Getting to the Root of Learning: A Review

We have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing various products and curriculum over the last several months, many have been well timed, much needed, or just plain fun. Olim, Once Upon a Time in Latin: Derivatives I by Laurelwood Books has been all of those things!

When Princess and Angel were in fifth grade (in a public school) they both had a teacher that ended up becoming their favorite and most influential teacher. One of the most memorable things that he did was toss out the standard spelling curriculum and incorporated Latin and Greek root word studies instead. Over the years, that one single change in their education proved to become a valuable tool. They were able to look at many unfamiliar words and figure out their meanings simply by understanding how to break down the word and decipher it.

Olim, Once Upon a Time, Latin/English Derivative II have kept this in the back of my mind over the years and looked forward to finding ways to incorporate the root word studies in Bookworm Beauty’s education. Olim, Once Upon a Time in Latin: Derivatives I has proved to be an excellent starting point to making that happen!

To start with, the soft-covered workbook is perfectly sized at 8.5 x 11 inches and is manageable at 143 pages. It may seem silly, but the cover itself has a soft silkiness to it which literally makes you want to hold the book. Again, it may be silly but Bookworm Beauty loves to feel it… which means she holds it… which means she wants to work in it… which means she is taking initiative and I do not have to enforce this study.

13620736_10153689413602227_7137094637812949312_nFor us, another benefit is that Bookworm Beauty desires to learn other languages. We were just entering our summer mode when the workbook arrived. Being that she likes to use workbooks over the summer (or anytime really) it was a perfect fit for a summertime study.

The workbook begins with a  single-page Notes for the Teacher, recommending that students do not rush through Derivatives but instead to take two weeks per lesson; allowing 30 weeks to cover 15 lessons. The next section introduces the students on Roman Numerals and How to Pronounce Latin. Unlike English, in Latin every letter or group of letters has a unique sound, making pronunciation of words specific. This is a great thing for a student and allows them to build confidence in their pronunciation of words as they are not left wondering if they actually said it correctly.

Each lesson follows the same format. The lesson begins with vocabulary and introduces the student to ten Latin Words, their meaning and English derivatives. For example, the first word taught is: Latindicere, dicit, dixit (v); meaningto say, (he says), (he) said; derivatives diction, dictionary. Students then trace the vocabulary words, meanings and derivatives on a worksheet that has lightly printed dotted-cursive text then completes a fill-in-the-blank story sheet. There are then six different exercises: two fill in the blank activities, connect the derivative to the Latin word, multiple choice, crossword puzzle and an opportunity to write a story using the ten Latin words introduced.

Overall, at $22.95 for the workbook, it would be a great addition to a child’s education – regardless of whether homeschooled or educated elsewhere. Olim, Once Upon a Time in Latin: Derivatives I is developed primarily for fifth to sixth graders. Bookworm Beauty is entering sixth grade and I found it to be a perfect fit for her at this age. She has completed her lessons entirely self-directed and has fully enjoyed it.

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