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Henle used in 6th/7th grades

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    Henle used in 6th/7th grades

    I am teaching Latin to grades 5 - 7 at a Classical Christian school. For the combined 6th/7th grade class I use Henle Latin I, roughly following the recommended scope and sequence on this site, with a group of students who have completed Latina Christiana I and II in previous years. I pace the two grades differently, trying to push the 7th graders a little harder to get them far enough ahead of the 6th graders for it to be worth my effort to keep them on the two separate tracks! We are on track that will take 7th grade at least through Unit 5 and possibly introduce a little bit of the subjunctive in Unit 6 this year. I doubt if 6th grade will make it to the end of Unit 5 but we will try. I have been trying to implement the advice from Memoria Press, e.g., overteaching the grammar forms. This was not always done in past years, however, and one or two students are lagging. And of course, I am still in the learning process myself even after teaching 4 years.

    I have been encountering a lot of resistance with doing the exercises. It's mainly coming from a few predictable sources, but in a small class, when one student comes unprepared it has an effect on the rest. I usually assign the 6th graders one or two very basic, grammar-level exercises for each day in class. When they have sentences to translate, it's always from Latin to English which is easier for them. 7th graders usually have one or two exercises to do, also pretty basic although I occasionally make them do one that is English to Latin. Occasionally when there is a lengthy translation, I allow them an extra class day to work on it. We are not supposed to overload them with homework, and I do allow some class time to work on the exercises -- more for 6th than for 7th.

    After re-reading your article on Henle, I am sticking by my guns and insisting that the exercises are an essential part of the program. But do you have any recommendations on how I should handle a 6th grader whose parents think the exercises take too much time? Is my schedule reasonable for students who have had three years of Latina Christiana? Should I scale back the number of exercises I require? We probably do about half of the exercises, and not all the ones marked "essential."

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

    Repetitio est mater studiorum.

    Hard work is required to accomplish mastery of Latin. It is difficult to say from here whether your students are overloaded in homework, but your exercises don't sound unreasonable. Your students are moving through Henle at an excellent pace and you should be proud of what you are accomplishing.

    You will always have some parents who think you are giving too much homework and some who think you are giving too little. Your pace sounds reasonable; you just have to look at the class as whole and see how much time they are spending after class doing homework.

    You might suggest to your 6th grade parent that, while your child is spending a lot of time on Latin, he is actually learning Latin, English grammar, vocabulary, Roman culture and mental discipline all in one subject. No other subject provides all of the benefits available from a rigorous Latin course. Good luck with your Latin classes and congratulations on your progress thus far.
    Brian Lowe