Although officially a dead language, Latin lives on in other languages. About half of English words contain Latin roots. Spanish, French, and Italian also have a Latin base. Studying Latin has many benefits. English and science vocabulary will be easier to understand and remember. If you decide to include an elementary Latin curriculum in your studies, you will not regret it. I wish I had learned Latin as a child.
CLICK HERE to read Memoria Press’s top 10 reasons for studying Latin.
The Well-Trained Mind recommends beginning Latin study in either 3rd or 4th grade. After a child learns to read fluently, Latin study can help increase a child’s vocabulary and prepare them for learning additional languages. CLICK HERE to read my full review of the Well-Trained Mind homeschool book.
This article reviews Elementary Latin Curricula. This review does not include all available elementary Latin curricula. It does include programs I have either used or am familiar with.
Programs that Teach Latin Roots
These books are from the Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts series. The books cover Latin roots and classic vocabulary. Tests are also included at the end of each unit. The program was written with gifted children in mind. The Caesar’s English I book is intended for 4th grade students.
I have completed Ceasar’s English I with one of my children. We went through the entire book at his pace, studying a few minutes per day. He was able to learn the Latin roots and vocabulary. Book 1 includes periodic reviews of previous lessons enhancing long-term memorization of the content covered. When my son was in second grade, he took a vocabulary test through his school and scored at the 12th grade level. I believe his advanced score was in part due to what he learned through his study of Ceasar’s English I.
The books are intended to be consumable. The consumable component includes word finds. As I like to reuse curriculum for multiple children, I just skipped this component.
This is a game-based way to learn both Latin and Greek roots. Although I have not yet used it, it is on my purchase list for the 2017-2018 school year. Some Amazon reviewers noted that the cards seemed flimsy. I think it will be a great way to build vocabulary, similar to the benefits gained from Caesar’s English.
Beginning Elementary Latin Programs
This beginning Latin book covers some basic vocabulary and grammar. Each lesson is a short bite-sized piece of Latin.
The short lessons are simple and easy to understand. The author includes a link to download audio files to hear the pronunciation of the words for each lesson. The book can be self-paced to complete one or more lessons per day or to take several days on a single lesson.
It is not often I can’t find a limitation with a curriculum or book. As I am writing this post, I really cannot think of any.
This beginning Latin book uses total physical response (TPR) in lessons. This book covers vocabulary and syntax without worksheets or chants.
The lessons tap into active learning strategies. For example, the verbs are learned while doing them. The book requires minimal materials and preparation. The lessons are scripted and include pronunciation. Both a print and pdf version are available for purchase from LuLu.com. My kids loved Latin lessons while we used this curriculum.
The only limitation I came across using this book is my own. I stopped using it when I didn’t have one of the required props readily available. I think I need to go back and use this curriculum again.
This latin curriculum teaches Latin vocabulary and concepts through song. The books include handwriting practice, stories, and other activities to aid in memorization.
Song School Latin I is advertised for Kindergarten through 3rd grade. For children who love music and songs, this program may be a good fit.
I did not make it very far into this curriculum as my children hated the songs and lesson format.
Elementary Latin Curricula that Teach Grammar and Vocabulary
Visual Latin is a video-based program. The instructor explains each concept covered and includes examples. Each lesson (which covers grammar, vocabulary, and a Bible-based reading/translation activity) includes worksheets to practice the concepts covered and a test. The program is recommended for 4th grade and up.
I like visual Latin. It is a great program for a parent who does not know Latin to learn with their child. This curriculum is based on the learning method used in the Lingua Latina Latin series. The author also includes an optional schedule of when to introduce Lingua Latina into lessons, if desired.
Although I like visual Latin, my son does not. I consider this to be a reluctant learner issue rather than a reflection on this curriculum. I have stopped using it with him for now, but plan to continue my own Latin studies using Visual Latin.
Mango has a large variety of languages available for study. Their Latin lessons are based on Latin readings. Words and phrases are taught in small chunks.
As this is an online program, you can access it from any computer or almost any device. Mango has apps available for the kindle and iPad. Lessons can be downloaded for offline use. One of my personal favorite aspects of Mango is the ability to click on a word to hear and see the correct pronunciation.
The lessons are a little on the long side. You could stop part way through, but would have difficulty picking up mid-lesson. Overall I like Mango as a language learning tool, but did not enjoy their Latin curriculum. Even though they break down the sentences and phrases into manageable parts, I thought it was too difficult for a beginner.
Other possible Elementary Latin Curricula
I have not used the following programs, but think they may be worth looking into.
Final Elementary Latin Curricula Recommendations
Latin study is important for long term vocabulary and science learning. If you do not want to study Latin as a language, I would recommend finding a program to teach Latin roots, such as Caesar’s English or Rummy Roots. If you want a beginner’s Latin program, I would go with Linney’s getting started with Latin or I Speak Latin. For a full Latin Program, I think Visual Latin is a great choice, but may more appropriate for 6th grade or middle school. I am considering trying Rosetta Stone or Latin’s Not So Tough for the 2017-2018 school year.
Where to Buy
Many of the Latin curricula covered in this article are available from the publisher or from Amazon.
Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op
Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op is a company that negotiates discounts on popular homeschool curricula. It is free to join. The co-op charges a minimal fee (usually around $1) when you buy a curriculum through them. The savings are substantial. I purchased Visual Latin and Mango through the Co-op at a significant discount. There is a current 30-45% discount on Visual Latin ending 7/31/17. CLICK HERE to join Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op.
#1 Way to Save