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Lively Latin Blog

Top 10 Reasons to Consider the BigBooks for your Latin Curriculum:

June 19th, 2011

9.  Since it is our cultural foundation, Latin offers the ultimate in integrated studies.  The BigBooks  draw upon this with their interplay of grammar, vocab, history, art, geography, even ideas from science and math!

8.  The BigBooks are cost-effective. Whether purchased in hardcopy, CDs, or PDF version, materials can be reprinted for all students in  immediate family.  Access to the virtual classroom never expires.  Great for families with more than one student.

7.  Audio recordings provide help to learn pronunciation.  There’s a choice of Classical (used by Romans and widespread in colleges today) or Ecclesiastical (used in medieval times and in the Catholic church today).

6.  Short, effective videos teach the grammar portions of the program.  Use them to learn or review lessons.  These are a tremendous help to time-strapped parents who don’t have a background in Latin.

5.  Online vocabulary games like hangman, word search, memory offer interactive fun and value.

4.  Roman history stories are interspersed with the grammar and vocabulary instruction. Fun reinforcement activities follow each 2-3 page story.

3.  English vocabulary from Latin root words are taught through varied interesting exercises, not just a list of words to memorize.

2.  PLENTY of assorted and imaginative reinforcement activities for learning and mastering grammar and vocabulary.  Students don’t do the same things lesson after lesson.

1.  The BigBooks are fun, colorful, captivating, lively, and kid-friendly.  Latin becomes a favorite subject for students!

Come See Me!

April 2nd, 2011

…At the Pacific Homeschool SuperConference, April 7-9, in Santa Clara, CA.  I’ll be presenting a workshop on learning Latin with the BigBooks of LivelyLatin  at 8:10 am on Friday.  I’ll also have the books and CDs available for perusing and purchase in the Exhibitor Hall thoughout the 2 1/2 day conference.  Whether you already use the BigBooks or are considering it, I’d love to speak with you about your Latin learning endeavors.  Please stop by my booth!

Here’s a link for more information:


January 3rd, 2011

We’re hoping that these will be a useful tool for students and parents for the grammar portion of the BigBook lessons. Ranging in length from 5 to 11 minutes, they’ll help clear up questions students may have, can be watched repeatedly until material is learned, and/or used as a review. 

Please bear with us as we’re working to figure out the best way to deliver them faster. When we do, we’ll be adding a video for each of the grammar mini-lessons in the BigBook.

Testing, testing…

October 24th, 2010

I’ve made four OPTIONAL tests which cover the content of BigBook 1.  They are designed to be used after every fourth lesson in BB1.  I uploaded them to the appropriate lessons in the BB1 virtual classroom.

Please modify these tests as you see fit.  You can do parts of them orally, have your student dictate the answers for you to write, skip parts, etc.  How well your student performs on these written tests may not accurately reflect accomplishment in the the language, so please make accommodations so your student can demonstrate his or her knowledge.

Also, use these as a tool to determine what needs to be worked on.  Allow the student to do the relearning and review work and then retake the test to show mastery.

As always, let me know of any mistakes or typos.

Romulus & Remus Cards

October 17th, 2010

As I began teaching through BigBook, Volume 1, this fall I wanted an activity to review the story of Romulus and Remus from Lesson 1 for my 8-10 yo class.  So, I made a series of 18 picture cards with captions on them that tells the story from the time of evil Uncle Amulius through to the death of Romulus.  I used pictures as well as text so that  students who resist reading can still put them in order.  I printed a few sets of these on card stock, shuffled them, and gave them to groups of students to line up.  After everyone was done we reviewed the story together.  (Then we acted it out.)  For fun, we even drew in some extra details on the cards.  This class is 90% boys so they definitely had to have some blood on the swords…

I thought you all might enjoy these so I added them to the Fun Stuff tab above.

It’s Done!

July 26th, 2010

BigBook 2 is finally done, all 600 pages of it, including the audio files, history, and derivative sections!  It’s taken a lot longer than I thought or hoped but I’m pretty happy with it.

BB2 brings a student through the major uses of all the cases of nouns, the endings of all 5 declensions, the 6 active tenses of all 4 verb conjugations, the personal pronouns, and various other Latin grammar points in a systematic yet high interest fashion.  There are enough varied and appealing exercises to thoroughly reinforce grammar and vocabulary.  I’ve gotten good feedback and results using these with my own students.

A new feature of BB2 is a longer reading passage (average of a page) at the end of each lesson so that students can try their hand at translating not just sentences but paragraphs.  Since at advanced levels Latin is largely a read language, this is a skill students must begin to focus on.  The reading passages encourage this.

The “Word Power” section,  which is the study of English words derived from Latin, enriches students by connecting ideas from across all disciplines, from  architecture to zoology.  I’m happy with how this feature of BB2  demonstrates the depth and breadth of our cultural and intellectual debt to Latin.    To understand that there is a history of meaning behind the words they use every day enlarges a student’s perception of language, encouraging him to be more careful, precise,  and attuned in communication.  What a benefit!

I’m excited about the history section, too.  Its text is a combination of two works in the public domain with my own liberal editing and additions.  I added much more detail on perhaps the greatest Roman of all, Julius Caesar, tracing his rise to power, his astonishing accomplishments in the conquest of Gaul, the civil war with Pompey, and just why 60 Roman senators feared his power so much that they resorted to murder to get rid of him.  

Other additions:

  • A section on Livy, Horace, Vergil, and Ovid, the great writers of the Golden Age of Latin Literature.  This is to introduce students to some of the authors they may aspire to read after a few more years of Latin study. 
  • Just what was meant by a Roman triumph and why every Roman general aspired to have one.
  • A hands-on activity which instructs students on how to make a model of Trajan’s column. 
  • A section detailing the crisis in the 3rd century AD which put in motion forces that would move social and economic structure from that of the Roman Empire to that of medieval Europe.
  • Detailed instructions on how to build a model of Caesar’s seige works at Alesia, an example of his military genius.
  • An explanation of what Roman citizenship rights were, why everybody in the ancient world wanted them, and how they compare to US citizenship rights today.
  • Tons of maps, artwork illustrating key events, battle diagrams, timelines, etc.

There’s more but I’m getting carried away with this.  To sum it up, I’m excited to have a resource now that I can use to teach all through Roman history from its mythical beginnings in 753 BC to the last emperor in the West in 476 AD, complete with readings and reinforcement activities. 

Here are some Sample Pages to check out.  Here’s more about BB2.

To celebrate the completion of BB2, I’m offering several pricing specials that are good until September 15.  You can save up to $25 on BB2 or BB1 and BB2 sets.  Click on the Store tab  above to check them out.

Felicis Aestas! (Happy Summer!)

June 19th, 2010

Salvete Omnes!

So glad it’s summer!  As my school-year teaching comes to a close, I’m excited to get going on some LivelyLatin projects.  Here’s what’s on tap for me:

1.  I’m finishing all derivative and history lessons and well as the audio files and games for the last part of BigBook2.  All will be done and posted by July 1.  This has been a long haul, given my pickiness and desire to create a really useful and helpful product. 

2.  BB2 CDs will be produced in July and I’ll be figuring out how to manage the hardcopy.  The book will be about 700 pages long so I need to figure a format that will not make it prohibitively expensive nor unwieldy to use.  Suggestions are welcome.

3.  In late July I plan to make video recordings of me teaching the mini lessons of BB1.  I’ve had many requests for this and as hesitant as I am to actually see myself teaching, I think it will benefit many and move the cause of learning Latin.

4.  Yes, I will make some tests for BB1.  I’ve also had many requests for this and though I’m not a big on formal tests for Latin (email me and I’ll send you an explanation of why), I put together 4-6 for those who want to use them.

5.  I will add more games and materials to the “Fun Stuff” section above.  Note that I recently added picture flashcards for all the vocabulary in BB1.  You can use these to play memory and other games.  I’ll add instructions for how I use them in my classes after July 1.

As always, if you would like to contact me, please feel free to use my email,