Review: Classically Catholic Memory

We were so excited to bring both Classically Catholic Memory and Catholic School House to the Atlanta Catholic Homeschool Conference this past April. We were able to see the materials of both of these fine programs. And, it is nice to have truly Catholic options instead of “Catholicizing” other programs.

Both programs are set up to either use them as materials for an individual family or for use in a co-op setting. Both programs include Religion, Latin, Science, Geography, Language Arts (poetry memorization) and History. Catholic School House can actually be used as your primary curriculum at least in elementary by using the included supplements. You would need to add a math and phonics section and of course great books to read.

I will focus on Classically Catholic in this article because ultimately it is the program I chose to purchase for a variety of reasons. I already use a curriculum, Mother of Divine Grace so I really needed a supplement, not another entire curriculum. And, a local friend shared with me how she used the program in her home with her family.

As I said, I use MODG for my curriculum, but I have found that as my older children got older and entered high school, that I had less time to do all the memory work required for the little ones. Things like math facts, Baltimore Catechism questions, poetry and geography memorization just weren’t happening. Additionally, we never were successful implementing timelines. I have nine children that range in age from 17 down to 2. This upcoming school year, we will have 8 officially in school. So, I implemented family school several years ago to address these deficits.

The problem I encountered was one of planning … I didn’t. So, each day I kind of winged it. Ultimately, it would fizzle out; no memory work would be accomplished. So, in steps Classically Catholic Memory.

From the website:

Religion:  Each year provides various Catechism questions and answers and passages from Scripture.

Latin:  Each year provides various prayers and hymns.

History:  History sentences from one of four time periods:

  • Alpha Year:  Creation through the Birth of Christ (Ancients)
  • Beta Year:  The Time of Christ through 1500 (Middle Ages)
  • Gamma Year:  1500 through 1800 (Early Modern Times)
  • Delta Year:  1800 through Modern Times (Later Modern Times)

Science:  Science questions and answers from one of four science topics:

  • Alpha Year:  Life Science:  Animal Life
  • Beta Year:  Earth Science and Astronomy
  • Gamma Year:  Chemistry and Physics
  • Delta Year:  Life Science:  Human Anatomy and Physiology and Plant Life

Math:  Skip counting (every year)

  • Alpha and Gamma Years: Geometric Formulas
  • Beta and Delta Years: Conversion Formulas

Timeline:  The same timeline is learned every year.

Geography:  Countries, some capital cities, and physical geography of either one or two continents per year.

  • Alpha Year:  Asia and Australia
  • Beta Year:  Europe
  • Gamma Year:  North America
  • Delta Year:  Africa and South America

Great Words I and II:  Every year provides material that includes poems, historical documents, and speeches.

As you can see, a great amount of material is covered in a systematic manner. The only thing I will probably add is more Baltimore Catechism questions. But this is easily addressed. I plan to copy the questions out I want them to cover, divide them up over 4 years, and paste them onto each of the planner pages.

In particular, I am very pleased with the breadth of the geography and history timelines. I only have Alpha year at this time, but in week 10, they study China and will map Beijing, Kunlun Mountains, the Yangtze River and Gobi Desert among other things. The timeline will cover St. Thomas Aquinas, Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, The Plague in Europe, St. Joan of Arc and St. Catherine of Siena (additional items are covered). Finally, we will be able to work on our timeline as a family.

Latin includes the memorization of various prayers including the Table Blessing, O Come Emmanuel and the Hail Mary. It is not that it is particularly innovative in itself, but that it is included in a package – so no fumbling around for additional resources. Nor are there labor intensive organizational skills required.

Math includes working on the skip counting tables – yes, in a methodical manner. One of the shortcomings of homeschoolers that I have seen mentioned in various places is memorizing math facts. Additionally in this year, various geometric formulas are memorized.

The poetry sections, called Great Words, has two levels. I plan on using this section last so I can have the elementary age children learn the level 1 materials, and the middle and high school students learn the level II materials. Level II includes an excerpt from “Give me liberty, or give me death!” by Patrick Henry.

Finally, a section to not be missed – The Subject Summary at the end of the book. Yes, she in a few pages gives you the summaries for each area by week. So, in a glance you can see what materials are covered in 18 weeks in religion or the timelines. If you wanted to flesh this out even more, you could easily use this to plan for additional books to be read, art projects and music.

One final note, the science section is very well done. Not only is memory work assigned each week, for example memorizing the classification system, but detailed instruction is given in the Teaching Notes section. Generally 2 pages of instructions are included. Activities include for level II  dissection of a perch (note you would need to get a dissection guide). Each week, five different levels of activities are included.

For me, hands on science slips. So, I do hope this will allow me to do more hands on projects this year. She also includes in the back animal cards that you may print and cut apart. But, she does suggest purchasing them. A number of additional items for purchase are suggested. You definitely do not have to purchase them, but information is included. Such items are Micro Mounts that include a cricket, locust, beetle and crab.

In closing, I will update this entry later in the year after using the materials. I am quite optimistic that this will be the puzzle piece I have been looking for.

To order, please actually visit Ingatius Press.




Latin in Our Homeschools

I am reposting this because I have added a new resource. And, I am actively planning out our Latin goals for next year.

I know that Latina Christiana is a mainstay in many Catholic homeschool programs. While the program is thorough and even offers DVD instruction, a full range of supplimental materials including flash cards, pronunciation audio CD’s and Ludere Latin I and II workbooks that feature crossword puzzles, hangman and even pictionary, LC is not the only program available. So, if you need a different approach to teaching Latin, I offer you the follow list of resources. Latin is the language of the Church and will enhance your children’s education.

Memoria Press, publisher of the Latina Christiana and Henle series, as well as other sites offers a number of articles describing the merits of teaching Latin in our homeschools:

Latin Programs

  • Artes Latinae -This program features a novel approach to studying Latin and boasts that it is a self teaching program and fulfills the foreign language requirement for college. A number of resources are available for Artes Latinae to make it a well rounded program.
  • Cambridge Latin – While most Latin programs features books, workbooks and sometimes DVD instruction and pronunciation CD’s, this program stands out for the online activities that are available for free. Online activities include Latin vocabulary tests against the clock, Latin stories that allow the student to click on words they do not know and have them translated to English, as well as links to pictures of cultural items. Even if you do not use the program, the free activities are worth the visit.
  • Ecce Romani -The title means “Look – the Romans” and the series offers a different approach to teaching Latin. This new edition features full-color design, motivating content, and complete teaching support. The books introduce students to a typical Roman family; the tales of this family’s life teach students about the inhabitants, mythology, and history of ancient Rome, using a combination of original stories, full color illustrations, fascinating articles, and exercises.
  • (just added) First Form – Memoria has developed a new Latin program designed to follow Latina Christiana I or for an older beginner. The focus is on a more rigorous study of grammar which fits nicely with many classical curriculum’s goals. Students will be better prepared to handle translating great works. The intent is to publish four levels. The content is supposed to be equivalent to Henle, but with a slower grammar pace to cement the concepts.
  • Henle Latin – This program is also offered by Memoria Press. Geared towards 6th grade through 12th grade, the Henle series offers the next step in a systematic and thorough study of Latin. The texts are Catholic which is an added bonus. Memoria Press offers a number of teaching aids for the program. Best of all, for those who are totally intimidated, your children can study Henle online at Memoria Press.
  • Latin Primer -Another offering from Canon Press (Matin Latin), this series features DVD instruction for parents who want additional support. Pronunciation is classical and it features a fairly traditional approach to teaching Latin.
  • Latina Christiana – Memoria Press offers a tried and true method to teaching Latin. A key feature to the program is DVD’s that have the author actually teach Latin to your children. Audio CD’s of the vocubulary, flash cards and supplimental exercises offered through additional books called Ludere Latine round out the program. And, if the thought of teaching Latin truly leaves you faint, Memoria Press even offers an Online Academy with LCI and LCII.
  • Lingua Angelica – Memoria Press offers another lovely program. While it is not a stand alone Latin program, it does offer a needed element in the study of Latin – translation. Four Latin prayers and twelve Latin hymns are the features of the program and the teacher’s manual makes implementing the program much easier.
  • Lingua Latina – Called an immersion program, Lingua Latina is written entirely in Latin. It is a unique and fun approach to learning Latin. Children develop their confidence in their ability to read and speak Latin. This is a low-cost, non-consumable book.
  • Lively Latin – This is a new program available as a pdf downloads. History lessons and lap books along with online drills via Quia are included in this program. While it is still in the beta testing format, the price is low and a forum is offered with the magistra in which you can ask the author questions about the program.
  • Matin Latin – Matin Latin uses a Classical Pronunciaton as opposed to the ecclesiastical pronunciaton that you find used in a mass. It takes a traditional approach to teaching Latin but does introduce all 4 forms of verbs from the beginning.
  • Minimus Latin – You will find that this program is a story that follows the life of a mouse named Minimus as he explores the history and culture of Roman Britian. The teacher’s manual is invaluable to providing a well rounded Latin program because of all the additional activites, but the downside is that it is quite pricey.
  • Rosetta Stone Latin – While Rosetta stone is a respected homeschool resource, the Latin version has not been as accepted. The focus is on spoken language and offers visual prompts, a well integrate audio program including a microphone interface to check pronunciation but the rigorous grammar study offered in other programs is a missing feature here.
  • Schola Latina – the program offers a 5 day a week instruction syllabus and features in addition to the typical vocabulary, vocabulary that children are interested in like animals, clothing and days of the week. Puzzles and games are also included.
  • Wheelock Latin – While my oldest children are several years away from high school, I know that if they continue the pace they will hopefully move into this classic text. Additional resources are available for the course including a student workbook, readers, audio aids and more. This is a classic text that has been used by generations of students.
  • Latin in the Christian Trivium offers both textbooks and online classes. I am not familiar with the company, but its focus is on a Roman centurion and his family. Thus, the vocabulary might be more interesting to the typical family. The online class fee is only $135 / semester – much cheaper than many other programs. Again though, I have not personally met families that have gone through the online courses.

Additional Online Resources

Watch this post as I add additional resources. Also, please note that I have not listed texts that are typically used in high school including Henle and Wheelock.

Latin Online Resources and Classes

I have added some new resources and wanted to repost this:

So, I suppose I was not finished discussing Latin! I realized that I have a host of varied links to assist you in teaching Latin.

First of, what about passing the National Latin Exam? I never knew there was such an exam. From the site, National Latin Exam:

“The National Latin Exam is offered under the joint sponsorship of’ the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League. They are pleased to announce the 2008 ACL/NJCL National Latin Exam. More than 149,000 Latin students from all fifty states participated this year, as did students from thirteen foreign countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, China Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. This year for the first time, students from Bulgaria and Mozambique also took the NLE. “

Please read more about NLE on the About – Exam Information page. And, then check out the Syllabus page that gives teachers an idea of what is covered for each level of the exam from beginning to Level VI. And, if you can find past exams with answer keys (PDF’s) or online quizzes (please note that many of the exams have not yet been completed).

And, another fantastic site I happened to stumble on is the American Classical League:

“The American Classical League was founded in 1919 for the purpose of fostering the study of classical languages in the United States and Canada. Membership is open to any person who is committed to the preservation and advancement of our classical inheritance from Greece and Rome.”

Their store is filled with a variety of resources from computer software to dictionaries to fun books to read and study more about Roman culture. I could definitely spend a nice chunk of money there.

  • (newly added 5/19) – Understanding the Latin Mass: Hear and Learn the Words of the Novus Ordo
    Text and Audio CD by Marion P. Smedberg
  • Latin Dictionary and Grammar – Notre Dame has a wonderful resource on line (15,600 words)
  • Words – another site hosted on Notre Dame offers an online Latin dictionary of about 39,000 words (you can also download the program to your desktop)
  • Latina Christiana I online resources via Quia
  • Latina Christiana II online resources via Quia
  • Latin Online features a nice overview of Latin and then moves onto lessons that feature a textual analysis of works including Caesar’s Gallic War, History of Rome and Augustine’s Confessions.
  • Latin for Mountain Men may not be a traditional approach, but there is some nice explanations on Latin for a novice
  • Textkit – Greek and Latin is nearly overwhelming to explore. Click on the Learn Latin link at the top of the site and find online answer keys, texts of classic works in Latin, textbooks and grammar references. Look a little further and find under the Tutorial link a number of other sites devoted o explaining Latin.
  • Wheelock Latin has information and support materials for this classic text
  • “Talkin’ Like the Ancient Romans points out all the places that we encounter Latin in our everyday life
  • Love2Learn Review of Latin Resources is a trusted site to read reviews of what is available
  • Cambridge Latin Online Resources has lots of activities related to the textbooks including paragraphs in Latin to read (you can look look up words online within the paragraph window), online vocabulary reviews and timed quizzes, and a fantastic list of cultural links like a 3-D cutaway of a Roman house.
  • Latin Library hosts a collection of online texts – great chance to read some Latin!
  • Latin Charts has a some printable charts with noun declensions, present tense verb, pronouns and even blank forms.
  • Latin Noun Declension Chart – very nicely done and designed to go along with LCI so it only includes first and second declension.
  • Latin Verb Conjugation Chart – by the same person from the above chart to go along with LCI – present, future and imperfect First and Second Conjugation
  • (newly added) Henle Vocabulary – from Memoria Press – the format is pages of vocabulary instead of flash cards; this is easier to handle and place in a notebook.

And, for those parents who find teaching Latin in a homeschool setting nothing less than daunting, online classes are available.

  • (newly added 5/19) – Carmenta Online Latin – classes are $400 and meet three times a week.
  • Memoria Press Latin Classes from beginning through Henle
  • Seton offers Latin I and II online. Message boards, audio and online testing are some features offered.
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help Resource Center (LPH) offers an online course for elementary students in Church Latin.
  • Regina Coeli Academy provides a full homeschool program online including Latin. I assume you can sign up for individual course.
  • Scholars Online offers Latin course. The program is Christian and does co-operate with Regina Coeli. But, of course you would want to explore any statements of faith that might be required.
  • Latin in the Christian Trivium offers both textbooks and online classes. I am not familiar with the company, but its focus is on a Roman centurion and his family. Thus, the vocabulary might be more interesting to the typical family. The online class fee is only $135 / semester – much cheaper than many other programs. Again though, I have not personally met families that have gone through the online courses. As a note, I received the following information regarding their online classes:

This is a 15 week course that uses Latin in The Christian Trivium.
All work will be done via email so that the student can work when it is convenient.  Each week students will receive a weekly outline and lessons.  Lessons can be emailed back to the teacher for grading.  The teacher will be available by email and phone.  This course is excellent for homeschoolers, schools without Latin teachers or individuals wanting to learn Latin.  The course is a one time fee of $85 for a 15 week semester.  That does not include the cost of the text.  To sign up email

  • Oak Meadow offers online Latin courses using Cambridge Latin for $400 / class (at the time of this post). I found it difficult to find the information and it may be easier to call the school directly.
  • Lone Pine Classical School offers mutliple grades of online Latin courses using Lingua Latina. The tuition seems to be cheaper than many other programs and they also offer an audit option for $100 / semester that permits the student to receive all the materials and attend the online course, they are just not permitted to ask questions or receive personal assistance.

Speaking of Memoria Press

Their spring catalog was mailed out, and, as usual, it is filled with wonderful articles. I always come away from the catalog (it really is one of my favorites) inspired, challenged, and educated. If you have not received a catalog, check out the articles included in this edition including one from Peter Kreft on “What is Classical Education?”

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