While I had been planning on starting Latin with my third grader this past year, it just never happened — which is why I was pleased to have the opportunity to review Olim, Once upon a Time in Latin, Reader I and Workbook I from Laurelwood Books. Olim is a sweet, gentle way to introduce your child to Latin. It consists of a reader containing several short, simple stories in both English and Latin, as well as a workbook to use along with the reader.
Reader I contains a VERY simplified (you wouldn’t actually want to read these stories for pleasure!) version of The Three Little Pigs, The Tortoise and the Hare and The Crow and the Pitcher; first in English, and then in Latin. As you read through the Latin version, new vocabulary is highlighted in the margin. A pronunciation guide is included at the beginning of the reader.
The workbook begins with a brief introduction for the teacher about Latin word endings and word placement as well as the pronunciation guide from the reader. Then there is one exercise for each page of the Latin story in the reader. Exercises include translating words from Latin to English or English to Latin, fill in the blank, translating short sentences, matching English and Latin words, and defining Latin words. Throughout the workbook are also sections called “Digging Deeper” which include additional instruction in grammar (verbs, adjectives, singulars & plurals, etc.) The student also collects “Digging for Treasure” clues throughout each story which are used to decode a Bible verse in Latin at the end of each story’s workbook section.
Having never studied latin myself, I had planned on doing the reader and workbook with my daughter and learning alongside her. After the first day however, she was really enjoying it and asking if she could complete it on her own. She has recently expressed a desire to do more and more independently, and this workbook seemed well suited to independent work so I let her go ahead. Within a few days she was saying that her Latin lessons are her favourite subject!
What I liked:
- Can be completed independently. Much of our current curriculum is pretty teacher intensive, so while I wanted to learn along with my daughter, I was also happy to sit this one out.
- It uses familiar stories. Children don’t have to figure out the story AND the Latin at the same time.
- No previous Latin exposure required – for student or teacher.
What I didn’t like:
- While the books do have pronunciation guides, they just aren’t enough for me. I can’t seem to keep the different instructions straight in my mind — I’m going to need to actually hear the language spoken to get it right.
- At this stage, my daughter is showing very little retention of what she has learned. She’s having fun filling in the workbook, but I’m not sure that anything is sticking.
- The workbook is consumable. This isn’t a biggie, but as a general rule, I avoid consumable resources as much as I can in our homeschool.
There are six reader/workbook sets in this program, you can check out some of the other levels (as well some of the other products offered by Laurelwood Books) by clicking the link at the bottom of this review.
For a limited time only, receive a 20% discount from Laurelwood Books using the discount code blogger 121.