For many Classical homeschools, Latin is a foundational subject. It is a core subject for us - one that is studied every day, even if we just do a quick recitation or write out a vocabulary list.
There are many reasons to study Latin:
- Latin enriches our own vocabulary
- Latin is foundational to English grammar (many Classical homeschools forgo English grammar study all together by replacing it with Latin study)
- Latin is helpful in learning other foreign languages
Of course there are many more reasons but let's save that for another post! Today I want to talk about the programs we use for studying Latin.
There are a few choices for studying Latin in elementary school. I settled on Memoria Press after looking at what was available and I haven't regretted that choice. Their Latin curriculum is basically open and go and even accessible to teachers who don't have any Latin experience (I'm learning right along with TJ!). The program is very straightforward, though there aren't many bells-and-whistles. So that's a plus or a minus depending on what you're looking for.
Last year, for 3rd grade we used Prima Latina - it was a good choice for gently introducing Latin study. The focus was on learning vocabulary (memorization is easy in the grammar stage) with just a simple introduction to conjugation at the end of the book.
This year we are continuing the Memoria Press sequence and using Latina Christiana.
Each lesson is a 2-page spread. The first page includes a Latin saying, a list of vocabulary words, and a grammar forms chart. The second page contains 4 sections of fill-in-the-blank style exercises. That's it. On the surface that doesn't look like much. You could do the work in one day and call Latin done for the week. But you would lose out on the richness of this program.
In the teacher's manual you'll find grammar and vocabulary forms for daily drill practice and weekly quizzes as well as a 5 tests (one for every 5 lessons). Along with a daily recitation time and flashcard review this makes for a very full program. And if you include the DVDs (not necessary but helpful if this is your first time teaching Latin) you'll have a very full week of Latin study.
So what does a week of Latin look like in our house?
- Monday: We start our week with a quiz about the previous week's material.
- Tuesday: New lesson - we watch the DVD and TJ takes notes (with these awesome note-taking pages from Julianne at Joy in the Journey)
- Wednesday: We go over the lesson together, practicing declensions, conjugations, and writing/translating sentences on a white board before TJ does the lesson page
- Thursday: TJ does one page of review, writes out her vocabulary words (vocab drill pdf), and writes out the lesson's grammar chart (grammar drill pdf)
- Friday: The same as Thursday - a page of review and vocabulary and grammar drill practice
- Daily: Recitation and Flashcards
As you can see it's a very full week! Another resource that we have enjoyed is Quizlet. Last year we used it quite a bit with Prima Latina. If your child likes online drill then Quizlet would be a fun addition to Latin study.
One of the most important parts of Latin study is the daily recitation.
By reciting grammar forms and other information they are quickly memorized - something that really is essential to studying Latin. Here's our recitation list, divided by lesson. Just recite the information included for that week's lesson each day and by the end of the year you will have quite a bit of Latin memorized.