Why I can no longer grade your work.

This morning, I am plowing through over 150 emails.   Many of them look like this:


1.    Quae sunt insignia imperii? Fasces et secures insignia imperii sunt.

2.    Quomodo Romulus civitatem auxit? Romulus multitudinem finitimorum in urbem receipt, cum sub monte Capitolino inter duos lucos asylum aperuisset.

3.    Cur novus populous uxoribus carebat? Quia nusquam benign legatio audita est, adeo aliae gentes Romanos spernebant ac simul tantam in medio crescentem molem metuebant.

4.    Quare Romulus finitimos ad ludos vocavit? Quia uxoris non habet.

5.    Quo rex victor spolia opima tulit? Ad monte Capitolino.

6.    Quomodo Sabini arcem Romanam ceperunt? Filia Sp. Tarpeius virgo forte aquam petitum extra moenia ierat. Ei Tatius auro pollicendo persuasit ut Sabinos armatos in arcem acciperet.

7.    Quare scuta sua in puellam coniecerunt? Quia seu exempli causa ne quis impune patriam suam proderet.

8.    Quid fecit Romulus cum Romani fugerunt? Post precatus, velut si senisset auditas preces, “Hinc” inquit, “Romani, Iuppiter Optimus Maximus, resistere atque iterare pugnam iubet.”  

9.    Quam ob rem pax facta est cum Sabinis? Quia Sabinae mulieres, crinibus passis scissaque veste – ausae sunt se inter tela volantia inferre.

10.   Cur Romulus Veios expugnare non potuit? Quia urbe valida muris ac situ ipso munita abstinuit.

11.   Quid accidit cum rex contionem militum haberet. Subito coorta tempestas cum magno fragore tonitribusque tam denso nimbo regem operuit  ut conspectum eius militibus  abstulerit.

12.   Num milites regum in caelum rapi viderunt? Milites non regum in caelum rapi viderunt.

13.    Quid Proculus Iulius narravit? Proculus Iulius narravit        “Romulus parens urbis huius, prima hodierna luce de caelo repente delapsus mihi obvious fuit. ‘Abi nuntia’ inquit ‘Romanis, caelestes ita velle ut mea Roma caput orbis terrarium sit.” 

14.    Quomodo novus rex creatus est? Ita plebe permissum est ut regem crearet, sed tamen senates decernebat quis Romae regnaret.

15.    Uter rex ferocior fuit, Romulusne an Numa? Numa rex ferocior fuit.

 16.    Quomodo Numa populum bellicosum temperavit? Sacerdotem et Vestis creavit et bello non putat.


So, yeah.  I am having trouble keeping up.  

I really hate to say this, but, I am not currently taking on any more students under the grading option.  I am maxed out.  I simply do not have time to take on new students.  In the past, I had two options.  $25 a month option grants access to every live class I teach and grants access to every recorded class on my site (currently about 700 videos).  This option remains open.  In the past, if you needed me to grade, the price doubled.  However, due to the number of students who opted for grading, I am currently not able to grade the work of any more students.

As my site has grown, the emails have grown.  I receive hundreds of emails a day.  There are two kinds of emails.  Half are from students whose work I grade.  The other half are general inquiry emails.  The general inquiry emails are requiring more and more of my time.  

I will be working every day this summer to build tools to help students check their own work.   I will be creating more quizzes and tests for my site.  I have already begun loading my own answer keys to my site, and I will be loading more.  These are free to subscribers. Over the past six, or seven years I have created a massive database of responses to my students.  These I am uploading to my site for my subscribers.  I also have forums where students are able to interact with other students and are able to check each other’s work.

I know this may not be much help, and I may have simply created more questions.  I apologize for this.


Coffee Break Italian

On Monday, July 31, I flew down to Miami, Florida.

Long story short, I had left a vehicle there when my family flew to Athens, Greece.  We were going to pick it up on the way home.

But, on April 13, my son ended up in the emergency room in Aurora, Colorado.  We flew from Athens to Denver.  We skipped Miami.   We left our van there.

I went to get it this week.  The van never made it home.  Broke down near Cocoa Beach, Florida.  After towing the van to a salvage yard, I rented a car and drove home.

Now, to the point.  On the way home, I finished season one of Coffee Break Italian.   You can listen to a lot when you are alone on the road for 16 hours.

I have enjoyed the Coffee Break language series for years.

The idea is a simple one.  If you have a fifteen, or twenty-minute coffee break, you could learn a lot.  As Mark, the author of the series often says, you can turn your “down time” into “do time”.

Those of you who know me, know that this appeals to me immensely.  Much of what I have learned in life, I learned in short moments snatched during the daily hustle.  For example, I listened to the first 25 lessons of Coffee Break Italian while shaving every morning.

The long trip home from Miami gave me the opportunity to finish season one.

In the Coffee Break series, polyglot Mark Pentleton takes learners from zero knowledge of the target language to proficiency.

In most episodes, we find Mark, the teacher, a student, and a native speaker.  This is a brilliant structure.  From Mark, we learn the grammar, and often the vocabulary, of the language.  From the student, we learn to practice the language.   We can imitate the student.  As she learns, we learn.  And, finally, from the native speaker, we learn the correct pronunciation of the language.  We also learn bonus vocabulary.  The native speaker will also bring cultural insights into the lesson.

I have listened to all of Coffee Break Spanish, much of Coffee Break French, some of Coffee Break German, and half of Coffee Break Italian.  The structure really does not change.  This actually makes it easy to jump from language to language.  The familiarity makes the material even more accessible.

Really, I cannot say enough good things about the series.  Start listening.  It will be worth your time.  A year from now, you just might speak French, or Italian, or Spanish. or German.

It’s worth it.  Turn off sports radio.  Turn off NPR.  You can get sports stats later.  You can learn about trouble in the Middle East later.  Both will be available in 2018.  Promise.  Some things don’t change.

But, you can change.  You can improve your mind.  You can improve your life.  You can learn another language.  The Coffee Break Series can help.

One last thing.  There are free lessons and there is a premium subscription.  Test your resolve.  Go through the free lessons before signing up for the premium subscription.  No reason to waste money if you aren’t going to stick with it.