Friday, November 4, 2011

First Form Latin by Memoria Press TOS Crew Review

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         In today's world knowing multiple languages is a must. I know as a student in high school I studied 4 years for French. My oldest son who is in public school is in in his 3rd yr of Spanish and first year of Italian. My boys when they were younger and we lived in the other school district were taught Spanish but hardly remember any of it as there was such a gap in between you could say they really have no foreign language knowledge. I was presented with the opportunity to review First Form Latin as part of the TOS Crew, at first I was not sure as Latin did not pop into my head as a language I was considering, I was leaning more towards Spanish. After doing some researching and realizing that this is indeed the perfect opportunity, as Latin is the gateway to all languages and would set the forefront for us learning many languages in the future with ease, I was ecstatic when I found out we were chosen by Memoria Press for the review opportunity.

         We were sent the First Form Latin Plus Set  that includes everything needed to get started on a full year of learning Latin. Instructional DVDs, CD of all of the lessons for the computer, Student Text book, flash cards,quizzes and test booklet, a spiral bound teacher's manual with workbook and test key,the teacher's manual,and lastly the workbook. When our box arrived I was blown away by the amount of materials that are provided , and the quality of the books and materials. You definitely get your money's worth when you order First Form Latin from Memoria Press.  The plus set sells for $115, now there is also the option of the basic set $55 but does not include the flash cards or DVDs. Now in my opinion the addition fees to upgrade to the plus set are totally worth the investment. The DVD is in essence your family's private teacher guided by Glen Moore.

  This curriculum is very well planned out and works at a pace that is not overwhelming. There are many components to the curriculum, but they flow together naturally. The 34 lesson course is grammar based and committed to the trivium model of classical education. 

   My boys were a little skeptical at first but as we got more and more into the study they are enjoying it. I love that I am learning right along with them and it is something that we share just between the 3 of us. The boys love having a "secret" language that we are learning. They are hoping when they get more fluent we will be able to have conversations that nobody else in our family will understand. I think it is great that they left their minds open even though it was not the language we originally were looking for. They look forward to their lessons each week. It is so inspiring to see them get excited about learning. This is one of the reasons I homeschool. To have the freedom to teach my kids whatever my heart chooses.

  First Form Latin is intended for grades 5 and up. My boys are in 7th and 8th and are doing wonderfully with it. Upon our completion of the curriculum this year my boys will have earned one full credit for high school foreign language. I think it is so amazing that they have this ability when only in middle school levels. Another feature of First Form Latin is that you do not require any prior Latin knowledge. I was a little worried about not having any Latin experience especially since I am the teacher and how was I suppose to teach a subject I knew nothing about? My mind was set at ease as soon as we popped in the DVD and were taught our first lesson.

Here is some information from Memoria Press about First Form Latin:
Memoria Press' First Form Latin curriculum was written by Cheryl Lowe, author of the best selling Latina Christiana. Mrs. Lowe's simple but effective texts have been used by more than 100,000 students across the world to learn Latin.

Based on twenty years of teaching experience, this revolutionary "grammar-first" series will be your guide as you and your students successfully climb the mountain of Latin Grammar all the way to the top! The uniqueness of the First Form Series lies in two features:

1.It is committed to the trivium model of teaching grammar systematically in order to facilitate retention and understanding, rather than topically, to facilitate translation.

2.Extensive workbook exercises ensure skills mastery and rapid recognition of inflected forms.

Features include:

•Designed for students and teachers with no Latin background

•8x8 inch Student Text, small, concise, unintimidating with 34 two-page lessons on facing uncluttered pages

•Limited vocabulary of 185 words

•Full-size Student Workbook with 4-6 pages of exercises per lesson

•Vocabulary derivatives and detailed explanations of Latin sayings

•Grammar catechism for daily rapid-fire review

•Milestone markers for each grammar objective

•Everything-you-could-possibly-need teacher manual

◦Organized for easy access

◦Student Text inset with answers in color

◦Chalk-talk scripted lessons

◦Recitation schedule

◦Pronunciation reminders

◦Workbook with key

◦Unit tests and lesson quizzes booklet

◦FYI section for extra background

First Form’s grammar-first approach focuses on grammar forms and vocabulary because those are the grammar stage skills suitable for the grammar stage student. However, the First Form Series is for students of all ages because all beginners, regardless of age, are in the grammar stage of learning. Syntax (how to use the grammar) and translation are logic and rhetoric stage skills, respectively, and quickly overwhelm the student unless they are introduced at a slow, gentle pace and taught for mastery. First Form is the ideal text for all beginners, grades 5 & up, or is a great follow-up to Latina Christiana I at any age. Now every school and homeschool can have a truly successful Latin program that creates Latin scholars rather than Latin drop-outs.

After mastering First Form, the student will have a solid grasp on the six indicative active tenses of the first two verb conjugations, five noun declensions, first and second declension adjectives, and 185 vocabulary words.

Join our First Form Yahoo group to share your ideas and suggestions with other First Form teachers. Downloadable lesson plans and other teacher resources are available in the group's files section.

If you have contemplated teaching your kids a foreign language whether it be the first one or the 5th, please check out First Form Latin. You can take a look at a sample of the curriculum including recitation ,student text, student workbook and teacher manual.  You can also take a peek at a 5 minute clip from the DVD lesson. This will give you a great feel to help you decide if this is indeed a foreign language curriculum that fits the needs of your homeschool.
  Be sure to check out all of other curriculum offered by Memoria Press, such as Greek, Classical Studies, and full curriculum pakchages. There are many more that you can explore as well, but you will just have to visit Memoria Press and check them all our for yourself.

  If you would like the opinions of other homeschool parents please check out my fellow TOS Crewmates and see what their families are saying about learning Latin.

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