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Third Form Latin Drill Sheets

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    Third Form Latin Drill Sheets

    We are just beginning Third Form Latin and I'm failing to understand the purpose of the photocopied Drill Forms A and B. It seems like there is plenty of practice of the conjugations in the workbook already. Latin is easily my 8th grader's favorite and best subject and I don't want to bog her down with something that turns out to be busywork or extra practice in Latin when there are plenty of other places that need her attention more.

    #2
    "Plenty" of practice is relative; for language learning, the summit of which is true intuitive mastery, there's essentially no such thing as an excess of practice. With regards to Latin, this is especially true of verb conjugation.

    In Third Form, your student still has some corners of the map - and pretty critical ones, too! - to fill in, and as the difficulty of full conjugation increases, something your student is confident with now might not stay so certain down the road. It may feel repetitive or redundant, but the goal is for verb formation to become second nature. A student who can conjugate a verb without any difficulty should be able to fill out a drill sheet in five minutes or less, which is no great burden of time and continues to be valuable at the very least for upkeep purposes. If a student is taking significantly longer than that to fully conjugate a verb, then genuine mastery is still somewhere on the horizon and ought to be pursued anyway.

    It may seem counterintuitive, but the simplest parts of the language are the ones that require the most practice. Having taught Fourth Form for many years, 100% of my struggling students did not struggle because the new high-level content was too difficult, but rather because they'd lost the basics. If your student seems to be comfortable with those basics, that's excellent news, but the next step is to make them even more comfortable.

    I encourage you to try this: take a drill sheet and, instead of simply handing it to your student and letting her fill it out from top to bottom, choose a random square and have her fill that one only. Then choose another random square, then another, then another - repeat until complete. Essentially the same exercise, but very much more challenging; we drill our students to think of declension and conjugation in a certain sequence, so breaking each form out of its sequence will really force her to think her way to the right form. If she can do that in under five minutes, that's a great deal more indicative of true mastery, and in any case is a great bit of mental exercise.

    - Jon

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      #3
      Thank you, Jon, for the response. This has a physical limitation that makes filling in a sheet like this much more than a 5 minute exercise so understanding the purpose and having some alternative strategies is very helpful.

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