TOS Crew Review — Song School Latin

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How many languages can we learn at once? We are in the midst of testing the answer to that question. We of course speak English. We have spent time in recent weeks learning Spanish and Mandarin, and also Latin. So, I guess it is reasonable when I say, “Salve!” that my daughter responds, “Hola!” But, then she grins and says, “Salve, Magistra!” I guess we can learn four languages simultaneously.

I have a love for language for some reason. Whenever I traveled as a child I made a point of learning as much of the language around me as I could. So, I can say words and phrases in about 10 different languages. I can’t get enough of language, and I see the benefit as so many languages overlap here and there. The more we know of others, the more we understand our own as well.

No language is that more true of than Latin. As we delve into Latin words we see hints and clues to the language that even our 10 month old is learning to speak, English.

Latin used to be common place in schools in America. My parents both took Latin. Now, it has seen a resurgence with the classical school movement. Classical Academic Press has taken Latin and created an amazing curriculum that starts off with early elementary students and continues from there.

Here’s some reasons why you might want to bring Latin into your homeschool if you are not already:

I always knew Latin was beneficial to bring into my schedule, but never before found such a fun and easy format to do so. Song School Latin starts for the young learner, geared to kindergarten through 3rd grade. I used it with my five and seven year olds and they both picked it up easily and had incredible fun with it all. Begging to do foreign language? Seriously? Seriously.

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Product: Song School Latin

Details: Student book is a 130 page book with 31 chapters each containing 3-6 pages of activities and lessons. The teacher’s book contains the same pages with answers to all of the activities and a whole host of other activities in the back to supplement your Latin teaching time. These can be used for kids that need extra help, for general reinforcement, or just for some plain old fun.

Price: Student book and teacher book are $22.95 each or buy in a bundle with the flashcard game for $64.95

What we loved . . .

  • Fun from page one. As soon as the package arrived, my kids were drawn to the book and its contents. Great graphics, professional appearance, and appealing to kids.
  • Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce. They see it in print, they hear it in song, they repeat it out loud, they answer questions about it, they connect it to their English knowledge, and they learn effortlessly. This program brings the same words before them time and again, but not in a boring redundant way. The kids enjoyed putting their knowledge to music and then repeating the new found phrases as we conversed.
  • Reasonable writing expectation. Kids do a lot of writing some days in all the different subjects that they cover. So, when it comes to foreign language I prefer to focus on the verbal and save their hands. This material does have them do some writing, but it is mostly in the form of tracing letters already on the page. Just another way to help cement these new words in their memory.
  • Ties in to English. There would be little reason to learn a “dead” language if we did not tie it into our lives. Each chapter includes a section that ties at least one of the vocabulary words into an English word that they already may have heard. This helps build and solidify their English vocabulary even during Latin lessons.
  • Entertaining songs. You’ve got to love the songs. Languages must be repeated often to really sink in. With the songs rolling around in your head, the words are naturally repeated and reviewed. At first I would sing the song now and then and my kids would have a quick review of our Latin lesson throughout the day. By the end of the week, I would catch them singing, “My pater is really my father, My mater is really my mom . . .” They had it. No written test required. ­čśë
  • Includes pronunciation guide. For you non-Latin speakers out there, you don’t need to be intimidated. There is a guide to the different pronunciations and you can easily pick this up with no prior Latin knowledge and teach and learn right along with your kids.

Some considerations . . .

  • You will probably want a workbook for each child. These are consumable books, so they will most likely each want their own. Just sticking to oral work would lose some of the benefits of the programs design.
  • Could use more built in review. They do offer lots of great review tools, each chapter reviews a few earlier words, and there are a few chapters that are strictly review of all previous material. However, I have found that my kids can never get enough review. We definitely re-sing the songs often and each week would review all of the previous vocabulary so nothing is lost as we continue to add on. Any new language needs continual review and exposure to help it sink solidly into long term memory.

Song School Latin brought a wonderful introduction to Latin for my younger kids. I wish I had this years ago for my older kids, but I will definitely be considering their other curriculums for them as well. They put together a great lesson plan and keep the kids from getting bored with a subject that has significant impact on other areas of learning as well.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Classic Academic Press as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

TOS Crew Review– America’s Math Teacher

“I got a new math teacher this year.”

Kind of an odd thing to hear from a homeschooled student, but it is true. My girls get to listen to someone else during math class, at least for now. We didn’t join a co-op or enroll in an online math course, we found America’s Math Teacher.

They use this site to work through their math topics at their own pace. They watch brief instructional videos, complete worksheets, and even take speed drills online as part of their daily math assignment.

Math Essential

Product: America’s Math Teacher
Details : America’s Math Teacher is produced by Math Essentials and offers online math instruction through videos, worksheets, and tests. The one year subscription allows a whole family to use the site as much as they would like at any or all of the four levels which span fourth grade through Algebra.
Price : $195 for a one year subscription to the site

What we loved . . .

  • Broad use. Students from fourth grade through Algebra can take advantage of this website for one annual fee. They can move around as the parent directs rather than being tied to one level of work. Multiple students can use the program, even at the same time if you have multiple computers.
  • Easy to navigate. The kids can find what they need, or the parents can help them through it, but either way, they can easily find the worksheets, teaching videos, and tests that they need to complete their work.
  • Proven results. Rick Fisher has taught math for many years and has used these same techniques and lessons to bring about dramatic improvement in struggling students. He works primarily with older elementary students to get them “Algebra ready.”
  • Free Sample. On their website you can watch some of their videos and view some of their worksheets (which come with the answer key once you subscribe) even before paying. Definitely take a look and see if this program might be what you are looking for.
  • Good balance of computer and paper. Some programs rely too heavily on computers, but many students enjoy a change from just pencil paper work. Here they print off worksheets that have a reasonable amount of work on them, and also have speed drills they can complete online.

Some considerations . . .

  • Still getting established. The site is still fairly new, having just gone live a few weeks ago. However, despite its newness it packs in the information and has lots to offer. Parts of it are still experiencing glitches, so it might be best to wait a bit before considering this as a viable option. You can definitely use it for teaching and worksheets, but the evaluation portion of the site (tests and quizzes) was still not working for me at this time.
  • May not be usable as a comprehensive math course. It covers a lot of topics, but says of itself, “This award winning program compliments all basic math textbooks, so it is a perfect partner program for schools.” Presumably it is best used in conjunction with a main text, not in place of it.
  • Still math. I can’t say that this program made my kids love math. It’s still math. They still don’t enjoy worksheets and speed drills and listening to lessons. But, it does make it easier, and they definitely have found it easy to grasp the concepts that he presented in the videos. It is still math, but it is math well taught.
  • Doesn’t record or track info. You must keep records of what your child is doing. Since you have a family log in, there are not individual records kept online at this time.

America’s Math Teacher has taken what they do well and put it in a new package that is more easily usable. This is a well designed program for homeschoolers to make sure their students are ready to succeed in high school and beyond.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This web based subscription was provided to me free of charge through Math Essentials as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.