How We Homeschool Latin

posted in: pedagogical | 108

Because we are following the classical model of education in our homeschool, we have added Latin to our average days. I have zero background in Latin and only 2 barely-passed years of Spanish under my belt. Yet, I agreed with the principles of classical education so much that I decided we’d take the practice of Latin on trust and see what happened.

There are generally three reasons given for studying Latin:

  1. It helps with vocabulary and thus with high test scores.
  2. It helps with logical thinking, because it’s grammar study that actually makes sense.
  3. It is the language of Virgil and much of the literature of Christendom, which we should be trying to read in the original.

When my son was 9 and had just taken his state-mandated standardized test, he asked me afterward, “Mom, what does donor mean?” “A donor is someone who gives something,” I replied. “That’s what I guessed!” he exclaimed, “because dono means I give.” That vocabulary word had been in a Latin lesson from the previous year. There is certainly something to the first reason for choosing Latin, but I hate to let state-mandated tests determine my curriculum choices.

No, it is option 2 that got me on board with Latin and keeps bringing me back to it every time we have fallen off the boat. I love grammar, and I know how much my smattering of Spanish helped with my understanding of grammar. I am also an Elizabethan history buff and I knew that simply translating Latin into English and English into Latin constituted a large part of Queen Elizabeth I’s education – and that seemed to turn out pretty well. So, we take a grammar-heavy approach to Latin rather than an immersion approach, which would be nearly impossible for us anyway.

how-homeschool-latin

But grammar, grammar I can do.

And I can do it even better when someone else is teaching the lessons.

Four years ago now I had to make a curriculum choice. My oldest was in third grade, and so it was time to dive into Latin. I chose Latin for Children because

  1. Its production quality was greater than others I looked at.
  2. It had a grammar and an English-derivative emphasis
  3. It had DVD instruction.

My policy has been to rely on DVD instruction where possible for subjects I am not strong in. DVD instruction for subjects where I have zero knowledge is a must for me. The benefits of DVD instruction are two-fold. First, a recorded lesson can be repeated without the teacher losing his enthusiasm. Second, a DVD is non-consumable and can be reused for all the children at no extra cost (except for the price of the workbooks, of course, but the teaching costs the same for 5 as for 1).

latin

Dr. Perrin is funny and light-hearted, and my kids love the special shorts at the end of each lesson. The feel of the video lessons are homeschooly, in a good way: two to five kids chanting the vocabulary in a living room, with 8 year old boys acting like 8 year old boys and all. My boys could watch and mimic and identify with the chanting students.

Now, Latin has been hit or miss, quite honestly, in our average days. Too often Latin is what gets bumped when life goes awry. With a DVD and workbook, it would be easy to have my boys simply go through the motions of progress of Latin on their own: They can watch the video, I can assign workbook pages, and that could be all. But that is really just a waste of everyone’s time. No language is going to be learned that way. It’s all going to go in one ear and out the other and never stick.

Latin for Children

So, rather than simply move on through the curriculum so we can stay on schedule and cover a book a year, we have taken the next step as we can and tried to master the lesson before moving on. This means a slower pace, especially since Latin might only happen twice a week rather than every day. But I’m ok with slow progress, especially if not finishing a book a year means we’ve actually gained the ground we’re covering.

So it has taken us about two years per level in Latin for Children , which is written as a year-long curriculum. That’s ok. Some Latin is better than none. And learned Latin is better than skimmed Latin.

I’ve been less apt to ditch the Latin when feeling the squeeze this year, choosing to prioritize it over other things. Also, I am sleeping through the night and don’t have a baby – that means fewer lessons get skipped than used to be. Perhaps when my third and fourth child start Latin we will actually be able to do a level a year.

Perhaps they will teach it to their children and so actually get to the point of reading Latin. Perhaps my grandchildren will be able to teach my great-grandchildren Latin through speaking it and actually achieve the immersion approach. Taking the long view helps ease the pressure of “finishing up.” This is a generational journey, not simply a school-year journey. I am planting seeds and do not know what fruit will be reaped 10, 20, 30 years from now. I am content to be planting little seeds and watering them as best I can, even while wishing I were a harvester of ripe crops – that’s not my place in the story.

Not only did I add Latin to our homeschool, but I have submitted to learning it alongside my oldest as we go – another thing that slowed our pace down. If a subject is worth teaching, it must be worth learning. So I have learned to be content with slow progress over time rather than checking all the boxes every day. Even for that lesson alone studying Latin together has been worth it.

So, as we work through Latin for Children , here are some things we do to reinforce the vocabulary and grammar. We don’t do all of these all the time, but these are the practices that have served off and on over the last four years and kept us at it.

  • Listen to the vocabulary chants CD during Circle Time.
  • Listen to the vocabulary chants CD in the car.
  • Assign 3 chapters of vocabulary chants with the playlist on an iPod.
  • Assign vocabulary lists (usually the previous and the current lesson) as copywork.
  • Have them write Latin sentences using words from their current chapter. This helps my Latin as I check that they are correct.
  • Do extra conjugations and declensions in addition to those on workpages in the book.
  • Copy a Latin sentence, mark parts of speech, parse each word, then translate it. (More on this in a later post)
  • Watch the previous lesson as well as the next when it’s DVD lesson time.

But, the number 1 Latin for Children review technique we love is Headventureland! Latin vocabulary, declensions, conjugations, short movie clips, and derivative videos help reinforce the lessons. In order to unlock further levels and videos, they have to pass vocabulary games. As an extra bonus for me, the 5-year-old and 7-year-old are glued to the screen when the older boys do Headventureland, so I have fifteen minutes of quiet and those children are going to have a head start when it’s their turn to begin the study of Latin.

flashdash

In fact, yesterday morning we hadn’t even done our usual morning things yet, I pulled out the math pages and went looking for where the children went off to because it was awfully quiet. A quick glance down the stairs and through the heads all I could see was that they were playing a computer game! What! Prepared to be angry, I asked, “What are you doing?!” Heads turned, eyebrows raised innocently, and the response came: “Latin.” Ah. Yes. Well, then. Carry on. And it’ll be time for math when you’re done.

fun-latin

I have used Headventureland as a reward for finishing other tasks before lunch.

I have used Headventureland as an excuse for school while morning sick.

I have used Headventureland as a daily review option to be completed along with further Latin work.

Right now, 15 minutes of Headventureland is on each boys’ daily checklist, partly because they are both excited about the new version Classical Academic Press has released.

Headventurealand for LFC Primer B – the level my oldest is in – just released! He is thrilled with it. I’m not sure we’d be able to practice those pronoun and preposition lists enough on our own without the automated, fun, quirky practice that Headventureland gives us.

headventureland

amo-chant

Classical Academic Press has fun with their programs, and it’s evident in all their materials. It is fun and light-hearted, but still challenging and stretching – a perfect combination.

Disclosure: Classical Academic Press graciously gave us two memberships to Headventureland and offered to do a giveaway. However, we chose CAP materials over the other programs out there and purchased our own Latin for Children Primers A & B. We have been using them for four years now and will continue into our fifth next year. This is not a sponsored or paid post.

108 Responses

  1. Fr. Christopher Brandler
    |

    Latin for homeschoolers is a good idea. It brings multiple benefits. Well said!
    One of your points read: “It is the language of Homer, and we should be trying to read Homer in the original.”
    I think you meant “Virgil”. Homer’s works were in Greek, of course. I wanted to make this observation before anyone else catches it. Bless you for your zeal.

    • Mystie Winckler
      |

      Ha! Of course! Virgil and many more after him. Thanks for the catch. I shouldn’t write at night. :)

  2. Knmkendall
    |

    Thank you for this giveaway! This year of Headventureland would be such a blessing for our family! We are finishing Song School Latin now and plan to continue with Classical Academic Press Latin in the upcoming years.

  3. Linda @ Apron Strings
    |

    This looks like a really terrific program. My husband went through another latin program with our oldest children (nearly 20 years ago!) We did not have so many choices at the time — I have failed to put together lesson plans to work through it with my younger ones. Latin for Children looks like something more my speed. Have not heard of Headventure Land before but will be checking it out – thanks for the ‘head’s up!

  4. Sharon
    |

    Please enter me to win!

  5. SarahD
    |

    I’d love to win this.

  6. myriam johnson
    |

    In our first year of homeschooling and never thought about teaching Latin and might try it next school year.

  7. Andrea
    |

    We have been using Song School Latin during morning time and my children ages 2-8 love it. I would love a free subscription to Headventure Land for my 8 year old to try out with Latin for Children A.

  8. Jessica
    |

    Yay! We are studying Song School Latin and our next step is Latin for Children. I was getting anxious about Latin getting harder but my kids LOVE computer games. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Chris
    |

    The timing of this series of posts is great! Do you buy each of your children their own workbook or treat it as a non-consumable book?

    • Mystie Winckler
      |

      I buy each child their own workbook. Using consumable workbooks (of any sort) as non-consumable is a violation of U.S. copyright, actually. The consumable workbook is $23, so most of the first-time cost is still reusable – the DVD lessons and the reader.

  10. Amy
    |

    I’d love to start doing Latin with my children! Please enter me!

  11. Arenda
    |

    We’re planning on teaching our children Latin, too, down the road (they’re 1 and 3 at present). This looks like a great program for that!

  12. Amber
    |

    I am planning on starting Latin for Children with my son next school year and I was wondering about the online practice site. Thanks for your review, I think it looks like a great practice resource for him.

  13. kortney garrison
    |

    We play and love the *light* versions over at Headventure Land…especially the stories + fabels.

    • kortney garrison
      |

      That’s fables! don’t even have the late night excuse :)

  14. Kathy
    |

    That sounds so fun! I want to learn Latin now.

  15. Theresa Clark
    |

    I used to teach Latin roots in my public school high school English class and am excited to integrate it into our homeschool curriculum as well!

  16. Annie Jacobs
    |

    That looks like a fun program to use! We’re currently using another program, but the game aspect would be fun to add. Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. Julie Salazar
    |

    I am glad to know I am not the only one who takes more than a year to complete a level of Latin for Children:)

  18. Patty
    |

    Thanks for the opportunity. Please enter me to win.

  19. Karen @ Living Unabridged
    |

    I’ve seen this curriculum and wondered about switching. Right now we’re in First Form Latin from Memoria Press and we like it, but you know how homeschool moms are: always wondering about the other stuff out there. ;)

  20. Marlene Thiessen
    |

    I am always looking into new venues to teach. I love the idea of DVD instruction in areas that I do not do well in.

  21. Brandi
    |

    Would love to win this. I want to start latin with my son in the fall.

  22. Heather
    |

    I’m taking my second child through Latin for Children, and would LOVE a subscription to Headventure Land!!

  23. Cari
    |

    What a nice informative post! Thanks!

  24. Jeni G
    |

    We are currently using Song School Spanish, but we do want to teach (and learn ourselves) Latin in the coming years. It would be great to win this!

  25. yolande
    |

    I have wanted to teach latin to my 3 younger boys, but just have not really gotten going with it. This sounds wonderful!

  26. Julie W
    |

    I took 2 years of Latin in high school, but feel inadequate to actually teach it. My oldest (age 9) recently informed me that he would be very interested in learning Latin. A curriculum like this could be great!

  27. Cameron
    |

    This is our first year teaching Latin. Our girls really enjoy it so far. The Headventureland looks like a nice review option!

  28. Julie
    |

    We are almost finished SSL2 and starting LFC1 this coming year. I’ve been wanting to get a Headventureland subscription for a while but we haven’t had the funds. Thanks for this giveaway!

  29. Laurke
    |

    This sounds really awesome! DVD and video games – my son can get down with that :)

  30. April Ann
    |

    We used to do latin and then go too busy. I need to make plans to add it back in!!

  31. Amy
    |

    This looks fun, I would love to win for my 7 year old!

  32. Monica Duenes
    |

    Headventureland sounds perfect for my wiggly 11 year old boy!! Thank you!!!

  33. Jodi B.
    |

    We’re starting Latina Christiana this year…I’m wondering if this would complement it or just be confusing since it corresponds to the lessons for LFC.

    My kids love this kind of stuff, though!

  34. Morgan
    |

    We started Latin with our 5 year old and this looks like a natural progression. Thanks for the insights and giveaway!

  35. Donna Marie
    |

    We have loved Song School Latin. I would love to move on through their other programs, too!

  36. Mary vonRosenberg
    |

    It’s lovely to learn Latin!

  37. Jennie
    |

    I am currently looking into latin program, like you don’t know and had two years of spanish which I barely recall. Thanks for the review and hopefully win too! :)

  38. Christy S.
    |

    We just started Latin for Children and absolutely love it! I am learning right alongside the kids. This would be a great addition for us.

  39. Dixie E
    |

    We are finishing up Song School Latin this year, and we plan to being LFC A in the fall.

  40. Delana Elmore
    |

    i would love to win this! Thanks for having this giveaway!

  41. Tristan
    |

    We are getting ready to begin 3 different levels of Latin! Song School Latin for my littles, Latin for Children A for my middles, and Latin Alive for my oldest. We would love to win a year of Headventureland!

  42. Ruth
    |

    We love CAP’s curriculum. Would love to win access to Headventureland!

  43. Rose
    |

    Fingers and toes crossed! ;)

  44. Melissa@TheHappierHomemaker
    |

    Thanks for the review-we’re in Sing Song Latin now but plan on starting this program soon and my boys love anything on a screen so Headventureland will work perfectly here!

  45. Jana
    |

    My son has really enjoyed our CC Latin memory work, so we’re planning to start Latin for Children this fall. Thanks for the awesome opportunity to win access to Headventureland!

    I was able to hear Dr. Perrin at a homeschool conference this spring and he was a delight! I love his humor and can’t wait to begin learning Latin along with my kids!

  46. Nicole Alvarez
    |

    Ooo..ooo..ooo! Pick me! Pick me! :o)

  47. Becky M
    |

    We started Latin this year, and my boys are loving it! I’ve been amazed at how quickly they are picking it up.

  48. Amanda Perko
    |

    We have loved Latin for Children, your post is timely because we haven’t been doing much lately & I’m gearing up to pressing in. Thanks for your ideas. (Enter me!!)

  49. tarry
    |

    We love CAP and would love to win this!!

  50. Jennifer
    |

    I plan to use Latin for Children! Thanks for the helpful review!

  51. chancellor grubbs
    |

    I just purchased LFC at the GHC conference to use next year! We’d love to have headventureland to go with it!

  52. Natalie Weintz
    |

    I’m very interested in your posts about Latin! We’ve been fumbling through Latin for three years. I would love to win this!

  53. Lauren
    |

    I’ve been looking at Latin for Children for after we finish with Song School Latin!

  54. Kansas Mom
    |

    We use Latin for Children, too, and have been really pleased with it. I didn’t sign up for Headventureland because I didn’t want to pay for it, but I know the kids would love it!

  55. Amy
    |

    Please enter me for the contest. I would love to win.

  56. Julie
    |

    This sounds like what we do, slow pace especially with all members even parents learning. Parents are much slower than the children sadly!

  57. Jill Giesbrecht
    |

    Latin for Children would be a great fit for us next year – and Headventureland looks like a lot of fun! :)

  58. Karen Grew
    |

    Great review! My homeschooler will be in third grade this next year and we too are trying to figure out how to fit in Latin and what program to use.

  59. Theresa
    |

    Thank you so much for this post! We have been on the Fence about Latin study because I have no background in it at all.

  60. Lexi Henegar
    |

    We love products from CAP. We have used Song School Spanish, Writing and Rhetoric, and also their Bible. We are hoping to start Latin next year and I’ve settled on using their products for our Latin studies. They look like just what we need in our homeschool. I love that they are indepth but also fun too.

  61. Catherine Kopff
    |

    We just started Latin for Children and my daughter loves it! Headventureland looks like a great supplement!

  62. Lindsey K
    |

    Like other posters before me, we are finishing up song school and thinking about what we will be doing next. Wavering between Latin for Children and Memoria. Would love the opportunity to try this out! Thank you!

  63. Katie M
    |

    I couldn’t agree more! Four of my children are at various stages in their Latin journeys, all using CAP’s Latin for Children and Latin Alive curriculums.

  64. Crystal Brannon
    |

    What an amazing blessing this would be for me and my 2 boys! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  65. Laurie McFarland
    |

    We are rather bogged down in LFC B right now, so Headventureland would be awesome!

  66. Heather P
    |

    We are very serious about starting Latin for this coming year and my 7 year old eats anything up that is on an “electronic “. So this would definitely help him work through a foreign language. Thanks for your posts. They are making my desire to teach Latin stronger.

  67. Ruthann
    |

    I am new to classical edu. and teaching Latin seemed so strange to me, however I am slowing seeing more and more benefits to it! I’d love to win this giveaway!

  68. Mary Jones
    |

    I would be thrilled to win. I have been using Song School Latin with our daughter.

  69. Pei w Lu
    |

    We enjoyed Song School Latin and would love to try out Headventureland. Thanks!

  70. Cari
    |

    Excellent review. We are currently using SSL 2, and it is really good!!! I can’t wait to use Latin for Children!

  71. Carmen Langford
    |

    Would love to win this! I have two children doing latin — LFCB and Latin Alive 1. We have used Song School and LFCA as well. They both love Latin and Headventure Land.

  72. Kam
    |

    I’ve been looking at this program, and I love your approach!

  73. Cheryl
    |

    Reading this post is great timing for me. We are just looking into Latin for Children. I love other CAP books and am happy t hear they deliver on this series as well.

  74. Virginia Larter
    |

    we have not had a chance to introduce Latin yet. I would love to incorporate it into their daily schedule!

  75. julie foley
    |

    I have four kids and really want to start Latin asap. Would love to win an amazing curriculum that people recommend!

  76. Erin
    |

    We just started LFC-A a few months ago, and I know my children would love Headventureland! I love your approach to Latin…our is very similar.

  77. Wendi S
    |

    Great giveaway! I have Latin for Children sitting on my shelf and I hope to add it in soon :)

  78. Emily
    |

    Would love this! We are doing SS Latin 2 next year and Latin for Children the year after.

  79. Nancy S.
    |

    I also did not have any Latin instruction as a child, and had difficulty with Spanish, but I very much want to teach my children Latin. We’ve been going through Song School Latin VERY slowly, and my oldest son definitely knows more than I do! I have a hard time being consistent with it, with all of us! Thanks for the giveaway :)

  80. Bethany
    |

    We are using CAP!!! I would love a chance to win Headventureland please ;-). Thank u!!!

  81. Kara Mooney
    |

    Posting for another entry. I currently have four kids using various levels of CAP Latin, and doing LFC A with my oldest kids was *my* first Latin course.

  82. Tori
    |

    I began using SSL with my daughter a few years ago when we first began our homeschool journey. She was a VERY reluctant student and most of our days were unhappy. I chose Song School Latin because, even though she was completely uninterested in learning a foreign language, this was one I thought she couldn’t resist. I was right and I gradually won her over. She is in 4th grade now and we JUST finished SSL1 this week! I’m planning to start LFC soon and this giveaway is right on time! Thank you for the coupon code!

  83. Kori
    |

    Great post! We’d love to win this.

  84. Bethany
    |

    Yes, please enter me to win Headventureland! Thank you kindly!!!

  85. Amy Chenault
    |

    I’ve spent a significant amount of time researching Latin programs for my 3rd grade son and keep coming back to CAP’s website. Looking forward to starting Latin for Children A in fall of 2015. Would love to win access to Headventure Land!

  86. Rebecca Zharkoff
    |

    We love Latin for Children. We haven’t had the available funds for Headventureland, but have done the free lessons. It looks great. We would love a year’s access! Your Latin instruction looks a lot like ours by the way. Thanks!

  87. Renae Schoening
    |

    I’m using it with my 3rd child now and finally took the approach you have of spreading out the work rather than pushing through. So much better! Child #1 has a natural gift for language so we cruised right through @ 1 year per course but that was a real frustration for child #2. Switched to slower paced mastery for #3 has been the ticket.

  88. Sharon
    |

    I would love to try this with my four children. We are not using anything at this point aside from basic memory work so a structured program would be wonderful. Thanks!

  89. Becky M
    |

    What a great way to reinforce our Latin lessons! Even if I don’t win, we’ll definitely be adding this to our Latin time. :-)

  90. Olivia
    |

    I’d love to enter.

    Mrs.H

  91. Cathy
    |

    Hooray for Latin!
    I am studying with my kids too. Wheelocks is serious work, but I had five years of Latin way back when and it is slowly coming back.

  92. Heidi
    |

    Love Classical Academic Press and their Latin program!

  93. Ann-Marie
    |

    I loved my five semester of Latin in college. It made English finally make sense!

  94. Amy
    |

    Would love to reinforce our Latin studies with a fun, encouraging and reinforcing program.
    Thank you for the opportunity.
    Amy

  95. Amanda
    |

    I would be thrilled to win this! I’ve been planning on starting Song School Latin 1 with my oldest, who is 6, as soon as I can fit it in the budget. Excited for this series on your blog!

  96. Nicole Bradica
    |

    please enter us:) I have been comparing programs and this looks great!

  97. Rhianna
    |

    We’ve had fun learning Latin with Visual Latin, but could really benefit from more practice with HeadventureLand.

    Thanks for sharing your review!

  98. Traci
    |

    I love CAP so much, I was able to convince our school to switch most of the Latin curricula to their materials!! Would love to win these to share with my students!☺️

  99. Amy
    |

    Don’t count me for the giveaway, but I just wanted to share that we are loving Song School Latin like other commenters. We should finish it this summer, and I look forward to starting Latin for Children in the fall.

    It’s funny, we were just reviewing “do” and “donum” this morning =) I have truly loved beginning this Latin journey!

  100. Keri
    |

    I would love to try this with my children!

  101. Becky S.
    |

    Thank you for the opportunity to win this!

  102. Jean Martin
    |

    I have grown to CAP lately. We use Latin Alive 1 right now and plan on using the 2nd book next year. We also use their writing program. I have also drooled over other items in their catalog, but haven’t had the money to buy any other items at this time. Thank you for the chance to win.

  103. Jen Henderson
    |

    Timely post. Our own Latin studies have been rather hit-or-miss.

    We started Latin last school year with Henle for my now-14yo, which she began with a group. She is now working through that independently, provided that I check up on her enough (which I often don’t, and find that that is one subject that has slipped…).

    We tried this year starting Latina Christiana (with dvds)for my 12yo son, but it is a poor fit. The instructional tone and pacing is pitched at a slightly younger age, and the lady presenting the lessons on video has a sweet, almost syrupy demeanor. I think my almost-adolescent boy would have more respect for a male instructor.

    Considering that I have three other boys to follow (ages 2-5), I’d like something that would work for all of them, eventually. So I’m now looking at the other programs out there, and you’ve intrigued me with your description of this one.

    The game looks like lots of fun, too, so of course I’d love to win it. Can it be used with any Latin program, or is the scope and sequence (in terms of game play) tied closely to Latin for Children?

    • Mystie Winckler
      |

      The scope and sequence of the game is definitely tied very closely with LFC, helping them review what they need as they move along, but the fun videos and vocab would still be helpful to anyone studying Latin, I’m sure.

  104. Ann
    |

    Have completed Song School Latin and looking to move on next school year….great opportunity…glad they blessed you to bless others!