This summer, some of my Latin students and I will finish up a year long slog through First Year Latin, by Robert Henle.
Even in a year long course, there is no way to get to it all.
For a while, I have been working my way through the book, creating videos using the English to Latin exercises. These are, by far, the toughest exercises in the book. They are tough because students are to think in Latin, as they translate from English.
When there are no native speakers to practice with, going from English to Latin is a tough assignment.
I started a free You Tube series to help these Henle students, but, after a while, I became too busy and stopped.
I also became discouraged with the project. Why?
Simple. I got tired of creating videos with some of the lovely sentences that Mr. Henle throws in from time to time.
Here are a few:
After a victory, there is a slaughter of part of the leaders of the tribe. Exercise 47, page 46.
There are bodies and swords in the river. Exercise 57, page 52
The Gauls often killed themselves after the victories of the Romans. Exercise 154, page 137
Soldiers, lay waste to the fields of the barbarians. Burn their corps. Attack their towns. Kill their hostages. Seize their towns, hills, and bridges! Exercise 310, page 298
Sigh. This book is filled with more killing, slaughtering, and dead bodies than many Hollywood movies.
No wonder Latin has such a bad reputation.
Is that really the track we want our kids to run on as they learn Latin?
I’ve said it hundreds of times. The Henle series will teach you Latin. You will learn the language. The books work. It just isn’t the most inspiring way to learn Latin. On the contrary, the books can be very discouraging.
Which is why, for a while, I stopped producing videos like this one: