One of the things we added to our homeschool last year, was learning new vocabulary. I’d pick five words or so each week and we would cover them during morning time. This is such an easy and quick way to expand any child’s vocabulary. The biggest struggle was me picking what words to use each week and having something ready. We have found something that makes this easier – with a twist. Instead of straight vocabulary words, we are learning Latin. Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder is offered through Roman Roads Media. For our younger children, they offer Picta Dicta Natural World.
One of my daughters study Latin a few years ago and it really helped her with her reading and vocabulary. Having that basis helps to figure out so many words in many areas, not just where Latin is used like in botany. The English language has many and varied origins, but Latin is at the root of much. Even if Latin is not studied for your student’s foreign language requirement, it will be of great benefit. And if you can expose your children to Latin in a way that is easy – for both parent and student, and fun – even better.
Picta Dicta is an online and interactive way of getting that Latin vocabulary exposure. Once you have set up your child’s account, they can sign in and the app will keep track of where they left off. With 3 children using this (plus myself) this is greatly appreciated. Each chapter has five parts – Learn, Choose, Spell, Forms, and Test Forms. The first step is learning the set of words for the chapter. There is no English spoken, only the Latin. A beautiful, simple watercolor illustration goes along with the Latin term or phrase. This same digital flashcard is used throughout the lesson for identifying the applicable word. This helps to establish the connection with written Latin, verbal Latin, and its meaning. There is no English translation throughout, your brain is learning it in the same way you learned your native language. I think this method is brilliant! And, it is very effective. Using both visual and auditory components simultaneously benefits all types of learners.
There are times during the lesson where you match the picture and word. When the right answer is shown, sometimes the word is said, but not always. We would have appreciated hearing the word at the time we are seeing the correct match – especially if we chose incorrectly. It was also not clear at first what needed to be clicked to continue with the lesson. The various icons are not labeled, even when hovering with the mouse on the computer. It didn’t take long to figure it all out though (and I probably was the only one bothered by this, my teens had no clue what I meant when I asked them). With regular use (daily during the school week) things like this are not an issue. It’s only when you let too much time lapse from one session to the next.
I would also love to have the option to print or purchase the digital flashcards as physical cards. They are so beautiful, it would be a pleasure to review offline (especially in a home that has limited devices). We have been accessing the course from the desktop, laptop, iPad, and Kindles. We haven’t had any issues with signing in or tracking student progress or hearing the lesson clearly – though in a busy home like ours, headphones always help. When you purchase a subscription, you have access for 14 months, and can choose when it starts. There are 31 chapters, perfect for a school year when completing a chapter a week. This is self-paced, though, so you have plenty of time to take as long as you need. You can easily add additional users (at a greatly reduced rate) whether they be siblings, parents, or grandparents – all living in the same home.
Picta Dicta is such a versatile Latin program. If you are studying Latin in your homeschool, this makes a wonderful complement and supplement. If you only wish to have some exposure for the boost to vocabulary and understanding in other languages, then this is perfect as-is. If you wish to fight your own aging-brain decline, then this is a fun and easy way to do that. And Picta Dicta is just getting started. The courses for younger children integrate the Latin learning with stories (Natural World) and history (Ancient World). I cannot wait to see the next courses to include this fun way of learning Latin vocabulary into our day.
Other Crew Families also reviewed the younger children’s course, Picta Dicta Natural World, or Fitting Words, a Classical Rhetoric course for high school students. Read all of our Roman Roads Media reviews by clicking the image below.