We are trying out Song School Latin this school year. It’s a DVD & CD program designed to help elementary aged children learn Latin. We also have the Song School Latin workbooks and flash cards.
It is a 31-week program. Going through 1 chapter per week will complete the first program (Book 1) throughout one school year. Some families go through it faster, and other families might stretch it out a little longer.
Here is a glimpse of what it looks like for us, so far.
My kids take their basic school supplies out and watch the video. Their basic supplies are a binder, notebook, and pencil case. They also get their Song School Latin book to complete after the video lesson.
This is our living room. I carried their school table to the living room to watch this DVD, and the older children also will be in here later today to watch their BJU math lesson DVDs. While they watch their videos, I am nearby. Particularly for the Latin, I watch the video with them to learn it right along with them.
My son wanted to start a Latin Dictionary. It seemed like a good idea (yay child-led learning!), and now I will have the children write down in their notebooks any new vocabulary. This serves as copywork, too. I pause the DVD when it’s time to write down a new phrase that is printed on the screen that is being taught. Writing down the words enhances learning the written form of Latin, including focusing on spelling and committing the words to memory.
Here is my 6.5-year-old son’s Latin Dictionary Notebook:
Here is our 3.5-year-old’s Latin Dictionary Notebook….she wants to be like her big brother and sister! Since she cannot read and is learning to write her letters, when I pause the screen for the older children, I asked her write down any letters she sees. This makes her very happy to be like a “big kid.” Even my 3-year-old likes the videos, especially when the monkey is the star.
Here is my 8-year-old’s Latin Dictionary Notebook:
You might be wondering…why are you teaching your children Latin? I will share my reasons, but please don’t feel like I think every family should try to teach their children Latin. It really depends what your educational goals are, your background, and many other factors. Please do what works best for your family when you decide what languages to teach your children (if any).
Latin is a language that many languages grew out of. If you learn Latin, then words from other Romance languages will be easier to learn (e.g., Spanish, French). Many words from English (a Germanic language) come from Latin, even though it is not a Romance language. If you know some Latin, for example, and you come across a new English word while reading a novel or textbook, then you might be able to guess at the meaning correctly because of your Latin background.
Latin is also cool. Even though I don’t speak it, I’ve thought it would be nice to learn it. I’ll just learn along with my kids. They will watch the DVDs, and I will learn with them during our homeschool journey.
My husband is “fluent” in Latin (if that is appropriate to say given that Latin is mostly a written language nowadays!). He majored in classics. If you don’t know what a classics major studies, like I didn’t, that means studying Latin, Greek, and some Hebrew, and reading original texts in their original language, such as the Odyssey.
I am very blessed to have an expert at home! He really should be the teacher, but he works outside of our home, and there isn’t much time to spare in the evenings for him to teach on a consistent basis.
If you don’t speak Latin, you likely will be able to find other homeschool families who are learning Latin. You could try to start a Latin club that meets monthly to have a chance for the children and parents be encouraged. There are homeschool groups that study Latin as one of many pieces to their classical approach, including Catholic Schoolhouse.
If you love the Bible, then learning Latin is a good start. After mastering Latin, then reading the Vulgate will be possible. Another goal can be to learn Greek and Hebrew to read original versions of the Bible. Translations into different languages can take on different meanings that are not a word-for-word, exact translation to the original due to linguistic differences between languages. Being able to read the Bible in its original languages is an admirable goal….but I don’t honestly think that is a reasonable goal for my children any time soon (or in the next decade?). I do want to provide them with a wide educational background for them to be able to “pick up” languages more easily.
Honestly, I would have waited for my children to learn Latin until high school, but since I learned about Song School Latin, it seemed natural to try it out. So far, it seems like a good fit! Other Latin programs I saw seemed more academic and for older children, but Song School Latin meets my criteria for being child-friendly.
I value not putting too much pressure on children when it comes to education, and teaching them to develop a love for learning is important. To develop a love for learning, it helps to set reasonable and attainable expectations to be successful. If you choose to teach your children a foreign language, I hope you can find resources that fit your teaching styles and your children’s personalities and ages.