One of my favorite components of a classical education is Latin. Latin is the foundation of our language: scientific terms, mathematical terms, medical terms, theological terms. I love it. In Classical Conversations, elementary aged students are gently introduced to Latin in Foundations through the conjugation endings and some verse memorization.
The Boy wanted to learn more Latin. He was fascinated by it last year. I picked up Song School Latin by Classical Academic Press at our Practicum this past summer. It is a simple workbook and CD, and then I ordered the DVD from Amazon. A number of friends suggested the DVD, and I am so glad I ordered it.
I asked a few friends how they “did” Song School, and most everyone said they only did a few weeks and quit. I couldn’t find a lot about it online, either. So I thought I would share our process, because it seems to be working very well for us! And we have no plans to quit!
One of our ultimate goals for our son is that he really knows and loves language. He began speaking, articulately, at a very young age. Before 18 months he had a vocabulary of over 60 recognizable-by-a-stranger words. He has rarely mispronounced words (and the few he has I let go, because they were cute!).
We also want him to be able to read anything, and if you know how to look at a word and pick it apart – derive its origin – you can pretty much figure out its meaning. Latin derivatives are found all over the English, French, and Spanish languages. If he learns Latin, he should also be able to quickly pick up any romantic language.
Eventually for Challenge (high school) we will use Memoria Press’ Henle Latin, so as soon as we finish Song School Latin I & II, we will jump into their elementary Latin programs: Prima Latina and then Latina Christiana. Memoria Press Latin Curriculum can be found here. I haven’t examined it yet, but that is currently our plan.
However, I didn’t want to jump into a full Latin curriculum before we had finished learning to read and write. Enter the beauty that is Song School Latin. It is a CD, a workbook, and an optional DVD. I hear rumors that there is also a teacher guide, but I haven’t found that necessary at all.
CD, Workbook, and DVD
Here is how I use the materials. First, as soon as I received the CD, I ripped the songs off the CD into iTunes and downloaded them onto my phone. That way I don’t ever have to find the CD, and I have them wherever we are (doctor’s office, car, waiting for anything, etc.).
Song School is divided into chapters. Each chapter contains one or two songs and a few workbook pages. The workbook pages have the song lyrics, a vocab list, some matching games, tracing (yay! handwriting!), and other fun activities like that. After every few chapters there is a review chapter that also has a fairy tale type story with all of the Latin words worked into it.
The DVD has a wonderful woman who introduces the new vocabulary for the chapter (I really want to be her friend), a segment about “Simeon the Monkey” (and The Boy LOVES Simeon), and then a professor-type gentleman who talks about “the Derivative River.” He covers what words in English, French, and Spanish come from this week’s Latin words (hence, derivatives).
How We Learn
We work every chapter on a two week cycle. We meet with our CC group on Thursdays, so that’s why I’ve left it out below:
Week one: we listen to ALL the songs we’ve covered so far on Mondays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we listen to the new song from the current chapter three times. (Of course, The Boy loves his Latin songs. We actually listen to them all. the. time.)
Week two: on Monday we watch the DVD segment for the chapter, and we usually watch it twice, per his request. On Tuesday we listen to ALL the songs we’ve covered. On Wednesday we do the workbook and listen to the new songs. On Friday we watch the DVD again, and listen to all the songs we’ve covered.
That’s it. Tops it takes fifteen minutes. He typically listens to the songs while playing LEGOs or Matchbox cars, or we listen while in the car while running errands. I have never made him sit and listen, because that would drive both of us nuts.
I have found Song School Latin I to be an incredibly simple and easy way to add more Latin into our routine. Our son LOVES that he is learning Latin, and almost daily he uses the words he has learned. He loves asking his grandparents questions in Latin, and you have to admit that a seven year old speaking Latin looks impressive 😉
If you are aiming for a classical education, or just want to beef up your own vocabulary, SSL would be a gentle and fun way to do so. They also have Song School Greek and Song School Spanish. I have my eye on Song School Greek to brush up what I learned in Seminary 🙂
Song School Latin is available for purchase from Classical Academic Press, Classical Conversations, and Amazon. No one asked me to write this review, and I am not being compensated. All opinions are my own. I do not have affiliate links.