Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Learning Latin

Today The Fashionista started on her first Latin lesson. I had intended for her to start it at the beginning of the year but, frankly had been putting it off because I have not been sure I was up to the task. Latin has always seems a little intimidating and just known by really smart people. Guess what? ... with the right program it can be really easy and also a lot of fun. 

We are using Prima Latina which is a curriculum developed especially for Grades 1 to 4 by Memoria Press. The Fashionista could be starting on the next level (she's in Grade 5) but I didn't think it would hurt by introducing her to the language at a lower level. The package has been written to be completed in a year but according to their web page some older students complete the course in a semester. She simply pops the DVD into the PC, has her lesson with Miss Lowe and then she completes the answers to the questions in her student text book. Of course we will practice a little each day with the flashcards provided, just of the words that she has learnt to-date but, will only be starting a new lesson or level weekly. The Fashionista enjoyed it so much she can't wait to try it again.

I am confident that Agent Smelly could easily use this package too but, at this stage I do not want to overwhelm her with too many subjects.

You may be wondering why on earth I am even bothering to have the girls learn Latin, which is fair enough as I would have thought the same way until I did some research. Well here are some reasons why we are including it:

  • It will provide a better understanding of grammar whilst also developing and expanding the girls vocabulary.  It should help them guess at the meanings of an unfamiliar word bu knowing what the roots and prefixes mean. "For example the English word  “somniloquy”, if we know that in Latin, “somnus” means sleep and “loqui” means “to speak”, we can correctly guess that “somniloquy” means “talking in your sleep”."

  •  I have read that even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin can cut down the labour pains of learning almost any other subject by 50 percent. Even Maths!

  • French, Spanish and Italian are all derived from Latin so by knowing Latin it is reported to be much easier to learn any one of these languages. Both girls enjoy languages and have started to learn both French and Spanish so it should all tie nicely in together.

  • It's a way for them to learn about an ancient culture and introduction languages are necessary for the scientific study of ancient history, literature, religion, mythology, and philosophy. There are also many Latin references in literature, especially mythical creatures.  They will learn words used in medicine, law, pharmacy, writing, teaching and technology. Which should they decide to go down any of these paths, make university so much easier for them.

  • Most of all they can learn it just for fun!

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