I received this email:

Hi Mr. Thomas,

I’m planning to sign my older two children up for your classes for next school year. They’ll be in Challenge B and A in Classical Conversations, but after reading everything I can on your website, I think I’d prefer them to do your Lingua Latina rather than Henle. Would you still recommend Lingua Latina over Henle even if they’re in CC and may be a little out of step with some of their classmates? Do any CC Challenge families ever take that alternative, and can it work out well? I know that some kids in the class are already planning to use alternate Latin programs (Latin for Children), so mine wouldn’t be the only ones. For reference, we’ve previously done Latin for Children and some of Visual Latin 1.

Also, looking ahead, assuming my kids through Latin 4, I was wondering which of the two programs do you think would be a better preparation for the AP Latin exam?

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Here is my reply:

Hi!

I apologize for the delay. Finally catching up this morning…

Up to you, really.  Henle Latin and Lingua Latina both take kids in the same direction.  The goal is to have them reading the classics by the end.   Of course, on my site, you don’t have to choose.  You, and every member of your immediate family, could join each and every class I teach.  It’s all included in one subscription. 

There are families that do what you are suggesting.  They are in Classical Conversations, but they opt for Lingua Latina, instead of First Year Latin by Robert Henle.  At first, things will go hard for those who choose this path.  This is because First Year Latin, and every other Latin course I have ever looked at starts with verbs (the most difficult concept in any language).  Lingua Latina is the only exception I have found.  Verbs do not really show up in force until chapter 15 of the book.  But, because Hans Ørberg held off on verbs, and focused on the more concrete aspects of Latin first, students of Lingua Latina will feel behind for quite some time. 

In the end, they will far surpass other students.  For example, First Year Latin by Robert Henle teaches students 497 words.  Lingua Latina teaches students almost 2,000.  It is easy to see why, in the long run, Lingua Latina wins.

As for the AP exam, students will have to know the works of two authors, Julius Caesar, and Vergil.  I take students through Caesar’s Gallic Wars every year (Henle 2).  But, at the moment, nothing I teach prepares them fully for Vergil.  Though, I am adding Henle Latin 4 this year.  That should do the trick, though I can’t say for certain as I have never taught Henle 4 before.

Let me know if you need more help!

Dwane Thomas