"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?)