We’ve studied a few languages around here. I’ve taken an online Cherokee class (and would love to do more later on) and Kathryn has studied Hebrew, but for high school we decided Latin would be most useful for her. After looking into a few options, we chose Visual Latin homeschool curriculum from Compass Classroom.
Disclosure: we received this program in exchange for writing a review. I’m not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own. See full disclosure.
Visual Latin homeschool curriculum.
Visual Latin is a video-based curriculum. Each week’s lesson includes 3 short videos, as well as worksheets (in PDF form), weekly quizzes, and Quizlet vocabulary flash cards online. The curriculum includes a Teacher’s Guide with scope and sequence, helpful tips, and answers to all the worksheets and quizzes.
This program is recommended for ages 10 and up. That sounds a bit young to me, unless your student has a keen interest or proficiency towards languages, but most middle schoolers could handle it well. The lesson plans are written with a little less for younger students to do, but high schoolers are expected to spend 45-60 minutes each day on lessons.
I’ve shared about it on instagram quite a few times, but I wanted to wait til Kathryn had finished Visual Latin 1 before writing a full review. We haven’t decided exactly when she’ll begin Visual Latin 2 because we don’t stick hard and fast to a school year, but she’s looking forward to it. I’ve got to admit we’re quite sad that Visual Klingon was just an April Fool’s prank a few years back. (We’re trekkies!)
We are very relaxed, unschoolish homeschoolers but Latin is the one subject Kathryn felt she needed (and wanted) to do every day. Although each day’s lesson doesn’t necessarily take a great deal of time, it’s easy to feel lost if you skip a day or two. Kathryn really liked having the printable checklist (in the Teacher’s Guide) to keep in the front of her binder to keep up with which tasks she had/hadn’t completed each week.
A typical week of high school level lessons:
Monday: Watch Video A and do Worksheet A.
Watch Video B and do Worksheet B.
Review Quizlet Vocabulary Cards from prior lessons.
Listen to one chapter from Bible.is to practice pronunciation.
(Total time: approx 30-40 minutes.)
Tuesday: Watch Video C and do Worksheet C.
Review memorization from prior lessons.
Memorize all new vocab from Lesson C.
(Total time: approx 40-45 minutes.)
Note: the Quizlet vocab cards make it easy to study on the go. Kathryn has hers on her phone and could pull them up for a quick review, even somewhere like the doctor’s office waiting room.
Wednesday: Review Quizlet Vocab from prior lessons.
Re-watch Videos A & B from previous week for review.
Start the next chapter in Lingua Latina.
(Total time: 15-20 minutes.)
Thursday: Re-watch this week’s videos A & B.
Review memorization from previous week and current lesson.
Take Weekly Quiz.
Re-read this week’s chapter in Lingua Latina.
(Total time: approx 20 min)
Friday: The schedule calls for reviewing vocabulary again but Kathryn rarely did this if she’d done all the review during the rest of the week. This would take 5-10 minutes at most.
Note: We recommend headphones/earbuds for watching the videos if there are distractions or noise-making siblings in the house!
Why we love Visual Latin:
- Dwane Thomas, video host/teacher. He’s hilarious, and a big goof, which means he’d fit right in with us. We were already familiar with his teaching style from Compass Classroom’s Word Up, which was one of the reasons Kathryn wanted to try Visual Latin. Kathryn loves his humor but also appreciates his ability to be thorough but not overly repetitive.
- The videos are short (less than 5 minutes), which helps with not feeling overwhelmed, and you can watch them as many times as needed.
- The combination of learning methods — video, plus written work, reading, and flash cards — helps with learning retention. Kathryn says that re-watching the videos is helpful because you pick up so much more the second and third time.
- A clear, well-defined list of what to do and when. Yes, we’re relaxed homeschoolers, but Kathryn likes to know what’s expected — and who doesn’t love a good list to check off?
- Quizlet is super-easy to use and very helpful. Compass Classroom has pre-made flashcard sets to go with the lessons, and you can access these from your computer or mobile device. She has since made her own massive list of all the words for the entirety of Latin 1.
- Practical application. I’ve lost count of how many times Kathryn has come to me with an example of a word she came across in other reading (like “antebellum”) that she knew the meaning of because of learning Latin.
- Grading is easy and doesn’t take long.
Why Visual Latin might NOT be for you:
- You’re have no interest in Latin.
- You don’t like humor. 😉
Honestly the only negative feedback I have is that I’ve caught a few misprinted answers for tests, or answers that were switched with problem above. Just pay attention and these infrequent glitches are easy to catch.
I’ve been asked if this program would work well for students with dyslexia, but I can’t answer that with any authority. However, the lessons are bite-sized enough to be reasonable, and with the combination of video and written work, it suits a variety of learning styles.
You can download two free lessons to try it for yourself and see if this is a fit for your family; find the download on Page 2 of Latin Resources.