Teaching Latin. It is a language that is intimidating to some, but can be helpful in helping to learn other languages. Before you blow it off as a dead language, see what my friend Mary Ellen has to say about it. She'll bring you many good reasons why teaching Latin shouldn't be intimidating or hard, but why it can benefit your homeschool!
Here are some questions (and answers) that often come up when we are talking to families about Latin.
Why should I teach Latin? When you realize that half of the English vocabulary comes from Latin, it makes good sense to give your children that great foundation. Even a gentle, non-threatening introduction to Latin will give them something to hang their English words on, and believe it or not, learning Latin will even help with spelling. And, lest we forget, Latin is also the foundation for a number of other languages, like Spanish and French. Learning a little Latin (or a lot) will make the transition into these or any of the Romance languages much easier.
If we are already teaching another language why should I bother with Latin? As mentioned in the previous answer, Latin vocabulary and grammar truly helps with other languages. Why miss the opportunity to help them?And one need not jump into a stressful Latin program. Instead, use a program that eases you into things. Our series, Olim: Once Upon a Time in Latin does just that. It uses familiar stories such as The Three Little Pigs or The Story of Creation or David and Goliath, to gradually introduce young students to Latin in a fun and engaging way.
Isn't Latin too hard to teach? It doesn't have to be! When choosing a Latin program, you can find options ranging from simple to complex, and we always recommend starting with a simple program that makes sense for your child's age. Starting with something too challenging may discourage not only your child, but you as well. If you have anxiety just picking up the book, chances are you won't be using it for long. Our series, Latin for Littles, is easily grasped by children kindergarten and above, and parents should have no trouble grasping the concepts and material. Again, the most important thing to consider when choosing a program is to find one that you will actually use.
I am already busy with all their other subjects. How will I find time to teach it? There are many different Latin programs from which to choose, so it's important to find one that fits your schedule. Some require an hour for the lesson and an hour for home-work. Unless you are ready to spend that kind of time, that isn't the program for you. Our title, appropriate for kindergarten and above, Latin for Littles: Things Around Me, can be done in just five minutes a day. When using our Olim series, we suggest just ten to fifteen minutes a day. We know you are busy with many things, but if you choose something that you can handle you will be more likely to use it and stick with it.
I have had not Latin training, how will I teach it? Many Latin programs give you helpful hints on how to teach Latin. All of our titles include numerous helpful illustrations. Take a little bit of time before you plunge into things. Read over the first lesson or two so you get your feet wet before jumping in with your kids. Then you can expect things to go swimmingly. Have fun. Enjoy. Laugh. Use the words you learn.
Isn't Latin a dead language? Yes, Latin is a dead language, but that simply means no one truly speaks it anymore and no new words are being created for it. But that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of all the good things that can come from learning it. Once you begin, you will recognize many, many words in daily life which come directly from Latin. And so will your kids! Last, but certainly not least, along with the benefits we have mentioned above, anyone going into the sciences, languages, medicine, or law will use Latin in all of their studies. A little learning now will benefit them greatly in the future.
About the Author
Mary Ellen is a home schooling mother of seven, tutor to many others, and helper to many new just getting started home-school families. While teaching at home as a single mom, Mary Ellen drew closer to the Lord as He was the great supplier of all her needs. She recounts how He supplied all the family's needs! As author of Olim, Once Upon a Time in Latin, a Latin series for very young children, Patriotic Penmanship (handwriting using quotes from our forefathers) and Scripture Scribes (copy-work with Scripture), she feels very blessed to be used by God. As Mary Ellen travels you can see her sharing her love of crocheting in the convention hall, instructing someone Latin, teaching a little one to read, or helping someone with their Geometry lesson. Life is very full and exciting! You can also find Mary Ellen at her website, Laurelwood Books.