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    Educational Philosophy, Mother's Education

    Why Latin? More Thoughts on an Old Tongue.

    April 22, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    A little over two years ago, I wrote out my thoughts on why we study Latin. I’m not taking it all back, but my thoughts have been refined lately. In her book Consider This, Karen Glass gives some modern, utilitarian, pragmatic reasons for studying Latin. These reasons are not classical reasons for offering a component of classical education, and Karen tells us that a true classical education hinges not just upon offering the classical content, but actually having the right motives — on having the proper reasons why.

    Is Latin for everyone? Will I teach Latin to all of my children? Why do we study Latin at all?

    Some of the pragmatic reasons — the wrong reasons — she listed are found in my original post.


    It is oh so easy to confuse side benefits with the actual reasons for doing things. Now, granted, sometimes the reason “Latin will improve test scores and vocabulary” is handy because the person we’re talking to is plagued by the modern obsession with utility. But in my case, if I remember correctly, these utilitarian reasons were just as valid as the ultimate reason of having access to great thoughts in the original tongue rather than via translation.

    It’s sort of like saying that I homeschool so that my children can spend more time with their great grandparents and grandparents, or so we can go to the beach on a weekday. These things are possibilities — side benefits, if you will — but they aren’t good reasons for homeschooling.

    Likewise, better grammar and thinking are real side benefits of Latin, but not the best reason for doing it. It’s a lot of work, to be honest, and these things really might be gotten in other, possibly easier, ways.

    Karen Glass explains:

    Charlotte Mason did not want Latin (or Greek) to be eliminated from the traditional curriculum, but being Charlotte, and much more concerned with the primary elements of the classical ideal, she was more interested in the content of what was read for the purpose of enlightening ideas than in developing vocabulary or thinking skills.

    I haven’t yet read The Liberal Arts Tradition, but Mystie assures us that the authors come to the same conclusion as Glass: the purpose of studying Latin is to be able to read classical texts.

    In a private discussion with the Scholé Sisters concerning why we study Latin, Mystie was quick to point out that if our goal is to read great thoughts, then our highest goal would be to read the Bible, while hoping all the other awesome Latin texts would be added unto us in time. (I used to say I was studying in order to read Athanasius — I was not aiming high enough.)

    I was reminded of this when I read Dwane Thomas’ (author of Visual Latin) post Are we all penguins? I highly suggest you read the whole thing, but here’s a snippet:

    Who decided that my 14 year old girls, in order to learn Latin, must read the writings of a man who could not stay married, committed adultery on multiple occasions, slaughtered an entire tribe as an example, and sold 50,000 people into slavery in one day?

    This may come as a shock, but, “I reject Caesar!”

    Caesar is what is done in the Latin classroom, right? But is it truly great? And the best use of our time?

    Mr. Thomas doesn’t seem to think so.

    (Yes, my children are required to refer to him as Mr. Thomas. Ahem.)

    Soon, I’m going to be heading into planning season, and I’ll be posting specifics on what we’re doing this coming year for a lot of things, including Latin. For now, I’ll just say that this is what I have loved about Visual Latin since the very beginning. It was three or four years ago and I didn’t know what I was doing and Cindy Rollins said it was funny, so I bought it. I had the tiniest budget you could imagine, and so I was grateful they were selling one DVD at a time. I think I spent twelve dollars plus shipping.

    There we were, doing our very first translation exercise, reading a part of Genesis. I still remember the very first Latin word I learned by heart: caelum. It means both heaven as well as sky, and I knew it because God created the heavens (caelum) and the earth.

    But I digress.

    All of this begs a question, I think. What do we do with the child that we think will never be able to translate? Or to read the original texts?

    In Consider This, Glass implies that a child’s education can be fine without it, and yet I hesitate. The truth is, while I’m not that great at it (yet!), I love Latin. While I think a child’s education can, theoretically, be wonderfully rich when done only in English, that isn’t really what I want for my children.

    But I hesitate to commit a child to Latin when she might not get to the goal. And if she doesn’t get to the goal, will I look back and regret that I was wasting her time?

    In Charlotte Mason’s 12th principle, we are told:

    “Education is the Science of Relations”; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of —

    “Those first-born affinities
    “That fit our new existence to existing things.”

    It was in this conversation amongst friends that I realized this principle, one I hold so dear, held the answer to my dilemma. Did I really know when we started out that my oldest would take to Latin like a fish to water? That he would be so driven to understand it that he spent some of his free time on it?


    I don’t really know what my children will grow an affection for. Affections are often surprising and unpredictable. But what I do know is that my job is to make valid as many of those first-born affinities as possible. My job, in other words, is to introduce and cultivate and woo and offer a taste of all that the world has to offer.

    Even Latin.

    It’s a gift I can give to my children. Some of them might treat it like an ugly Christmas sweater, it’s true. They’ll only bring it out for a photo or a party. But some of them might see its worth, and who am I to decide in advance for them?

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  • Reply Andrea Charlton May 19, 2023 at 9:35 pm

    I just feel I ought to point out that if you want to read the Bible in the original language, it wasn’t Latin. Aramaic and Hebrew are the tongues you need, with Greek for the New Testament. There are also quite a few really interesting texts that were included in old versions of the bible but aren’t included any longer. It’s a fascinating look at the history of the book, beliefs and culture that helped to form contemporary ideas of morality and behaviour. But you don’t need Latin for that. I’m studying Latin because I enjoy learning languages, and Latin is the basis of so many of the grammatical assumptions behind the Romance languages of French, Spanish, Italian, and also English, and believe it or not, Irish Gaelic. This has been a really interesting discussion, thank you.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 20, 2023 at 9:42 am

      Oh, I know that. That’s why my son eventually learned Greek as well.

  • Reply Anita January 9, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    So we are going to ignore that Caesars commenteries are probably the best thing you can read to study latin? He uses relatively small vocabulary, so you are not gonna get stuck tranlating hundereds of unnecessary words, his stylistic is great – it’s still one of the best things written in the language. His writing is quite captivating – your not gonna get bored to death with endless descriptions and it’s overall really well writen. Like nobody can argue that he was a bad writer. So yeah, thats probably the reason why people read this when they wanna learn latin. Plus side is that you are gonna learn some fun historical stuff. And that opinion on Caesar from ‘Are we all penguines?’ is so simplistic and overall wrong. Even if you don’t like him, look at other traditional writers. He’s not that bad. And that Caesar could not stay married… Sorry what? His first wife died, how was that his fault? His second wife was involved in huge scandal around ruining one of Rome’s most sacred religious rituals, because she tried to smuggle her lover there. (It wasn’t alowed for any man to be in the house during the ritual) And he never divorced his third wife, they were married for like fifteen years until his death. And yes, he was adulterous, but so was his second wife and so was basically any other roman. There was this deeply rooted concept in roman culture that marrige bed should only serve for producing another generation of romans and that men shouldn’t bother their wives with their sexual desires and should seek satisfaction elsewhere. On that slaughtery, slavery thing. Yeah, Caesar did that. But so did any other general. It was considered natural part of war. And honestly, Caesar belonged to the nicer conquerers. In context of his time it was perfectly ok. He didn’t know it was “wrong” so you can’t really judge him. And yes, you could still argue that you don’t want your children to read about things like that, but than you should realise that slaughter and slavery can be found in basically any other ancient text too. Are you going to ban the Iliad too? Or even later books. Or even in contemporary fantasy, there is slaughter and war. So what I’m trying to say here is, that your kids are gonna read books and watch movies involving it and you are not going to stop it. Saying you don’t want your kids to read a book just because of the author is stupid and in Caesars case based on wrong assumptions, which really show that the guy who wrote the quote has zero understanding of roman history and society, so he maybe shouldn’t write about latin.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 12, 2021 at 4:18 pm

      You sound angry, but you make some good points. I definitely don’t omit Plutarch (in English), even though sometimes the morals are all wrong (I do censor the very worst parts, which is equal to less than a paragraph per year). Of course, this was five years ago and my children were much younger, so I think it was natural to feel this way and to think that something like the Vulgate was a better use of our time at that time. We’ve enjoyed a lot of Roman history since then, in both English and Latin. My oldest still loves Latin, even after all these years. ♥

  • Reply Janice May 8, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Recently, my two daughters received their National Latin Exam awards — their second gold Summa Cum Laude medal in a row. Their grandmother asked if they could possibly qualify for scholarships through the NLE, and I replied, “So long as they keep studying Latin in college.” Making several remarks about the silliness of it all, she ended, “Why would they take more than two years of Latin?” My answer, “Why wouldn’t they?”

    Instead of teaching language for its actual use, the culture encourages students to take only enough foreign language to have a good understanding of its grammar. Schools (and, unfortunately, parents) insist on children going through all the hard work of learning a language, and then, once the hard work is done, never insist on actually receiving the reward: actually using the language for real things. If there is time, reap the rewards!

    I’ve read lots of praises for Latin programs, so I’m going to have to insist on my favorite: Memoria Press’ First, Second, Third and Fourth Form Latin. Being a teacher of Latin for many years, the author knows how to teach Latin, and it shows. This Latin series is perfect for the homeschool teacher who knows no Latin. It teaches at a slower pace than high school textbooks, is organized into parts of speech and gives emphasis on recitation, which leads to mastery and ultimate success.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 8, 2015 at 8:40 am

      Oh my goodness, do I hear you on this! As a student, that was *my* mentality! I went through Spanish and did well for the purpose of getting an A. Seriously. I look back, and that makes me so sad. I was so myopic that I don’t think it even crossed my mind to seriously learn to converse in the language, and that is even with plenty of Spanish speakers around me to talk to. So sad.

      I am so glad to hear that your students want to go on and on! That is wonderful. This sort of thing gives me hope for the world. 🙂

  • Reply karen in ky April 26, 2015 at 7:03 am

    An interesting thread…the Bluedorn’s book gave me the green light to go with homeschool. By this I mean that I knew we would homeschool – but how? I was LOST. Reading so very much, leaning towards WTM and Veritas Press and such – how astonishing to have your third grader starting 7th grade math, reciting sections of the Gallic Wars in Latin, and diagramming sentences straight from Henry James! But it just didn’t seem fair, or even very much fun.

    So the Bluedorn’s position on language (and other things) – Latin first, followed by Greek; for translation purposes rather than the *testing well* goal – clicked for me.

    And we’ve been struggling with Latin ever since simply because I haven’t been thinking synthetically about it. 🙂 I’ve been confused about how to incorporate Latin and then Greek and make it both fair and fun. So we’ve just trudged through what we were using, coming to dread it.

    (And that’s when I read about Visual Latin, here and on the AO forum. We switched a few weeks ago, and it is fun. Funny. Substantive and doable.)

    All to say that – while I’m sure I’m oversimplifying Claire’s query and the responses to it – does it really matter *why* you are choosing Latin over Russian or French if the impetus for teaching (or in my case, learning alongside) a language in your home school *isn’t* to read [insert textual preference here] in its original language?

    I guess I’m thinking that the goal probably dictates the linguistic choice…if you want (or want your child/ren) to read Moliere or Voltaire or Rousseau or Bergsen in their original words, then hadn’t you better choose French over Latin? I think this is where the modern Classical movement veers away from the traditional Classical practice – and this is what Karen Glass and Brandy and others are confirming for me – and that is: if you choose Latin over another language, examine your motives.

    And maybe I’m writing out loud here and this is just an exercise for me to examine my own motives, which have been murky concerning Latin and Greek.

    Except for when I *clicked* with what the Bluedorns have to say about it, what Karen Glass has had to say about it – on the forum and in CT – and what Brandy is saying about it here.

    So, thanks. This is helping. I hope I haven’t muddled it too much.

  • Reply Claire April 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    So this is my objection: using the feast analogy, Latin is a food, not a food group. It is a subject, not a subject area. I don’t think Latin is a first born affinity. Language, yes. Grammar, yes. I suspect the love you have for Latin you would have for any highly inflected language taught in the same way – and, if not, that doesn’t mean there is something inherent in Latin that is not in Russian, just that this is your personal taste. By teaching Latin, you are withholding something else from your child – which is fine, we can’t have everything, we have to make choices – but I don’t see how you can list it as something a child deserves – more than, say, actual biblical languages. (This is a secondary objection – you and Mystie have both talked about Latin as if it were a biblical language itself. Reading “in the beginning” in Latin doesn’t get you any closer to the Hebrew than reading those words in English. Have I misunderstood you?)
    I’m not sure if I’m making sense of my muddled thoughts here. What I mean is, your final paragraphs could really apply to any language, especially any highly inflected language and/or any biblical language. (Which might possibly be the same thing. The impression I have is that classical Greek is almost as inflected as Latin, also that it’s closer to koine than I used to think. I don’t know about ancient Hebrew. Do you know I’d I’m right in those impressions?)

    Given you’ve already started Latin with older students in your homeschool, I guess it makes sense to continue with your younger students. But I don’t see why your readers like myself who haven’t chosen it yet, would pass over ancient Greek and Hebrew in favour of Latin.

    Sorry about the rant, I hope I don’t sound attacking. I just always feel like I’m missing something in these conversations that is obvious to everyone else, and it gets frustrating. I’m hoping that by playing devil’s advocate, I might find out what I’m missing.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 23, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      Don’t worry about sounding attacking. I’m an INTP, which means even if you really were being attacking, I might not notice. 😉 And also: I thought you were fine. I like a little push back now and then. 🙂

      So first I’d say that Greek is totally a valid option. For sure. I didn’t take much Greek in seminary, and that is a big regret of mine. I believe that you are right and that classical Greek is almost equally inflected. I’m not sure about the distance between Latin and Koine Greek. Hebrew is a right-brained, unruly language and not for the faint of heart! Truly, I am not brave enough for Hebrew, I think, but I admire those who are.

      With that said, many of the times the New Testament authors quote the Old Testament, they are actually quoting the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation that most Jews were reading at that time. I find that really interesting since Hebrew is so different from Greek. When I’m reading the Bible in Latin, I think I’m getting really close to the Septuagint, which seems to be significant to me, but it’s possible I’m wrong on that point, of course. I do think that there are certain words that are equivalent in Greek and Latin that don’t really have an English equivalent.

      I actually have an answer to this in my 7 Quick Takes post scheduled for tomorrow, so if you don’t mind the rest of this will be there. You weren’t the only one to ask me about this! 🙂 In the meantime, I am pondering what you said about the feast analogy because I do see your point there.

    • Reply Mystie April 23, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Claire!

      I think you bring up a good point. Historically in education, Latin does seem to be treated as its own subject, stand-alone, not interchangeable with anything else. That makes me hesitant to set it aside or replace it with, say, Spanish.

      I believe it is entirely a different thing studying a dead, “pure” language (because Latin usage was kept pristine as a scholarly language) than learning a conversational, living language. If we stick with the food analogies, I’d compare it to wine and grape juice. Both grape beverages, but one is way more potent and rich.

      My intention is to switch my children to Koine Greek in high school, if that makes you feel better. I remember reading the Bluedorns when my oldest was young, and their recommendation was that if you study one language, make it Greek, but if you’re willing to do two, start with Latin because it’s easier than Greek (same alphabet and familiar roots) and move to Greek after learning how languages work (grammar) and how to study a language. That has been my tact, and I’m comfortable with it because I’d rather be in the classical tradition than not, given the option (studying Greek falls within classical tradition also).

      Being able to read, say, Augustine in the original would be cool, but I’m not sure we’ll get to fluency in Latin. If my children don’t want to continue in Latin alongside Greek, I’ll let them drop Latin. But Greek will be great brain-work for high school and all the smoother for their years of Latin grammar.

      If you wanted to jump into Greek with a younger student, more power to you.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel April 23, 2015 at 8:31 pm

        Whoa. We were totally writing comments at the same time.

        You know, I forgot the Bluedorns said that, but that was one of the first books I read on homeschooling. I wonder if that is where I got my idea that Greek was for high school…

      • Reply Claire April 25, 2015 at 11:15 pm

        But isn’t that what Karen Glass said they weren’t doing? Treating Latin as something unique, but instead simply treating as a language – one very necessary for them to know?
        I guess I have to take your word for it that an old, dead, “pure” language is especially rich because it’s old, dead and pure. I find it hard to believe. And, of course, the vulgate Latin isn’t that pure classical Latin – by definition.

        Brandy, I do take your point about it being the language of the church for a very very long time… And I’ll have to think about that, and what Mystie said about it potentially making Greek study easier in the long run, in deciding how to approach ancient languages in my homeschool.

        I do wish, sometimes, that I could just do as I’m told. It would make decisions much easier. But if I were that sort of person, I guess I’d be sending my kids to school, right? Or using a standard boxed curriculum. Sigh. This one is looking like it might be one of those situations where I end up doing nothing because I can’t make up my mind. But I have a few years yet before I need to decide.

  • Reply silvia April 23, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I agree with you. I think I even wrote that… to me, it’s a gift that exceeds my own abilities, a gift I’m committed to open up to myself more, and to pass on to them in the humble means I possess and work to acquire.
    I felt like a fish out of the water when, talking to lovely friends, who admired “me” because the girls mentioned they are learning Latin (please, not to debase them, since some children, like you mention about your son, grow much and soon in Latin, but my girls are in the Sum poeta, poeta et agricola est- stage, so nothing impressive), because the girls mentioned Latin, my friends said it’s required in all high education colleges, etc… Ha! I never saw it like this… I never even thought about WHY Latin, I just know we ought to learn some. I feel like Franklin overhearing a man say, what’s the use of a balloon?, and he answered, what’s the use of a baby? See what the balloon did to the history of aviation? See what babies who become man do to History, or history (of their own families?), equally, I know Latin is doing ‘something’ to their minds and hearts. This sounds too ambiguous on my side, or like fluff, but it’s true… Latin does not need justification or explanation, only some love, ha ha ha, and possibly patience.

    • Reply silvia April 23, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      (I meant I wrote it’s a gift… but you, again, nailed it… it’s such a pleasure to read a humble scholar that happens to be an awfully nice mom and friend, :))

    • Reply silvia April 23, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      buaaaahhhh…. I will not mention the lack of a comma, the word man instead of men… please, edit my comments in your head with your great English. I’m a Spaniard in Houston. I give up.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel April 23, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        I am laughing so. hard! 🙂

  • Reply Laura BTB April 23, 2015 at 3:43 am

    Great post. Years ago, I was the person in the break room who could answer the Latin questions on the crossword puzzle. Great ‘party trick’ but I tend to think of it, especially after wrestling with homeschool and Latin, that it gives a more full perspective of life and learning. Even in the small amount I remember from high school. But this post has given me pause as to what is the vehicle in learning the Latin/greek. Thank you-

  • Reply Julie Z April 22, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    We also bought Visual Latin because of Cindy’s recommendation several years ago. My boys, ages 8 and 10, loved Mr. Thomas and often laughed out loud during the video sessions. They have both taken to Latin, more than I ever imagined, and I think in a large part it is how accessible Visual Latin makes the language in the beginning. My oldest son, at age 12, is just about to complete the first year of Henle with Mr. Thomas as well, and has LOVED it, too. He offers online classes for this. We plan on completing the final year this coming school year, and then I am not sure whereto next, but it has been an extremely enjoyable journey thus far! I find myself being envious at times at the feast they have had access to. I dined on crumbs for so many years, and never knew it.

    • Reply Julie Z April 22, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Correction, David is taking Lingua Latina, not Henle! I had Henle on the brain after reading his Penguins article!!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 23, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Were you able to sit in on the class with him, Julie?

      • Reply Julie Z April 25, 2015 at 6:29 pm

        In my perfect world, yes, I would have loved to. In the world I live in, no, I didn’t. I am hoping maybe when child 6 or 7 is learning Latin, I might be able to join them!

  • Reply Kristyn April 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Oh, Brandy, thank you so much for this post!

    My oldest is in Year 3, and I have been struggling to come up with my point of view on offering Latin next year. I have questioned again and again my motives… and kept returning to my same wondering: Am I to do it because that is what I am supposed to do in a CM education? Well that just didn’t suit me.

    When I was reading through Consider This, I came upon her “Then and Now” chapter and was struck with: “When we are more concerned with *what* the classical educators were doing than *why* they were doing it, we are unlikely to achieve what they achieved.” (p49). Ok, so if I don’t have a good reason to do it, I won’t! Because then on p52 she writes, “the book, and not the language, was the motivation.” So I figured there is *most probably* no chance my children will be needing Latin to read and study!

    Well…again I thank you for bringing to light the most rational (in my mind) reason for offering this language: your words, “My job … is to introduce and cultivate and woo and offer a taste of all that the world has to offer. Even Latin. … some of them might see its worth, and who am I to decide in advance for them?”

    It is placing the children in a large room. Offering them a banquet! *They* will choose what they will take away from it!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      You know, I’ll tell you why I said this. The history book I’m reading right now, Left Back, is really getting into my head. 🙂 I was very struck by the idea that so much of the educational experimentation that has gone on in the last century has had to do with the idea that experts believe they can foretell what part a child will play in the world. So, for example, they can use IQ tests, etc. to say at a young age that a child will be qualified for professional work…or manual labor. And then they design the curriculum around that. So, in the 20s, some schools were literally teaching kids how to do laundry.

      I realized that I was doing something like that if I chose Latin for some of my children and not others. I don’t really know, and I couldn’t have predicted what has already happened in the short time we’ve been on this course.

      And yes: a wide room! That is such a beautiful thought. I always love it. 🙂

  • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog April 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Stink! I left a comment that I meant to leave on this post but accidentally left it on the older post you referenced in this post that I went back to read. (How’s that for a long and potentially confusing sentence? LOL) So, I’m leaving the comment here now, where I meant to leave it in the first place!

    My youngest (7yo) is doing Song School Spanish this year. I’m trying to decide for next year (she’ll be doing AO Year 2 then) if I want to go ahead and move on to the next level of that or to go ahead and begin Latin, probably using Song School Latin. AO has modern language listed first and Latin isn’t on the schedule until Year 4. I’m trying to decide if I want to follow that pattern and stick with Spanish for the next two years, or go ahead and begin Song School Latin. Another option would be to continue with the Song School Spanish and add Song School Latin. I don’t know that I want to do two languages in Year 2 though. Although, my daughter very well may enjoy it because we really like the Song School language program so far. And I think the Song School Latin would be a nice foundation for further Latin studies. Any thoughts?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      I don’t know. I think it could go either way. I’d be tempted to continue with Spanish, if I were in your shoes, but I’m not saying that is the “right” answer. The main reason for that would be because I know CM stuck to romance languages at that age {usually French}. I’m making the assumption she had a good reason why…

  • Reply Lindsay Marie April 22, 2015 at 9:27 am

    We use Visual Latin, and I liked Mr. Thomas’s recent post, too. It intrigued me, and I did find this article, which explains that Caesar is not taught in Europe in the same way it is in America. I thought it was an interesting read.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Ooh! Thank you! That is very interesting to me, especially since Charlotte Mason had her late elementary students reading “a little Caesar.” 🙂

  • Reply Lisa V in BC April 22, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Thanks Brandi, I’ll check out those free lessons and wait a bit to see if a sale comes up.

  • Reply Lisa V in BC April 22, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I am really interested in Visual Latin for this next year – my kids have been working through a latin/greek book for a while now – honestly not the way they’re supposed to, just copying one Greek and one Latin word each week. And we don’t review. So it’s time for a switch, but now Visual Latin 1 and 2 are each $85.00 at Which means I also need to add exchange which is horrendous right now. Would you consider the program worth that much? Is there somewhere else I can get it cheaper?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 8:11 am

      I think that first you should go check out the free lessons and see if this is the sort of curriculum you want. Just because it works for me doesn’t mean it’ll be what *you* want in a Latin program.

      You can also purchase Lessons 1-10 for $30, but if you do that, you end up spending a bit more by the end when you purchase the next set, and the set after that, and so on. But that is what I did in the beginning because it was easier for me to come up with a little bit at a time rather than the big chunk all at once.

      IF you decide you like it, you could try and wait for a sale. There was a spring break sale that was either 25% or 30% off. I can’t remember which, but on a product of this price, that is a significant discount!

      • Reply Patty April 22, 2015 at 9:29 am

        Thank you for this post. I have been thinking about all this too. I do remember your older post on Latin, and I remember it convinced me that Latin was worth all of our effort. Recently as I’ve been reading “Consider this” I too am rethinking just how to go about it.

        I am wondering if I should put all of my foreign language efforts into Greek instead. After all, reading the New Testament in it’s original language seems like a much better goal to me.

        My second daughter, currently a junior in college, did one single year of Greek while at home with me. And then on her own time when she was older, she took up modern Greek with Rosetta Stone. She is currently finishing her second semester of Greek in college and considering getting a minor in it.
        This shows me that just making it a small part of the feast as a young student certainly gave her an appetite for it.

        On the other hand we trudged through several years of dry Latin, which did not amount to much for us mainly because of my own fault. It used to be all or nothing for me as far as Latin goes. I think I am starting to realize that Charlotte’s purpose for including all the different languages was different than what a modern “classical educator” would have.

        So much to think about. I will definitely take a closer look at Visual Latin

        • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 1:35 pm

          That was really encouraging to me, Patty — the story about your daughter pursuing Greek on her own.

          And I agree: SO much to think about! 🙂

  • Reply Karen @ Living Unabridged April 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Even what looks like a “utilitarian” reason for studying Latin can be a higher reason. For instance “it will improve their vocabulary”. At first glance that looks utilitarian. But at second glance (and how it has worked for us) it means realizing the connections between words and ideas. Words become EVEN MORE beautiful to me and my children than they were before. We’ve had long discussions on Latin roots to English and also to French vocabulary and the meanings those words have carried, and how they’ve changed. I consider that a worthy use of our time.

    If a classical education is about presenting our children with Truth and Beauty, then Latin is a wonderful way to do that, even if they never read a book in the original Latin.

    Just my $0.02, of course. I haven’t read “Consider This” or “Liberal Arts Tradition” yet, so I may be missing something (or a lot of things.) 😉

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 7:51 am

      I like your perspective here. I think that maybe the difference between what you are describing and what Consider This or The Liberal Arts Tradition are pushing back against is the idea of making Latin a grind. You definitely sound like you have the wonder and joy part covered if you are delighting in words. 🙂

    • Reply Mystie April 23, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      I love this point, Karen!

      Even if we never get to reading in Latin, after our 4 years in, I’d say it’s been worth it for the “brain exercise” pragmatic reason, too. 🙂

  • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog April 22, 2015 at 6:00 am

    I really appreciated this post, Brandy. I’ve been trying to decide my thoughts on Latin. 🙂 My oldest did Latin and I am planning to have my youngest do Latin at some point. I’ve read most of Karen’s book too. One of the things I do have to say, when my daughter studied Latin, I could see the benefit just in word study alone. There are commonly used phrases today that are Latin such as carpe diem. And there have been a number of times something was said in a movie or maybe a book and we knew it was Latin and understood it….well, my daughter would have understood much more than me since she spent several years studying Latin. 🙂 Anyway, to have that Latin understanding is like having a vocabulary foundation so to speak.

    And I really appreciated what you said towards the end of your post: “But what I do know is that my job is to make valid as many of those first-born affinities as possible. My job, in other words, is to introduce and cultivate and woo and offer a taste of all that the world has to offer. Even Latin.”

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 7:48 am

      I hope you write your thoughts as you sort them out, Karen. I’ve noticed an uptick in conversation about Latin lately, and I think that is a good thing. It’s like we’re collectively pondering what we are doing and why. 🙂

      • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog April 22, 2015 at 8:47 am

        You think I should write a blog post then? That would mean I’d have to actually write my thoughts about Latin down. Ahem. Right now, my thoughts on Latin are still formulating. 🙂

        • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 9:57 am

          He he he. And also: yes. 😉

  • Reply Kansas Mom April 22, 2015 at 5:27 am

    It’s kind of funny that we started studying Latin precisely because my husband said it would have helped him tremendously when he was in graduate school and had to read Latin works if he had studied it earlier. Our original goal, though we never thought about it that way, was that the children be able to read in Latin (and graduate-level reading, at that). It’s difficult to keep that end in mind, however, in the daily practice. Personally, I’m glad there are side benefits as well because they keep us on the road.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 7:47 am

      “Side benefits help keep us on the road.” I’m going to have to remember that. I think you make a good point.

  • Reply Heather April 22, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Great thoughts to muse upon, thanks Brandy! I love Latin and enjoyed ploughing through Pliny’s letters and Virgil’s Aeneid in my schooldays but it never struck me to read the Bible in Latin. However, that would be how I view NT Greek, which I was able to dip into at university and would love the kids to study at some point.
    As for introducing, cultivating and wooing our children’s affections without knowing where they will end up, that is surely one of the greatest privileges and delights of homeschooling! I have been working on being generous following your oh so pertinent challenge recently and it is good to see us all “feasting” again on all these riches around us!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Hooray for feasting! That makes me happy. 🙂

      I think it is so wonderful that you were able to take Latin in your own schooling. It sounds dreamy to me. 🙂

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