"Salve, magistra," my children answer back.
Soon, they are reciting the Lord's Prayer in Latin, followed by their Latin verb conjugations. The lesson is easy to understand for all the children. Later, we put in the CD and sing, "O Come all Ye Faithful" (Adested Fideles) in Latin. I love teaching Latin this way!
It is my personal goal to teach one year of Latin to each of my children when they are middle school age. Using Latina Christiana I: Introduction to Christian Latin by Cheryl Lowe was a great experience for my family. In the past, my older daughters used a computer Latin curriculum that we thought was great. This was even better.
Latin grammar is easier than English grammar, so it helps students tackle any difficulties in English grammar. I taught my own younger children and my friend, Laura's three children once a week, using Latina Christiana's workbook, teacher's edition, instructional DVD, and pronunciation CD from Memoria Press. I had never taught a language with a DVD before, but now I think that it is the best way to go. Seeing the teacher, listening to her teach on the DVD, and listening to the CD all combined to make learning smooth and simple.
Leigh Lowe, our teacher on the DVDs, is kind and pleasant. She explains each lesson thoroughly in a way that my children can understand. There are 17 hours of classroom instruction on 5 DVDs. The videos are simple with Leigh standing in front of a plain backdrop combined with Powerpoint presentations. However, they are engaging and keep my children's undivided attention. You can tell that Leigh loves to teach Latin to her students . She smiles warmly and tells my children they've done a good job! We all like her and even notice when she changes her hairstyle.
During the lessons, after greeting the teacher and reciting a prayer in Latin, my children recite along with Leigh. They might recite First Conjugations (voco, vocas, vocat, vocamos, vocatis), First Declensions (mensa, mensae, mensae, mensaem, mensaem, mensa, mensae, mensarum, mensis, mensas, mensis), Second Declension Nouns (donum, doni, dono, donum, dono, dona, donorum, donis, dona, donis), or Plural Adjectives (boni, bonorum, bonis, bonas, bonis, bona, bonorum, bonis, bona, bonis). This looked and sounded so hard to me at first, but the children memorized all their recitations. I can say to them, "Second Declension Nouns: Donum," and they will respond, "Donum, doni, dono, donum, dono, dona, donorum, donis, dona, donis," without batting an eye!
Prayer and singing in Latin help the course to come alive. Everyone knows the Table Blessing and Lord's Prayer, so saying it in Latin is fun! It feels like you are fluently speaking the language because you are speaking Latin and know exactly what you are saying! Singing is the the same way. In fact, I think singing is the best possible way to supplement language learning because it is almost impossible not to memorize the Latin words to the songs.
Leigh gives a grammar lesson during each session, making it amazingly easy to understand--even for me! There is frequent review so students do not forget what they have learned previously. The class session on the DVD ends with derivatives of Latin words. We stopped the DVD a lot during this section so the kids could write all the derivatives of Latin words down. We also read about Rome and famous Romans. Famous Men of Rome by John Haaran, A. B. Poland, & Cheryl Lowe contains 30 stories covering Rome's history from its founding to the last emperor through biographies.
If you are interested in classical education, this is a great way to get a taste of classical instruction. This DVD curriculum teaches Latin in the classical way, building precept upon precept, reciting, memorizing, and challenging children to use their brains. Latin, of course, is a big part of classical education, along with logic and other core subjects. You can purchase logic, rhetoric, French, and other classical studies materials at Memoria Press.
Of course, the real evidence of this course's effectiveness was demonstrated on the soccer field. Phoebe missed a goal and yelled, "Mea culpa!" What a great investment Latina Christiana has been in my children's education!