Monday, February 21, 2011

Cambridge Latin Review

Cambridge Latin is expensive. I have $100+ worth of Cambridge Latin sitting on the school shelves right now - student book, teacher's book, CD.

However, Cambridge Latin is fun. Lucy - now in 8th grade - and I are having A Good Time. Lucy has a year of Minimus behind her and has just started Cambridge Latin. Did I tell you it's good ?

What I love and adore about this program is that it focuses on reading and translating passages in Latin from the start. I suppose I'd call it immersion in the language. The emphasis on translation is supported by exercises and explanation of grammar, and Roman culture is also explored through the characters and situations in the passages; yet the practical art of interpreting and shaping language is the core of the program.

You could skip the CD if you were confident with pronunciation. I find it helpful as a guide to reading the passages aloud but perhaps as we both become more skilled we won't have such a need for it. My only quibble with CL is that we're moving through the material so quickly; there isn't a year's worth of lessons in the book. Again, perhaps as Lucy moves through the levels and meets more difficult material, the pace will slow.

It's also a secular program, which is important for us. I don't need Lucy to learn the liturgy! Mind you, I don't need her to master the classics either. What  I want is for her to be able to access the distant past through language - and Cambridge Latin seems to be our time machine of choice so far.

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