Our Roman Roots

Book cover: 'Our Roman Roots'
Dr. James Leek

Ecclesiastical Pronunciation, 15 weeks of lessons

Our Roman Roots was designed to teach children Latin through the functional method. This means that the material to be learned is presented in relation to what is already known to the child. Vocabulary and grammar are taught as aids to reading. This is unlike the approach used by many programs which emphasize grammar through chant and vocabulary through memorization. For example in the first lesson the child is given a short quote in Latin (eg. "To the stars through difficulties.") followed by an English translation of the quote. The student is instructed to draw lines between those Latin and English words which he thinks are the same. Later he is given vocabulary (many with illustrations) which contain some of the words that were in the original quotes. These quotes are used later to encourage critical thinking. Through repeated exposure to phrases, and some comments from the author, grammar is gradually introduced. Each weekly unit also involves the memorization of a Latin song or chant such as "The Lamb of God" and "The Our Father". Review is built into this program which comes with an easy to follow cassette tape that uses ecclesiastical Latin. My only complaint about this program is that a few words are introduced and never defined. The author suggests students can do each lesson alone in 45 minutes. In our family the lessons took over an hour and the student often didn't grasp parts of the material. I now sit side by side and do the lesson along with my child with both of us finishing in about 30 minutes. Our family adheres to the Classical approach which encourages chants and memorization (the opposite of what is used in this program), however ORR is a most pleasant introduction to Latin. Our family uses "English From the Roots Up" in second and third grade, "Our Roman Roots" in fourth grade and "Latina Christiana" in fifth grade. The student and teacher need no previous knowledge of Latin to use this program. While there are only 15 weeks of lessons most families will not be able to tie up this much time every day doing Latin. We do Latin every other week in our house, with quick review during the off week.

Review Date: 
Reviewed by: