Roman Roads Media helps you bring a classical education into your home. Of course, you don’t have to have all subjects be in the “classical” education category in order to appreciate and use curriculum from Roman Roads Media. For the purposes of our conversation here today, my kids have been using their vocabulary program called Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder.
Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder
If you go to their website, you will see they claim to be “The world’s best system for learning Latin vocabulary quickly, usefully, and permanently.” If you just read that and thought to yourself, “… but Latin is hard and I don’t want to make my kids learn it.”, I get where your head is going. That is where Picta Dicta is different. They have developed this program to make learning Latin vocabulary a more fun process and possibly a bit easier too.
This is an online subscription program that will be available to use for 14 months. It is $79 for the first student and then only $15 for each additional student. It is You can use it as a supplement to a Latin course you are currently taking (either live or at home) or it can be used as a stand-alone program. It can be used on iOS, Android, PC, or Mac.
Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder is geared towards students in junior high, high school, and college. Without thinking, I had my youngest child (a 5th grader) use the program. It was fine for the first couple of lessons, but it eventually got more difficult than she or I cared for her to have to do when it came time for the spelling. She struggles with spelling in English, so spelling in another language was super stressful for her.
There are actually two other Picta Dicta programs; Ancient World, which is geared towards elementary and junior high students and Natural World, which is geared towards elementary students. In hindsight, I should have gotten Natural World for my youngest and then Vocabulary Builder or Ancient World for my older two kids. Even though both of the older two are in high school, I think Ancient World could still be beneficial since they have never studied Latin (except for some Latin roots).
The program is designed for those that want to become proficient in reading Latin. As such, it teaches verbs, adjectives, prepositions, and nouns for over 1,000 Latin words and concepts.
Picta Dicta teaches Latin vocabulary in multiple different ways so that no matter what your primary learning style is, you will benefit from the program. You will see the words in print, see a picture that represents the word, you will hear the words, and finally, you will be asked to put the words you have learned into a sentence or phrase.
The page your student will see when they log in is the “Courses” page.
All they have to do is click on the next arrow on the right for the lesson they should be doing that day. Or if they want to repeat a lesson for more practice or get more stars, they can click the arrow that is going counterclockwise. The symbol that looks like a clock is telling you that the student started that lesson, but did not complete it.
It’s as simple as that. Log in and click the next lesson. It usually only takes 20 minutes or so to complete each lesson.
Thoughts from our homeschool
As I stated above, our youngest was really not academically ready for this program. She is not confident in her spelling abilities so she did not do well on that part of the program. She also really relied on seeing the pictures that went with the words. She was not sure of the meaning of a word without the pictures. As a result, she guessed a lot. All that being said, this program is not meant for her age, so it’s not surprising it didn’t work well for her.
Our 9th grader is honestly indifferent to the program. He doesn’t feel like he’s learning very much because “you only do it once a day for a short period”. He feels like he would benefit more if the program offered more repetition and review. Yes, you can just redo the lessons, but that can get boring. Plus, when you are redoing lessons, as a student it doesn’t feel like you are progressing as fast as you should, so it can get discouraging. He also said that maybe a workbook to go with the program would be helpful. Of course, a workbook would be extra money for the parents, but I’m thinking parents of kids that would benefit from written work wouldn’t mind. It could just be an extra optional part of the program.
I saw in the FAQ for the product that there is a free downloadable workbook that will add just the kind of thing that my 9th grader is asking about. I didn’t realize that, though, so we haven’t looked into it. Now that I know that exists, I will have to email the company and ask about how to get that. Definitely, a homeschool mom fail that I missed that!!
Overall, I think this is a good program. Anything that increases vocabulary skills is a plus in my book. My 9th grader will continue to use it with the addition of the workbook that we will print off.