Back in July, I reviewed an amazing Latin program: Visual Latin. It is a really, really long review, even by my standards, and I'm going to try not to repeat much of it. So for the nitty gritty of how the program works, check there.
I was using this with William (12) and Thomas (10) and I honestly consider it to be about the most perfect program out there, especially for active boys who don't love pencils or reading. I love this photo so much that I am using it again:
Actually taken while they were watching (NOT posed)
We ended up deciding, after completing the review, to drop Latin for the rest of the summer and pick it back up in September. Well, a six week break wasn't necessarily the best thing for these particular children, so when we did finally get back to it, we ended up backtracking quite a bit.
This was their idea. Because, to paraphrase: "We really want to learn this, not merely get through it, and he's so funny we don't mind watching again. And we'll even do the worksheets again."
How could I refuse that? You remember I mentioned them being pencil-phobic?
So we watched the first four lessons (without worksheets) our first week back to school, and then we started doing two lessons a week with worksheets.
The kids determined that they were learning it so much better this way! The repetition really helped.
Okay, so let's back it up. What is Visual Latin? Visual Latin is a program created by a couple of homeschool dads. It is video-based lessons that you can purchase on DVD or as a download. We opted for a download as it means we can put it on the school iPad. Each lesson has three worksheets to go with it: grammar, sentences, and reading. The worksheets are available as pdf files, so you can print as many as you need for each member of family... or you can repeat lessons like we just did and print lessons again.
What we are doing now is to work through a lesson a week instead of the faster two lessons per week pace that I blogged about in July. I'm finding this works better, as this can be a high school level program, though it also works for kids roughly 4th grade and up. My guys are closer to the younger end of that range. What that looks like here:
- Monday: they watch all three parts of the lesson. That's about 20 minutes.
- Tuesday: they re-watch part A and do the grammar worksheet. That's usually about 25 minutes.
- Wednesday: they re-watch part B and do the sentences worksheet. That's usually 25-30 minutes.
- Thursday: they re-watch part C and do the reading page, translating from Latin into English. This generally takes close to an hour. They write SLOWLY. (Most kids would not need this much time.)
- Friday: they rewatch all three segments again.
I own a lot of Latin programs. If I could keep only one, it would be this one. In a heartbeat. I can't, however, put my finger on just why. Dwayne Thomas is funny -- and humor definitely helps! The instruction in English makes so much sense, yet he has you reading Latin from the very first lesson. Successfully. I think the amount of Latin reading is probably a key, but I'm not smart enough to know why.
But something I truly love: Dwayne Thomas makes mistakes in the videos. Sometimes he catches it and corrects himself, without stopping the tape and doing it over. Without editing out the wrong part later. Sometimes he doesn't catch it, and words appear on the video saying something like "He meant to say blah, blah, blah."
Dwayne Thomas has the opportunity to be perfect on these videos. But he doesn't do it. He is REAL. And that frees my kids up to give this their best shot and to laugh off silly mistakes. If their magister screws up once in awhile, isn't it natural that they will too? It gives my kids freedom from that fear of making a mistake.
I'm going to just copy some text from my first review:
My recommendations? I think this program is phenomenal. I'm going to have William and Thomas continue using it, probably for as long as there are more lessons. Dwayne clearly loves language, loves Latin, and that just flows across the screen.
Currently, there are 40 lessons, which you can purchase in 10 lesson sections for $25/section (download version). The first 30 lessons would prepare a high school student to use the first 17 lessons of Lingua Latina by Hans Orberg, which would combine for a solid first year credit in high school Latin. Lessons 41-50 are scheduled to release in January, and lessons 51-60 should be available in the spring.
You can see the introductory material for yourself, plus the first two lessons right here. Go. Watch it. Make some decisions. This program is fantastic. And if you don't want to buy it, at least go like them on Facebook. Most days, they post a (usually funny) little comment about some Latin derivative. Like this one, from Saturday:
This would be perfect for a teen with a Facebook account...
You can read what other TOS Crew Members have to say about Visual Latin here:
Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew leadership, I had the opportunity to link up a review of this product even though I did not receive anything as part of the Crew. My previous review was required in exchange for a complimentary download of Lessons 1-10. This review is only because I wanted to write it. I have since added a couple of affiliate links. All opinions are my own, and receiving complimentary products does not factor in to my opinions. For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.