2 Bigs + 4 Littles under 1 Midsize Roof = Life As We Know It
Random header image... Refresh for more!

A Half-Dozen Homeschooling Helps for … Latin

Henle Books

“If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found the time to conquer the world.”

—Heinrich Heine

 

Learn Latin? Really? If you had told me 10 years ago that I’d someday be doing just that alongside my children — and loving it! — I’d have questioned both your sanity and my own. And yet, here I am, six years into studying a supposedly dead language, and continually finding fabulous ways to bring Latin to life for my family. 🙂

I’ve written a couple of posts about several “cool school tools” my middle school and high school students use in their Latin studies, including a flash card kit and a Latin binder setup. And I wanted to share some other resources in case they’ll help you fall in love with the language, too.

    1. Curriculum Considerations. Because my two older children started studying Latin as part of Classical Conversations, they had memorized a few vocabulary words, as well as noun and verb endings, during their years in the Foundations program. When they reached Challenge A at the beginning of middle school, they started Henle First Year Latin — a rigorous, grammar-intensive curriculum from the 1950s. Now, I know there are a lot of Henle-haters out there who don’t like its old-fashioned approach and outdated design. And I’ll admit that at first glance, I found it a bit daunting. But as I dug in deeply, determined to learn it so that I could teach it, I became more comfortable with its methods and even began to appreciate them. I’ve spent four years soaking in the substance of Henle First Year Latin (note our well-worn copy in the photo above), and this past year, my oldest son and I dipped our toes into the more advanced waters of Henle Second Year Latin. (Let me just say that we definitely need some more soaking in both books as we attempt to now dive into Henle Third Year Latin in the fall!) Fortunately, two years ago we found the Henle Companion study guides published by Magistra Jones. These guides provide extra explanations and highlight helpful hints that can be hard to find in the Henle texts. Several of my friends prefer to approach the Henle material via the “Form” series published by Memoria Press (First Form Latin, Second Form Latin, etc.), and if I had gotten an earlier start with my older children, I might have gone that route, as well. I’m pondering it for my younger children, for sure. I’m also considering supplementing our current Henle lessons with the Latin Alive! series — published by Classical Academic Press — for several reasons, including more diverse and relevant content (not just the Romans slaughtering the Gauls, but Latin from Shakespeare, state mottoes, and more), plus better preparation for the National Latin Exam (see No. 6, below).
      Latin-Extras-Images-Web
    2. Practical (and free!) Printables. As my children began studying Latin, I wanted to set them up for success. I knew that would require daily drilling and practice, so I modified and implemented two important study systems:
      • Color-coded flash cards to coordinate with the Latin binder setup. Students won’t really need the color-coding system after they learn to recognize the structure of nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc., but for beginners — especially visual learners — it’s a bonus. Plus, for drilling games it’s great to have a quick way to identify, say, 3rd Declension nouns or 2nd Conjugation verbs. To download instructions for making color-coded flash cards, click here.
      • A parsing sheet for translating sentences from Latin to English and English to Latin. Classical Conversations offers an amazing tool called Trivium Tables: Latin, which explains the parsing process in-depth, and I highly recommend it. Once we understood the process, we needed a quick parsing sheet we could just print and complete as part of our daily work. If you’re in the same situation, and you want to download the sheet we use, click here.
    3. I {Heart} Charts! As my children and I moved into more difficult verb territory — especially passive voice and subjunctive mood, I was excited to find additional practice aids. We have purchased, used, and benefited from the Latin Master Charts: Verbs PDF published by Betsy Strauss and available on her blog: familystyleschooling.com. (She also offers a PDF titled Latin Master Charts: Nouns, Pronouns & Adjectives, which I haven’t used yet but probably will at some point.) I love how she describes the process of copying and completing the charts as “muscle memory conditioning.” It gives me hope that my aging brain might still be capable of training to do some heavy lifting! 🙂

      Latin Extras Cover

    4. A Supersized Supplement. If you’re a homeschooling mom struggling to learn Latin (and teach it to your children) while juggling a whole host of other responsibilities, I totally understand. (And I’m right there with ya!) If your students are studying Henle First Year Latin and you’re looking for help to check their work and keep them on track, you might consider LATIN EXTRAS, a 102-page ebook I created that includes full noun and adjective declensions, plus verb conjugations for Lessons 1—16, as well as supplemental answers and diagrams (for Lessons 1—21) not found in the Henle First Year Answer Key. The ebook also includes the color-coded flash card instructions and parsing sheet mentioned above. Here’s a sample page:
      LatinExtras SampleAnd here’s a link to purchase the ebook via PayPal (cost: $12.00):
      Add to Cart

      View Cart

    5. Screen Savers. Let’s face it: Sometimes it just helps to have someone who’s more knowledgeable walk you through the hard stuff. When we’ve hit a wall with Latin, we’ve been especially grateful for the Latin Tutorial videos on YouTube produced by Latin teacher Ben Johnson. They are short and simple, yet oh-so-savvy. Dwane Thomas, creator of Visual Latin, also has a YouTube presence — plus he has a subscription-based website where he offers online classes and other resources. My oldest son studied Henle Second Year Latin online with Mr. Thomas last year.
    6. Testing, testing … . To help hold my children accountable — as well as to assess their Latin know-how and provide grades for a high school transcript — I have employed a variety of tests over the past few years. For frequent assessments at home, I have used the Henle Latin I Quizzes & Tests series from Memoria Press (there are three books, each covering various units). We have also used their guides to prepare for the annual National Latin Exam, offered in the spring either online or on paper via a proctored group. The NLE website includes syllabi outlining what is tested on each level of the exam, questions and answers for all past exams, and an online app for practice. My children have enjoyed taking this inexpensive, low-stakes exam for the past few years — and they’ve even earned some medals and certificates to boot! For my oldest son, I’m considering upping the ante a bit next year by having him prepare for the SAT II Subject Test for Latin. After that, if we’re feeling extra-ambitious, I might have him try an AP Latin class and test. (Gulp!)

What about you? Do you love Latin or loathe it? Are you digging in deeply, or just now diving in? What are your favorite helps? Please share in the comments!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

A Half-Dozen Homeschooling Helps for … Geography, and
A Half-Dozen Homeschooling Helps for … Literature

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Be Sociable, Share!