Anyone who knows me knows that I love Latin. My love of Latin didn't start in the homeschool years. I was one of the lucky ones who took Latin in high school. It was, in fact, Tish Dilworth (AKA Magistra Optima) who taught me to love Latin. Naturally, then, when I started homeschooling, teaching my kids Latin became my top priority. Another thing most people know about me is that I am a curriculum junkie. To that end, I own most Latin programs out there. Imagine my delight, then, in finding a Latin program with which I was previously unfamiliar! Through my participation in the Homeschool Crew, I received a download of Visual Latin, a computer based Latin program, free in exchange for my review. My review in one word: Awesome.
Since those consulting reviews generally wish for a little more information, I'll provide some (but "awesome" really is the best descriptor I have). Visual Latin lessons are conducted by instructor Dwane Thomas and are comprised of three parts: grammar, sentences, and reading. Although a ton of information is packed into each lesson, the lessons are only ten minutes each, making them ideal for even the youngest of elementary school children.
The best thing about this program is definitely the instructor.
Not only does he look like the boy next door, he teaches like the boy next door. What do I mean by that? Male teachers sometimes risk coming across as too serious or too severe. Mr. Thomas is the antithesis of that stereotype. Instead, his manner is lighthearted and fun, and you really get the sense that he loves both what he's doing and Latin itself. Mr. Thomas' method of instruction proves that Latin is neither a dead language nor a stuffy one. Lovers of Latin already know both of these things, but sometimes it takes some effort to convince the uninitiated.
Visual Latin is different from other Latin programs in that it combines the two most common approaches: learning through grammar and learning through reading. By focusing first on a couple of grammar concepts, and then incorporating them into sentences, Mr. Thomas gives you the best of both worlds. Combing the lectures with corresponding downloadable PDFs gives your child (and you!) and well-rounded Latin lesson in less than 30 minutes.
Visual Latin lets you try a lesson, so you really get an idea of the flavor of the program. I think that one lesson will be enough to sell you! The program offers both downloadable and DVD options so you can choose what works best for your family. They also offer different purchase options. You can buy all of Latin I on DVD for $80.00 (a very competitive price if you've looked at other Latin programs). Alternatively, you can download the lessons ten at a time for $25.00 per set. Choosing the DVD option will add $5 to the cost.
If you think Visual Latin may be just what your family has been looking for, be sure to visit the website and sample the lessons! Also, check out the Crew blog for other opinions!