Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review: Word Up Latin

This past year we experienced a really neat introduction of beginning Latin into our home school, through our review of Visual Latin. Introducing Latin was not nearly as intimidating as it sounds, thanks to this simple, fun program.

When we had the opportunity to review a new product from Compass Classroom called Word Up, I was very interested. I remember back to my middle school years, and Latin class was a grueling mix of learning seemingly antiquated statements and memorizing long lists of prefixes, suffixes, and root words. I certainly did not appreciate the assistance it would give me later on in life, when I needed to decode long, puzzling words. While I desire my girls to possess this valuable knowledge, I certainly was seeking an easier way for them to obtain it!

Word Up! The Vocab Show from Compass Classroom

Since we already had some experience with the zany Dwane Thomas from the Visual Latin videos, the girls laughed when they saw his character come back in the Word Up videos. (I am not sure if they were laughing at him or with him though!)

What is Word Up? This is a series of ten short videos that teach the Latin and Greek roots of some commonly used words in our English language. Each video is about 15 minutes long, and teaches twenty new vocabulary words from two roots. It is set up like a common TV show. In fact, the introduction is that of a TV host, played by Dwane Thomas.

Following the short introduction on the 'set', it is turned over to the Latin & Greek scholar (also played by Dwane Thomas), who is 'out in the field' teaching that lesson's new words. 

Each lesson is set against a backdrop that reinforces the words of the lesson (the above example is "urban").  The backdrop quickly switches as each new word is introduced.  For example, in the first lesson, the roots 'aqua' and 'hydra' are introduced. Of course, we realize these have to do with water, so the lesson continues on teaching ten words that use 'aqua' and ten words that use 'hydra'. There is a short review built in as well. 

Here is an example of a word that comes from the Latin root 'aqua':

Each lesson is also very entertaining. These are lessons that your children will ask to watch over and over again. Dwane Thomas takes a difficult subject and makes it easy and fun to master!

Why is learning Latin important? Did you know that approximately 60% of our modern English language has been directly influenced by Latin? Understanding Latin helps the student to decode and understand English! And those endless lists of vocabulary words? If a student knows their Latin, they can easily remember those new vocabulary words without much effort. 

What ages are these videos for? The recommended age is 10 and up. High schoolers will be entertained, and the instruction is incredibly helpful for those who are studying vocabulary lists in preparation for SAT testing. I do have to say that my 9 year old is mesmerized by these videos too, and definitely remembers what she is learning, so possibly students even younger than 10 can appreciate them as well. 

What else is available? With the purchase of Word Up, you also get access to an online review with flash cards, games, and quizzes. Using these will cement the words down in your student's mind, and give you objective means to use this video as an actual Latin course with grading if you desire to do so. The online review does require the student to be able to spell the words correctly to complete most of the games, so this could also double as a spelling/vocabulary course.

How did we use this program? We have watched the videos several times over now. We did try out the online flashcards and review games as well. All my students, while laughing and saying how silly Dwane Thomas is, have not been able to tear themselves away from the videos. Personally, I think they are hooked, and the silly word associations and antics of Dwane Thomas really helps to reinforce what he's saying, because it really holds the student's attention. 

Can I try a sample? There is a sample lesson that can be downloaded from the website.

What does it cost? Word Up Latin sells for $15.00. It can be downloaded or purchased as a DVD. Volume 1 is already available, and Volume 2 will be coming soon. 

Special Alert: Compass Classroom is having a special sale this coming Black Friday week. Click the banner below for special pricing. 

Last words: This is the way I wish I could have learned Latin when I was younger. I am so glad it is available now for my children to use, and I am grateful for people like Dwane Thomas who are so passionate about learning Latin that they will make these videos available for home schoolers! 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product from Compass Classroom in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own, or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. 

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Because I believe so strongly in this company and it's products, I have joined as an affiliate. Purchasing these items through my blog will earn me a small commission on each sale. Thank you. 

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