Textbooks of tears

I received this comment:

I have switched to using Visual Latin for my freshman. It is going so well. I have some questions though:

Are there cumulative tests available after lesson 30 and 60? If not, what do you recommend I could do to replace cumulative tests?

What do you recommend I make sure she does to get a full credit of work in the class? In our state that means 120 of work with evident progress.

Thank you.

Here is my first reply:

Hi!

By nature, every test or quiz is cumulative. In this sense, Latin is a bit like math. You do not get to advance if you do not understand the basics.

Still, you could also use the National Latin Exams for practice. All of the old versions (with answer keys) are available here:

http://www.nle.org/exams.html

You will have to scroll down a bit. Terrible website.

If you are following our scope and sequence for high school, credit is no problem. We have structured Visual Latin based on the Home School Legal Defense parameters. 150 hours is full credit for a school year.

Let me know if you need more help!

She replied to my reply:

Sorry to email a second time. I glanced over one test. Are you saying by the end of the Visual Latin course a student should be able to take any of these tests? If so that is amazing! I appreciate all your work. It has saved us from many frustrations.

My reply:

Good morning, Susan!

Yes.  You should be able to practice with old National Latin Exams.  

However, you must be careful.  Visual Latin does not teach verb tenses until lesson 37.  

Verb tenses show up on the National Latin Exams in the very first tests.  

This is because most textbooks start with verb tenses.  This is the most difficult concept for students to grasp.  I’ve been in the classroom for almost twenty years.  Believe me.  

I don’t know why most textbooks begin with verb tenses.  It makes no sense.  Textbooks of tears in my opinion.  Someone has a lot to answer for.

Visual Latin, and Lingua Latina by Hans Orberg, are the only courses I know of that push verb tenses to the end.  I believe this is the better approach.  

Unfortunately, it throws a wrench into the standardized testing system.  Students of Visual Latin and Lingua Latina may be doing very well, in fact, better than many Latin students struggling through eternal verb tenses, only to find themselves demoralized after taking the National Latin Exam.

My advice?  Take the National Latin Exam.  Take all the practice exams you like.  Just wait until you have finished about half of Visual Latin 2.