If you have a Classical Conversations Challenge student in your homeschool, then you’re well aware of the importance of flash cards to the program. Students are encouraged to make their own, as a way to reinforce learning while they make them and then to continue working on fluency as they quiz with them. I’m a huge believer in them (obviously!), but for various reasons, the “make your own” part of it hasn’t worked very well for our family. It worked somewhat for me as a Challenge B director who wanted to learn along with her students, but my own child struggled to find the time to squeeze that task into an otherwise full day of learning. As a compromise, I allowed him to use the predesigned cards I’d created for the children of other CC friends and it worked well for him. 

I say all that to acknowledge that everything I’m about to say about my new and improved Henle set would apply to an identical set that you could make by hand. In fact, the learning would probably be much higher for someone who makes the cards by hand over someone who merely buys and uses these. The only catch is: will you actually make them? Do you actually want to take the time necessary to do all the work by hand? In my experience with other busy, homeschooling moms, the answer to those questions is often no. We all want to do it but life gets in the way and we make other things a higher priority.

If this describes you—if you or your student has tried to do this and has been unable to follow through for whatever reason—then this set is for you! It’s especially for you if you are a visual or tactile learner because it’s incredibly easy to group words of the same type, lay them out side by side, and examine their similarities and differences.

You may be wondering, though: what exactly am I getting for my money? How do I make these flashcards and how exactly do I use them? Read on for some practical tips and ideas for implementing the cards into your Latin studies.

Making your card set

  1. Upon purchasing the file, you will receive a digital PDF file that contains 72 pages. Two of those pages are marketing/informational pages so you really have 70 pages of cards, which amounts to 35 pages printed front and back (duplex). Open up this file in Adobe Reader.
  2. Put cardstock in the printer* and then prepare to print the file: choose pages 3-72 (remember, pages 1 and 2 are marketing info) but be sure that it’s set to print with a portrait orientation, front *AND* back (duplex), before clicking print. Also be sure that the pages print in color since that’s a big part of how they have been designed to be used.
  3. Once the pages are printed, use a paper cutter or scissors and cut the cards apart. This part usually goes pretty quickly for me even though there are 70 pages that have to be cut. I purposely designed the cards to bump against one another so that you are only making 1 cut per common side (rather than 4 cuts per card). This cuts down on the cutting but might mean that you have a bit of color here and there if you aren’t super careful with how you cut them. I figure I can live with that for the convenience factor. 🙂
  4. Once you have a stack of cut cards, you can hole punch them in the upper right corner and put them on a ring *OR* you can laminate them to make them extra durable. I almost always laminate my flash cards because I have 3 kids and I want them to last as long as possible! This is the laminating machine that I have. It’s fairly inexpensive and is worth its weight in gold at my house. I laminate all the things and it just keeps going and going and going…
  5. If you choose to laminate, put as many cards as you can fit into a laminating sleeve (10) and run it through the machine. This means that you’ll have to cut them out again once they’re laminated, but just put on some good music and find your cutting groove. 
  6. Once the laminated cards are cut, punch them, put them on a ring, and admire your new set of flash cards!

cards on a ring

Using your card set

Once you have your cards cut, you’re ready to organize them. Because the lesson numbers are included, this is an easy way to order them. It also ensures that you’re not quizzing your student on words they haven’t yet learned. However, my favorite way to organize them is by color. Because the colors are designed for specific parts of speech and Latin groups (declensions and conjugations), it makes it super easy to use the cards in lesson applications. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  • Are you teaching 2nd conjugation endings for the perfect system and need a sample verb? Just flip to your 2nd conjugation cards and choose one. Because all 4 principle parts are included for each verb, you can easily choose the one you need (in this case, the infinitive) and proceed with your lesson from there.

pick a verb!

  • Are you teaching the necessity of adjectives to agree with the nouns they modify in gender, number, and case? Then choose a random noun card (any solid color) and a random adjective card (striped pink or striped red). Have them define the two terms and then give them an adjectival phrase in English using the two words (singular or plural for the noun and, for more advanced Latin students, comparative/superlative forms for the adjective). The student then has to come up with the appropriate Latin phrase, using the cards for clues if s/he needs to. Clues for regular nouns include highlighting of the stem; the adjective card shows the endings for all possible genders.

sample cards

  • Does your blue book exam require students to know a certain number of Latin words for a particular part of speech (for example, pronouns or prepositions)? Then quickly sort the yellow cards–each one includes its part of speech so this is quick work–and drill only those specific words. This is the same way you would practice *any* of the Latin parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. The color coding makes it a breeze to quickly and efficiently find exactly the type of words you want to teach or quiz (fun fact to know and share: there are only four 5th declension nouns in the Henle vocabulary though Lesson 25. This is easy to see when you realize there are only 4 orange cards in this deck of over 300!).

adverbs

  • Do you use a Jeopardy-style board for review games in Latin? These are the same size as a typical business card and so they’re ideal to slip into a small pocket or even use on a gameboard as the card supply for any type of game you want to invent or adapt.

These are just a handful of ideas for how I’m planning to use the cards. As I incorporate them into my Challenge B classes, I’ll post more ideas. If you come up with something that works well, please share your feedback here so that we can all benefit from it!

As a way to celebrate that these are *finally!* done, please take $5 off the cost of the set by using this code at checkout: NEWCARDS. It expires on October 31, so use it soon! 🙂

Purchase “Let’s Review Latin” Henle FlashCards

{*The printer that I use is a Canon MX922. We bought it a year or so ago and I can’t say enough great things about it. It’s an all-in-one that will print, copy, scan, and even fax and right now, it’s priced ridiculously low at under $75 on Amazon. We bought it for around $99, I think, and I still think it’s an incredible bargain at that price. It uses 5 cartridges so those can get pricey if you print a lot in color like I do, but I’ve actually had great results with the generic cartridges and they’re super affordable.}

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