23Oct

Your Moment Of…

It’s been a bit of a morning around here. The big kids are at co-op. Except for Adam, who has injured his leg and has a doctor’s appointment later. Gonna be mighty inconvenient to go to Disney World if he can’t walk…

And then there’s my washing machine, which decided this was a good week to go on strike. My laundry room looks like this:

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We’re taking the whole family to the laundromat tonight, so, you know, bloggy fodder is on its way…

However, I do have some good things to share: First, and probably least important, my new StitchFix box was a total keeper. Loved every item. I wish I had the photography skills to prove it. I think S.F has found its new groove since all the growing pains. If you’ve been wanting to try, now would be a good time! (Link includes my referral code.)

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Willa is at a delightful stage where every word out of her mouth is hilarious. She’s got a pretty dry wit for a five year old and Drama is her middle name. But this little exchange just made me giggle:

“Daddy? Can Mira and me go outside?”

“No, can Mira and I go outside?”

Giggles. “Not you, Daddy! Mira and ME!!”

That took a few minutes to sort out.

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And finally, in my first day of teaching my co-op class of middle schoolers, I wanted to show them a funny little grammar cartoon at the end of class. Without thinking, I mentioned The Daily Show, although none of them would have seen it at 10 pm, and how at the end of the show, there is a 15 second blurb of ridiculousness they call The Moment of Zen. Then I showed them their very own “moment of zen” and we all had a good laugh.

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They made me promise to do one every week.

It wasn’t until I got home and was patting myself on my back for my super cool teaching skills that I realized I’d just promised a bunch of Baptist homeschoolers “A Moment of Zen,” not to mention that I’d brought up a television show even I shouldn’t be allowed to watch.

Oops.

Anyway, I explained it all to the parents and nobody minds and it’s the highlight of my class every single week. Any time I can mix potty humor with grammar gaffes, it’s a sure hit.

All of that to say, I leave you with this, Your Moment of… wait for it… Finn:

imageROOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRR!

 

 

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Latin for Children & Song School Latin – A Review

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Given the title of ye olde blog, you can imagine that I have Strong Opinions when it comes to teaching my kids Latin. I tried several different programs before I found one that meets my standards for excellence and my kids’ standards for fun.

Meet the winner, Classical Academic Press.

We purchased Song School Latin at a homeschool conference this spring. The boys, who were struggling to like Latin even though their Mama insisted it was fun, took one look at the monkey on the front and were intrigued. They heard it came with card games and a video and their interest increased.

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I’d always heard Song School was Latin Lite so, being the Latin purist that I am, I dismissed it without studying it. But when I finally did get my hands on it and gave it a close perusal, what I saw made me re-think my prior opinion.

Song School Latin is mostly an early vocabulary program. There isn’t a lot of grammar involved, although they do begin to use some grammar terms the kids will need later. The focus of Song School is to help the kids learn the vocabulary and also to show them the derivatives from Latin roots. What I have realized in my hunt is, at the younger ages, this is all my kids need.

Each week, we watch a video that has a nice lady who introduces us to the new vocabulary words and ideas. Then there is a silly animated “to be continued” story about a monkey. My kids love it. Simeon says funny things and they like that the story is never quite over… although I think they’re getting a little frustrated now that we’re in chapter 28. Every child, from Sam all the way down to Finn, likes to crowd around and watch these videos.

After Simeon, there’s a section where we learn the derivatives. My kids find this part a little dry, but they will sit through it and they usually use what they learn to help them remember the new vocabulary. Dr. Perrin mentions French, Spanish, and English derivatives, so kids get the big idea that Latin roots are important, even if they don’t particularly LOVE this section of the video. At the end, Simeon the monkey floats down a cartoon river in a boat and we name off each part of the picture in Latin at the top of our lungs: “Flumen, navis, unda, caelum, piscis…”

Once we’ve watched the video, there’s a CD with songs to help us learn the vocabulary. My kids like to listen to it at lunch. Although, inevitably, a dance break occurs amidst the peanut butter sandwiches and I have to rein them all back in so we can finish our meal.

Adam (9) and Ellen (7) review the vocabulary with me for a few days. I make them do the workbook pages sometimes, but I only bought one workbook, not realizing how much we would like the curriculum. Plus, they weren’t both reading independently when we started. We are about to start Song School Latin 2 and I purchased a workbook for each of them. Ellen can’t read every word, but she’ll be able to do the matching and the drawing games.

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I also give them the playing cards and make them play “Go Piscis” by making matches of Latin and English words. Ellen has a knack for language and loves studying it, so she often challenges anyone who enters our home to a rousing game of “Go Piscis.”

There are other games to play with the cards, we just haven’t needed them.

Sam and Ian (10) quickly sped through the Song School Latin since they’d had some Latin already. They didn’t really want to give up the fun monkey book for Latin for Children, but once they learned that there were videos involved, they were back on board. I thought long and hard about paying for the self-paced online version of the class for the boys. They’ve both enjoyed doing work on the computer and having all the videos already queued up for them was appealing.

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In the end, though, the budget won out and we bought the traditional workbooks. I have been absolutely AMAZED at how easily my boys memorize the chants with this program. They simply use a video of other kids chanting to practice each week but they have absolutely retained the information. There is also a fun Wild West video that uses Latin vocabulary, although it isn’t continued every single week. The boys watch them over and over for sheer entertainment.

The program is laid out in such a way to give them lots of opportunities to review and practice with the new material before moving on. A typical week would look like this for us:

  • Monday – Watch new videos and chants. Do 1 page out of the Activity book.
  • Tuesday – Re-watch chants. Do Page 2 of Activity book and the Worksheet in the book.
  • Wednesday – Chants practice. Watch the grammar video again. Do Page 3 in Activity book and the Derivative worksheet in book.
  • Thursday – Chants practice. Take quiz in book.
  • Friday – Review chants. Take test.

The Activity Book includes crosswords and other word games to reinforce vocabulary. The actual workbook includes a written summary of the lesson from the videos and worksheets to reinforce the grammar and vocabulary. Sam and Ian have had no trouble being prepared for their tests with this schedule.

In addition to all of this, there is a very slick website with games for both Song School Latin and Latin for Children at Headventureland. The Song School stuff is free. They just recently released a paid version of a Fun Zone (including spy games) for Latin for Children. I called the company and asked about a family rate and was told that is not a current option due to the cost of game production. However, the nice lady did tell me to consider the paid portion of the Fun Zone like a consumable workbook. That actually did help me justify the cost of buying the same membership twice.

I’m hopeful that eventually we will all be able to sign in on a family account, rather than having to create separate accounts for each child, but in the meantime, my kids would fritter away an entire afternoon playing Latin games on the computer and that makes me fairly radiate with linguistic joy.

I continually check in with Sam and Ian to make sure they are still learning and liking their Latin. They both assure me that this is “the best” and then they start chanting their latest declension just to make sure I believe them.

Credo, kids. Credo.

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