Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: The Latin Road to English Grammar




I've always been fascinated by Latin. The sound of the words; the way it looks written down. All so foreign, yet so familiar when you consider much of our English language stems from it.

Latin wasn't something I was taught to any real degree back in school, but the little exposure I did have to it left me hungry for more. (I was a nerd, what can I say?)

So, when I was given the opportunity to review The Latin Road to English Grammar by Schola Publications, I did a bonafide Snoopy dance. ;o) Woohoo!

The Latin Road is an intense, 3 volume program designed for 5th-12th grade students. When used as directed by author, Barbara Beers, this course can be completed easily within 2-3 years. At the end of that time, students will have a firm foundation in both Latin and English grammar, with no additional grammar program necessary.

Daily lessons take about an hour to complete. Students work with their parent/teacher for the first half hour, followed by another 25-30 minutes of independent work. Lessons are taught primarily via textbook and CD's, with additional help provided through the 4 Teacher Training DVD's. (And unless you already know Latin, these babies are necessary, trust me!)

Now, it is highly recommended that we parents work a few lessons ahead of our students. This way, we can better assist our little Latin scholars down the line. Makes sense, right?

Well, I personally did not do this as I wanted to learn Latin right along with Sierra. (Wait for it...) I had visions of linguistic adventures dancing in my head, that's for sure. However, (here it comes) looking back I probably should've heeded that advice. (O! Humility...how thee slay me!) Maybe then I wouldn't have had such a "deer in the headlights" look whenever she asked a question! ("Uhhh....let's watch the DVD and see." Ahem.)


The Latin Road to English Grammar is comprised of the following:
  • Teacher's Guide
  • Tests and Worksheets
  • Color Coded Vocabulary Cards (loved these!)
  • 2 Audio CD's (covers pronunciation, vocabulary and readings)
  • 4 Teacher Training DVD's
  • Student Notebook (white 3-ring binder with printed tabs and Latin Road cover art--very nice!)
  • Colored notebook paper (to match the vocabulary cards, of course!)
  • Latin Comprehensive Reference Guide
  • Colored ballpoint pens (again, color coordination at it's finest!)
I was really impressed at the caliber of these items. Everything is well-constructed, perfectly organized, and professional looking. (In fact, I even felt a teensy bit smarter just by opening the package! ;o) )

My favorite lesson was actually the first one we did; learning to recite the Lord's prayer in Latin. (Wow!) To be able to read and understand that was just so incredible. Not that I'll start reciting Latin liturgies any time soon! I just couldn't help but feel very proud of myself once I got the hang of it.

The Latin Road to English Grammar with all of the above components, costs $279. However, Schola's offering a great Big Fat Latin Special for only $249, a savings of $30.

Not only will you get everything listed above, but you'll also receive a handy Latin/English Dictionary. (Something that was not included in my review package.) Not complaining. Just stating for the record.

I have to be honest and say that while I'm thoroughly enjoying this curriculum, I never would've purchased it under normal circumstances based on the price. And really, that's the only negative thing I can say about this entire program.

However. Now that I've used it, I can honestly say that (if finances allow) it is an excellent investment. Especially if you have high schoolers.

At the high school level, a strong Latin foundation becomes crucial in a number of subjects. Everything from English (obviously) to Science (any aspiring doctors in the family?) will require the study and understanding of Latin. And as we all know, the earlier your child starts, the easier it will be.

I would also like to add that while each student will require his/her own notebook, tests and worksheets, you can re-use much of this curriculum with your younger students. While the initial investment might be a bit steep, down the line it should--especially in the case of larger families--even out.

So, if you're looking for a student and parent friendly Latin program, this is it! Visit The Latin Road.com today and take advantage of their free sample packet. I'm confident you'll be as impressed as I am.

Based on the fabulous-factor of this program, I happily award Schola Products and The Latin Road to English Grammar two thumbs up! ;o)

*If you have younger children, Schola offers products to suit them as well. You can check out their Phonics Road for grades K-4 here or The Bride to the Latin Road for grades 3-6 here.

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