Learning Latin With First Form Latin

I had wanted my oldest to begin Latin this year.   We have just finished our study of Ancient Greece, and have been hearing a lot about Latin.  We are also studying for a spelling bee - learning Latin would be perfect!

Fortunately, one of our TOS Crew reviews turned out to be Memoria Press' First Form Latin.   If you are looking for a well planned, concise, easy to follow Latin program for your older student (grades 5 and up) you might want to investigate First Form Latin.  

The focus of the First Form Series is the Latin grammar and a small, usable vocabulary...  Weekly quizzes, cumulative tests, flashcards, an audio, and DVD provide the teacher or homeschooler with everything needed to be successful.   

The first thing that struck me about this program was that I did not have to be able to teach Latin!   The program is designed so that I could learn Latin alongside my daughter.  Yes, it is a rigorous program, and yes, at first it looks quite daunting.   Once we took the time to fully explore the program, however, we discovered you are given EVERY SINGLE THING you need to succeed.   

The program can be used with just an individual student, or it can be taught to a class of students.  The instructional text offers suggestions for teaching it both ways. 

Memoria says that First Form Latin is unique because:

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

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

I know my daughter appreciated the way the materials spoke directly to HER - this is from the opening letter to students and parents in the student text:

There are so many benefits to learning Latin, it is difficult to know where to start.  I truly believe that Latin has more educational value than any other subject you can study. Here are a few things you will learn from Latin - the roots of English words, the roots of Western Civilization, how to think critically and logically, how to analyze, contrast, and compare, how to understand language, grammar, and words with a depth unknown to those who have never had the privilege of studying Latin.....    It is a privilege to study Latin, and I encourage you to work hard and make the most of this opportunity and every opportunity that comes to you in life.   

What is included in First Form Latin?    We received:

  • Teacher Manual
  • Student Text
  • Student Workbook
  • Quizzes and Tests
  • Pronunciation Audio CD
  • Flashcards
  • Instructional DVDs  (want to see a sample of the DVD??   Visit Memoria's website!)
*The complete package can be purchased for $115.00.  

Each of these items can be purchased separately, or together.  Memoria has the pricing clearly laid out on their website.  

What will your child learn in First Form Latin?

Grammar forms and vocabulary are the emphasis in this text.   It can be a beginning Latin program for ANYONE ages 5th grade and up, or it can be a follow up to Latina Christina I at any age.    See the contents of the program here.  

You can view a sample lesson from the student lesson book here, and a sample from the teacher's book here.   The teacher's book includes an exact replica of the student book, with additional notes.  I could easily refer my daughter to the page we were on and know exactly what she was seeing in her book.  I LIKED THIS!   

What were our impressions?

  • This is not a program where you can expect to pop in the DVD and have your child learn Latin on their own!  You should be there with them; you are also the student.   Perhaps an older student could use this program by themselves, but I needed to be there learning alongside my daughter.  

  • Initially it seemed quite difficult, and I do believe that fifth grade would be the youngest you would start a beginner. We had no prior Latin experience.   My fifth grader is a bit overwhelmed with the pace right now (there are a lot of workbook exercises, but I can see how this repetition leads to MASTERY), but each lesson gets a little easier.

  • The DVD instruction was quite helpful.   The instructor (Glen Moore) was funny, easy to understand, and moved at a pretty good pace (although the pause button was our friend in the beginning!).  I was having trouble with some of the recitations, but following the DVD was immensely helpful.  We also found the same to be true with the audio CD.  If you are expecting bells and whistles in the DVD, there are none.  I believe this is in keeping with the rigorous expectations of learning Latin.  

  • We took a 45 minute chunk for each of the lessons.  (We committed to three lessons each week... and will continue this after our review.)   I worked on a white board, while my daughter worked in the workbook.   There were 4-6 pages of workbook exercises per lesson.  I LOVED the fact that answers were clearly given in the Teacher Manual!    

  • The predictability and consistency make this program effective.  Students memorize by reciting aloud, and also writing several times.  It is rigorous, but makes perfect sense.  

  • Latin is not for the faint of heart.  If you are going to study Latin and use this program, be prepared to COMMIT to learning the language and spending time doing so.  

  • The rewards of learning Latin are HUGE!  I feel  this is rounding out our classical education; it gives us a deeper understanding of words and their roots, and encourages my daughter to think more scholarly.  

If you'd like to find out more, please read my crew mates' reviews at the Crew Blog.  

Disclaimer: I received the above named product from TOS Crew in return for my honest review. I have not been compensated in any other form.