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The Latin Road to English Grammar

by Barbara Beers

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: The Latin Road to English Grammar by Barbara Beers. Volumes I and II are $149 each, and Volume III is $189. Available from Schola Publications. Please support by buying this program from our Amazon affiliate link.

The Latin Road to English Grammar provides a simultaneous study of Latin and English grammar. The author, Barbara Beers, recommends the program for children as young as fifth grade who have finished a basic phonics curriculum such as Romalda Spalding's Writing Road to Reading. The Latin Road to English Grammar is a program that encourages the parent to learn along with the child. Three levels designed for one year of study each are available. A complete set of Volume I and student books for Volumes II and III were provided for review.

Volume I

The Latin Road to English Grammar uses a notebook approach to learning. Both the parent and the student must copy information, charts, and paradigms, and complete exercises to organize into a three-ring binder in tabbed sections. According to the author, this method of learning does far more to instill the information into your mind than a mere workbook method. Mrs. Beers recommends that the parent complete all exercises about a week in advance of the student.

The parent's binder is actually the teacher's manual with the tabs already set up. Handwritten example pages illustrate what the student's notebook should look like. The teacher's book also includes chapter by chapter teaching instructions with suggested daily lesson plans, resources for teaching such as large print charts and a map of the Roman Empire, and answers for the exercises, worksheets, and tests.

The student text provides lessons in the form of sections of grammar, vocabulary, derivative study, exercises, and a reading. The chapter generally begins with a lesson in an English grammar concept, explained in simple, brief language, and then moves on to the application of that idea in Latin. All tenses (active voice) of first conjugation verbs, first and second declension nouns, adjectives, and adverbs are among the subjects covered in this level. The vocabulary section shows the Latin word, English meaning, and a derivative. At least twenty translation exercises are provided to copy in the chapter, and worksheets of two to four pages that cover all aspects of the material taught in each chapter may be torn out of the back of the student book. The reading practice sections have selections from the Bible (Pater Noster, Psalms, Christmas story) as well as patriotic writings (America, Pledge of Allegiance, God Bless America.) Black and white clip art type illustrations are on some pages.

The support materials in level one are numerous. A packet of seven tests, an incredibly thorough, laminated quick reference chart in very tiny print, and large print flash cards on heavy card stock are included. The audio, now on two CDs, has all of the Latin vocabulary spoken with ecclesiastical pronunciation. The audio quality sounds as if it were moved over from the tapes rather than being rerecorded, and the hiss of the analog technology is apparent.

Volume II

After a review of the first level, this volume works through second and third conjugation of verbs, third declension of nouns, cardinal and ordinal numbers, and more on adjectives. More readings from the Bible and some historic information such as an adaptation from Caesar's Gallic Wars and the story of the Colosseum are included.

Volume III

Volume III begins with review of the first two levels and continues with more complex concepts such as irregular adjectives, uses of the ablative case, and subordinate clauses. Fourth conjugation and the subjunctive mood of verbs are addressed, along with fourth and fifth declension of nouns. Readings move more into Roman history with selections about the Punic Wars, Cicero, and the Romans treatment of Christians, but there are still selections from the Bible and American history.

Recommendation: The Latin Road to English Grammar offers a thorough study of Latin and English grammar and brings Latin's contributions to the English language to light through study of derivatives. The author takes a systematic, organized approach that will bring joy to those who love logical teaching methods. While The Latin Road to English Grammar includes readings from Roman times, it does not address history and Roman culture to the extent of many of its competitors. This curriculum has great appeal to Christian families with its many readings from the Bible.

The Latin Road to English Grammar would probably not be a good choice for a less than motivated parent or a child who dislikes writing. The program is intended for the parent to learn in advance of the student so diligent planning and work is required. The notebook method calls for extensive copying that might frustrate some students. Even so, with the very nice flash cards and the step-by-step method, all students who are willing to take the time to study will have a great foundation in Latin after working through The Latin Road to English Grammar. resources related to this review:

Latin Curricula Comparison Chart to help select an introductory or intensive program.

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