Feeling beat down by your study of Latin verb conjugation paradigms? I'm in my third year of my Latin studies, and I keep hitting the verb portion of my Henle I textbook feeling like I've hit a brick wall. What I've realized each time is that my grammar muscles are flabby, and I need to pause just going through the motions of completing lessons in the book, and take some time out for conditioning my brain with the grammar. When I use the word "grammar" I'm referring to the basics of a field of study, or the foundational information that you need to know in order to master a subject.
Take football for example. It's my favorite sport to watch. I was raised watching the Dallas Cowboys beside my father during their glory years. While there were many gifted players on the team at that time, one of my favorite players to watch was Charles Haley - a defensive end. It might seem a strange position to be my favorite, but he was unstoppable. In order to be a great defensive end, you need to be strong and quick. One of the main goals in this position is sacking the quarterback. To get to the quarterback, you have to make it past some large offensive linemen. Haley was exceptionally good at this. Undoubtedly, his effectiveness was strengthened by conditioning: weight lifting, speed drills, etc. The act of lifting weights is not a part of the game of football, but the results of lifting weights are.
Latin is just the same.
You see, it isn't that Latin verbs are too complicated to learn, it's just that my brain is a bit out of shape, and I don't want to do the hard work of memorizing the way that verbs are conjugated in Latin. I am completely capable of conjugating verbs, and I know this because I do it in English all the time. When I'm working through a Latin textbook, and I'm finding myself guessing, I know it's because I'm completely out of shape. In order to combat the tendency to check out, I have to get off of the conveyor belt of checking boxes and start to copy charts. Even though it feels like I'm not making progress because I'm not making it further through the book, I'm building muscles that will allow me to move faster through the book...and actually understand what I'm doing.
I have found that copying charts accomplishes great things for memory work that will last. First of all, when you have to copy something down, you have to look at it closely. As you look closely, you start to notice patterns, and the overwhelming amount of the unknown shrinks. Additionally, the more you copy it, the faster you get...as long as you have a passion to get it done! When you exercise the muscle of copying charts, you are training your brain to retain the information.
Latin Verb Conjugation Charts & How we use them:
I have put together a Latin Verb Conjugating Training Program of sorts...a resource in chart copying form. Essentially, I have laid out the basics of verbs in a simple and eye-pleasing way to help imprint the big picture of verbs into the minds of anyone who desires to join the Latin Verb boot camp and build some memory muscles. The charts go through each of the four conjugations, as well as the irregular form of "sum" and identify all of the forms for active and passive voice. Even if what I said just went over your head, that's okay! Copying these charts will build muscles that will be ready for the work of understanding when you get there.
Once a day, my son and I sit down with a chart that we haven't mastered, and we choose a verb from the list to practice conjugating. I do this with him because I want to learn as well. You don't need any prior experience to copy a chart! We will copy this chart daily, changing out verbs, until we can complete it from memory. Then we'll move to another chart and begin the process again.
Who's ready for some Latin weight lifting?
Practicing copying out verb charts can be groundbreaking in your pursuit of the Latin language. You'll be surprised how quickly you can recall endings and their meanings! The resource below not only includes full-color charts of every verb conjugation but also charts for you to practice strengthening your noun declensions. Together, these two resources will help build a strong foundation for any Latin student.
Get the Latin Declensions & Conjugations Mastery Charts for $12
Happy Latin muscle building!
Here are some of my other Latin resources:
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.