Latin Curriculum - Minimus vs. Rosetta Stone

I am preparing for our first year homeschooling next year. I will have a 2nd, 4th, and 6th grader. My current 5th grader has used Minimus: the mouse that made latin cool in prior years in a prior school where he had access to a gifted and talented program for language arts. He really liked Minimus, so I am considering ordering the curriculum for all three kids for next year, but…I have also heard that Rosetta Stone is the best resource for learning languages. During their discount sales (they recently had one for St. Patrick’s Day) the price tag is almost identical to what I would spend on the Minimus supplies (pupil books, teacher books, and audio cds). Any experience with either program? Thanks in advance!

I haven’t looked into either of the options you mentioned; Rosetta stone because they are always so expensive, and minimus because I’d never heard of it. But I have looked at Latin curriculum (not used any yet) and I like “Latin’s not so tough”. You can look at that too to see if you like it or not.

Thank you, @DeannaForgard! I had not heard of Latin’s not so tough and will look into that one as well :smile:

I’ve actually heard not as good things about Rosetta Stone. I’d go with Minimus since your son already likes it. We’re doing Song School Latin, the K-3 version of Latin for Children, and our kids love it.

Hmmmmm…thank you, @MommyPenguin! I will look into Song School as well… This friend who recommended Rosetta Stone was not a homeschool parent - she is a college professor friend who was referring to her brother in law who lives abroad and knows many, many languages and uses Rosetta Stone to learn them successfully. That being said, he is an adult, not an elementary aged child…so I guess I really need to research this more. Thank you for your insight and keeping me thinking. Anyone else have experience directly with Rosetta Stone for elementary/middle school aged children in a homeschool setting? Thanks in advance!

I personally have used rosetta stone before. I guess I wouldn’t recommend it to a person who knows nothing about the new language he/she is going to learn. I have read that rosetta works better for those who have already known the basic things about the new language. I think I agree with that. I remember I used it to learn spanish. At first I was having fun and I could understand the sentence structure but then I just got so confused. But that’s just my own experience.

In addition, Rosetta Stone has the same pictures and sentences for all language versions. So if a person has learned one language through Rosetta Stone, when he learns another language, he already knows the meaning of that picture/sentence. I think that’s very important. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that your friend’s friend can learn many languages successfully. In my country I teach kids English. I have learned that when presenting the new language, you need to present M(meaning), P(pronunciation) and F(form). And meaning always goes first, spelling comes last.

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@juliek We use Prima Latina and will be upgrading to Latina Christiana soon. I really like their program, although it’s funny hearing words pronounced by someone with a strong Southern accent. (Of course, I have one too LOL)


What great insight, @ning - thank you!! Do you know whether Rosetta Stone educates about the culture as well? Or simply language?

@juliek I never finished using it so I’m not sure about that. From what I learned, it only taught the lauguage not the culture. I think it taught vocabs very well cause now I can still remember the words that I learned from it.

For those who use Memoria Press Latin courses, how important is it to have the DVDs? Can you get by with just the CD, or do you really need the DVDs to do well in the program?

I have only used Rosetta Stone for German (Level 1) for my son (he used it starting last year & is still in Level 1 & in 5th Grade). We use My Father’s World curriculum & that is what they advocate. I think it’s been a good experience, mostly because it offers “feedback” during its pronunciation portions (it comes with a microphone & won’t let the student pass until it’s spoken correctly – although you can skip forward if needed). I think I got a decent deal price-wise, but I’d like to switch to Latin (we’ve been learning Greek & Latin roots) or Spanish. I was searching online & one reviewer gave RS a scathing review because it doesn’t focus on the basics, like how to ask for stuff in the foreign language. My son learned words for boy, girl, etc., & the colors & some animals but not really how to get directions or maybe something that you’d need to know if you were actually in Germany. I still like RS for what it is. I figure if he can pronounce words correctly & get a start now, it might be easier when he gets older. I have heard of Minimus Mouse & that looks pretty interesting to me. I know some kids at our Co-Op use an online program that charges a monthly fee (like $7.99). It’s for 4/5 Grade & under. I can’t remember what it’s called & I’m not home right now. I can get that info if anyone’s interested. They don’t offer Latin, though.

@KathiJohnson How labor intensive is Prima Latina for you & your child? How much work do you have to put into it & how long does it take each day? My sister-in-law uses it for one of her girls (they’re on the East Coast & we’re on the West), but my niece is much more interested in school than my son is! I want him to enjoy it & don’t want it to be a burden. Thanks!

@RubyJane There are 25 lessons in the book. We took a leisurely pace through it. Although they were created to be done in a week, we actually took 2 weeks to go through each one.

Here is a link to the store that sells them. The link shows sample lessons. (I’d suggest ordering through Rainbow Resource or Amazon, both of which sell the full set at a cheaper price).

The Pioneer Woman (who homeschools her kids) also has a pretty thorough review of the material, including pictures and sample pages:

We spent about 10-15 minutes each day on the lesson. We work in short, intense bursts and then move onto something else. It’s just how my daughter approaches some subjects. But she was never bored or frustrated. The lessons are already laid out for you. Watch the DVD, do the bookwork, review the material. There isn’t really any prep time that you need.

I hope this info helps.

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@DeannaForgard I really liked the DVDs for pronunciation (even though she has a thick Southern accent. But then again, so do I lol). Can you do it without the DVDs? I suppose so, but they are very helpful. The CDs aren’t enough.

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Thanks everyone for all the input! My husband reminded me that one of the bonuses of the minimus program is the exposure to the cultural piece in addition to the academic language piece of latin. For this reason, in addition to the fact that my oldest has used the curriculum in a gifted and talented program at his previous school (and LOVED it!), I think we will be going with Minimus for next year and will certainly share how it goes once we have experienced it as a family in our homeschool!

@DeannaForgard I completely agree with @KathiJohnson. Since I had not Latin background when we started Latin it was absolutely imperative to have the DVDs in order for us to actually learn and succeed at the course. It’s like having a Latin teacher come to your house!

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@juliek My second grader is using School Song Latin, my 5th grader is using (sparingly) Latin for Children Primer A and high school students are using First Form Latin by Memoria Press.

We use Rosetta Stone for Spanish and I have found it to be a worthy investment. However, because of the lack of a workbook with Rosetta Stone (not to mention a teacher’s manual). I could not imagine teaching Latin using Rosetta Stone’s methodology.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to consider the learning styles of each of your children. What is good for one may not work well for all.

I am very fond of School song Latin, as the vocabulary is taught using songs and there is a printable PDF coloring page for each of the vocabulary words learned.

Thanks for the insight, @MotherofMany!!

I am using Minimus with my third grader right now, we just finished “latin for children” first book and she’s not ready for book two yet. I would say the Minimus books introduce latin rather than teach it, but I don’t have the teacher book so that might help.
My daughter is already enjoying it more than the other program and the cultural information has been fun to study.