How I Use Latin for Children

posted in: classical | 4

Being consistent with Latin over the years has been a struggle – one I have not always won. My oldest began Latin for Children Primer A when he was 8 – four years ago – and he’s now 3/4 of the way through Latin for Children Primer B.

I’m sure glad Dr. Perrin’s favorite motto is festina lente.

How I plan and use Latin for Children with a weekly rhythm

My second son is 10 and in his third year of Latin and just wrapping up Latin for Children Primer A. Next week he’ll start Latin for Children Primer B. My third child is 7 and eating up Song School Latin with a spoon – with her I will use Song School II for third grade rather than move right into the full program.

In my years of Latin inconsistency, we’ve had to continue to go backward before moving forward, reviewing vocab again, reviewing grammar again, because you can’t build on a foundation that isn’t there. In the end, I think this will actually help their forward progress in Latin, because we ended up not moving forward until concepts clicked rather than getting into a groove and simply moving on when they could give the right answer without understanding. Just as students should be drilled in their math facts until they are second nature – and this might take the entirety of their elementary education – so we keep revisiting what case means, what conjugating means, what declining means, not to mention how to do so.

Latin for Children

This year consistency is possible for us, and I spent the first two terms of school focusing on getting our Latin consistent and solid and prioritized. I went through many iterations of weekly Latin assignments before I found one that flowed and worked for us.

I’m not sure this will work for you, but I offer it as a starting place. It’s much more feasible and realistic for a homeschool setting than the schedule offered in the book, I believe. It makes about half the Latin work independent work, which frees me up. This is the routine I use for both my boys, so it works with Latin for Children Primer A and Primer B.

Our Weekly Latin Assignments

  • Daily: We listen to one Latin chant track from both Primer A & B most Morning Times for chant & vocab review
  • Monday: Watch a Latin lesson from the DVD, complete the Latin worksheet for that lesson
  • Tuesday: Practice reading & oral translation with mom, complete the lesson’s derivatives worksheet in the workbook
  • Wednesday: Fill out a conjugation practice worksheet (homemade), copy the lesson’s vocab into a Latin copywork spiral notebook.
  • Thursday: Complete the lesson’s quiz in the workbook, write 2 original Latin sentences that contain at least one word from this lesson’s vocab (Mom has to conjugate & translate them)
  • Friday: Latin translation page (homemade, with sentences from the chapter)

This is how it looks on my son’s checklist:

latin-homeschool

After printing out the sheet, I simply write in the next lesson and the page numbers he should do that week. With two Latin students, I swap the Monday/Tuesday assignment so I only read with one child per day. Turns out if I plan to do Latin reading with both on the same day, it doesn’t happen!

The translation worksheet and conjugation page are ones I have created myself and populate with sentences or vocab from LFC at the beginning of the week because the workbooks don’t offer very much room for handwritten answers. You can download the sheets for free by entering your email here. They’ll work with any Latin program.

Printable Latin Practice Pages

Download my free parsing pages for extra Latin practice.

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How I plan and use Latin for Children with a weekly rhythm

When we read Latin together once a week, the child can choose a selection from our collection:

He only reads and orally translates (and we use an online Latin dictionary to help) about 3 sentences at a time and we stick with one story until we’ve read it all. It’s hard, but we do it together, and I’ve found this addition has actually helped both my boys enjoy learning Latin more. Perhaps it makes it seem worthwhile instead of merely an exercise in abstraction. It’s decoding, and what boy doesn’t like a code that tells a message when you work it out?

I have been surprised how much just finding the right weekly rhythm has helped make Latin happen consistently and with less resistance. I am always afraid I’m over-tweaking and making changes just out of discontent and for fun, but then I stumble upon a logistics tweak like this that makes it easier to be consistent and I find it all worth it!

Now I just need to leave the Latin routine alone and adjust something else, like the logistics of mopping the floor.

Linked up at Trivium Tuesdays.

4 Responses

  1. Amy
    |

    My son just started LFC A this year. He says that Latin is his favorite subject! He has been through both SSL books, but at a very relaxed pace. We do not do Latin every day. I usually have my son work on it for a an hour once a week, then sometimes a second day to work on the activity pages. He is young, so I’m looking at this as good exposure right now, not worrying too much about complete mastery. I love how you read aloud with your kids in Latin. I’ll have to try that sometime =)

    • Mystie Winckler
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      That’s awesome that he loves doing it! I prefer the little bit throughout the week rather than a marathon hour – I find their retention and willingness to tackle it improves. But as long as it’s getting done, it’s getting done, right? :)

  2. Amy
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    I’m so grateful for this post, I’ve been doing LFC for a while now and often feel like I’m not sure what I’m doing! A few questions, would be so grateful for your input!

    So do you not do the Activity book or the online Headventure Land? My daughter really loves that part, and I feel like it helps make Latin fun for her. However, I can see how what you’re doing may be time better spent.

    We are only on Lesson 8 of Primer A. The translation page you mention, would that only be applicable later on, when we are translating whole sentences?

    Are the three read alouds too advanced for us, if we’re only on Lesson 8?

    How do you study Latin yourself? I’ve just been learning along with my daughter, I understand the grammar more quickly, but she of course memorizes much faster! I’m thinking I need to add my own review time so I can keep up with her! :/

    I also really struggle with how fast to move through the lessons. We are going slowly, but not sure how much we need to completely master and how much will continue to fall in place if we just move on. Any tips would be great.

    Sorry to be so inquisitive! God bless you and thanks for all the help you are to so many! :)

    • Mystie Winckler
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      My boys didn’t care much for the Activity book, but headventureland is on their independent checklists – I should have included that. It’s extra practice they love and not something I check. :)

      Check which lesson in Primer A you begin their reader, and that’s when you could start with other readers. I’d try some easier ones first – like Cat in the Hat in Latin or Tres Animales. The translation page will come in handy once you’re working with complete sentences.

      I have been learning alongside mostly, but about a year ago picked up Henle to try to get ahead. I haven’t been very good at working through it, though, so just keeping up is all I’m doing now. But I do enjoy the study! It’s just carving out the time that’s difficult.

      In the first part of Primer A I felt like I must be missing something because it seemed like we should know more than we did before moving on, but you just need to cover those grammar basics, Latin terms, and have a vocabulary base before you can do much, so just keep going along and you’ll know when you hit the place where you really need to work at it. :) About halfway through Primer A I felt like things fell into place.