Finally, I found it.
There is a perfect Latin program out there for Atticus. It's from Memoria Press, and it teaches Latin with the same careful, incremental approach that Mr. Blandings enjoyed at the hands of the brothers who ran his Catholic high school in the Midwest. It's called Latina Christiana, and yes, I had heard of it before. I'd read about it in The Well-Trained Mind but had dismissed it as being too stodgy for Atticus. Turns out, however, it's perfect. A firm grounding in roots, heavy on the memorization and -- did I mention?-- real Latin, right off the bat.
If you have a budding Latin scholar in your home, don't let the seemingly stuffy presentation turn you off. The DVDs make teaching the course an almost auto-pilot experience ... unless you're like me and end up sitting alongside your student and picking up a few handy tidbits here and there. In addition, the texts are simple, easy to understand and (dare I say it?) foolproof for the non-Latin learned.
The program is thorough, it's usable and it's written for anyone to teach with minimal preparation.
Can't you just hear my sigh of relief?
Memoria Press also offers an amazing series called Famous Men of (fill in the time period). We have Famous Men of Rome, an impressive story-based study that brings the reader into the heart of some very action-filled adventure tales sure to woo your child's heart. The parents question provided dig deep into the heart and moral of each story; it's clear that dates and names aren't the main goal in this series. Understanding and a love of learning is at the heart of each classical vignette. The language is challenging--this is not a dumbed down version of the events, but one designed to engage the mind in some academic acrobatics--but it's not stiff or overly advanced, either.
The books are priced just right for adding to your home library if, like us, you can never get enough beautifully illustrated anthologies on specific topics. Rome is one that I think my children could revisit again and again and never tire of. Judging from the appeal of the Famous Men of Rome student book, I think we may be in for many more years of Horatius and Cicero.