Thursday, March 12, 2009

Works for me... Latin

"Why do we have to do Latin? Why can't we just learn Spanish?"

A question posed quite often in the Duley home, especially when it is time to study for Latin quizzes!

Mom's reply? "It will make you smarter... get to work!" While this actually IS my typical reply, it is not the whole answer (and my children know this).

We have chosen to do Latin with our children for several reasons. Latin is the root language for the romantic languages, and when we do get around to Spanish and French, they will find it much easier to pick up. It is interesting to compare the languages across the board and see how the words are often similar to the Latin word. English words often have Latin roots, and a knowledge of Latin and figuring out derivatives can help students in vocabulary skills. The goal of our education is not to do well on the SAT, but apparently Latin does help. You know... "problem solving skills and critical thinking!" (I had to throw in those catchphrases!) On a more practical note, they will have an easier time with vocabulary as they "broaden their minds with extensive reading." AND... they will be able to have intelligent, multi-syllable conversations as teenagers!

OBVIOUSLY, I am being silly, and I do not think you have to learn Latin in order to have an intelligent conversation... no comments on that score, please! :)

We have used two different Latin programs, because we left Kentucky and joined the co-op here in Mississippi. In Kentucky, we used Prima Latina (Memoria Press), a K-3 Latin program which leads into Latina Christiana I and II. Initially I chose this program because it had DVDs that I could watch with the kids (I have no Latin background). We would watch the teacher go through the lesson together, and then I understood the grammar and pronounciation of things. However, I realized that the DVDs were not even necessary, because the lessons were so clearly laid out and well organized.

The co-op here uses the Latin Primer series. They feel like the classical pronounciation of the language is best, rather than the ecclesiastical pronounciation. Apparently, Latin was probably spoken according to the classical, but over time the church has used (and still uses) the ecclesiastical. I have learned a lot through this series, and have taught Latin I the past two years. However, it is a good thing I found the videos at a yard sale, because I SURE wouldn't have known what to do or say just from the teacher manual! It is not easy to follow or teach from, and you have to flip all through the book and go digging for information... and even then things are not clearly explained. If a person had a background in Latin, it might be no problem, but I have pestered poor Nita Fradenburg to death with Latin grammar questions over the last two years!

Needless to say, next year we are going to return to the Memoria Press series. William will be in the Prima Latina book, and I am trying to decide what to do with the girls. I will probably have Sarah do Latina Christiana I, because I would rather be sure that she has mastered the basics. Latina Christiana I would probably be too easy for Hannah, and I will likely do II with her. On a selfish note, it would be easier to have her just repeat Latina Christiana I, have an easy year, and get the girls both on the same page. That way, we could do Latina II the next year, and THEN move on into Spanish. This idea does not appeal to my over-achiever first born, though, and I sure would hate to be guilty of "dumbing down" against her wishes, for the sake of my convenience! (Isn't that ONE of the reasons I am doing this, anyway?)


Anonymous said...

Kids keeping you busy?
I got on the Mathenia blog on my computer and saw in the RSS feed that you had post Misc, and after looking at it, I got on the other computer so i could watch the video and check E-Mail.
I got on and presto there was another post already! Wow!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I know that you said no comments on these lines, but, are you in any way insinuating that teens do not employ multi-syllable phrasology, or that they are void of ability to converse in an intelligent manner? :-)Sorry.

Elizabeth said...

I agree with you about the Primer series. It wasn't laid out well. I had many parents who were flustered with the lack of help. I learned Latin with Christiana. I would highly recommend that series far above any of the other series(not by choice) I used over the years. Christiana get A's for how well it is laid out, and you really don't need to have any previous knowledge of the language to learn the basics. As to Hannah, it would be good for her to go through Christiana I because it will help her transition from one series to the other. It will help her understand the author's language, style, etc. Anyway, all that to say, "I agree with you".


Miekie said...

I think Latin is a great idea - it will help the children to master other languages. In South Africa we are fortunate to grow up bi - or multi lingual (We have 11 official languages). When I was an A.F.S. exchange student in Montana 40 years ago, I was amazed at how children struggled with German and French - As a first year at varsity, I knew more German than the teacher - probably because of my Afrikaans background.
P.S. How is your leg doing? Have you been running again?

Anonymous said...

I got a Josh-ism for ya.
Yesterday the boys were playing in the woods & Josh said-
"We need to get lots of ammunition so we can be compared "

Nothing like comparedness to make you feel ready LOL