After doing a lot of research for the perfect Latin curriculum for my 5th grade son I narrowed it down to two different programs. First Form Latin by Memoria Press and Latin Alive by Classical Academic Press. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses that need to be looked at before deciding which one would work better for a particular child.
For example, my son doesn’t like dry boring materials, he did not enjoy Latina Christiana I. He thought it was way too boring. He did, however, love Visual Latin. In fact, he would do more than one lesson a day of Visual Latin if I would let him. Honestly… if Visual Latin continued past the 30 lessons we would keep going with that, but since it doesn’t we are looking at what to do past that point.
First Form Latin focuses mainly on grammar and there is very little emphasis on vocabulary and almost no emphasis on reading Latin text. On the other hand, Latin Alive has you reading texts in Latin from the very beginning.
One concern I do have about Latin Alive is all their vocabulary, they throw 20+ vocabulary words at you with every chapter and that can be overwhelming if your child doesn’t love to memorize things. All I can say is… thank goodness Classical Academic Press has their practice/game site called Headventure Land that allows you to use an online Flashcard game to practice your vocabulary words and really drill them into memory.
I have not used the Latin Alive DVDs, but I have seen the Firm Form Latin ones and I thought they were very well done. I particualry like the humor of the instructor and he made the learning process quite enjoyable.
You should be aware that Latin Alive uses a classical pronunciation and First Form uses an ecclisastical one. They aren’t huge in their differences, but you might think about that while making your decision.
Overall… we decided that we are going to go with Latin Alive for the upcoming school year. It includes more history, and Latin texts built in to really put the language to use. Plus, I got my son signed up with a Latin Transitions course through Veritas Press Scholars Academy that will be using Latin Alive as it’s main textbook.