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The Great Latin Adventure

By Katharine Birkett

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: The Great Latin Adventure by Katharine Birkett, loose-leaf. Level I student book - 232 pages, $15; teacher's manual - 454 pages, $30. Level II student book - 268 pages, $15; teacher's manual - 448 pages, $30. Published by Classical Legacy Press.

The Great Latin Adventure is a worksheet-based Latin program for mid-elementary ages. It is designed primarily to teach children to read and write Latin with a firm foundation in Latin grammar. The author suggests that third or fourth grades are good times to begin The Great Latin Adventure, and that each of the two volumes will take one school year.

The program is unbound and ready for insertion in a three-ring binder. If parents prefer, they may buy the program already in a binder from the publisher.

The Teacher's Manual begins with an extensive introduction to what it is and what it is not. In the "Master Chapter Plan," Mrs. Birkett outlines a nine-day study plan. She then shares many suggestions, ideas, experiences, and case studies to show how the program can work.

Each chapter in the Teacher's Manual starts with teaching notes, a chapter overview, and ample teaching tips. Then, a complete reproduction of the student book appears.

The first chapter covers classical Latin pronunciation and phonics. Subsequent chapters begin with a vocabulary list of between five and fifteen words. Next is the grammar lesson, followed by a study sheet, a derivative worksheet, two translation worksheets, a pre-quiz, quiz, and answers to the pre-quiz and quiz. (Quiz materials are only in the Teacher's Manual.)

Grammar topics in Volume I include principle parts and present tense conjugation of first declension verbs, first declension nouns (plus a few miscellaneous nouns of other declensions), use of the nominative and ablative cases, adjectives, and prepositional phrases. Volume II covers adverbs, the accusative case, first conjugation imperfect and future tense, the ablative of means, and the genitive and dative cases.

The study sheets have the student fill in the blanks with information learned in the grammar lesson. The derivative worksheet provides lists of words based on vocabulary and in Volume II encourages children to try new words in sentences. The translation worksheets give children the opportunity to apply the grammar and vocabulary from the lesson by translating both from Latin to English and from English to Latin. Quizzes test all concepts learned in the chapter.

The author recommends The Latin Road to English Grammar, Latin in the Christian Trivium, or Wheelock's Latin after completing her program.


Audio CD's are available for each of the volumes. A female voice speaks clear, classical pronunciation of all vocabulary.

Recommendation: The Great Latin Adventure is a straightforward program that homeschooling parents will find easy to follow even if they have no prior Latin knowledge. Children who enjoy workbooks and the reward of completing worksheets will excel with this program. The focus on derivatives will be particularly helpful in building vocabulary. resources related to this review:

Latin Curricula Comparison Chart to help select an introductory or intensive program. Links to reviews of many other Latin programs may be found there.

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