With just a couple months left in our school year we have gone ahead and started Second Form Latin. We have only completed the first three lessons, but I’ve been working ahead in the book over the past few months and have familiarized myself with its contents. I have to say that as we progress with our Latin journey, I am continually thankful for these solid materials that Memoria Press publishes. The First Form series just makes sense in the way it teaches grammar slowly and incrementally, with small, manageable amounts of new vocabulary in each lesson.
- The First Form series is absolutely cumulative! This is unlike Prima Latina, Latina Christiana, or First Form in that the student is DEFINITELY supposed to have the knowledge base of FFL before beginning. This is just stating the obvious, but no matter what age/ grade your student is in, they must complete FFL before SFL.
- Review of FFL is included. Four lessons are specifically aimed at pure review of material, and review of vocabulary and grammar questions is encouraged within the lesson plans. All vocabulary and grammar questions from FFL are present in the SFL workbook and answer key, making review simpler.
- Quizzes follow every lesson, and after every 5 or 6 lessons there is a review lesson followed by a Unit Review (not labelled as a test).
- The layout is almost identical to FFL (see review here for details), but there are a few minor differences. One thing I immediately noticed is that the workload does increase. While many lessons still contain only 4-5 workbook pages, there are also many lessons with 6 or even 7 pages to complete. From what I have heard, Third Form is even more of a jump in what it requires, so keep that in mind as you go along.
How We Use It:
We are a bit “ahead of the game” when it comes to Latin because we began early. We are not in any rush to finish the series, though. With Latin, I love to take the time we need to thoroughly cement the material before moving on.
Learning it well is much more important than learning it quickly.
Rather than doing one numbered section of a lesson per day (such as workbook section I on Monday, II on Tuesday, etc.), I have her complete one page a day and not worry about the numbered sections. This is just easier for us to keep track of and makes sure the workload is more or less even every day. Here is how I have it planned right now.
- Teach new lesson from Teacher Manual. I use the white board and we both have our books open. We read through all the bullet points and practice saying the new vocabulary.
- Do a page from the workbook each day, spending as many days on each lesson as that requires.
- Every day we do a recitation, review grammar questions, and drill with the flashcards.
- I make sure to look ahead to the lesson quiz or test and review specific questions from that before quiz day.
- Take the lesson quiz.
How Teacher Intensive?
I can imagine that this would vary from home to home. In our case, I have found it ideal for me to know the material somewhat well, if not thoroughly, before teaching it to my kids. That way I am prepared to help them understand the lesson and answer questions they may have. To accomplish this, I spend a little bit of time on Latin several evenings a week. I’m enjoying the challenge of learning Latin myself and already see benefits as I read through classics with deeper understanding than I had previously.
Yes, I realize many moms do not want to do that or simply don’t have the time! All of the Memoria Press Latin programs come with instructional DVDs that are really excellent. There is also an accompanying audio CD, taking the guesswork out of pronunciation and often guiding the student in a complete recitation of what has been learned so far. For some strange reason, my kids balk at watching videos for school. I know, I know… its weird. They would rather me teach them directly, so that is what I do. I do have the DVDs and CD for reference, though.
As far as daily teaching time, it really isn’t too much. My daughter completes the workbook independently, then reads aloud her answers to me. I guide our recitation, grammar questions, and flashcard drills. Most days this all takes about 15-20 minutes of my time, with perhaps another 10 minutes on the day we first learn the lesson. Since Latin is a core subject for us, I am happy to put in that time every day.
Latin is a difficult subject to learn well unless you are willing to prioritize its study. Personally, I have found that to be true with learning any foreign language. Previously learned material MUST be reviewed consistently, or it will not be remembered and the student will become frustrated, feeling lost and overwhelmed. If you are serious about wanting to pursue Latin in your homeschool, the First Form series is excellent! If you would rather just expose your child to Latin roots and basics, I’d suggest a simpler program such as Vocabulary from Classical Roots (which I have not used).