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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Picta Dicta Natural World - Learn Latin the Fun Way (A Review)

We're eclectic homeschoolers, but I do love the classical approach. That usually includes learning Latin, something we haven't done. When we received the opportunity to review Picta Dicta Natural World from Roman Roads Media, I hoped that it might provide a good start with Latin, but without the drudgery associated with other Latin programs.

PictaDicta Natural World
There are two Picta Dicta options for you to sign up for. Picta Dicta Natural World, which we received a subscription to, and Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder. Something I like about Roman Roads Media is that they have five videos available to show how Picta Dicta works.


Signing up was simple. I followed the instructions on their setup website. Enter names, choose a level. I chose different campaigns (levels) for some of us (described at 1:51 in the setup video.) There are five levels to choose from - Basic, English I, Reader I, Reader II, and Express. These range from pre-reader to advanced reader, Express could even be considered a instructional review or level for someone who catches on quickly. If you decide that you need to change the level after the child begins using the program, you can do that by clicking the Edit icon (pencil) for that person. There is also a Teacher level, however since I don't know Latin I didn't use that one.

N, in 2nd grade, is Reader I. The other three children (5th, 8th, and 10th) are in Reader II. I am in Express.

We are using Android tablets to access the program, but you can use a computer too. It works through any web browser.

M took a screen shot when she finished the first set of lessons about Basic Animals. She wrote a description of each game for you. Remember this is Reader II.

Learn Latin

  • Learn Latin II - Learn animals in English and Latin and read stories about them in English.
  • Latin-Picture II - Connect Latin to English with Latin words and English descriptions.
  • Article II - Connect story to animal.
  • English II - Label the picture in English.
  • Spell Latin II - Spell the Latin word in English.
  • Review Latin VII - Spell the English word in Latin.


In the Reader I program, the games are:

  • Learn English
  • Article I
  • Learn Latin
  • Latin-Picture
  • Choose English
  • Spell English
  • Choose Latin
  • Spell Latin

In the Express campaign, I only have Learn Latin II, Latin-Picture II, and Spell Latin II. At first I felt like I didn't catch on to the words as well as I would have liked, so maybe I'll switch to the Reader II program if I keep feeling this way. The good part is that once you have completed a section, you can repeat it by choosing "Train." You can practice more and improve your score!


Picta Dicta scores each game with stars. You can receive up to five stars for a game. As you work through the game, it learns what you answered incorrectly and repeats those items. M says that she looks for a letter shape in the image, which helps her remember the Latin word for that thing. Some were easy such as ursus, for the children who know the constellations.

Reviews of previous topics are built in, so you don't have to worry about forgetting everything you just worked so hard to learn! You don't always do the same games for each review. You can see in the image below that there are review games after each group of chapters, except the first.


The biggest issue with this program is the spelling sections. Our tablets don't know Latin so they autocorrect what we type. However, it will show as we typed it UNTIL we tap to go to the next screen. Android autocorrects the word without us even knowing! So we must tap the first word in the line of suggested words (which is what we entered) so it doesn't get the chance to change our word. This was so frustrating because we couldn't figure out why we were getting everything wrong at first! J decided to add every word to his dictionary so he doesn't have this problem.

Other minor issues are random grammar and word mistakes in the instructions and stories. These were not distracting, but my older kids loved finding them and pointing them out to me.


I can log into the parent part of my account and see how much time each child has used the program that week, and how well they've been doing. It's not much, but it is helpful to know if they are using it regularly and improving.


M didn't know many of the animals, and even less fruits. But on anatomy she had a light bulb moment at how many Latin names she could remember because of her knowledge of anatomy from last year's science.

One day J noticed a car on the road, model name Equus. Because of Picta Dicta he was able to pronounce the word correctly and he already knew how to spell it when he searched Google to learn more about it.

E says she really likes it, it's pretty fun to use. "I like that it has you review the words a lot of times. It has helped me learn Latin words and also some English names, like a wild pig is a boar."

N, 2nd grade, overcomes the spelling issues by chanting the spelling of the word out loud until she has typed it in. When she got to the Anatomy I lessons, she was so proud of herself. "Mom, I knew all of those because of what we learned in science!"

Picta Dicta Natural World has also been helpful since we started studying zoology and classification. The kids are realizing there are roots and Latin words everywhere!

When we first started using Picta Dicta, everyone was quite happy to show off the words they had learned. They would listen to each other or peek over shoulders and say the answer. But everyone quickly decided they wanted to do it ON THEIR OWN! Their challenge instinct took over and they decided they didn't want help. Now they just compare stars to try to beat each other, or try to stump me. If they aren't happy with their score, they can repeat that game to get a better score. I admit, I enjoy doing it to stay caught up with my kids!


I wasn't sure what to expect from this program or if my kids would stick with it. But it has turned out to be one of our favorite things to do each day. In fact, a couple of children expressed how unhappy they were when I crossed Picta Dicta off of the planner on an extremely busy day. They made time and did it anyway! I have been quite pleased with this program and what my children have learned while using it. I can't wait to see their progress as they continue through all of the topics! I would love to see what my kids can do with Vocabulary Builder after we finish Natural World.

Roman Roads Media asked some Review Crew members to review their Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) in addition to Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder and Picta Dicta Natural World. Check out the other reviews at the link below.

Where to find Picta Dicta:

Roman Roads Media

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Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}

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