Why Learn Latin?
“Your students are learning Latin?!? You don't hear much about that in schools anymore... Why does CC require a dead language?”
Perhaps you've heard these sorts of questions from family or friends (or maybe have asked them yourself!). People frequently express surprise when I tell them about our Latin classes at Classical Consortium.
While teaching this language is uncommon today, Latin is a rich language that offers many advantages to those who take up the challenge. This is why we require all of our students to complete an introductory study of Latin before moving on to other foreign languages.
Watch this video of our Latin students singing "If You're Happy and You Know It" at our Annual Showcase
In this post, you'll learn more about our Latin program along with reading advice from our Latin instructors that can help your family succeed at mastering this subject.
Why do we teach Latin at CC and not a different language?
We require our students to learn Latin because it provides so many benefits for their academic skills and development, from vocabulary to grammar to logic skills. Over half of English words have a Latin root. In STEM fields, 90% of the vocabulary is derived from Latin and Greek. Studying Latin also makes it easier to learn new languages in the future because it teaches the mechanics of how language works in a different pattern than English.
What Latin classes does CC offer? We offer Latin in all levels through 8th grade. (Our high school students take Spanish). We hold eight different levels of Latin classes every Monday. Class sizes are small, which allows students plenty of time to ask questions and participate in group learning with teacher who love the language.
"Salvete!" - Latin 1 Students pose together for a photo during class
What curriculum does Classical Consortium use?
We have tried many different Latin curricula over the past twelve years at CC! After much trial and error, we feel confident that our current choices (detailed below) are the best tools to help our students build a strong foundation in vocabulary and grammar.
PreCC (K-2nd): Song School Latin provides a gentle introduction to Latin vocabulary through games and songs. Students enjoy learning conversational phrases, the alphabet, greetings, and other beginning language concepts.
Grammar Level (3rd-6th): Logos Latin is a four year Latin curriculum that is very strong on vocabulary, derivatives, translation, and grammar. Videos are also available for parents to watch at home. The workbooks have a conversational style, including a story about children named Julius and Claudia (and Rock) that is woven throughout the series. The characters 'grow up' with the students through each level. The workbook is straightforward and easy to follow as a parent, even if you're brand new to Latin.
"Labor Omnia Vincit!" ~ "Work conquers all!" These Latin students are about to learn the Perfect Tense.
Logic Level (7th-8th): Visual Latin is a video driven curriculum for junior high students. We chose this curriculum because it provides plenty of assistance for students who are working more independently. Lingua Latina is a companion curriculum that is written fully in Latin. It enables to students to start thinking in the language and helps them move into advanced Latin.
Rhetoric Level (9th-12th grade): CC does not offer Latin at the high school level. Instead, our students may take Spanish I-IV to fulfill their foreign language requirement.
How do I teach Latin on my own? It's hard to teach past the basics.
CC will partner with you to give you the tools to help your child learn Latin at home. You won't have to do it on your own.
First, students have the classroom experience on Monday where they learn the grammar and vocabulary from an experienced instructor. At home during the week, they can reach their teacher via Schoology to help answer any questions. The curricula that we use also have instructional videos which can be helpful at home. Our in-person instruction plus at-home support give parents the tools needed to support their child's learning.
Do you have any other tips for parents of Latin students? "Keep your child's learning style in mind when practicing Latin (or any school subject!). Including activities that connect with their learning style will help them to better remember their vocabulary and grammar. One of my children is a kinesthetic learner, so we practice Latin vocabulary with flashcards, actions, and games. Visual and Auditory learners may prefer different strategies. Learning Styles: A Resource for Students and Parents is a great resource with practical activities and ideas for all learning types." - Mrs. Dadabo
Memory Period every Monday includes reviewing Latin chants. Students meet after lunch where Mrs. Ludwig leads them through memory work for that week.
"I found that reviewing vocabulary words/derivatives and chanting charts with my younger students helped me follow along with my children at home. I would also have them tell me what they learned in class before we began our weekly Latin work. It was a great tutorial for me and review for them! I taught myself Latin by following with my children and taking the tests at home when they had a test." - Mrs. Hrinowich
"Ideally, it's a great idea to learn Latin along with your student. This is the beauty of homeschooling. The way our curriculum is set up provides parents with a great opportunity to learn Latin along with their students. Watch the videos together, follow Julius and Claudius along on their adventures. Look for Latin in everyday life. I'll ask the kids “Where did you see Latin this week?” and they can usually come up with something such as derivatives in their reading, Latin phrases, etc..." - Mrs. Ricci
Do you have any encouragement for students who find Latin difficult? "Think of translating Latin as deciphering a code. It can be a fun, challenging game that few people in the world can do! All of the chants and vocabulary lists that you've memorized are like the keys to cracking this ancient code. It's helpful to actually write out your "us, i, o, um, o, etc." on the side of your paper, and next to each one write "Nom. SN, Gen. PNA, Dat. IO, Acc. DO, Abl. Prep" with singular and plural. These word endings are crucial to understanding the basic meaning of the sentence (which is why we make you underline them). Don't forget to use common sense too. Think about what makes the most sense in English when translating a sentence from Latin." - Mrs. Buccataru
“I tell the kids that Latin is kind of like a superpower that lets them figure out the meaning of words that they otherwise wouldn't know.” Mrs. Ricci
"When you find Latin challenging, I would encourage you to stick with your studies. Latin will give you a foundation of how languages work. Your Latin knowledge will help you as you begin studying Spanish because you will understand how nouns, verbs and sentences work. Your vocabulary will increase too! You may notice that a word looks familiar, and lo and behold, it is an English derivative of a Latin word. Another wonderful component of learning Latin it goes hand in hand with grammar. Shurley Grammar will be a lot easier because you will be able to label sentences and figure out what the words mean. There is a method to the madness of learning Latin!" - Mrs. Hrinowich
"Latin (and any language) can be frustrating at times for any student. My Latin professor used to tell our class that if you never feel like throwing the textbook out the window, you aren't really learning Latin. The advice I give my students is to memorize, memorize, memorize and continue to practice to push through the times where Latin feels hard. Through that perseverance and hard-work, the language will get easier again, and it is so worth it in the end. Being able to read literature in the original language will open you mind to a whole new perspective on history, and just the ability to persevere alone will serve you in many ways over your lifetime." - Miss Mitten
Classical Consortium Academy is a classical Christian homeschool program serving families in Northern Illinois. This is the third post in our curriculum spotlight series. If you're interested in learning more about our academic program, send us a message!