As the title implies, Song School Latin is a fun, non-stressful introduction to Latin that features songs to help young learners effortlessly memorize useful phrases and vocabulary in either classical or ecclesiastical Latin.
The student workbook contains 31 chapters, each of which is divided into several different sections: Words to Learn; the lyrics for that particular chapter’s songs; a brief chapter lesson; a Practice Your Latin section that involves activities such as practicing writing Latin words, verbal activities, and drawings; and a brief quiz. Some chapters also include a familiar story (for instance, Chapter 9 features Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Chapter 27 features Joseph’s Dream) retold with key vocabulary words replaced with their Latin equivalent or a Grow Your English section that helps students understand the Latin roots of the English language. The black and white illustrations star a quirky little monkey that accompanies readers through each chapter and are neither ridiculous nor distracting.
The book starts off teaching students greeting words, moves to family words, classroom items, household items, commands, etiquette words, and animals. After a special section for Christmas words, the lessons then move on to words for body parts, food words, the weather, seasons, the sky, water words, garden words, and nature words.
Ideally, each chapter is meant to be completed in a week’s time. If you follow the traditional school schedule (beginning in September and ending sometime in June) the Christmas words section conveniently falls in December—a nice touch, and helpful with some of those Latin Christmas carols!
The appendices include a chapter by chapter glossary, an alphabetical glossary, and cutouts that accompany various activities throughout the text.
The CD that comes with the workbook is split into two parts, both with the same songs, but featuring different pronunciations: tracks 1 – 30 use the classical pronunciation of Latin while tracks 31 – 60 use the ecclesiastical pronunciation. The author suggests that parents decide which pronunciation they want to run with and only use those tracks with their children. The inner cover of the workbook includes the track numbers and names of songs with their corresponding chapters and workbook pages for easy reference.
The music itself is compulsively singable, easy on the ears, and simple for even very young children to learn. The songs are sung by a man and woman with a fiddle, guitar, and a few soft percussion instruments in the background.
There is a Teacher’s Edition available for Song School Latin and, while at this level you could probably manage without it, it does include answers to all of the activities, questions, and quizzes as well as providing useful teacher’s notes.
Many Latin programs for young children are downright overwhelming—not Song School Latin. In an easy-going, activity based way, your children will get a solid foundation in Latin without flashcards and tons of memorization. This program is a winner.