. This was a serious study of Latin. He loved it and, even today, loves Latin.
When Joshua, our middle child, got older, my desire was to teach him Latin as well. However, with his disabilities, it was obvious that the serious curriculum that John Allen used was not going to work for him. However, I did want something more than just learning numbers and days of the week. I am super thankful that we were chosen to review the Olim, Once upon a Time in Latin, Reader I and Olim, Once Upon a time in Latin , Workbook I from Laurelwood Books.
This method of learning Latin is a super creative and fun way. It uses well known children's stories to teach Latin, hence the "Once Upon a Time" in the title of the reader and workbook. In fact, "Olim" means "Once upon a time" in Latin. As you can tell, we were sent two different books to review. First I'll talk about the Reader.
Olim, Once upon a Time in Latin, Reader I - I love the way this whole method of learning is set up, and I love the way this reader is set up. First, the authors chose a fable, adapt it slightly to make the transition from English to Latin a little more simple, print it in English, and then print it in Latin. The student is to read the English version several times to familiarize himself with the way the story is written. Then he is to begin reading the Latin version. The first story that we read was The Three Little Pigs or Tres Parvi Porci. We had a lot of fun with the Latin words because they can sometimes seem quite funny but that helped keep attention. The margins in the reader have all of the Latin words and definitions to assist with the reading. A student is to read only one page until he comes to the stop sign and then do the workbook pages that correspond.
I really like how the adjectives are marked with a triangle and the direct objects are marked with a small square. In Latin, things like that determine what endings are on the nouns. The markings remind the student to look for that. I also like that there is a pronunciation guide at the front of the reader so that the student can flip to it to make sure he is pronouncing the sounds correctly. There are a lot of similarities to how Latin and English letters are pronounced but a lot of differences as well.
Olim, Once Upon a time in Latin , Workbook I - After the student reads a page in the reader, he then turns to the corresponding pages in the workbook. At the beginning of each section, the student translates words from the page they read either from Latin to English or English to Latin. They do it in a variety of ways so usually interest is not lost. Also, since only one page of the story was read, there are not a lot of words to translate so it goes by quickly. The student can also use the reader which helps a lot. He's not expected to know the translations from heart right off the bat. There is also an answer key in the back to help if the child and parent get really stuck.
Then, there is the Digging Deeper section that talks about the intricacies of the Latin language such as Nominative and Accusative Cases, Etymology, Verbs and things like that. This section can get a bit more complicated and that is what hung Joshua up. I isn't super difficult, but for a person who is a very literal thinker it takes some explaining. We are going to begin again in the fall and go a bit slower for Joshua's sake. I think that will help a lot.
I also like that Laurelwood Books is a Christian company and it shows in their material. There is a fun "Digging for Treasure" puzzle type activity where the student is to look for a shovel that has a Latin word and then an English word. At the end of all of the workbook pages for a particular story the book lists all of the Latin words with a blank beneath, The student is to put in the corresponding English word. When all the blanks are filled it makes a Bible verse. I love it when different things like this are put into a curriculum to make learning a little more fun.
As you can see, we really like the Olim, Once upon a Time in Latin, Reader I and Olim, Once Upon a time in Latin , Workbook I from Laurelwood Books. As I mentioned above, we are going to go a little more slowly in the fall. I actually worked ahead in order to write this review. However, the reason why we are going more slowly is because of Joshua's learning problems and not because of the curriculum. Each child is different. Some will be able to work faster through the material. As I said, the material isn't difficult, but the child is actually learning Latin while doing it.
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