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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Latin: What we do

Latin is a subject we do together. :)
We like learning together. 

Normally, one would begin Latin studies around Ambleside Online's Year 4. However, we didn't officially begin until AOy6 (for several reasons which I explain in another post). Up until recently, we've gone weekly through 1-3 lessons (per 20min sitting) in Getting Started with Latin (GSWL). After lesson 20 or so, we watched Visual Latin's (VL) Intro videos (free online). Honestly, VL's Dwane really brought life and meaning to our studies; the boys suddenly really WANTED to learn Latin. They like this guy who knows more than just one language and obviously finds Latin fun. I was seriously tempted to switch right away, but in the end, I think I'm glad to carry on through the end of GSWL and use the VL as an encouraging boost throughout. Once we're finished with GSWL, I'll probably use VL in conjunction with Lingua Latina (the teaching guide for using these together is free online here).

Here's what our weekly Latin lessons looked like:
1) I show the kids the new vocabulary word at the top of the page and they try to guess at its meaning. Having a good knowledge of Spanish already, this is usually a no-brainer for them. Other times, the word is new, we make a mental note of it and then get right to work using it in context of other ideas (the practice sentences).

2) I read the lesson aloud and then we alternate reading and translating with the given practice sentences like this:

3) I read the sentence aloud, Cullen reads the sentence aloud, Javen translates the sentence.

Spectat lunam. He looks at the stars.

4) Then we switch. I read aloud, Javen reads aloud, and Cullen translates.

Nauta stellas spectat.

Currently, we're doing Latin almost daily. I was noticing that we were having to spend too much time reviewing each week. Converting to shorter daily lessons should help to keep it fresh (and finish with this book sooner). This is recommended for all language study! Frequent short lessons are better than less frequent long lessons... this might just hold true for many areas of study!! :)

So for us, Latin's been relatively painless! It took some getting used to in the beginning, referring back often to the pronunciation guide in the back of the book (or one could listen to the free audio commentary provided by the author online here - my boys said this is BORING to listen to. I agree, but I think for some, teachers especially, it is probably really helpful).

Javen has started keeping his own notes of words he especially wants to remember. I like that initiative; paying careful attention does a good job of making an impression on the memory and then using the words often helps too. Eventually, if we continue deeper, a Latin notebook is definitely required as a REALLY helpful tool for keeping exercises and favorite passages in.

After lesson 60 or so, we watched Visual Latin's Lesson 1: Being Verbs (available for free online). This was awesome fun for the kids because they already were very familiar with many of the words Dwane uses, and yet they learned several words that they'd been really wanting to know (Getting Started with Latin introduces new words VERY slowly). I'll have them do the free worksheet on the day following that of watching the video.

So that 'bout sums it up. Both kids say they like Latin; personally I think they're rather proud of the fact that they are learning it. I certainly am proud of them for both learning and liking it!

Helpful links:

My kids tolerate this book:
Getting Started with Latin w/ free Audio files

An Extension of the above book:
Linney's Latin Class w/ free Lectures online based on the following classic book (available for free online): Latin for the first year

My kids ENJOY this:
Visual Latin. Try it here: 6 FREE Visual Latin Lessons!
The author recommends: Latin audio found here.
When/if I buy Visual Latin, I'm considering this Latin 1 & 2 package deal on DVD
*One of the MAIN advantages of this company is that almost all the materials are also available as downloads... perfect for oversea dwellers (like us!) and no shipping costs. :) But, I still think the DVD idea is kind of nice to keep info all in one place for back up.

Visual Latin: Free lessons to mak your kids laugh in Latin Class

More Helpful links:

Parents' Review article: Why Learn Greek and Latin?
Ambleside Online's page on Foreign Language.
English as She is Taught (through Latin).


SilviaBlogs said...

Thanks for writing this. As always, I gain so much knowledge from you. This year, year 3 and year 1, I am finally enjoying it with the girls. I see my oldest clicking with her lessons, and I don't want to overdo it anymore. I see how she is wanting to do things I had pushed her in vain before. Since my only other girl, now in year 1, is faster (but knowing I don't have to push her either), years 6 and 4, or at least 3 and 5, seem fine to start Latin. They both know Spanish too, and it helps. They are both old students, September and November girls, so they both started year 1 at 7 and 4 months before 7. We are in our third week of school, merely finishing week 2. Just taking it easy, and getting a bit ahead to make up for the fall when we will surely take days or weeks off during the better weather.

I have been looking at all the Latin. We have Song School Latin (a nice oral starter), and I got Minimus, but just the student book, for 4 dollars two years ago, but I have also looked at what you use, what Brandy, Jeanne, and others use, and yes, Visual Latin with the prior program seems very nice. The Cambridge program Jeanne recommends for after Minimus 2 books, is very similar to LL. Both are based on families, their pets, etc, but I think they are certainly for older grades, when students are versed with grammar, and when they can bite a bit more reading.

Before, your solution of frequent yet short lessons, to keep it going, seems very reasonable and it appeals to me.

I love you very much, Amy. (Now this is turning a sentimental letter of confession, LOL). I say it very seriously. I think back of all you have been and done for me, and I feel very blessed.

Gracias y que Dios te siga bendiciendo siempre,


amyinperu said...

oh silvia! i am so thankful for your sweet words. YOU are an encouragement to me!! i have enjoyed every minute of our correspondence. :) you do such a wonderful job with your girls! i'm sure you'll figure out a great plan with latin, as well. i'd love to hear what you end up with. :)

otra vez más, muchísimas gracias amiga mía y que el Señor te siga bendiciendo grandemente a tí, tal como le sigues amando con todo corazón.

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