Memoria Press Review by Tamara: First Start Reading

I had the chance to review First Start Reading from Memoria Press, which sells for $42.95.  Although this program is designed for an older child, we used this with my 3 ½ year old daughter. She is able to sing her ABC’s, cut with scissors, and draw well with a pencil, so we decided she was ready for a gentle introduction to phonics.

This program is wonderful! It could easily be stretched over two years (pre-K-K or K-1).  It begins with simple phonemes like /m/ and /s/ and concludes with consonant blends and “magic e” words. By the time a student finished book D, she will be reading 4-5 sentence paragraphs.

The program features a large teacher’s guide, which gives simple scripts and questions to guide the student in his lesson. Four student books (A-D) accompany the TG. The lessons generally span two pages and are easily accomplished in 20-30 minutes or less. They usually include a new rule or phoneme, some handwriting practice, a few lines of reading, and a space for the student to draw. There was enough variety that Leah had no problems staying focused on the lesson until its completion. As the student progresses to the last two workbooks, fun stories are included. My kindergarten son read several of these later stories to me and declared them to be “very cool.” I was appreciative of the natural syntax in the stories, as some readers we have used feature very strange and stilted verbiage.

The teacher is encouraged to read aloud often to the child while completing the program.  Listening to Mom read was our reward for finishing each lesson. Other skills emphasized in the program are proper pencil grip, ear training, punctuation, and capitalization. This program would be an excellent stand-alone language arts curriculum for K-1st.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

by Tamara –  Tamara is a proud Kansas City native who was transplanted to Texas thirteen years ago. She has three boys and three girls, and is currently in her seventh year of homeschooling. Several of her children have struggled with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and other learning challenges. She tells them often that God must have something amazing for them in the future, as they are learning perseverance now.

Memoria Press Review by Tamara: First Form Latin

We used First Form Latin with my dyslexic seventh grader (thirteen years old). We had previously used several other Latin curricula, including Song School Latin, I Speak Latin, and Visual Latin. We always hit a wall a few months into our studies, as none of these programs had a solid base in grammar and conjugation. While Nate enjoyed Visual Latin greatly, it is a translation-based program. New words are given each week, then the student is asked to translate a passage. The first few lessons are amazing, and he was so excited to be reading and understanding simple Latin sentences right off the bat. But without the base of verb conjugation and sentence construction, it is difficult to advance very far. Several times we had to backtrack a few lessons and try to see where we had missed the pieces we needed to advance.

First Form Latin is not as “exciting” in the beginning, as it is more dependent on rote memorization of grammar, vocabulary, and verb forms. It doesn’t feature the quick translation of “whole language”-based Latin programs. But I have been astonished at the thoroughness and depth of his understanding of Latin, even in the short month we have been using it. More than just understanding the “what” of Latin, Nate is now understanding the “why.” For a student with dyslexia, this is very helpful. He has had to memorize many rules in reading English, as he only understands spelling by understanding the rules. Latin, and specifically a grammar-based program, seems especially suited for the dyslexic learner. Unlike English words, Latin words follow regular rules and pronunciations. Nate has been delighted to know that all he truly has to do is “sound out” the letters and they always follow logical rules of pronunciation.

First Form Latin is a very in-depth program for a junior high student. It looks deceptively easy, as the lessons only cover a couple pages and a short video. But the workbook pages require quite a bit of drilling and really help cement the conjugations in place. The flashcards were a lifesaver. We made up several games to practice vocabulary. My son really likes the teacher on the videos as well. He has a quick, dry wit and Nate really liked him.

Because of Nate’s dyslexia, memorization is more difficult for him. For this reason, we slowed down the program somewhat. The TG suggests doing one lesson per week in the following way:  M– watch video, T- read text, W- do workbook pages, Th– review, F- quiz. This was too fast for him and didn’t allow him enough drill to solidify his learning. So we modified the schedule to meet his needs. We spaced each lesson out over two weeks.  Wk 1:  M– video, T– text, WThF – worksheets (2 each day). Wk 2: MTW- flashcard drill/games/review,  Th– quiz, F- grade quiz and rewrite any missed answers.

I highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to give their child a solid foundation in Latin. In fact, I enjoyed the program so much that I purchased an extra workbook for myself and have been doing it along with my son.  It also includes diagramming sentences in Latin, so we have put a hold on our English grammar for a while and are just using the Latin grammar.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

by Tamara –  Tamara is a proud Kansas City native who was transplanted to Texas thirteen years ago. She has three boys and three girls, and is currently in her seventh year of homeschooling. Several of her children have struggled with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and other learning challenges. She tells them often that God must have something amazing for them in the future, as they are learning perseverance now.