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We needed a different Latin curriculum so I tried First Form Latin.
I received First Form Latin for free. All opinions are my honest opinions and I was not required to post a positive review. For more information, please read my disclosure.
Have you ever run into a curriculum that makes all the difference in the world? That’s what starting Memoria Press’s First Form Latin was like for us.
Latin is one of those subjects we keep plugging and chugging at and hope someday everything will fall into place. It did, eventually, for my oldest.
So my 8th grader and I plodded along in Latin making little to no progress. He wasn’t keen on the idea, and I’m an absented-minded mom chasing little ones. Let’s just say Latin kept slipping through the cracks.
This summer I realized my son and I needed a different approach to Latin after seeing the success my older daughter is having with Japanese.
And that’s just when Memoria Press contacted me to ask if I’d like to try one of their Latin programs in exchange for a review.
Serendipity and the answer to my prayers!
Seriously, First Form Latin is awesome.
Memoria Press First Form Latin
First Form Latin is aimed at grades 4th – 9th grades and the four levels of this Latin series cover Henle Latin Book 1. My son is currently in the 8th grade. He will be studying Henle Latin Book 2, translating Caesar’s Gallic Wars, by the 12th grade. It’s the perfect end to his Latin studies.
The first lesson is short, sweet, and simple. The amo (I love) verb chant was taught along with 9 other verbs. We learned about the present tense.
The second lesson jumped into 10 more vocabulary words and the imperfect tense. I panicked. I still have nightmares about the imperfect tense in French. We survived and thrived! And I finally truly understand the imperfect tense. Talk about being a slow learner!
We progressed on to the third lesson where we learned another 10 vocabulary words and the future tense. We kept thriving. In fact, my son and I are still thriving with our Latin studies.
As a result, Latin has turned from a chore to a delight!
- Lesson Plans
After so many years of struggling through Latin programs and trying to find a good pacing, I was grateful for the lesson plans. They print out so you can see the assignments for each day, and you see the pacing expected for a child completing the course. The pacing has been perfect. My son and I have enough time to absorb each lesson before we’re moving on to the next.
- First Form Latin Instructional DVDs
I must confess, often I’ll skip instructional DVDs as they merely repeat the information in the textbook. That’s not true in this case. The student text touches on the information. Glen Moore teaches the lessons and explains the concepts thoroughly. Every Monday my son and I sit down together to watch the week’s lesson. We review the memorized chants and learn the grammar concept. These DVDs are making the difference between success and failure in Latin.
- First Form Latin Audio
The audio goes through the week’s chants. I don’t know about you, but it’s super helpful to hear someone else doing the chants.
- First Form Latin Student Text
The Student Text is a slender book that has a brief explanation of the grammar being taught, week’s vocabulary words. Students have a Latin phrase to memorize. There’s even an explanation for the phrase included in the lesson. For instance, in week 3 the phrase is
In umbra, igitur, pugnabimus ~ Then we will fight in the shade.
My son especially loved this phrase and recognized it from the battle of Thermopylae even before he read the reference.
- First Form Latin Teacher Manual
The teacher’s manual page numbers align with the student text. I love it when publishers do this! It makes life so much easier. There’s an image of my son’s text as well as the information needed for the recitation and Latin saying. The teacher manual explains the along with giving tips on how to teach the lesson. I’ve used it to expand as needed or review the lessons after we’ve watched the lesson’s lecture.
In the appendices of the teacher manuals is all sorts of information. Some conversational Latin is given for use in everyday life and the classroom. First Form Latin also includes prayers such as the Sign of the Cross, the Our Father, and Doxology. In addition, there’s a list of Latin sayings, as well as basic grammar explanations. You can also find the oral drills and a list of all the vocabulary memorized over the course of year one.
- First Form Latin Workbook
Each lesson in the workbook has several sections. There’s a section on word study and grammar, conjugations and form drills, as well as translation exercises. The kids even learn to diagram in English and Latin! At the end of each lesson is an enrichment exercise which usually includes practice with the week’s Latin saying as well as derivative work. My biggest regret is not going ahead and purchasing an extra workbook for myself.
- First Form Flash Cards
Preprinted flashcards are wonderful. It removes the need to nag my son to create flashcards every week. In addition, these are easy to pull out of the stack. Each vocabulary word has the lesson number printed in the corner. We simply grab this week’s cards, add them to the stack, and start drilling.
- First Form Latin Quizzes and Tests
Every week we have either a quiz or test in Latin. These have been helpful so I can see exactly where our weaknesses lie, and where we need more work in the future. It allows me to focus on our review.
- First Form Latin Teacher Key
The front of the teacher key holds the answers to the workbook pages. In the back of the key are the answers to the quizzes and tests.
Classical Christian Education: Lingua Angelica
In addition, there’s a reading course to go along with First Form Latin called Lingua Angelica! It begins with the hymn Dona Nobis Pacem, includes the prayer Pater Noster (Our Father), and slowly progresses through to Stabat Mater Dolorosa. Kids have the opportunity to memorize these hymns and prayers, learn the vocabulary, and parse the words. It also includes beautiful audio of the hymns being sung by a Gregorian chant choir is included in the reading course.
Lingua Angelica includes a songbook, teacher manual, student book, and a beautiful audio CD.
If you’re looking for a Latin program for your family, I highly recommend First Form Latin! It’s a thorough and gentle Latin curriculum that lays a solid foundation for future Latin studies.
Update 2017: My son finished First Form Latin and is now working through Second Form Latin!
Update 2018: He’s moved on to Third Form Latin!