Thursday, November 17, 2011

Second Languages - Latin

We are a latin-learnin' kinda family.  From day 1 of homeschooling, we have incorporated latin into our day for several reasons.  The primary reason is that its a great workout for your brain and lays the foundation for many other languages, English included!!  Every single word in a latin sentence has a specific function, and for this reason we have never bothered to formally study English grammar, because that is taken care of when you study latin. (Now I'm not talking capital letters and punctuation kind of grammar, I'm talking about nouns, adjectives, parts of speech, etc.) Latin, as a "dead" language, doesn't change, which is the beauty of it - that's why its the foundation of scientific nomenclature, that's why your local accent doesn't matter, that's why our Catholic church employs latin - it never changes and therefore can be universally understood worldwide. Forever.

So we do latin, and both my older kids love it.  We haven't tried a variety of programs because we lucked out and loved the one we chose in the beginning, that being the Latin series from Memoria Press.  I plan on working through Prima Latina with Miss A next year, and that's totally doable because the lessons are short, sweet and to the point.  There is a latin saying to memorize, five latin vocabulary words and their English derivatives, a grammar skill, and you work through memorizing four latin prayers (like a meal blessing, etc).  We have worked through the Latina Christiana series (great for elementary school age and up) and are now into the First/Second/Third Form courses, which I think work better if you're in grade 6 or older and have had some latin exposure.  These focus more intensely on the latin grammar.  My oldest does her latin course online at Memoria Press and loves it.

If all that sounds too daunting, you can focus on building English vocabulary by studying latin and greek roots.  There are lots of options out there, and its perfectly fine to take just one component of a program and use it. For example, you can buy the flashcards only of  English from the Roots Up  (I was advised not to buy the book, just the cards), and use that to expose your kids to the origins of our language.  Even that can go in spurts for you.  You don't have to do "a subject" all year, every day.  Maybe January and February will be your "Latin Roots" month (something new and fresh for a dreary time of year) and you'll do that every year.   Or maybe you learn a few latin hymns (Adeste Fidelis around Christmastime, for example).   Over the years, this can really add up!

But how far to go with latin?  When to stop?  That's what I'm currently debating with my olders.  I think that, as long as they are enjoying it and have an affinity for it, we will keep at it.

The Latin-Centered Curriculum
Climbing Parnassus

Amor vincit omnia!! (Virgil)

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