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Thread: Convince me of the importance of Latin

  1. #1
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    Dec 2018
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    Default Convince me of the importance of Latin

    Newbie here! My eldest is in second grade. We are eclectic academic homeschoolers with a CM inclination but I'm seeing some gaps in straight narration. I am getting exhausted constantly researching, buying, assessing, and second guessing curriculum!

    Anyway, in musing about next year, MP keeps coming up in other online discussions. My biggest hesitation is the Latin. I took four years of high school Latin including AP Latin and really enjoyed it! My husband thinks Latin is absurd since they could, with that mental energy, be studying something more directly relevant or just playing outside.

    I guess it's the primacy of Latin in the curriculum that gives me pause. But I'm totally willing to be convinced that it's amazing and worth it! I just know that I need to believe it wholeheartedly if I'm going to be teaching something as hard as Latin can be.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Convince me of the importance of Latin

    Welcome to the forum, Fireweed Prep!

    Are you aware of these article resources on the the MP site? Here are some of my favorites:
    Latin, The Next Step After Phonics
    The Top 10 Reasons for Studying Latin


    And here are the ENTIRE archives of MP articles on Latin:
    https://www.memoriapress.com/article.../latin/page/4/

    We are in our seventh year of Latin in our homeschool and, without a doubt, it is the single most academically nourishing part of our homeschool feast. (<--A little CM lingo for you there, friend!) By the way, you have something very, very few of us have and that is a background in Latin yourself. You are already miles ahead of me!
    Festina lentē,
    Jessica P

    2018-2019 ∑ 7th MP Year, 9th Homeschooling
    Interweaving home, cottage school, & MPOA
    DS ∑ MPOA Henle 2, 9A -- DD ∑ 7A -- DD ∑ 4A -- DS ∑ 1st

    Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School
    www.nashvillelatinschool.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Houston, TX
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    Default Re: Convince me of the importance of Latin

    Shhh...some very few if us donít teach Latin or Greek, and it is ok. No one here has told me to leave or snubbed me because of it. My husband, too, is not supportive of teaching Latin and so we wonít be ever.
    A classical education is more than Latin and Greek. It is an orderly education that teaches the mind to think clearly. I would not dream of saying more than that as others here express themselves so much better.

    Bottom line- you make the curriculum work for you and yours.
    The Homeschool Grads:
    J- 6/96
    S- 11/98

    Still Homeschooling:
    G- 4/04
    D- 5/05
    F- 7/08 (my only girl)

    Future Homeschooler:
    M- 9/16

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Convince me of the importance of Latin

    Quote Originally Posted by pickandgrin View Post
    Welcome to the forum, Fireweed Prep!

    Are you aware of these article resources on the the MP site? Here are some of my favorites:
    Latin, The Next Step After Phonics
    The Top 10 Reasons for Studying Latin


    And here are the ENTIRE archives of MP articles on Latin:
    https://www.memoriapress.com/article.../latin/page/4/

    We are in our seventh year of Latin in our homeschool and, without a doubt, it is the single most academically nourishing part of our homeschool feast. (<--A little CM lingo for you there, friend!) By the way, you have something very, very few of us have and that is a background in Latin yourself. You are already miles ahead of me!
    Those articles were so convincing! I absolutely agree that there is a missing step between phonics and English grammar. DD is reading spectacularly, and I've been a total loss for what to do with her in "language studies" beyond spelling this year. And I like the analogy that Latin is the base of language like math is the base of science. I ordered Prima Latina and we will give it a go!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Convince me of the importance of Latin

    Quote Originally Posted by Enigma View Post
    Shhh...some very few if us donít teach Latin or Greek, and it is ok. No one here has told me to leave or snubbed me because of it. My husband, too, is not supportive of teaching Latin and so we wonít be ever.
    A classical education is more than Latin and Greek. It is an orderly education that teaches the mind to think clearly. I would not dream of saying more than that as others here express themselves so much better.

    Bottom line- you make the curriculum work for you and yours.
    That eases my mind so much. I don't have a problem teaching Latin, and I see it's usefulness, but I'm glad to know that if it doesn't work out, it's still ok :-)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Convince me of the importance of Latin

    I would totally agree that nobody here will burn you at the stake for not teaching Latin! In fact, there's really not any judgment here for anything - we few, we band of MP brothers (sisters?) understand what it's like to have special circumstances and needs and personalities and strengths and weaknesses and we know that what works for one does not necessarily work for another. Even within the same family. *weary laugh*

    On that note, though, most of us here would strongly encourage you to give Latin a good, solid go. I say this as a mama who now has a child headed into high school (gasp!) and another solidly in the middle school trenches (how did that happen?) and a "baby" dipping her toes with much trepidation into first grade. In the beginning, I only started Latin because that's what both Andrew Kern and my dog-eared copy of The Well Trained Mind told me to do. I wanted the kind of education for my children that I didn't receive. Much like the early days of learning my faith, I just knew classical education *felt* right without being able to articulate why. I was pelted from every direction for teaching my kids a "useless" and "dead" language - especially since they also had special/medical needs. Why torture them?

    Now, a much older (and kind of, but not really) wiser person, I can see the fruits of those labors beginning to ripen. To paraphrase Jessica Phillips, that fruit is so very good!

    First, the obvious, concrete stuff:
    Latin orders the mind in a way that no other subject does. It is a tedious language that requires close attention. It is not a language one can passively study or dabble in - you either study and study well or you do not. The grammar is precise. It requires careful thought and planning. Each word has specific meaning. But once you begin to study just a little, patterns begin to emerge. Conjugations and declensions begin to form themselves into recognizable groups. Words within sentences can be decoded based on their stems/endings and placement within sentences. It is orderly. It makes sense. A word is broken apart and put back together, each piece having meaning. There is no fluff. (Unless you're Vergil...ha! That dude can drag a sentence on for-e-ver!) The same with sentences. This carries over into the study of math and then into writing. A child begins to slow down and analyze what is in front of him the same way he approaches Latin. He looks for patterns and meaning.

    Latin provides a better understanding of the origins of many words in our English vocabulary. Derivatives help a child decode the meaning words while reading literature selections. It also enriches and enhances vocabulary and spelling.

    Latin teaches grammar better than English grammar can. Each word has a specific function and it's easier to break this down based on the ending of the word and/or its placement within a sentence. A child who has studied Latin has a solid grasp of English grammar by default.

    It is also a beautiful gateway to the romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese...). My 8th grade daughter has picked up Spanish very easily. Some of the vocabulary is similar but, more importantly, the conjugations are a cinch for her. Better yet, she does not rely on slang to carry her through a conversation in Spanish - she uses grammatically correct sentences and good pronunciation. Both her ear and her mind have been trained nicely through the study of Latin.


    Now, for the not so obvious stuff:
    A child who studies Latin begins to appreciate the joy of success after putting in hard work. Now, using the Forms series makes Latin seem rather easy when compared with, say, the Oxford Latin Course but it still requires focus and attention. It is not an easy course, but it is orderly and approachable and the payoff is big as a child gets older. The systematic study of Latin produces, over time, focus, patience and diligence. It is not a language with shortcuts or slang but it is one that allows a child to begin to articulate logical argument. Since there are often different ways to order words to come to the same (or similar) meaning, asking a child to defend his word order is a great way to keep a child thinking about what he's writing or translating.

    A child who studies Latin can read some of the great works of antiquity in their original form. Instead of relying upon translators to infer the author's meaning or reading others' synopses of these works, a child can just pick up the book and read it in Latin. Reading Caesar and Cicero and Sallust in Latin, my daughter says, is MUCH more informative than reading the translations of their works. "For one thing," my daughter told me recently, "I like Cicero better than Sallust because Cicero's First Catilinarian was way more pleasurable to read...mainly because of the insults he injects into his work. Sallust was kind of a bad impersonation of Cicero. Not nearly as witty." I highly doubt she would have come to this conclusion about the differences in writing styles and personalities by reading someone else's translation or interpretation.


    My oldest is past the difficult part of Latin. She did not like it for a couple of years but we soldiered on - and I'm so glad we did. Now she LOVES Latin because she's translating and seeing it come alive. (She started early because we weren't yet with MP. I DO NOT recommend you start your kindergartner in Latin!!) My son is just getting to some difficult parts, but he is a different personality - he actually likes wrestling with adjectives and adverbs. He's looking forward to Third Form next year! Regardless of what your student's attitude is, the study of Latin is a worthwhile endeavor...and it's a good way to show that gentle but firm tough love that says we're going to tackle this not-cool-by-society's-standards thing even if you don't love it because, well, that's what life is like. Sometimes you hold your nose and swallow your medicine...and someday, you'll thank me. (If you have an eager student, like my middle guy, then you won't need that rah-rah take-your--medicine talk!)

    As for others who do not agree, just tell them this is what works for you. I have endured, now, 9 years of family and friends questioning my sanity. But those concerns and funny looks have largely died down now that they, too, see the fruits of those labors. It is difficult to stay the narrow path when so many others are traipsing down that wide, paved way, but it is really worthwhile in the end.
    Mary

    DD13 - 8M (Core/MPOA mashup)
    DS11 - 6M
    DD7 - 1st grade...going on 12th. :)

  7. #7
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    Default Deeper waters...

    Quote Originally Posted by OrthodoxHandmaiden View Post
    "For one thing," my daughter told me recently, "I like Cicero better than Sallust because Cicero's First Catilinarian was way more pleasurable to read...mainly because of the insults he injects into his work. Sallust was kind of a bad impersonation of Cicero. Not nearly as witty." I highly doubt she would have come to this conclusion about the differences in writing styles and personalities by reading someone else's translation or interpretation.
    That sweet little B! I can just imagine hearing this come out of her mouth. If there was a microphone in your house, she would deserve the right to drop it. However, I doubt you have one and so I digress...

    This issue of "dependence on translators" came up for us this fall with Greek Tragedies. When you switch from Aeschylus to Euripides you change not only playwrights, but translators! Each translator has their own style that they bring to the text. My son liked Vellacott, but I'm guessing that's because he got to him first. I asked him not to dismiss Fagles before he got to know him. Ha! I once heard (was it Martin that said this?) that a course in Russian literature actually doubles as a study in the translation style of Constance Garnett. She is the gateway to much of the Russian canon! How often we forget that there's a gate at all. I love that our kids are growing to appreciate that they are getting good things AND they aren't getting some of them in their purest form; there are deeper waters out there to be sounded. I want them to graduate my homeschool more curious and hungry than ever.
    Last edited by pickandgrin; 12-06-2018 at 04:09 PM.
    Festina lentē,
    Jessica P

    2018-2019 ∑ 7th MP Year, 9th Homeschooling
    Interweaving home, cottage school, & MPOA
    DS ∑ MPOA Henle 2, 9A -- DD ∑ 7A -- DD ∑ 4A -- DS ∑ 1st

    Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School
    www.nashvillelatinschool.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    7

    Default Re: Convince me of the importance of Latin

    I typed up a reply a few days ago but the electrons ate it apparently...

    I appreciate everyone's responses; OrthodoxHandmainden, I can't thank you enough for typing all that for me! What a generous gift of your time; thank you.

    I've been reading many many articles from the MP website now that I know where they are, and I put Climbing Parassus on my Christmas list.

    The MP shipping staff must think I'm nuts; I placed three separate orders on three separate days last week as I became increasingly convinced and intrigued by MP. I've been talking with my husband, and just received a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease which feels like a neon sign from God that I need to let. it. go. and stop continually aiming for a perfectly personalized, hand crafted curriculum. So I'm especially eager to dip my toes in with a few things (Math, Latin, Lit guide, spelling) and am praying that this is where God has been leading me for the past three years!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Convince me of the importance of Latin

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireweed Prep View Post
    I typed up a reply a few days ago but the electrons ate it apparently...

    I appreciate everyone's responses; OrthodoxHandmainden, I can't thank you enough for typing all that for me! What a generous gift of your time; thank you.

    I've been reading many many articles from the MP website now that I know where they are, and I put Climbing Parassus on my Christmas list.

    The MP shipping staff must think I'm nuts; I placed three separate orders on three separate days last week as I became increasingly convinced and intrigued by MP. I've been talking with my husband, and just received a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease which feels like a neon sign from God that I need to let. it. go. and stop continually aiming for a perfectly personalized, hand crafted curriculum. So I'm especially eager to dip my toes in with a few things (Math, Latin, Lit guide, spelling) and am praying that this is where God has been leading me for the past three years!
    I think you will love MP. Iíve had some health struggles the past few years and having a well ordered curriculum is what has helped me keep going. We started Prima Latina this year and my daughter went from disliking school to mostly enjoying it, mostly because of the Latin. I hope that you enjoy MP as much as I do.
    --Amanda

    DD #1 - Second Grade Core
    DD #2 - Jr. K

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