It's winter break here, and it's so tempting to just put the books away for a month and forget them. With all of the travel, extra events, and holiday fun, it's easy to let the studies slip. There are some simple ways to work in some brain training activities that will keep your mental strength sharp over the break.
I know it doesn't sound exciting, but you won't really believe how powerful copying charts can be until you try it. The problem is that you have to have an active and engaged brain while you're copying...and over a break, it's really easy to just go through the motions of work and not really learn anything.
So what charts do you copy? You could simply open up the grammar book and copy the declension forms or conjugation forms. I've also created a huge Latin chart resource to help out my fellow Latin studying friends. If you're a Latin with Andy member, these charts are all free to download in the printables zone.
How long does it take? Spending about 10-15 minutes per day on this simple activity will keep the forms fresh in your brain and really keep up your Latin muscles. It's a low commitment, but high reward!
Knowing the vocabulary of the work you're doing can speed up your translation time tremendously. If your student is flipping to the back of the book for every exercise as they look up vocabulary words, spend time over the break focusing in on learning the vocab. Make your own flash cards, or print off these cards to get your vocab juices flowing. (These are also included in the Latin with Andy membership).
Create a Quick Reference Guide
If you feel overwhelmed with how far "behind" you feel in your studies, maybe there isn't enough time to work out memorizing the forms or vocabulary. Take the time in the break to create a tool that can help you get your work done more efficiently when the break is over.
I used a basic spiral notebook for my "Quick Reference" book. I wanted something that I could lay open in front of me while I worked through the exercises. On the left of the page I wrote out the important concepts in a lesson from the grammar. On the right side, I wrote out the vocabulary from the lesson. It all fit on one open spread so that I could quickly refer to it while working. It was a huge help!
- In Lesson 1, I wrote out the first declension forms with the meanings of each. Then I included gender rules that pertain to the first declension. Preview my Lesson 1 spread here.
- In Lesson 3, I wrote down the three forms that a third declension noun might follow (masculine/feminine, i-stem, and neuter). Preview my Lesson 3 spread here.
- In Lesson 9, I wrote the forms of a first conjugation verb in the present, imperfect, and future tenses. Preview my Lesson 9 spread here.
There isn't a right or wrong way to do this. Just create a resource that will give you the best opportunity to be ready to work when the semester starts back up. The sneaky part about this is that you get a great review of the material while you're writing out your quick reference.
Watch Latin with Andy Videos
Sometimes you can really get stuck in Latin if you don't truly understand the concept you're learning. Take some time over the break to go back over some of the concepts that were foggy. My son has created some excellent videos that quickly walk you through the concepts introduced in the First Year Henle (link) text. Over the break, we're excited to share access to select lessons for free to help you strengthen your understanding.
If you're wrapping up your fall semester of Challenge A, you might enjoy brushing up/reviewing/learning some of the concepts introduced in the last few weeks of the fall to prepare for starting back up in the spring. Try some of these lessons out for free (Until January 8, 2018)
If you've just finished the fall semester of Challenge B, you might like to work on some of these concepts (Free until January 8, 2018)
Rest Up for Next Semester
Sometimes the best thing you can do to prepare for ramping up studies again is simply just rest. Our brains can only stretch so far before needing some reprieve. Enjoy your break and enjoy the rest. Then when the semester starts back, you can be ready to hit the books again.
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.