Rethinking Latin

I’ve always kind of been intrigued by Latin.  I think it goes back to when I discovered “Adeste Fideles” in an old music book for an organ my parents had when I was child.  I made my dad tell me how to pronounce the Latin words.  If Latin had been offered at my Catholic high school, I probably would have taken that instead of Spanish.

However, when it comes to homeschooling, I have been turned off by the idea of forcing my kids to learn Latin.  Latin kind of has a stigma in the homeschooling community as being reserved for those who are trying to make their kids geniuses or as a benchmark of “truly orthodox” Catholic homeschoolers.  (“My kids don’t even know the ‘Our Father’ in English, only Latin.  Aren’t we so pious?”)  Now academically I could see the benefits of knowing some Latin and some Greek, since most sciences use quite a bit of both languages and a lot of English is rooted in those languages.  That’s why I plan on using the Vocabulary from Classical Roots series.  (Bailey will start the first book in the Spring 2012.)

Somehow, I can’t really trace how it happened, I found myself looking into Prima Latina, an introductory Latin curriculum.  And the more I looked into it, the more I thought that this would be a good way to introduce Bailey to English grammar via another language.  I remember spending years in school going over verbs, nouns, adjectives, and such wondering why I had to know what the name of each part of speech as long as I knew how to use them correctly.  It really didn’t seem useful until I started studying Spanish and I had to learn how to translate tenses.

So now I am thinking that I will work with Bailey on Prima Latina in fourth grade.  This would serve several purposes.

  1. The curriculum introduces English grammar concepts in a hands-on, immediately purposeful way.
  2. The five Latin vocabulary words in each lesson are good roots for understanding English derivatives.
  3. Each lesson includes a prayer in Latin and offers the opportunity to study Latin used in the Mass, doubling as religious instruction.
  4. The vowel pronunciation of Church Latin seems to be the same as Spanish, offering an introduction for learning Spanish later.
  5. It overall acts as a foreign language preparation program.

I think that after one year of Prima Latina Bailey will be better prepared to begin diagramming in fifth grade as well as starting Spanish.  Right now I really don’t anticipate continuing Latin after the one year, unless Bailey expresses an interest.  But I do think it’s important that the girls understand the importance of Latin, as the official language of the Church.  In the meantime, I bought the Lingua Angelica CD and songbook of Latin prayers and hymns to supplement the basic living of the Catholic liturgical year and for later use with our Latin and religious instruction.

Explore posts in the same categories: Homeschooling/Education, Philosophy

One Comment on “Rethinking Latin”

  1. Grace Says:

    Studying Latin was one of the best things I did in high school. I studied it for fun; I didn’t think that it would ever be useful in any way. However, when I later decided that I wanted to study Russian, I found that the grammatical structure of the language was almost identical, and that it was easier for me to pick up on a lot of concepts and to understand the way that nouns change between different cases having had the Latin that already explained it.

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