The first year we started homeschooling, we joined a co-op that started out each session with a brief Latin lesson. However, the lessons were carry overs from the year before, and the kids and I had no idea what declensions were. We were completely frustrated. However, being exposed to Latin sparked curiosity in Bookworm. Since we’ve been homeschooling, he’s been dabbling in Latin, but his studies never really took off. That changed recently, though, when we tried out Olim, Once Upon a Time, Reader I and Workbook I by Laurelwood Books.
Currently, there are six Olim, Once Upon a Time readers and workbooks. These books are targeted for grades 2-5, but Bookworm is finishing 6th grade, and he really enjoyed using Reader I and Workbook I.
Each Olim, Once Upon a Time reader is based on familiar fables, parables, and Bible stories. Reader I included The Three Little Pigs, The Tortoise and the Hare, and The Crow and the Pitcher. The stories are written first in English in simplified form. Then, there are written in Latin in simplified form. Each page of the story in Latin has vocabulary on the side for easy translation.
Each adjective in Latin has a triangle next to it, and each direct object has a square. In Reader I, most pages have only a few sentences in Latin. Once a student reads one page in Latin, he stops and completes the corresponding workbook page, which has activities for translating the story from English to Latin and vice versa. In addition, the workbook contains useful information such as explaining nominative and accusative cases and singular and plural nouns.
The workbook has a Digging for Treasure Bible verse at the end of each story in the workbook. When filling out the workbook, kids look for shovels and then complete a small part. At the end of each story, those parts are put together to make a Bible verse. (For instance, the Bible verse at the end of The Three Little Pigs is Proverbs 6:6, which is fitting for the story.)
How We Used Olim
Bookworm chose to do one page and one workbook page a day. He used this program 4 to 5 times a week during the review period except when he was gone for a week to the National History Bee. By the end of the review period, he had completed half of the book.
What We Liked about Olim
Bookworm thought this was a very gentle Latin program. He enjoyed this immersion style of learning much more than he enjoys rote memorization of Latin verbs, endings, etc.
He also thought the Digging for Treasures element was fun.
He found that translating a story he is already very familiar with helped him learn Latin more quickly. Because he knew the story, he didn’t have to focus on it as much as the translation and the learning of Latin.
I loved that the answer key was right in the back of the book and that Bookworm was always happy to work on Latin without complaint when using this program.
What We Disliked about Olim
Some words were only listed once in the story, like “knocked”, and he didn’t remember those. However, the words that were repeated frequently like “I want”, “pig”, “wolf”, “three”, “house”, etc. Bookworm quickly learned. He’d like to see the words that were only used once or twice in the story to be repeated a few more times in the workbook so he could remember them.
Of course, right in the front of the workbook, students are instructed to read over the pages several times as well as the translations to become familiar with the words. So had he been a bit more diligent with this, he might not have forgotten the other words.
This was the first Latin product that really clicked for Bookworm, and he’s already told me that when he finishes Reader I and Workbook I he wants to move on to the next workbook. That’s quite an endorsement.
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