I remember once, in my early 20s, I had the opportunity to attend a Latin Mass at a Catholic Church. I was no longer a practicing Catholic by that time, but a friend asked me to go and said it would be a beautiful service. She was not wrong. I didn’t understand much of the service, but I was left with a deep sense that the Latin language was utterly beautiful. After that evening, I never thought of it again. Until I started homeschooling, and began considering adding a homeschool Latin curriculum to our roster.
As you know, my family has made a big switch in how we’re approaching our homeschool studies. We’ve been inspired to move in a more classical-focused direction – and in fact, we’re making the study of Latin one of our primary focuses.
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Homeschool Latin for the Everyday Mom
So, I really need to preface this post by saying that I am not a Latin scholar. I am not an expert in this language of the ancients. I am really just a Mom, sitting in front of a pile of Latin curricula, hoping that we can figure it out.
This is a subject I have wanted to tackle for some time now, and have tried numerous homeschool Latin curriculum in the search for just the right one. We’ve dabbled, and we’ve dipped our toes in and out of the study of Latin. It was only recently, after reading Climbing Parnassus, that I finally committed to making Latin a focus in our homeschool.
I was filled with inspiration, but also left with a sense of “ok…now what?”. The Latin-Centered Curriculum was recommended to me, and after reading it, it all clicked. I knew that we would really commit to giving the study of Latin a central place in our homeschool.
Why Study Latin
When I tell people that not only are we studying Latin in our homeschool but are making it one of our core subjects, I often get funny looks. Occasionally, I’m met with barely-suppressed eye rolls. I have to admit, when I used to see other homeschoolers discussing Latin, I thought it seemed silly – even a little pretentious.
Why the heck should I add the study of Latin to our homeschool? Well, after digging around a little, and reading the aforementioned books – I decided to give it a whirl because:
- It provides a thorough study of English grammar
- It helps with decoding new vocabulary words we come across in our other readings (especially in science!)
- It is a precise and careful language – learning latin helps train our minds to be very conscious about which words we choose and what we’re trying to say.
- It is a look into how the ancient writers thought, and how they formed their stories
- Eventually, we can begin reading ancient works in their original form
Homeschool Latin Curriculum
While we’re thrilled beyond thrilled with our Memoria Press Latin path, you might be looking for other options for studying Latin in your homeschool.
I decided to round up as many options as I could find – some we’ve tried, some we have not. Also worth mentioning here – is that not all of these are completely secular options. I’ll make note of any of these that include religious content or are marketed by faith-based companies. However, as with any resource, each family should make their own decisions about whether a curriculum is a fit for their family’s needs.
- Big Book of Lively Latin – this curriculum is secular, and combines Roman history with the Latin lessons. It is available in hard copy or PDF but it does require a LOT of printing.
- Getting Started With Latin – this makes a great, affordable way to dip your toes into Latin, while also giving a solid foundation. Short lessons, easy to implement, a great starter!
- Classical Academic Press – CAP is a faith-based company.
- Minimus – Secular, great starter for younger students. There is also a teacher guide to accompany the student book.
- Lingua Latina – Secular, immersive approach to learning Latin. You read, and use cues to translate. You can purchase workbook and other resources to make this a complete curriculum.
- I Speak Latin – Secular, fantastically fun, and very interactive! This is a get out of your seat and move while you learn kind of curriculum and we have loved using this.
- Memoria Press – MP is a Christian Classical Education company, but their Latin programs are phenomenal. Very thorough, complete, and can take your child from early elementary all the way through. This is a grammar-based approach to Latin.
- Memoria Press Charter & Public School Edition – The Charter & Public school materials are ones that have been adapted to suit non-Christian families and families who utilize Charter school funding to purchase materials. Secular (enough for us), and this is hands down our very favourite curriculum that we have tried.
- Wheelock’s Latin – A better fit for a beginner who is in upper high school or college. Secular, and has a workbook that you can purchase as well.
How Latin is Changing My Homeschool
When we made the decision to move into a Latin-centered, classical (ish) approach to education I knew that Latin would be a main focus. I made this decision on blind faith, mostly. I had no idea if we would see the fruits that others claimed we would see. I was a little intimidated by the thought of teaching a subject that I didn’t even have a cursory knowledge of. Sometimes, you just have to jump in and see how things go.
I couldn’t be happier with our experience so far, and really wish we’d taken Latin more seriously a long time ago. We found a homeschool latin curriculum that suits my family’s needs – it’s thorough, comprehensive, and we work to mastery.
The Benefits We’re Seeing In Our Homeschool:
- My kids are retaining their Latin lessons, and more importantly – I am already seeing those fruits that I hoped for.
- My children are learning to take time, and make precise answers. They are learning the benefit to slow and careful study of a foreign language – and that is transferring into all of their other studies.
- I’ve spotted my each of my children finding English words and being able to discern the meaning based on the Latin root.
- We have dropped any formal English grammar studies for now – the study of Latin is deepening our understanding of the English language in a way I’ve never understood it.
I think one of the most rewarding things about our adventure into Latin is that we are doing it together. I am studying along with my children, and have even dusted off my personal copy of Wheelock’s Latin that I was planning to use for my own self-education. I don’t have all the answers, I don’t get it all right all the time. I make mistakes, and I get frustrated trying to remember some of the grammar concepts. My kids have even corrected me on my answer, and been right. If you want to make your middle-schooler happy, give them an opportunity to correct their mother on her Latin translation!
In the few months since we’ve been taking our Latin studies more seriously, it’s definitely become one of our main priorities. In fact, even on days where we are not planning to ‘do school’, my kids will still ask to review our Latin flashcards and recite their conjugations. It’s become part of our daily life, and I love it. I am so glad we finally took this leap, and can’t wait for my children and I to continue growing in our love of the Latin language.
Do you teach Latin in your homeschool? If you have a favourite homeschool Latin curriculum, pop it in the comments below and I’ll add it to my round-up!