When I started my Latin studies, my son was almost thirteen and would soon be entering Challenge A. At that point, I was also aware that I would be tutoring Challenge A, and would need to learn Latin with the students from the Henle text. Eager to accelerate my classical homeschooling, I thought it would be good to add Latin studies for my then 9 and 7 year old daughters. Two additional started-and-left-unfinished Latin programs later, I realized that the best tool for teaching Latin for my own children was to learn the grammar of Latin myself.
Sarah Mackenzie's book Teaching From Rest helped me understand that the curriculum I teach is the language itself. The materials that I choose to utilize, whether it be Henle or First Form Latin, are tools to aid me in teaching the curriculum. With this understanding, I feel freed to impart the grammar of Latin that I understand to my grammar-aged kids, and find great fruit in our endeavor!
On becoming a Latin Code Breaker...
When my son Andy and I were first starting out, the Latin language felt huge and overwhelming. Thankfully, we found that there is no need to master the language instantly—we could take things one bite-sized concept at a time.
Once we determined to approach our curriculum, the language itself, at our own pace, we suddenly found that learning Latin was a lot like cracking a code. Every piece of the language served a greater purpose.
Reframing our pursuit of the language helped us to reframe our view of the tools we were using—to see them as opportunities for accelerating the growth of fruit in our studies, rather than the end-goal of our studies.
After trying out many different tools to learn Latin, Andy and I have gathered a list of tools you can use to aid your growth. If you're hoping to find tools to help break the grammar stage down into bite-sized pieces, these are a great place to start!
Latin with Andy Code Breakers is our way to help you along in really understanding the foundational elements of Latin. It's a great way to ease yourself into Latin before tackling the Henle Latin series. Check out my previous post if you'd like some help gathering resources for the Henle Latin journey.
The best part about Code Breakers is that all of the videos are FREE to watch on YouTube, or you can find them all organized here!
It also comes with free video companion guides, another tool you can use to really put your best foot forward as you jump into Latin.
More Latin Resources to Get Started Right
While I do not currently utilize any of these materials, if you're a first-time Latin student yourself, the tools below are wonderful for multiplying the fruit of your language studies! In my next post, I'll continue to share tips for loving learning Latin.
There are two publishers that I think produce fantastic materials, offering two great roads to equipping you as you learn with your children. Start at a level with your oldest child and scale the material for the rest of your children.
Song School Latin - Starting Latin in 1st Grade
Song School Latin offers a fun and light introduction to Latin. The workbook pages are simple and engaging. Their basic book comes with an audio CD with all of the jingles, but you can also get the complete set which includes instructional DVDs along with a card game to practice the new vocabulary. Here are some samples of the videos that go along with the material:
Latin For Children - Starting Latin in 3rd Grade
Classical Academic Press also has produced a wonderful upper elementary program. These materials relate very closely to what happens in Essentials, making it an easy add-on for families who are familiar with parsing and diagramming sentences. The videos are short and very informative. This would be a great place to start if you have an upper elementary student. Here's a sample video from the series:
Memoria Press is another great publisher that developed the study guides for Henle that I love to use. They begin their Latin studies in 2nd grade with the Prima Latina series followed by Latina Christiana for 3rd grade and up. What I love about the Memoria Press materials is that their books were designed as preparation for studying Henle in high school. Written as a four year curriculum, the "Form" series is recommended to begin in the 5th grade, working up to the forth form utilizing the Henle text. See the sample video below for a glimpse into this material.
First Form Latin - Starting Latin in 5th Grade
Those are my recommendations for a guided study of Latin. I believe so much in the classical model that tomorrow I'll be sharing tips for playing with the grammar memory work from Classical Conversations, and how that can become a formal study of the language in itself.
Grammar Tools for the Future
There are so many incredible tools that can really help boost your confidence in learning Latin. Check out these Latin helps!
But there's more . . .
When you're ready, Andy and I have created a video resource library that will walk you step-by-step through the middle-school and high-school level Latin.
But take your time. Finding confidence in the grammar stage of Latin really is the best gift you can give yourself before digging deeper.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.