TOS Crew: Latin Road to English Grammar

TOS Crew

I was a little overwhelmed when I first opened the package from Schola Publications. On the one hand, it seemed to have everything I needed to get started with the course, right down to the colored pens and color-coded blank forms waiting for vocabulary words.

What we had received was, in fact, the Big Fat Latin Special ($249) which includes all the teacher materials and student package. Volume 1 covers a year of Latin instruction (part of a three-year course) for students from fifth grade on up.

You can buy the curriculum set for the teacher separately and possibly use it to put together your Latin course, but I felt very blessed to have the whole thing, including the teacher training DVDs. All the work–including lesson planning–was done for me!

I could have put the course together with just the Curriculum Set, but, as I said, I was a little overwhelmed at first when I looked through the material. Lesson planning is not my forte, and while the lessons are beautifully laid out, I was intimidated at the thought of teaching Latin with this more formal approach than we’d used before. Watching the teacher training DVD for Chapter 1 was inspiring–it showed me how easy it was to follow the lesson plans in the Teacher’s Guide, coordinating with the textbook.

DVDs: Teacher prep already done

The DVDs showed me how to break up the lessons in the textbook into day-sized chunks. The Teacher Training DVD and the already-prepared student notebook gave me the jump-start I needed to launch into the program with a minimum of teacher preparation.

I’m going to use “you” a lot in the following review, meaning the parent/teacher and/or the student using the course.

Organization for success

There’s a lot of information here! Organization is a key to success with this program, and the author begins with details for setting up a student notebook so that the student can easily keep papers straight as you go through the course.

The lessons all follow the same general format, making for smooth, short lessons. Consistency and repetition are the keys!

Pronunciation help: audio CDs

Don’t know Latin yourself? You can still teach it, learning right along with your student. Audio CDs provide a pronunciation guide for all the vocabulary in the program, including endings, exercises, and readings, examples of declining and conjugating to aid you in completing the oral drills. (I got that description right off the introduction on the first CD.) The audio material is provided chapter by chapter, from the pronunciation of the consonants onward. I had an eye-opener when I put the CDs in the computer instead of in a CD player. Instead of track numbers (all my CD player shows me), I could see that each track was labeled! (Bear with me. Sometimes I amaze even myself, to quote a long-ago Star Wars character.) That meant that we could go right to the track we wanted.

Reading practice leads you phrase-by-phrase, with pauses for you to repeat what you hear.

Church Latin Pronunciation is used throughout the course.

Instruction is methodical and thorough. You’re not just reading, memorizing, and filling in blanks; you read, write, hear, and speak Latin. As you analyze the structure of the Latin language, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of English as well (hence the name of the course).

Written and oral work

There is a lot of writing in the course, along with the oral work. Declining sixteen nouns, for example, (eight a day for two days in a row) will certainly establish the endings for first declension nouns in the memory!

Conversational tone

Expectations are clearly stated, as are directions that guide the student to interact with the material in the textbook. The textbook, as a matter of fact, is written directly to the student. (“In your notebook…” followed by what the student should title a page or write on a page; “You have seen…” “You have learned…” “Now you are going to…” “Let’s review…”) The tone is conversational, yet serious, as in, “We’re in this together, but it’s serious business. Let’s buckle down and apply ourselves and see how far we can go!”

Lesson content and variety

Each lessson introduces a part of speech, vocabulary, Latin syntax, word study (we found this part of the lesson especially fascinating), and exercises where you apply information learned. Each lesson introduces new material and builds on what came before. Familiar readings are presented in every lesson, and we found this very interesting as well, trying to puzzle out the meaning in the Latin translations of such things as the Lord’s Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, patriotic songs, and well-known Bible passages.

Other helps

A Comprehensive Guide to The Latin Road to English Grammar is a two-sided, laminated sheet that covers the material presented in all three levels of the program. Color coding helps you to note what information belongs to which volume. It works as a kind of quick-reference.

Vocabulary Cards are color-coded, printed in a large font for easy reading and group teaching (three’s a “group” at our house) and keyed to the textbook.

Worksheets and Tests. Because your student is creating a Latin notebook, writing pages and lists of words and rules while working through the lessons, the worksheets can be used as quizzes after finishing lessons. Tests are cumulative and cover two chapters each.

Teacher Training DVDs. As I mentioned above, these made it a breeze to jump in and start teaching Latin.

Pronunciation CDs. A pleasant feminine voice pronounces vocabulary, goes through reading selections phrase by phrase, and gives examples of declensions and conjugations.

Final thoughts

I am so grateful to be a member of the TOS Crew. Making a decision based on  reading reviews or a blurb in a curriculum catalog, or just paging through the curriculum at a curriculum fair, I probably would not have bought the Latin Road to English Grammar, and I would have been missing out on an incredible resource.

I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the generous free sample available at the Schola Publications website. The first two lessons, nearly a full month of instruction (if you do Latin five days a week; longer, of course, if you work on Latin only three or four days of the week), are available to give you a good idea of how the curriculum works. In this download you’ll receive the teacher lesson plans, textbook pages, worksheets and review test for Chapters 1 and 2.

Read more opinions of Latin Road to English Grammar and other curricula from Schola Publications at the TOS Crew blog.

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