Friday, October 28, 2011

First Form Latin (TOS Review)


First Form Latin is a new program published by Memoria Press. Emily (and I) have been using it for the past month. This is how the website describes the program:

Based on twenty years of teaching experience, this revolutionary "grammar-first" series will be your guide as you and your students successfully climb the mountain of Latin Grammar all the way to the top! The uniqueness of the First Form Series lies in two features:

  1. It is committed to the trivium model of teaching grammar systematically in order to facilitate retention and understanding, rather than topically, to facilitate translation.
  2. Extensive workbook exercises ensure skills mastery and rapid recognition of inflected forms.

Features include:

  • Designed for students and teachers with no Latin background
  • 8x8 inch Student Text, small, concise, unintimidating with 34 two-page lessons on facing uncluttered pages
  • Limited vocabulary of 185 words
  • Full-size Student Workbook with 4-6 pages of exercises per lesson
  • Vocabulary derivatives and detailed explanations of Latin sayings
  • Grammar catechism for daily rapid-fire review
  • Milestone markers for each grammar objective
  • Everything-you-could-possibly-need teacher manual
    • Organized for easy access
    • Student Text inset with answers in color
    • Chalk-talk scripted lessons
    • Recitation schedule
    • Pronunciation reminders
    • Workbook with key
    • Unit tests and lesson quizzes booklet
    • FYI section for extra background

We received the complete First Form Latin kit that includes DVDs and flashcards. This is a lot of material! It appeared complicated at first, but these components work together to create a very complete program.


This is a very thorough, organized Latin program. The pace is fast—each of the first weeks teaches the conjugation of another tense along with 10-12 new vocabulary words. The work load wasn’t too hard, though. Emily spent about 30 minutes a day doing the assignments, which are broken up into 1 page worksheets that are easy to do in 10-15 minutes. We also spent time reviewing the vocabulary with the flashcards and orally reciting the conjugations each day. By the end of each lesson (which took us 6-7 days), she had mastered yet another tense and was ready to move on to the next lesson. I think a student who completes this course will have learned a LOT!

I found First Form Latin easy to use (with some preparation), even for a teacher (mom) with no Latin background because the teacher’s guide is excellent. The DVD’s are optional. The teacher’s guide definitely gives enough instruction to teach the material without the DVD’s, but they were very nice to have. I enjoyed having an “expert” doing the teaching for the first day of each week! I did think that the DVD teacher talked a bit too fast, especially for the recitations that the students were supposed to keep up with.

If you are looking for a good, solid, well written Latin program, First Form Latin might be just what you need.

Cost: $55 for teacher manual, student text, student workbook, quizzes and tests and pronunciation CD.

    $115 for above plus flashcards and DVDs

Grades: 5 and up

Memoria Press publishes and sells a variety of curriculum, including other Latin programs, several logic and rhetoric programs and classical studies.

I give  First Form Latin 4/5 stars.


I received  First Form Latin  free  for review purposes as a member of the TOS Crew. Please visit the Crew Blog to read more reviews!


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