19 August 2011
Latin in our homeschool
Let me begin with the reasons we study latin. Those reasons can be found HERE. But what about latin hymns? Why study and learn latin hymns and what exactly is Christian Latin?
Classical latin is very difficult to read, students who have spent years mastering Latin grammar and vocabulary are usually discouraged by the difficulty of the classical authors.
Happily there is a solution to this problem? Christian Latin. The sentence structure of Christian Latin is much simpler and the sentences are much shorter than in classical Latin. The hymns and liturgy of Christian Latin are so beautiful and clothe such sublime thoughts that they are worthy to be memorized. Is there anything more fitting for our children to study and memorize than religious poetry expressing the most elevated thoughts?
Students who memorize prayers and music in the grammar years will have a great fund of vocabulary, grammar and syntax ready in their minds to draw upon as they proceed through the latin grammar. At every step in their study, examples of the new grammar concept-noun cases, subjunctive mood, irregular verbs, deponent verbs, participles, infinitives and gerunds-will already be in their minds ready to be analyzed and understood at the appropriate time.
That all said. How do I approach Latin in our home? I begin my children in their first year of Latin when they are about 6. They begin with Prima Latina and Lingua Angelica. Eventually they work their way through Latina Christiana I, II, and finish with First Form Latin. I keep it simple by only having them go through the memory work of memorizing their vocabulary, prayers, and songs. No grammar usage is taught whatsoever in their first year. Only memory work. The second year we go through the book again doing the written exercises and learning the 'science' of the Latin. In this way, they are completely familiar already with the vocabulary words, songs, and prayers that it simply makes the grammar of it so much easier to learn. For Lingua Angelica the same thing. Memorize the songs first, then go back through and learn the translation the second year. By beginning them so early it is simple to get them through several years of grammar before graduating by doing each level twice through. I have found that by doing it this way it really gets ingrained in their minds and not only do they know it, but they really "know it."