Marvelous Mondays- FOREIGN LANGUAGES



Latin is being studied in our home because of its obvious ties to the roots of Romance languages, but also because there are several fields which demand a knowledge of Latin terms and a solid foundation in Latin can be very helpful to the student. My husband wishes he'd gone into dental school with a basic knowledge of Latin roots, as I'm sure anyone in the medical field would agree.

We also like Latin because studying Latin grammar only strengthens the student's knowledge of English grammar, and every little bit helps.

Initially we began with Latina Christiana, but my firstborn was nine at the time and he found it difficult to stay motivated. At about the same time, we learned about Latin for Children and thought it was worth a try. We loved the DVDs and the format, and he continued very happily with Latin for Children until he completed all three levels. The writers of Latin for Children have made the study of Latin in the elementary years very approachable, yet they maintain a rigorous enough pace that the student emerges from all three levels with a substantial amount of vocabulary, Latin grammar, and usage knowledge. Although the program is designed for 3rd-6th graders, we found that starting later was better- around 5th/6th grade. Perhaps because we don't have a Latin teacher and a class to keep pace with, it was difficult for my younger children to really get what was being taught.

And so as our firstborn was continuing on with his Latin study, our second son asked to try a different approach when it was his turn to start. I had been given the Latin's Not So Tough curriculum to review, and as a ninth grader in the fall, he will be finishing up his Latin study after having completed all six levels. You can read my review of Latin's Not So Tough for The Old Schoolhouse magazine here.

There are certain moments in the life of a homeschooling mom that stand out as strange and wonderful. The day our then eight-year-old third son approached me and asked, "Can I study Greek instead of Latin?" was definitely one of those moments. As if I'd say no. Providentially, not a week later I was asked to review the sister curriculum of Latin's Not So Tough, Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek! That review can be found here, but I will tell you that we have been very happy with what we have seen in the life of that son. He writes in Greek, reads his interlinear Bible in Greek, and is looking forward to translating the book of John in Greek. Stunning, really.

We also have enjoyed Classical Academic Press's Greek Alphabet Code Cracker during Circle Time. Our Greek guy helped me teach the 4th grader and the 2nd grader the Greek alphabet, and we all enjoyed solving the mystery in the book. The graphics are well done, and Classical Academic Press even offers free support materials online.

After completing basic Latin (and Greek, as it were) studies for three years, we give our kiddos the option of continuing in that language or choosing a modern language. Because of the French exchange students who have lived in our home, our first child to have moved beyond Latin chose to study French. I sat with a Canadian friend of mine who lived on a Canadian island where only French is spoken and poured over potential curricula. In the end, I chose Breaking the French Barrier for its solid grammar foundation and its user-friendly format. Our high school junior has been enjoying it, even getting together with two friends to practice their accents and conversation.

For our littlest learners, we love all the Signing Time DVDs, which teach copious American Sign Language vocabulary. Our two-year-old signs nearly everything he sees in the DVDs, and it's a joy to see him signing and speaking at the same time. I love giving the babies the skill to sign "please" or "more", "all done", and "thank you". It sure beats having them yell for what they want!

Don't forget Cheryl's Marvelous Monday post! Gotta love her photo of the Windex guy. You know, everything has a Greek root...