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Latina Christiana I and II

by Cheryl Lowe

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Latina Christiana series by Cheryl Lowe. Please support by buying this program from our Christian Book Distributors affiliate link.

The Latina Christiana series is part of Memoria Press's "Classical Trivium Core Series" and the major component to Cheryl Lowe's "Latin based curriculum" discussed in the review of Introduction to Classical Studies. It offers a firm foundation to Latin for grammar stage students or a gentle start to Latin for older students.

Written for the Latin neophyte parent, Latina Christiana I, Third Edition, focuses on providing the student with a large Latin vocabulary, a good foundation in Latin grammar, an idea of how Latin influences our language today via derivatives, and a basic understanding of Roman history. More than two hundred vocabulary words, many of which were introduced in the Prima Latina program, are covered along with twenty-five Latin sayings, two prayers (both previously covered in Prima Latina), three Christian songs taken from Lingua Angelica, and basic conversational Latin. Grammar topics include conjugating of first and second conjugation verbs; declining of first and second declension nouns; a few third declension nouns as vocabulary only; adjectives (nominative case, first and second declension only); and first and second person pronouns. Reinforcement is given in five review lessons followed by tests.

The student will be able to read and form basic sentences in present, future, and imperfect tenses by the end of the course. "Graduates" of Latina Christiana I may also impress their family and friends with greetings (hello and good-bye, for example) and small talk (How are you?, Let us pray, etc.) in Latin.

Latina Christiana I is set up to be a "lecture" type course. In other words, the parent needs to read the lesson in the teacher's manual in advance and prepare for recitation, discussion of the grammar concepts, explanation of the Latin saying, new vocabulary, and English words derived from Latin. Pertinent information and suggestions for teaching are provided with each lesson, but Latina Christiana is not scripted.

The teacher's manual includes many helpful resources. A discussion of pronunciation contrasts the Christian, or Ecclesiastical, pronunciation used in Latina Christiana with the classical pronunciation used in other programs. A two-page Latin grammar overview provides a knowledge base for the non-Latin-oriented parent, and a goals page tells the teacher what to expect of the course. The "general teaching guidelines" section covers how to teach a lesson, suggestions for modifying the course for students of various ages and abilities, review techniques including games, how to keep a notebook, testing recommendations, ideas for teaching Roman history/geography, and additional books to help the teacher. Because Mrs. Lowe teaches in a classroom setting, many of the games suggested in Latina Christiana work best for multiple students.

The Third Edition Teacher's Manual reproduces the student book in its entirety with all answers filled in. The student pages have been reduced in size to allow a lecture outline, including the components of "Opening," "Recitation," "Latin Saying" background, "Grammar," "Word Study" (additional grammar section), and "Derivatives," to be placed in the margin around them. Quizzes and review tests are provided in reproducible format. The appendices from the student book are also included in the Teacher's Manual.

The student book has two facing pages per lesson. On the first page, a Latin saying, the vocabulary words, and a "grammar forms" section appear. On the second page, there are fill-in-the-blank type exercises for translation, grammar, and derivatives. The derivative exercises are English sentences with a blank to write in the appropriate word. The Latin word from which it was derived is shown as a hint at the end of the sentence. Certainly most of the exercises could be done orally, but in the interest of learning to spell the Latin words properly, it would be best to do at least some of the exercises in writing. The appendices include maps of ancient Rome, history questions, prayers, songs, conversational Latin, Latin sayings, and grammar and vocabulary summary tables.

Famous Men of Rome is the text used to study Roman history and geography. Mrs. Lowe recommends studying chapters one through thirteen during Latina Christiana I. Study questions are in the student book while teaching guidelines are found in the teacher's manual.

After completion of Latina Christiana I, the author recommends Latina Christiana II.

Pronunciation CD -- The CD has an extensive section on Latin pronunciation. All words, prayers, and song lyrics are pronounced clearly by the author, Cheryl Lowe. The conversational Latin section and the recitation sections of each lesson have students replying to Mrs. Lowe. Three songs from the Lingua Angelica program are included.


Latina Christiana/Prima Latina Flashcards ($12.95) The cardstock flashcards, color coded by part of speech, show the Latin word and Latina Christiana lesson number on one side and English on the other. Cards measure 2" x 3.5". Declension case endings, verb endings, and irregular verb conjugations are also included.

Other Latina Christiana supplements and related curricula may be seen in the following reviews:

Recommendation: Latina Christiana I covers less grammar than some of its competitors, but it covers the material in greater depth and in a clear, easy-to-remember way thus forming a rock-solid foundation in Latin. The Roman history and derivative discussions help bring Latin wonderfully to life for the student. Songs from the Lingua Angelica program are a fantastic addition to the program as they help students and their parents have an appreciation for the rich sound of Latin church music of the past.

Since this program is not scripted, Latina Christiana will be best suited to the parent who is interested in learning along with the child. In fact, if you are not interested in learning Latin, you may want to reconsider teaching it at all. To help your child see the benefit of studying Latin, you must first find it yourself. The Third Edition is better organized and easier to teach than the previous editions, so even the most timid parent should be able to succeed with the program. For those who are still hesitant, the DVD's are an outstanding option.

Laura Berquist, author of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, recommends using Latina Christiana I over two years. I favor her suggestion of learning the vocabulary and chants during fourth grade and doing the exercises during fifth grade as there is SO much material to cover, and Latina Christiana II is much more challenging. If you find your student is ready to move on, you can always pick up the pace. On the other hand, if you have completed Prima Latina successfully, your student should have no problem going through Latina Christiana I in one year.

Two criticisms of Latina Christiana have been mentioned. First, some have been critical of the author's Southern accent on the pronunciation tape. Mrs. Lowe has done her best to tone this down in the recent recording, and it is barely noticeable; however, as is pointed out in the program, there are no Romans around to critique pronunciation. Second, the exercises do not offer enough reinforcement. This, of course, depends upon the child. A younger child will likely need additional exercises (or perhaps should follow the two year plan discussed above,) while an older child may grasp the material more quickly. The Ludere Latine puzzles may help with this, but the parent may have to create additional activities/worksheets to help children who need more reinforcement.

Latina Christiana is definitely a Christian-oriented program and the inclusion of prayers and Christian songs makes it especially appealing. The resources offered in Latina Christiana I are very helpful, and motivated homeschooling parents will find this program to offer substance at a reasonable price.

Our experience: We used the original version of Latina Christiana I a number of years ago and are now using the Third Edition. While the student book has remained essentially the same, the improvements to the teacher's manual and pronunciation CD make it worthwhile to purchase the newest version rather than scrimp on a used copy. My younger children are enjoying the program and have impressed friends, relatives, and our evaluator (a requirement in my state) tremendously with their command of Latin.

Latina Christian II

Latina Christiana II (LC II) picks up where Latina Christiana I (LC I) left off but at a more intense pace. The Third Edition offers the same easy-to-follow layout that LC I has.

LC II includes twenty-five lessons and four reviews. The first five lessons review vocabulary, sayings, and grammar concepts covered in LC I with a focus on mastery of all vocabulary especially easily confused words. The concept of "call cards," or rotating through groups of flashcards weekly, is explained, and a form is provided for tracking this effort. Lessons are longer with two full pages of exercises, but the basic format of a Latin quotation, word study with derivatives, and a grammar lesson remains the same. The four review lessons include a Latin reading section, in which the student has the opportunity to translate a paragraph or two from Latin to English. The readings cover Christian, historical, and Roman cultural topics.

Two hundred words, twenty sayings, four selections for memorization, three hymns, and additional conversational Latin are taught in LC II. New grammar topics are third and fourth conjugation verbs in the present and imperfect tense; the principal parts of regular and irregular verbs in all four conjugations; nouns of all five declensions; and first and second declension adjectives. Students begin to use the accusative and ablative cases in addition to the nominative case which was introduced in LC I. Study of Roman history and culture continues with chapters 14 through 30 of Famous Men of Rome. The appendices include a Scripture passage translation and a Roman history timeline.

The teacher's manual in the Third Revision has all student pages (including the appendices) with answers completed and teaching notes around the margin. The teaching guidelines explain the goals of the course and offer teaching tips with special emphasis on the importance of recitation. Quizzes, tests, and answers are in the back.

After completion of Latina Christiana II, the author recommends Fr. Henle's Latin program. Memoria Press offers two guides for using Henle Latin.

Recommendation: If Latina Christiana I worked for your family, Latina Christiana II is an excellent next step. Completion of LC II will give the student a huge advantage when he tackles the much more difficult and fast-moving Henle Latin. Latina Christiana II also provides a terrific foundation for the family choosing to continue with a program like Latin in the Christian Trivium. resources related to this review:

Latin Curricula Comparison Chart to help select an introductory or intensive program.'s Classic Languages Resource Section
Interview with Mrs. Lowe
Latin Centered Curriculum review
Henle Latin
Henle Latin Study Guide by Cheryl Lowe

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