Lumina: Artes Latinae

Lumina: Artes Latinae

While Bolchazy-Carducci publishes many classical language materials, the most interesting to home educators is Lumina: Artes Latinae. This is an online learning course for independent study with two levels. Completing these two levels should be equivalent to two years of traditional high school Latin coursework. Students learn to read, write, and speak the language.

Artes Latinae used to be available with printed resources and older technology, but it has been transformed into an entirely online product called Lumina: Artes Latinae that is available by subscription for both levels. Each level includes all of the material from the original courses. This includes two digital textbooks (Book One and Book Two) for each level, the audio files (originally on 15 cassette tapes per course), a teacher's manual, a graded reader, a teacher's manual for the graded reader, a reference notebook, a test booklet, and a guide for unit tests. A subscription lasts for 365 days.

The courses can be accessed on most devices. However, the publisher says that some activities work better on a laptop or a desktop than they do on a mobile device using an app.

The courses include self-checking exercises that enable students to work independently while also assuring that they answer questions correctly. Students type in responses rather than selecting from multiple-choice answers.

As they begin, students first become familiar with pronunciation and the sound of the language in sentences. The courses offer students three pronunciation choices at the click of a button: American Scholastic, Restored Classical, or Continental/Ecclesiastical. Students should choose one form of pronunciation and stick with it to prevent confusion.

Next, they begin to look at sentence elements and develop vocabulary. Knowledge builds in small increments that are constantly repeated for reinforcement. The amount of repetition exceeds that of most other language acquisition programs. Students soon begin reading historical Latin writings as part of their coursework.

I have some concerns about the methodology that go beyond the amount of repetition. It teaches Latin grammar in an unusual fashion. For instance, in Level One: Book One, before nominative (subjects) and accusative (direct objects) cases are identified, students are told to identify subjects and objects by endings of "s" or "m"—a fact that will not hold true with plurals and other declensions. Later, the proper terms and other endings are introduced, but I find this confusing. Proper grammar is taught as the program progresses, on a "need to know" basis. Similarly, verb conjugations are not taught explicitly until later in the first level.

The program moves slowly (at least through the first half of Level One: Book One) with a great deal of repetition, although students can zoom ahead through this at whatever rate is comfortable for them.

Many knowledgeable people do not share my misgivings about Artes Latinae and Lumina. I have also solicited reactions from a number of people using the program. The majority of them are very pleased with the program, so I feel that it is important to balance my misgivings with the fact that I am in the minority.

As part of the subscription, parents and teachers are given access to teacher's content that is not available to students. There is also an Artes Latinae Q & A forum where subscribers can get free support from an experienced instructor within three business days.

Pricing Information

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$100 per course

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Publisher's Info

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