Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekly Resource What Latin Program is Right for your family?

Everyone seems to be talking about planning for next year - I am still trying to make sure we are faithful to complete this year's tasks (we are a little behind on the read alouds around here).  I thought I would offer some thoughts on choosing a Latin path for your family.  In the most classical sense Latin or Greek or both would be one of the essential parts of your classical studies.  However, the reality is that not everyone wants to go down that route - for a variety of reasons.  Today, I will give you a few questions to ask yourself about what you hope to gain from language studies - particularly Latin.  Next week, we will look at some of the resources available to help you follow whatever path might work best for your family.  Trust me - there are tons of resources available - regardless of what your family is hoping to accomplish.  

So here are the questions to get you started? 

1.  What is your goal for your children?  Do you just want to help increase their SAT vocabulary? Do you want the to learn the structure and "discipline" of Latin? Do you see it as a base for them to learn other romance languages? Do you want them to better be able to connect with the Catholic church and it's Latin past? Do you just want to expose them to the language and have fun with it? Do you want them to eventually be able to read Latin authors in the original?  

2.  How much Latin do you (as a mom or dad) intend to learn?  Will you learn along with them?  Would you prefer a program that will teach it to them and you just help as needed (from a teacher's manual)?  Do you want to study ahead so that you can help make some wise curricular choices?    

3. Is Latin a long term study area or do you just want an introduction?  Is this something you are committed to trying long term?  Are you just wanting to try it out knowing that you might do something different next year?   

4. How much time do you want to spend on Latin during a typical week?   Do you want a lesson once or twice a week (with maybe some quick review of vocabulary)? Would you prefer a fuller program that expects daily lessons for about 30 minutes?    

5.  What is your budget?  In this game there are everything from online courses you can enroll in, to video courses that basically teach it for you to free google books that you can figure out and use on your own.  How much do you want to spend on this area of study? 

6.  Do you want to combine English grammar and Latin?  This can help cut down on overlap if you intend to spend a lot of time with Latin. 

7.  Do you want your Latin studies to tie in with other subjects - like History? 

8.  How old are your children?  With younger children it really is more about exposure and interest.  However, if you have older children you might be wondering if they can get credits for their work and how it looks on a transcript.  
If you want a quick overview of different approaches to teaching Latin (in general) there is a good article in the Memoria Press Summer edition (it is on page 4 and 5).  Obviously they are interested in promoting their own approach (grammar first) but it does explain the other paths well with examples of what programs use that approach.  Here is another thoughtful article about examining reasons for studying a language (written by the author of Getting Started with Latin).   

I am so happy that we are studying Latin at my house and my kids (although young) see it all around them already.  Hopefully these questions can help you get a good idea of what you'd like to do.  Next week, we will look at curricula that might help get you to your goal.  

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