From Henle 1 to Henle 2? Henle 3?

I received this question:

My daughter is going to be enrolling in Classical Conversations for the very first time, going into Challenge 3 where the class will be completing the last part of Henle 2 and then starting Henle 3. I don’t think she is really going to be ready, and I think it might have been better for her to do the second half of Familia with you this year instead. But she didn’t. So, in your opinion, what is the best way for her to get prepared to jump in and not be too over her head? Should she try to do more Familia over the summer? Or would Visual Latin help her to bridge the grammar gap?  

Here is my reply:

I am not sure how to answer this.  In my experience, Henle 1 does not prepare students for Henle 2.  I am teaching Henle 3 this fall.  I am not even sure how to prepare.  So far, as best I can tell, Henle 2 will not prepare students for Henle 3.  

Years ago, I was leaving education for construction and real estate.  I was leaving because of books like Henle Latin.  I discovered  Lingua Latina and decided to stick around a bit longer.  I loved the series then, and I still love it today.  It prepares students for almost anything in Latin.  

It’s a simple numbers game.  First Year Latin by Robert Henle teaches students about 400 words.  Lingua Latina part 1 teaches students about 2,000.  

Have her read Lingua Latina over the summer.  It will prepare her for the Henle books.  It will do a better job than the Henle books.  

By the way, I will likely be offering a Lingua Latina review class over the summer if you are interested.

All Classes cancelled today. Internet problems.

What is the opposite of “All’s well that ends well”?  Whatever it is, that is what I am dealing with.

Today was supposed to be the last day of class.  Suddenly, the internet in our rental home no longer works.  It is dropping classes every 15 minutes.

I will re-record the class and upload it to the member’s section of my site.  I hope to have it up within a few days.


By the way, we are headed home in a few days.  I know the internet works there.  I will be working all summer and will be teaching several summer classes.

I will be sending out information soon.

Too many people idealize Latin. Here is the truth.

I recently received an inquiry about my online classes.  The woman who emailed me added an interesting sentence in her email.

I’m realistic and don’t want to idealize Latin into something it’s not.  

Wow.  She nailed it.

Too many people idealize Latin.  Here is the truth.

With almost every curriculum, you are going to spend 5 – 6 years studying Latin.  When you finish, you will possess a language you can practice with almost no one.  You will have no one to speak to, and no Latin-speaking country to visit.  As a bonus, you will find yourself involved in very frustrating, pointless arguments about the proper pronunciation of a language no longer spoken.  Fun. 

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies.

I have spent over 20 years studying Latin.  I now live in a world of dry, dusty, and mostly boring books.  My wife doesn’t get my job.  My friends don’t get my job.  My kids don’t get my job.  Every week, I spend 20 hours or more reading old books hardly anyone cares about anymore.  Another 30 hours, or so, grading.  It’s lonely.  

On the other hand, if you study Spanish, French, German, Italian, or any other modern language, you will be able to speak to native speakers within a year, maybe less.  Plus, there are many beautiful countries you could visit.  That really is fun.  

Here’s the dirty little secret Latin teachers never tell.  If you learn Spanish (or French, Italian, Portuguese, or a dozen other European languages), and then you tackle Latin, you will find Latin much, much easier.  My very best Latin students are Spanish speakers.  Why? Easy.  Spanish came from Latin.  

So, what if you study Spanish, but never make it to Latin?   You will still speak Spanish!  Or, Italian.  Or, French.  You get my point.

A lot of kids are required to take Latin in school.  I feel for them.  That is why I helped create Visual Latin.  I wanted to take one of the dullest subjects on the planet and make it interesting… maybe even fun.  

If you must study Latin, start with Visual Latin.  Then, join one of my Lingua Latina classes.  I do everything in my power to make these classes enjoyable.  I also do everything I can to get students through Latin as rapidly as possible.  With either Visual Latin or Lingua Latina, students will be able to read the New Testament within two years.  

After achieving that incredible goal, you could move on to a modern language.  

But, if you have a choice… start with a modern language and then tackle Latin.

After The Latin Road?

I received this question:

I have a son who is almost 12 and has completed The Latin Road volume 1 and most of volume 2. His brain seems to compute Latin well. Do you think he would be a candidate for one of your classes, or should he hold off? I was planning on him doing a Second Form Latin class with Memoria Press, but your class seems so much more appealing.

Here is my reply:

Unfortunately, I am not too familiar with the Latin road.  I need to order that series.  

All of my classes start at the beginning.  So, it is quite possible he could jump in and keep up.  My classes are aggressive.  My goal is to have students reading the New Testament in Latin within two years.  It can be done.  I have taken thousands of students across this line.  But… it isn’t easy.

Fortunately, I record every class I teach.  This provides students with a bit of insurance.  If class becomes too much, they can always slow down and move at their own pace.  

You can get a feel for the classes by checking out the book Lingua Latina.  It’s the toughest Latin book out there, but it is the best, by far.  (Anyone who says differently is selling something.)  It is also the most entertaining.  

Tip of the Week #107. Get a job.

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

This time of year, there is a lot of talk about college.

I am a teacher.  Over the last 20 years, I have spent much of my time talking with students.  Naturally, many of those conversations were about college.

Many people think I am anti-college.  I am not.  I am anti-debt.

The cost of college has risen exponentially.  Considering the product these factories are producing these days, the price of college has become a joke.

Or, worse.  Since debt is a form of slavery, and since we are loading the young with debt, perhaps the cost of college has become more than a joke.  For many, the cost of college has become the introduction to slavery.

To misquote Patrick Henry, “Our children’s chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of campuses everywhere!”

Debt is slavery.  Debt is strain.  Debt is stress.

Early on in my marriage, well-meaning, older, “wiser” Christians pressured me into buying a house.  The condo we were living in was “too small”.  I was a teacher in a private school.  Teachers in private schools don’t earn much money.  I couldn’t really afford the house.

(Teachers in government schools do just fine, but I refuse to work for the government.  If you take the king’s dime, you are the king’s man.)

I foolishly left the condo we were living in.  I bought the house.  This dumb decision on my part sent us into a downward financial spiral that lasted years.  Three years later, after trying for almost two years, we sold the house.  We sold it at a loss.  We moved right back into a condo.  Even though it is “too small” we still live in a condo today.

That condo that was “too small”?  It is now worth twice what I paid for it.  Someone else’s profit.

That house debt locked me into a bad employment situation.  I couldn’t get out because I was locked into debt.  I had to pay the bills.  That house and that debt strained our marriage.  We have never fully recovered.  The cracks and fissures and strain are still there today.

I can’t believe that, as a culture, we allow students to walk into the combat zone of debt.  Worse, we encourage them to do it. “So, kid?  Where are you going to college?”  What are we thinking?

It took twenty years and way too much strain, but we are now debt free.

I am thinking of getting a job at a local bike shop when I return to Tennessee.  I do not need the job.  I do not really need the money.  But, I have always loved mountain biking.  I wish I had gotten a job at a bike shop when I was younger.  By, now, I am sure I would own my own store.

Before you go to college, before you go into debt, try hard to identify your passion.  If you can, get a job inside that passion.  Love working out?  Get a job at the gym.  Love biking?  Get a job at the bike shop.  Love eating healthy food?  Get a job at the smoothie place downtown.

In other words, do what humanity used to do before we all started believing in the college fairy tale.  Become an apprentice.   At least for a while.  If your career choice requires college, then go.  Just go later.

And, please.  Read this before you sign that college application:

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas