5 Days of Latin: Why Study Latin?

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Why should you and your kids study Latin?

This week I’m hopscotching my way through Latin beginning with why study Latin in the first place. After all there are very few places you can speak Latin. Latin doesn’t define a classical education in and of itself. Latin also takes an incredible amount of time to do it right.

Latin teaches English Grammar

Have you ever noticed it’s easier to learn grammar when you’re learning a foreign language? That’s because it’s easier to see the sea from the outside than when you are swimming in it like a fish. We swim in English grammar. We know instinctively what is correct or incorrect, but this makes it difficult to learn WHY.

Since English grammar is based upon Latin grammar, learning Latin helps us to see the sea from the outside and learn the WHY of English grammar. Latin reinforces English grammar lessons or at times teaches English grammar.

It’s those endings. Which ending do you add? The one for an indirect object, direct object, or nominative.

Latin teaches English vocabulary

For centuries the educated elite of Europe all spoke and wrote Latin. It was the common language of scholars. As a result, our legal language, medical and scientific terminology, and higher vocabulary all come from Latin.

We’re still creating English words from Latin. Have you ever wondered why we call that little arrow on the computer screen a curser? It means runner in Latin. For that matter, do you know where video comes from?

Latin makes learning the Romance languages easy

What’s the basis for French, Spanish, Italian, and other Romance languages? Latin! If you’ve learned Latin you’re more than halfway to learning any of the Romance languages. Most of the vocabulary and grammar comes from Latin.

You won’t be starting fresh learning a modern language. Instead, you’ll simply use the vocabulary and grammar you already know.

Latin teaches you how to spell the difficult words

Is it curricula or curriculums? Why? What about the plural of hippopotamus? Do you know that one? It’s hippopotami or hippopotamuses.

Learning Latin conjugations and derivatives helps you learn to spell the words that derive from Latin, and there are more than a few of those!

Latin boosts SAT scores

Studying Latin does more to improve SAT scores than studying any other subject, and not just for reading and writing. Latin also gave the 2nd highest score in math.

Latin trains the mind to think logically

Why? Latin is one of the most logical and systematic languages we have, and it requires attention to detail. A child who studies Latin learns to think logically.

They also learn to pay close attention to detail, which does come in handy learning algebra and programming.

Why study Latin?Latin allows you to time travel

You’re not reading translations or paraphrases of ancient authors. You’re reading what the men and women actually wrote down on paper. It’s the closest we can come to actually sitting down and having a conversation with Virgil, Saint Augustine, or Newton.

We can read their thoughts, consider the deeper meanings, and spend time with men and women who passed away years ago.

These are just a few of the reasons in addition to the improved SAT scores and logical thought to study Latin with your kids.

Here are even more reasons to study Latin from around the web!

Join us for 5 Days of Latin

Day 1: Why Study Latin
Day 2: Top Ten Tips for Teaching Latin
Day 3: Latin Curriculum Round-Up
Day 4: How to Find Time for Latin
Day 5: 40 Latin Resources for Your Homeschool

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  1. I thought the Guardian article you linked to was great especially this:
    “The most frequent charge laid against the door of Latin – aside from the absurd accusation of elitism – is that it is useless. Why not learn Mandarin, people ask, or Russian or French? For me the pleasure of Latin is precisely because – aside from the points sketched above – it is “useless”. Latin doesn’t help to turn out factory-made mini-consumers fit for a globalised 21st-century society. It helps create curious, intellectually rigorous kids with a rich interior world, people who have the tools to see our world as it really is because they have encountered and imaginatively experienced another that is so like, and so very unlike, our own.”

    Have you seen this? https://vimeo.com/68541374

    1. No, I hadn’t seen the video. I love how Bill Carey talks about how much more beautiful the works are in the original Latin. Thanks for sharing, Carol!

  2. So far my very favorite thing about learning Latin is seeing how we get so many of our English words. It is just fascinating to me!

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