5 Truths About Teaching Latin at Home
When I first started teaching Latin, I thought it would be so easy to teach Latin at home!
Sing a few songs, do a few chants, and the kids would quickly and easily master Latin.
Not so! Instead, I learned these 5 truths about teaching Latin at home.
1. Latin Is Hard
Latin is hard to teach, especially if you don’t have a Latin background.
This means you’re learning the declensions and conjugations on the fly. You don’t have a base of vocabulary to work from.
Nor do you have an understanding of how declining nouns and conjugating verbs work.
Instead, you’re desperately trying to learn the material one step ahead of your kids, or even with your kids, and hope you don’t drown.
What can I say? It’s hard to learn Latin on the fly.
Especially when you’re trying to keep house, chase toddlers, and educate kids at the same time.
That being said, there are many wonderful Latin study groups available across the web!
These groups work through a Latin textbook and answer questions as you go.
Usually, people are spread out in their studies, from newcomers just beginning to learn Latin to people who’ve been studying for years.
What this means is that you can get help learning Latin!
2. Outside Help
By the same token, I’ve found DVDs and online classes to be a huge help when it comes to teaching Latin.
DVDs provide the lecture a student would get if they were sitting in a classroom.
They recite together, go over vocabulary, and the teacher provides additional explanations from what is in the textbook.
My little elementary kids struggle with this format. It works better for me to watch and learn the material and then explain it to them.
However, my high school teens thrive with DVDs. They’re ready to sit, listen, and learn.
Online Classes are another resource you can use to teach Latin to your kids. Like DVDs, they provide lectures.
But they also provide help DVDs can not. The teacher is there monitoring the kids, ready to answer questions and grade tests.
Online classes are wonderfully helpful!
3. Make Teaching Latin at Home a Priority
If you’re going to teach your kids Latin, you must make it a priority. Like learning reading and math, Latin is a skill subject.
And one that requires a daily commitment to learning.
You and your kids won’t make any progress in Latin if you don’t set aside time each day to review.
Because constant review is needed to master the vocabulary and grammar.
What’s worked best for my family is to make Latin as high a priority as math.
Each day the kids were required to do math and Latin.
It wasn’t fun but it taught discipline. And showed that Latin was a priority for our family.
4. Don’t Begin Teaching Latin During Challenging Seasons
Because you need to make Latin a priority, do not start Latin during a challenging season of life.
This may be a difficult pregnancy, two toddlers running amok, or when you’re moving.
Why life is challenging doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Latin isn’t a good subject to start and stop.
Every time you stop Latin, the kids begin to forget everything they learned.
- They forget the declensions.
- They forget the conjugations.
- And they forget the vocabulary.
And when you restart, you’re forced to start again from the beginning.
5. Benefits Are Worth the Frustration
And yet, despite all these truths, Latin is worth the frustration. Latin improves children’s vocabulary.
Latin solidified the children’s grammar.
Learning Latin taught the kids to understand all those little Latin quotes that abound in our society.
Latin taught my kids how to do hard things. Because Latin is hard.
And sitting down to learn how to do hard things diligently provides many, many long-term benefits.
Especially when they’re moving on into adult life.
So if you’re wondering if you should teach your kids Latin, yes you should.
Despite the difficulty, my kids’ vocabulary improved. Latin helped solidify their grammar skills.
And Latin taught them diligence as we kept and keep plugging away at Latin.