Due to our inclination towards classical education, Latin has always been part of our studies. There are quite a few Latin programs for younger children and we have enjoyed using Latin for Children by Classical Academic Press designed for students from Grades 3 to 7.
Each level in the series includes a Student Edition Primer, an Answer Key, and a set of DVDs that are necessary to effectively teach Latin. The Activity Book and the History Reader are interesting supplements to have.
The introduction of Latin vocabulary (along with English derivatives) as well as Latin paradigms (in chant form for ease of memorisation) comprise the bulk of what this program is about. Latin grammar is then taught so that slowly children are able to translate sentences of increasing complexity.
After completing Latin for Children A, B, and C, my older daughters self-studied the first half of Wheelock’s Latin as 9th graders. This text is designed as a one-year study of Latin at the college level. Consequently, it can be completed in 2 years of high school (Latin I and Latin II). After the first year with Wheelock’s, second daughter decided she couldn’t go on self-studying. I thought she had enough Latin and could move on to studies that interest her more. Oldest daughter who had more of an aptitude for this foreign language continued self-studying on her 10th grade. At some point, however, she was stumped and I honestly couldn’t help her.
That’s when we found an online school that uses Wheelock’s as the Latin text for their early Latin courses. Oldest took the placement test for Latin II, passed, and was accepted into the program. So this past year, for her 11th grade, she persuaded me to enroll her online with Lukeion.org under Mrs. Barr even if that meant staying up for the 10pm to 11pm (our time zone) live classes once a week (and preparing hours for it the rest of the time).
The year with Lukeion has come and gone, and my daughter has only excellent things to say about this course. She was quite saddened when they had their last class a week ago. She only wished she had found Lukeion earlier to allow for further studies of Latin (or even Greek, by Mr. Barr) in her high school years (her senior year is quite full with Advanced Placement classes and other subjects she’s required to complete before college). She is planning to continue translating Latin on her own though, especially since she is hoping to take the Latin SAT Subject Test this year before applying for college.
This daughter had the privilege of taking the National Latin Exam in March through Lukeion and completed it with a perfect score. She gives credit for this, of course, to the excellent Wheelock’s Latin text, her superb teacher at Lukeion, and a month-long workshop called “Meet the Romans” with Mr. Barr of Lukeion as well.
Currently, I still have a younger set of children on the Latin for Children books. It has not been smooth sailing. From experience with now 2 sets of students, these books are better used at the older end of the suggested age range (around 4th or 5th grade). By then, the grammar would already be familiar from studying English. My 9-year old tells me she didn’t used to get the Latin grammar when she was younger but now understands it more after almost completing Rod & Staff English 4.
Whatever the case, I’m content that these younger children are just getting the exposure. Mostly, it’s when I’m not there to learn alongside them that they lose the interest. The older of this set, however, has lately expressed desire to continue learning with my assistance (younger daughter is the one who keeps asking why we study Latin). This 6th grader has completed the first 2 books of the series. His work on the third book would have been less problematic if I had been more diligent in keeping him accountable with his past memory work. Otherwise, he is able to translate quite proficiently at his level and even enjoys the exercise.
Recently, I tried beginning the Wheelock’s text with this 6th grader (extra incentive for me to continue studying it as well). I am, however, rethinking this decision as it is appearing to be a challenging task. Perhaps we’ll review some of the past vocabulary and paradigms (patterns) with his younger sister and continue on with Latin for Children C. Besides, it is quite manageable to transition from this series to Wheelock’s. I have actually read in a homeschool forum from those who have used other Latin programs that there is some synergy in the way these two methods approach the subject.
Meantime, according to my oldest, Mrs. Barr of Lukeion is looking forward to more of her siblings in her future classes.
You may be wondering why we study this dead language and I wrote nothing about that here. I have written a bit on this sometime ago: “Why do we study Latin again, Mom?” Besides, why not? In our homeschool, I try to give the children exposure in a wide variety of subjects. This way, they can truly find what they have an inclination for. This is precisely how my oldest daughter discovered her love for Latin.