Visual Latin is an unusual Latin program. It uses humor, short videos and Latin reading to make learning effective and engaging.
Each Visual Latin lesson contains three parts. A short video and worksheet go together to create part of a whole lesson, which teaches Latin in a fun, easy to remember way.
- Part A is always grammatical concepts. The grammar concepts are taught in a clear, concise way. Watching the video covers two different modes of learning, visual and auditory. Then a PDF worksheet adds a third mode of learning, reading.
- Part B is sentences. This is where the grammar in part A becomes real. Latin sentences are broken apart in the same way again and again. Then a PDF worksheet allows kids to practice what they watched on the video.
- Part C is translation. Kids listen to Dwane Thomas read a passage from the Latin Vulgate Bible. Then he reads the passage again slowly, and the kids read along with him. Finally a PDF worksheet has the same passage that the kids translate themselves. Because the text comes from a familiar source, kids have a known narrative structure for the new language.
Visual Latin is recommended for ages 9 and up. The website says that kids need to be able to read. There are 30 lessons in Visual Latin 1. For the elementary through junior high ages,this can be taught one lesson a week over the year. For high school level, it is recommended that Visual Latin 1 be taught the first semester, then supplementing with Lingua Latina Pars 1 and Lingua Latina Exercita 1 for the second semester. Visual Latin 2 is also available for a second year of Latin study.
Visual Latin is available as a DVD or a digital download in iTunes M4V format. Because the program is through iTunes, (which is a free download if needed) it becomes a very portable program. It is able to play on any Mac or PC as well as iPods, iPhones, or iPads.
Visual Latin is available through The Compass Store. There are a few options on how to obtain the lessons. Visit the store for more complete pricing options.
- A DVD containing Lessons 1-30 is available for $80. If you prefer breaking up the lessons and the cost, 3 individual DVD’s are available each containing 10 lessons for $30 each.
- The download version of Visual Latin 1 is available in blocks of 10 lessons. Each block is $25.
Ben and Rebekah working on the worksheets after watching the video.
Visual Latin has been a good program for our family. I primarily used this with Ben (9) and Rebekah (8), although Sarah (14) watched the videos as well. Ben and Rebekah have had no previous Latin experience and Sarah has had about a semester of Latin at the high school level. Ben has been asking to learn Latin, so he was very enthusiastic to start this program. Rebekah, being the youngest, always wants to do what the older ones are doing, so she was excited to start as well.
Because Sarah has had some Latin, she mainly watched the videos, but did not use the worksheets. She really enjoyed the videos though, it was a great way for her to review vocabulary she has been previously taught. She enjoyed Dwane Thomas’s humor and found the videos interesting.
Ben and Rebekah were the ones that truly used this program as it was intended. We would watch the video, then work on the worksheets. We did approximately one lesson per week with Ben and Rebekah. Each lesson is divided into three parts and we would do one part a day. The age range for Visual Latin is 9 and up so Ben and Rebekah are at the low end of the age range. This did not pose a problem for us, we just took things slower.
I was impressed at how much the kids retained. Each lesson ends with a translation exercise, taken from the Latin Vulgate bible. The idea is that if the kids are familiar with the story being translated, it will make translating less of a daunting task. It worked in our family. Each week, I was surprised to hear both Ben and Rebekah going over their translations and saying “I don’t have to look that word up, I already know what it is.” Because they were able to be successful quickly, they enjoyed the program and have not complained at all about their Latin lessons.
No complaining about the lessons also comes from the videos that begin each lesson. Dwane Thomas’s humor and presentation style makes what could be a dry and boring video into an enjoyable watching experience. Another plus for our family is the length of each video. Each one is between 8 and 10 minutes long. Complete information is packed into each video with no fluff, just gentle humor. The worksheets are also a good length. Each worksheet we have done is one page long and follows what was taught on the video.
I keep mentioning the humor that is involved during the videos. This comes in the form of gentle “Latin” jokes or stories and just Dwane Thomas laughing at himself if he makes mistakes. I have enjoyed that about this program. When watching a DVD you do not always expect the teacher to make mistakes, but Dwane will at times and then go back to correct himself or the video will show words on the screen saying something to the effect of “this is what it should be”. I like that my kids see that they can make mistakes and learn from them. One lesson my kids found hilarious was when the video started and Dwane was not in the screen and then walked in apologizing for being late.
The worksheets are PDF files and with the purchase of the lessons you are given permission for an individual/family license so you are legally able to make as many copies as you need for your family. An answer file is also included to make grading the worksheets easy.
I would highly recommend the Visual Latin program. In my opinion, it is a great program, simple to use but highly effective. We were given the first 10 lessons to review and I have already bought the next 10 because I know this is a program that we will continue with all year. The Compass store is offering the first 4 introductory lessons (no worksheets needed) and the 1st two lessons of Visual Latin for free. Click here to access the page with the free lessons. This is a great introduction to using the Visual Latin program.
There were many other Homeschool Crew members who reviewed Visual Latin. Visit the Crew blog to read what other bloggers have to say about the program.
As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received Visual Latin Lessons 1-10 as a download from Visual Latin for free, in exchange for my honest review of their product.