Lingua Latina, by Hans Orberg, saved my teaching career.
For years I taught Latin. For years I watched my students struggle. I watched them memorize long lists of words and long lists of Latin endings. Worst of all, I watched as they struggled to read rudimentary Latin sentences.
That’s right. They couldn’t read in Latin. And to be honest, I could barely read in Latin.
But we had stacks of endings memorized. Oh, could we rattle off those Latin endings!
I have some questions for you.
Have you ever learned a language by memorizing grammar charts? Have you ever learned a language by memorizing endings?
I didn’t think so. Neither have I. Neither have my students. Neither has anyone I have ever met.
I grew up around foreign languages. I spent over ten years in Europe. Didn’t see it there, either. I never met anyone who learned a language by memorizing grammar charts.
Do you have a multilingual friend? I’ll bet she grew up in another country. I’ll bet she was surrounded by foreign languages as a child. She probably grew up reading foreign books as well as English books. I doubt she learned a second language by memorizing grammar charts.
Now, your friend is multilingual. And you are jealous.
These days, I am teaching my son to drive. What would you think of me if I told you that he had to memorize all the parts of the car before I let him drive. I mean all the parts. Carburetor, transmission, axel, ignition, dip stick… you get the idea. What would you think of me?
You would think I was an idiot.
That is how Latin is taught in America. Learn these endings, kid, and someday you will be able to read in Latin.
That is not how Latin is taught in the Lingua Latina online class. In this class, we flip the order. Start reading in Latin today, kid. We will learn the endings as we go.
Lingua Latina teaches Latin the way we learn to drive cars. Learn to drive the car, kid. We will learn the parts of the car as we go.
Hans Orberg believed that students would learn Latin faster, and understand more if they learned through stories.
Lingua Latina is a novel!
You read that right. Lingua Latina by Hans Orberg is a novel, packed with interesting characters, stories, legends, family squabbles, fugitive slaves, pirates and twice the vocabulary of most Latin textbooks.
As I said, this book saved my career. For years, I taught Latin the “traditional” way. Endings. Lists. Tests. Quizzes. Boring.
My students were bored. They hated Latin.
After years of disappointing results, I was discouraged. I decided to quit teaching and return to the construction world.
Then, in the spring of 2009, as a last ditch effort, I ordered a copy of Lingua Latina. I started reading it the day I got my hands on it. A week later, I knew I did not have to stop teaching.
I also knew that it was time to quit teaching Latin the dumb way. (Yep. I said it. The dumb way).
Don’t get me wrong. Grammar is important. You will not, however, learn Latin by learning Latin grammar, Latin endings, and Latin vocabulary lists alone. I tried that for years. Trust me. It does not work.
I knew it was time to change the approach.
My students deserved it. Latin deserved it.
In the fall of 2009, I began teaching Latin using Lingua Latina.
I wish I could say that my students instantly felt the same euphoria I felt when I first opened the book. Some did. Most didn’t. This was still school, after all. To them, Lingua Latina was just another textbook.
Within minutes they had isolated the biggest complaint about the book. They instantly protested.
“Mr. Thomas, this book is written entirely in Latin!”
They were right. There is not a word of English instruction anywhere in the entire book.
They were terrified. Perhaps you feel the same way. I can’t read a novel in Latin! I don’t know any Latin!
That’s the beauty of Lingua Latina. You learn as you go.
Don’t worry. I will guide you through.
Visual Latin combined with Lingua Latina online is a powerful Latin course. In a shorter amount of time than you thought possible, you will be reading Latin with ease.
Don’t believe me? Check out this email I received recently from a student (Her responses are italicized):
Dear Mr. Thomas,
Here are my Pensum C questions. 🙂
1. Quid est negotium agricolae?
Negotium agricolae agros arandum et frumenta metendum est.
2. Quando frumentum metitur?
Frumentum metitur in mense Augusto.
3. Num arator ipse aratrum trahit?
Arator non ipse aratrum trahit, sed duos validos boves aratrum trahit.
4. Quid est pabulum pecoris?
Pabulum pecoris herbam est.
5. Unde frumentum in Italiam invehitur?
Frumentum in Italiam invehitur ex Africa.
6. Quae regio Africae fertilissima est?
Regio Africae fertilissima est prope Nilum flumen.
7. Cur necesse est agros rigare?
Necesse est agros rigare, quia solum siccum est.
8. Quae sunt fruges vinearum?
Fruges vinearum uvae sunt.
Can you read that? Oh, by the way… she is 16 years old. She is in her third semester
I have watched schools spread Latin out over a six or seven-year span. And, yet, students complain that they hate Latin, can’t speak Latin, and can barely read Latin! After six years?
Please. Latin is a language, guys. It just does not take that long to learn the basics of a language. After six or seven years of study, a student should be fluent in the language!
I will not drag students along for six years. Though it would be great for me financially if I could convince you to send me checks every year for six years, I just can’t do it.
Instead, we are going to read through the entire Lingua Latina text in two years.
Of course, this means that this is going to be a tough class. I only want to work with motivated students who are going to perform, rise to the challenge, and do the work. Not to put to fine a point on it… please don’t sign up if you are lazy.
Students will likely spend an hour a day learning Latin outside of class.
- They will complete weekly assignments. They can then compare their work to the work of thousands of students who have gone before them. In this way, students can check their own work.
- They may watch the recordings of class in case they missed anything, or in case a concept was too difficult.
- When they feel they are ready, students can tackle the test at the end of each chapter. My site will provide instant feedback and an instant grade. If a student is not satisfied with the grade, they can take the test again.
That’s right! Classes will be recorded. Miss class? No big deal. Students can watch it later. Confused in class? No big deal. Just watch the recording again.
One more thing… when we come back from a break in the 4th semester, we will be reading sections of the New Testament in Latin.
That’s right. Students will be able to read from the New Testament… in Latin! How many high school students are able to do that?
Here again, are the benefits for you.
- You, tired mother, do not have to teach Latin.
- You are not going to send me checks every year for six years…unless you want to!
- You do not have to grade anything! My site will do it for you.
I found quite a few. The prices ranged from the $575 per year on the high side, to $400 per year on the low side.
And remember, many of these courses take longer than two or three years to complete.
These courses are fine, I am sure. They are taught by skilled instructors, I have no doubt. They deliver on their promises.
But, I like to OVER DELIVER. Why? Because the happy emails I get from happy people make me happy!
Here’s one of my favorites:
“I can’t scream loud enough about this man! My dd had a horrible teacher for Latin and turned her completely off Latin, foreign languages, and anyone except mom teaching her anything – ever! It took me over a month to talk her into trying him. Within 2 weeks she did a complete turnaround – with in a month all I heard was Latin Latin Latin (But without tears this time).”
– S. F.
Here is another one I received recently:
“My daughter absolutely loves your class!
She said for the first time in a long time, she actually understands Latin instead of just memorizing it. She really appreciated how well you explained everything and took the time to answer questions. She was so excited to get her paper graded so quickly. She also commented on how friendly, funny, and respectful you are.
I can’t tell you how encouraging and reassuring it is to have found your class. She’s gone from feeling defeated to hopeful. Thank you so much for allowing her to join your class. She is really looking forward to next week.”
Here’s the thing… I want you to enjoy Latin.
That’s why I am offering this class at the low price of $25 per month (That’s $300 per year)!
Oh… and that is not just the price for one class. That is the price for every member of your family to take every class I teach.
I can’t guarantee this price in the future. Already, I am getting pressure to raise the price. “Keep up with the times!”, my friends are telling me. Maybe they are right. Maybe it is time to raise the price.
It’s just that, once upon a time in America, Latin was included in a child’s education. That’s no longer the case, I know, but I would like to at least make Latin affordable again.
For now, I am keeping the price low. Next year… well, we will see.
Sign up. You have nothing to lose, and an impressive skill to gain.
See you in class!