Laughter is the best medicine…

A few months ago, my son was in a terrible car accident.  Now, he can’t work, can’t workout, can’t type, and has trouble reading. While he is expected to make a full recovery, he is pretty disappointed while he waits.  He is fighting depression.

This morning, he told me that he was going to start each day with comedy.  “I think it will cheer me up”, he told me.

I was immediately reminded of Norman Cousins’ book, The Anatomy of an Illness.  In the 1960’s Mr. Cousins was diagnosed with a degenerative disease.  He was given a few months to live.  He decided that if he was going to die, he was going to die laughing.

He started watching as many funny movies as he could find.

Sure enough, he didn’t die.  Instead, he recovered, went back to work, and ultimately told the story in The Anatomy of an Illness. The book remains a classic.

You can watch a short clip of Norman Cousins speaking about this here:

Turns out, laughter might be the best medicine after all.  So, with that in mind, watch this:

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas

P.S.  How many bureaucrats does it take to change a lightbulb?  Two.  One bureaucrat assures everyone that all is going to be fine.  Everything is going to be okay.  Meanwhile, the other bureaucrat screws the new lightbulb into the kitchen faucet.

P.S.S.  Why does NASA no longer send dogs into space?  Their faces kept burning off on re-entry.

How does Harry Potter come down hills?  He walks.  J.K. Rolling.
Okay, okay.  I’ll stop.

Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:

What are the online classes like?

One of the most frequent questions I receive on my site is this one:

“What are the online classes like?”

Fair enough.

First of all, you should know that the online classes are designed for two types of students.

First, the online classes are designed for those who enjoyed Visual Latin and want to go beyond.  The online classes are next level Latin classes.  They are not easy.  In fact, they are highly challenging.  Please do not ignore this warning.  I typically do not allow students under the age of 13 into these classes.

Second, the online classes are designed for Classical Conversations students studying Latin using First Year Latin by Robert Henle.  I recommend the Henle classes only for students required read the Henle series.  For everyone else, I recommend Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.

The online classes are not a well-produced series like Visual Latin.  Instead, they are a series of screencasts.  Students watch me explain the text on my screen.

Here is an example of what class is like:

You will also have access to explanatory videos.   For example, if you are having a hard time with a difficult concept, or exercise, I will create extra videos to explain.  Here’s an example of one of those videos:

You will have access to about 800 videos.  Currently (June 2017) there are 771 videos.

In the past, I graded the work of my students.  I spent 6 to 8 hours a day grading.  I did this for years.  Eventually, I had to stop.

However, I kept a record of all of my notes to my students.  I am now in the process of making those notes available to all subscribers.

Here is an example of question from Lingua Latina (My corrections are in red.  If a student gets the answer is correct, there will be no red corrections.)


1.  Quis Iuliam pulsat?  Who punches Julia?

  • Marcus
  • Marcus Iuliam pulsat.
  • Marcus pulsat Juliam.
  • Mārcus Iūliam pulsat et rīdet.
  • Mārcus Iūliam pulsat, quia Iūlia cantat.

Puer quis Iuliam pulsat est Marcus.  If you are going to use the relative pronoun (and I think it’s impressive that you did), you will need the masculine relative pronoun in this case.  Qui, instead of Quis  I’m not taking any points off, because you missed it by one letter, and you had the courage to even attempt it.

Marcum Juliam pulsat.  Since Marcus is the subject of the sentence, he is in the nominative case.   Change his name from Marcum to Marcus  -1

Marcus pulsat Ioliam.   One small spelling mistake… Julium, not Joliam -1

Marcus pulsat Julia.  Julia receives the action… she is in the accusative case.  Marcus pulsat Juliam.  -1

Iulia non pulsat  True.  But, the question is, “Who punches Julia?”  Of course, Marcus Juliam pulsat.  -2


Many people ask, “How will I grade the work of my children?”

Now that I am done grading, I am in the process of uploading even more answer keys.  I am also in the process of creating more automatic quizzes on my site.  Using the quizzes on my site, students will be able to immediately receive feedback, and parents will be able to track the grades of their children.  My site will keep track of students grades.

As students take quizzes, my site tracks their progress.  Here is my progress, for example:

As you can see, I am pretty good at English vocabulary and not so good at Latin.  I’m teasing.   🙂

As I write the quizzes, I intentionally insert wrong answers to test the system.

This site is how I make my living.  I am doing everything I can to make my site more user-friendly and even more powerful for those attempting to learn Latin or Greek.  I have stopped grading the work of individual students so that I can dedicate more time to everyone.

If you are unsure about signing up, you are welcome to see what others are saying over in “Kudos” section of my site.

Or, you can just read the letter of another subscriber:


Dear Dwane,

Let me start by telling you how happy I am to have found your website!!  You have totally revolutionized the way we study Latin in my home. 🙂  This will be my 4thyear being a Challenge director for Classical Conversations, therefore 4 years of trying to diligently learn Latin in order to teach both my students in class and my 4 children at home.  Even though I actually enjoy learning Latin, it has been an uphill battle using Henle Latin.  But now that I have been watching (and re-watching) your videos I feel like it’s finally starting to truly make sense.  You have a remarkable teaching style…and it just clicks!!  Thank you!! 🙂

Last year I really wanted my older Challenge level kids to join in on your Henle classes, but unfortunately the finances just weren’t there (even though your prices were SUPER reasonable, especially with your sibling discounts).  However, when you opened your site to a family rate, I just couldn’t pass it up.  I prayed about it, and God provided (He is so good)!!  Well, being the one-income, frugal homeschooling family that we are, we get our money’s worth…with everything!! 😉  Last year we would have ONLY gone through Henle.  However…since you’ve opened your website to include ALL of your classes, and since I have discovered so many wonderful gems in terms of learning language with your videos, I am having my kids view many of your other classes as well.  (I am not quite sure they are as excited about all the classes you offer as I am, since in their minds that equates to ‘more school.’ 😉 But I do know that they are learning so much more than they could ever have gotten with just doing Henle.)  As a family, we have added Lingua Latina and love it!!  And even though my kids may grumble sometimes when I call them to watch a video, they giggle their way through them.  You throw out so many interesting tidbits.  I just love the conversations it opens up for us!   

Even though my 10 year old’s main Latin curriculum is Visual Latin, she enjoys watching and reading/listening to Lingua Latina as well.  I am absolutely amazed at how quickly she is picking Latin up with your videos.  She absolutely loves VL, even now that we have reached lesson 13 and it’s starting to get more intense for her.  But that’s o.k., she has plenty of time….and we are just taking it slowly.  You truly have a wonderful God-given gift of teaching and relating to kids.  Thank you so much for making learning Latin fun!!

I know you are a super busy guy, and I am sorry that this letter is so long, I just really wanted to tell you how much I appreciate all that you do: making a great service extremely affordable (especially to families with multiple children), making learning Latin FUN, and providing great content in all of your classes.

– Anita


Want to join a class?  Click the blue button below: 

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Finding Ultra

Several days ago (June 19, 2017) I finished reading Finding Ultra, by Rich Roll.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for several years.  Just never could find the time.

Then, when my son, Jackson, wrecked in Colorado, I suddenly found myself with the time.

I had moved my family to Athens, Greece while I studied Greek.  Jackson’s accident brought us back to America.  We ended up in Aurora, Colorado for nearly two months.

While there, I stopped studying Greek as my wife and I struggled to take care of our son, and help our daughters adjust to the transition.  I also struggled to keep my site alive, my classes on, and my blog active.  And, my wife and I just struggled.  Tough times.

To keep our sanity, I bought a family membership to the Central Park Recreation Center.  While my girls played in the lazy river/pool, I would work out.  While working out, I finally found the time to listen to Finding Ultra.

I really enjoyed the book.  I’ve been a fan of Rich Roll for some time now.  I used to listen to his podcast but eventually had to quit.  I had to quit because there was work to be done.  He and Tim Ferriss tend to host some seriously long shows.  I usually only have time for a 15- minute to 30-minute podcast.   Both of these guys can talk with their guests for hours.  Good stuff.  I just don’t have that kind of time.

Rich Roll started competing after the age of 40.  I found this inspiring.  This was one of the reasons I wanted to read his book.

But, what I found fascinating was the fact that he is plant-powered.  Rich Roll is a vegan.

How is it possible to compete (and win) in triathlons as a post 40-year-old vegan?   This question nagged me for years.  Finally, I read the book.

I am glad I did.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed at first.  I came looking for answers.  How did Rich Roll do what he did?  How did he win those races as a vegan?

For the most part, the book was simply an autobiographical sketch detailing Mr. Roll’s decent into addiction and then his climb out of addiction.  Interesting.  Inspiring.  But, not what I came for.

There was a brief mention of his plant-based diet somewhere in the middle of the book.  I found this part extremely helpful, but I also found it to be too short.  I wanted to hear more.  The story moved on.  As I said, I was disappointed.  But, I pressed on.  Perhaps he would come back to the subject.

He did.

At the end of the book, I found what I was looking for.  In Appendix A, Rich Roll goes into detail.  He tells us what he eats, when he eats, how much he eats, and so on.  The appendix was worth the price of the book.

He even tackles the persistent protein question.  The meat and dairy industry has convinced all of us that we absolutely must eat the dead carcass of an animal killed four weeks ago, or we will never survive.  I have long suspected this argument to be ridiculous.  I really appreciated that Mr. Roll tackled this argument.

Incidentally… have you ever noticed that the largest, strongest animals on our planet are plant based?

  • The bull
  • The bison
  • The horse
  • The giraffe
  • The moose
  • The elephant
  • The hippopotamus.

Even the largest dinosaurs were herbivores.

Have you also noticed that the people telling us that we have to eat meat make lots of money selling meat?

I listened to this book on Audible.  I do this a lot.  You can cram audiobooks into the strangest places, and in doing so, you can read so much more than you might otherwise read.  However, I have to say… Rich Roll, who reads the book himself, is a laid back guy.  You get the feeling he is not in a big rush.  I often am in a rush.  For this reason, I read the book at 1.5 speed.  At 1.5 speed, Mr. Roll sounded normal.  But, that’s just me.  🙂

I really enjoyed this book.  At times it felt a bit like a sales-pitch.  There was a bit of product placement.  Overall, though, I say it’s worth it.  I found it useful, helpful, and inspiring.

I give it four stars.

If you want to read Finding Ultra, simply click here:




After Visual Latin?

I received this comment:
My 12 yr old has finished visual latin. What class should he go to next school year? Why do you suggest on classs over the other. Why do you teach Henle latin if you don’t suggest it?
Here is my reply:
Honestly, I suggest French, Spanish, Italian, or some other modern language.  You can learn all of them for free using DuoLingo.  You can even follow me over there if you want too.  My username is Enawd.
If you want to continue with Latin, and if you want my help, I suggest reading Lingua Latina, and I suggest joining one of my online classes.  The schedule is here:
I teach Henle Latin to help those who have to study Latin using Henle Latin.  Simple as that.  I am just trying to help the students who are stuck reading it.

Latin Lite

I received this letter:

I am a 17-year-old high schooler (homeschooled) taking your Visual Latin course (I just finished VL1 and will soon be starting VL2). To start, I would like to say that your course is a lot of fun, and I am thoroughly enjoying learning Latin. Before your course, I didn’t think much of learning a new language beyond what I have to for high school, but given how much fun this course has been you have inspired me to try to continue learning languages beyond my required high school course and see how far I can get.

My first question is one of reading Latin. I have been trying to read one of the Latin primers designed for this task, Carolus et Maria, however, I am having trouble with a specific part. Verbs going at the end of sentences often makes it difficult for me to read a sentence well because I won’t be able to tell what’s going on until the very last word. I was wondering if you had any advice, tips, or tricks when it comes to being able to read more comprehensively and hopefully be able to read faster. Is there a shift in mindset? Is it because the endings aren’t memorized yet? Is this something you delve more into in Visual Latin 2 or in any of your other courses? Does it just require more practice? Any help here would make my Latin reading experience much easier.

My second question to you is a bit broader. Like I have said I hope to continue practicing Latin and learning other languages, my current plan is to start Spanish after I have finished the bulk of Latin and work my way through many of the Romantic and other European languages before I take on a language with a completely new alphabet such as Greek. I was wondering what you thought of this plan and was wondering if you had any other advice as I move ahead in my adventure.
Here is my reply:

Continue reading Latin Lite

An amazing email…

While we were in Colorado, a subscribing family sent this phenomenal offer to me in an email.  They offered to send any books we liked.   Can you believe that?  Anyway, the reading list alone was so useful, I thought I would share it with all of you.


Hi Dwane and Gretchen,

First off, know that we pray for you all every day and are so glad to see how God is taking care of you all.

Second, we know you are swamped with life, so this will be brief.  Samuel asked you today if you’d like some books.  Here is a list of ones that we really like that we’d be glad to lend you.   We tried to pick a variety.

Do any of these titles appeal to you?

Geography and stories of people in other places
How the Heather Looks, A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children’s Books, Bodger
The Wheel on the School, DeJong (story takes place in the Netherlands)
The Lost World of the Kalahari, van der Post (We haven’t actually read it, but it looks good)
Three Men and a Boat, Not To Mention The Dog, Jerome K, Jerome (whose parents lacked imagination)  (Very funny. These three guys and their dog travel along the Thames and argue a lot)
The Endless Steppe, Hautzig (WW2 story about a girl and her family sent to the gypsum mines in Russia)
With Pipe Paddle and Song: A Story of the French-Canadian Voyageurs, Yates
Coming Home Crazy, Holm (about living in China and coming home crazy)
On the Shores of the Great Sea (About the life around the Mediterranean)
The Complete Book of Marvels, Richard Halliburton (Halliburton traveled the world in the twenties)
The Brendan Voyage, Tim Severin (also one of our favorites since it’s about sea seafaring
Years Before the Mast (another sea faring book)
The Clay Marble, about a young Vietnamese girl
Red Sails to Capri, Weil (about Italy)

History, Historical Figures and Historical Fiction
I, Juan de Pareja, Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (a slave who worked for Valesquez becomes a painter himself)
Otto of the Silver Hand, Pyle
Eagle of the Ninth (Roman history)
The King’s Fifth
Beyond the Desert Gate and the Ides of April, Ray (more Roman history)
Carry on, Captain Bowditch (great story of about mentoring)
The Trumpeter of Krakow, Kelly
The Story of Roland
The Story of Siegfried
John Adams, McCollough
How the Irish Saved Civilization, Cahill
Johnny Remain

The Natural World
Madam How and Lady Why, Charles Kingsley (a bit tedious, but it is interesting)
The Sea Around Us, Young People’s Edition, Rachel Carson (lots of references to evolution, and fascinating look at life in the ocean. An old book)
School of the Woods, William Long
Napoleon’s Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changes History, Le Couteur and Burreson
The Disappearing Spoon (another science wonder book.  Either this one or Napoleon’s Buttons has some language you have to skip over.)
The Life of the Spider, Fabre (French naturalist)
Mystery of the Periodic Table, Wiker

The Fairy Doll, Rumor Godden (includes The Story of Holly and Ivy)
The Scarlet Pimpernel, Orczy
The Prince and Curdie, Macdonald
Sea Wolf, London
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Twain
Persuasion, Austen
Emma, Austen
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell
Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell
Midshipman Hornblower, Forester
The Country of the Pointed Firs, Jewett
The Hobbit

Mr. Poppin’s Penguins, Atwater
The Peterkin Papers, Hale
Penrod, Booth Tarkington (We all love it.  The characters show typical racial attitudes of the early 1900’s, though the author’s commentary on them doesn’t approve of their racism.  Penrod gets in trouble a lot.  We’ll just leave it at that.)
Thurber Carnival, James Thurber
Burma Surgeon, Seagrave
The Cross and The Prodigal, Bailey (Writes about Biblical texts from the Middle Eastern perspective)
Eric Liddell:  Pure Gold

Just tell us if you’d like any of these.  We would be happy to send them to you.  Do you all have Quiddler?  it’s a card game like Scrabble.

With all our love

The world is getting better.

I am a hardcore futurist.

You may hear me complain about Islam from time to time.  This is because I know history.

But, I am not a pessimist about the future.  I am optimistic about the future.

Here is part of the reason why:

I agree with Dr. Gary North.  Here are more reasons the future looks good.
1. The Pareto curve is not going away.
2. The federal government will go bankrupt.
3. The federal government will lose respect.
4. Power will decentralize.
5. Taxes will decline because voters will demand it.
6. Liberty will increase.
7. Liberals will scream bloody murder.
8. They will not have enough votes to get their agenda legislated.

And here is the main reason I am optimistic about the future:

Christianity wins.  Get used to it.


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