The approach to teaching is hybrid, incorporating elements from both the reading method (which emphasizes examples) and the grammatical method (which emphasizes rules). Students begin each lesson by memorizing Latin words, phrases, or sentences for illustrated examples. These examples are carefully chosen to demonstrate the grammatical concept taught in the lesson.
After mastering examples, students watch a short video that explains the grammatical rule being taught. Students then revisit the examples they have memorized and analyze the forms used in each. This course does introduce grammatical terminology, but slowly–students learn one concept at a time and practice it to mastery.
At the end of each lesson, students watch an illustrated story using vocabulary and grammar they learned in the lesson. Students are delighted to discover that they can listen to and watch a story presented in an ancient language and understand it. After the story, students retell it or answer questions about it.
Picta Dicta Latin Primer is divided into two volumes (Volume 2 coming 2021), each normally to be completed over the course of a year. In the first volume, students learn about 200 Latin words, the basic uses of the five major noun cases, the noun endings of the 1st and 2nd declensions, and 3rd-person verbs of all four conjugations. In the second volume, students learn an additional 200 words, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th declensions, additional uses of the cases, adjective matching, and passive forms of verbs.
How is this curriculum different?
Elementary Latin curricula often leave children burned-out after a year or two. This course is different. We love Latin, and it shows. We have designed every aspect of our curriculum to engage children deeply and get them to love Latin like we do. It is true that we have chosen material that is lighthearted and palatable for children; however, with every choice we made, we had helping your children towards excellence in mind. Here are a few ways that we do it:
Picta Dicta’s unique platform can be used on a projector or on PC, laptop, or tablet. Either way, it gives students more practice and feedback than is possible in a print-only textbook. Over the course of each volume, a student sees almost 1,000 illustrated examples; he or she hears thousands of Latin words, phrases, and examples pronounced correctly every time; he or she receives immediate feedback for all answers given and has the opportunity to make corrections. This immediate feedback-correction loop builds skills quickly and reliably.
This course introduces students to the forms and concepts that are most practical for reading Latin, allowing them to begin understanding simple Latin stories after even the first lesson. Children using this curriculum do not wonder what the forms they are learning are for. Every form is always connected to its function–they see each one used in concrete and intelligible ways over and over again.
Speaking and Writing Latin
Children using this course spend most of their time speaking or writing actual Latin–not English. This helps them learn it much more deeply, and (not insignificantly) gives them the thrill of speaking and writing in a different (and ancient) language. Why would anyone want to spend so much time and effort learning a language and still be unable to use it? In this course, your child will learn to use Latin as a language and will love it.
Videos at a Glance
Students learn all grammar by memorizing examples first. Then they learn the rules that make each example work.
From the very first week, students watch and understand narrated stories and answer questions in Latin about them.