I once said, “Sure, I’m a homeschooler, but not the kind that teaches Latin or something.” Shortly thereafter, my oldest child announced a desire to learn Latin. So, once again parenthood humbled me and made me go learn something I didn’t want to know. Recently my youngest child announced a desire to learn Latin, so we are starting it again.
Learning a little Latin can be helpful for understanding root words, understanding scientific names, and decoding healthcare notes. However, it can be awkward to learn for foreign language as a homeschooler. It doesn’t have the same resources as modern languages, but that doesn’t mean you can’t study it.
For my middle schoolers, the program I liked best was Getting Started with Latin by William E. Linney. The book has short, simple lessons that work well for a self-paced student who doesn’t know any Latin. Each lesson has just one new word or concept. This means it is not overwhelming for younger students or those who don’t learn languages easily. The lessons also have an MP3 file to listen to the language to help work on pronunciation and auditory understanding. Wonderfully, they have recently uploaded all the MP3 files to YouTube where my student can access them for herself quickly and easily.
Amazingly, my dyslexic child is excited to do Latin with this program. If that isn’t a glowing review, I don’t know what is! We will probably add a game like Rummy Roots, a card game that plays like Go, Fish! The cards are each based on Latin and Greek root words which are helpful to know for so many reasons!
If you are trying to build a high school level course in Latin, Getting Started with Latin has a follow-up book, Keep Going with Latin. To create a high school level credit in Latin, I believe you could do both books and then follow up with more traditional resources or books that move at a more traditional pace. Personally, I would probably start at the beginning of one of those programs and move through it quickly instead of trying to guess where to start your student. Reinforcement is key to learning a language, and this would be a great way to approach the language from a new angle, introducing a new program.
Traditional programs often move too quickly for students with learning challenges. One of the things I love about this program is that it not only moves slowly, but it teaches in a way that will work for students who often struggle. It doesn’t force the student to be immersed too quickly in a language they do not understand.
Another option for following up your Latin studies for high school level work is to use the app Duolingo. Duolingo has added a Latin option for English speakers and I believe that using the app after finishing these books would be much easier for a student who struggles with language.
The author of Getting Started with Latin has other courses for getting started in German, Spanish, and French. This non-traditional approach may work really well for non-typical learners who struggle with more traditional programs.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.
2 thoughts on “Starting to Learn Latin”
A requirement at my private school was a year of Latin in the eighth grade. I’m so glad I did because it has helped me tremendously, especially with vocabulary and writing, along with the reasons you mentioned. Having even a basic understanding has made English, French, and even the Spanish I’m dabbling in connect the dots in my head.
I can still see my “Ecco Romani” textbook in my mind. It’s probably at my family home. I should look for it the next time I’m there to pass it on to the kids and do a mental refresh.
It is so nice to hear an adult say that what they studied in middle school paid off!