Learning some Latin vocabulary has been on my radar for a while, so we tested out Picta Dicta Natural World from Roman Roads Media. Picta Dicta Natural World is a computer or tablet based program designed to teach 400 Latin nouns.
After you sign up for Picta Dicta Natural World, you set up your learners from a control panel. You can choose the level that’s appropriate for your child:
I know a lot of parents who cover Latin (especially with young children) do so because they are following a classical model of homeschool. We aren’t a classical style homeschool, although I use some classical materials. Most of our education materials are old-fashioned, and literature-based. My children are in their 6th year of studying Chinese, and we are doing French this year as a family.
You might notice that we do spoken languages when the kids are young. So why would we also want to learn some Latin nouns? Check out Picta Dicta’s website explanation of the product and see if you can guess why I think adding a bit of Latin study can help us out:
“Students learn the English and Latin for over 400 nouns from the natural world to establish an unparalleled foundation for later study in Latin, English literature, foreign languages, history, and the sciences.”
In my experience, 400 words is a large number of words to cover in an elementary-level foreign language curriculum, and that makes this program a pretty good buy on a per-word-basis. This is a great support for helping children improve their language skills in English and any other Romance language such as Spanish or French. Already, my son has made some connections between Latin, English, and French.
The pictures that go with the curriculum are great. They’re detailed drawings and well done. You can hear every word pronounced aloud.
The vocabulary teaches you to think more generally about the noun, because of course other languages make distinctions (or don’t) that English doesn’t (or does) make.
My 11yo is very independent and will work on the computer himself, but we did this together. The program is what I call a “flash card based” program because it’s centered around showing you flash cards and having you choose the correct one. There are also activities to fill in the blank, etc.
Each lesson only takes about 15 minutes, so it’s pretty easy to fit in to the day. However, if your child wants to quit partway through a lesson, progress can still be saved. This is a nice feature.
After you go through a lesson, you get a score. You can re-take the lesson if you want to. If you’re good, you get this:
My 11yo is that kind of kid who wants to have 100% every time so he replayed a few games.
Overall, Picta Dicta Natural World is an easy way to add some Latin to your homeschool day. I would do it on its own to learn 400 Latin nouns, or to add to a study of Spanish, French, English, or scientific subjects like Anatomy.
Roman Roads Media asked other Review Crew members to review Picta Dicta Natural World and some of their other products as well, including Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) and Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder Click the link below to see more.