3/30/11

TOS Review: Song School Latin

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These past few weeks, Supergirl and I have been enjoying using an introductory Latin program from Classical Academic Press entitled Song School Latin.

As I type this I hear “Here comes Magistra. Salve. Salve!” coming from the family room as my 6th grader works on her math.  She’s not even the student I’m using this product with!  But she’s been listening to the songs as well.

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Song School Latin, written by Amy Rehn, is an enjoyable way to introduce Latin to younger Elementary aged students. Children learn words and phrases from songs. Song School Latin presents both classical and ecclesiastical pronunciations. We’ve chosen to use the ecclesiastical pronunciation.

The Student Edition:

The student book includes the CD containing all 30 songs in both pronunciations.  A pronunciation guide with charts for both classical and ecclesiastical styles is included in the beginning of the book. This guide also describes the differences between the two pronunciations. The reader is told to “take your pick” because “either choice is a good one.” The CD tracks list all the classical songs first and then the ecclesiastical ones which makes it easier to use.  Additionally, in the book the track number for both is listed right next to the song title so you can quickly find it on the CD.

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The book contains 31 chapters. Each chapter is one lesson.  Review Chapters occur every 3 to 4 lessons and cover new material presented since the last review.  The  first three lessons contain 2 to 3 songs. Subsequent new material lessons contain one new song per chapter.  Averaging 3 to 4 pages per chapter, each new material lesson contains 4 to 5 of  the following sections:

  • Words to Learn—A list of Latin words or phrases with the English translation
  • Chapter Song(s)—These are the lyrics to song or songs.  The Latin is bolded. 
  • Chapter Lesson—Grammar is gently introduced.  For example, in Chapter 8 the students are introduced to the idea that Latin nouns are divided into families called declensions.
  • Grow Your English—In this section children discover English derivatives.
  • Practice Your Latin--- This includes handwriting practice by tracing dots but also includes circling correct words and matching Latin words with English translation.
  • Show What You Know--- Similar to the Practice Your Latin section but does not include handwriting.  May also include fill in the blank questions in addition to the circling and matching activities.
  • Review Words— Occurring less frequently, this section reviews both vocabulary and grammar concepts.

Review Chapters are 5-6 pages in length and include the following section types:

  • Master Your Words—This section lets the student know how many new words or phrases she has learned. This cheering section does not occur in later review chapters.
  • Chapter Words—There is a section for each chapter with a list of Latin words.  The student writes the English words.  There will be 3 to 4 of these: one for each chapter being reviewed.
  • Master Your Songs—A listing of the songs with the track numbers.  Includes full lyrics for the first verse with notes about subsequent verses.
  • Activities—Similar in style to the Practice Your Latin and Show What You Know sections
  • Chapter Story—Each review chapter closes with a Chapter story.  Some of these are common fairytales such as “The Three Little Pigs” or “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”.  Some are bible stories such as “The Parable of the Vineyard”  The stories are in English with the Latin vocabulary substituted for English.  (Pater and Mater for Father and Mother in Goldilocks). As the program progresses, students choose the appropriate Latin word to fit the sentence in the story.

The student book also includes a Chapter by Chapter Glossary and an Alphabetical Glossary.

The Teacher Edition:

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 The teacher edition is divided into three sections.  The first section contains the student book with answers.  Displaying two student pages per single teacher page, this section presents teacher tips and notes in a shaded box right on the corresponding student page. The second section offers additional activity pages. You will find one page per new material lesson and 2 pages per review chapter. These pages are  full size and fully reproducible.  The last section displays the answers to these activity pages. The pages are printed two activity pages to one teacher page.

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 I received a sample pack of the Latin Monkey Match cards.  Not just flashcards, these cards can be used to play a variety of games.  I would recommend these for students who are reading fluently.  A full deck of cards contains over 200 cards of Latin and English words. 

My Thoughts:

I love Song School Latin.  Even though it is targeted for 2-3rd graders, my older children have had fun with the songs.  Developmentally, Supergirl is on the young side but she has mastered several Latin words and phrases.She doesn’t read fluently and struggles with writing but we’ve been able to adapt the workbook.  I read to her.  She responds. Then I record her answers in the book.  She does the tracing of the letters herself in the Practice Your Latin section and if I read the choices to her she can do some of the matching.   Some of the activities require drawing. These she *can* do independently. (For example draw a person who is feeling bene [fine] or optime [great]).  

Though I really love the student book and CD, I’m not as thrilled with the teacher edition.  I like having the additional activity pages, but I find the layout of the answer key/notes section to be difficult to read.  The font is necessarily small to allow for two pages on one page format but this makes the teacher notes and suggestions nearly unreadable for me.  Fortunately, I haven’t needed to use the answer key.

The program seems geared for classroom or co-op use (some activities require the student to interact with other students), but we’ve been able to adapt the activities in the student book by substituting parents and siblings for classmates. The suggested activities in the Teacher Edition appear geared for a classroom and since the text is difficult to read, I have not incorporated them into our studies.  These would be *excellent* to have if I were teaching Latin in a home school co-op situation.

Though I’m not sure the teacher book is necessary, I do highly recommend the Song School Latin program. By gently laying the foundation,  Song School Latin prepares students to transition to the Latin for Children program published by Classical Academic Press.

The student and teacher editions retail for $22.95 each.  The Latin Monkey Match cards are $24.95.   Classical Academic Press also offers a money saving bundle. 

Classical Academic Press offers products for Logic, Bible and Poetry as well as in languages other than Latin such as French, Spanish and Greek.  We’ve enjoyed Song School Latin so much that I am considering their Song School Greek program.

Visit the website to see all the resources that Classical Academic Press Offers.

You might also want to check out my review of Song School Spanish!

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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.

Classic Academic Press generously provided me with a Student Edition, A Teacher edition and a sample pack of the Monkey Match Game for review purposes.

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