I received this email.

We are super struggling with Henle. Obviously, we are in a CC community, and I’ve tutored for many years. But all four of my boys, along with me, are stuck on verbs. Am considering ditching Henle and simply doing VL only. Am sure you’ve had this question before, but Latin is still Latin no matter the curriculum, correct? Just like math is math

Here is my reply:

Short answer:  Yep.  Latin is Latin.  Jump.  Abandon Henle.  The water is fine.  

Long answer:  I don’t like teachers.  I don’t like school administrators.  I don’t like academic types.  

Hang with me.  This is going somewhere.  You have struck a nerve.

By American standards, my house is tiny.  There are seven of us living in it.  I have no home office.  

I start every morning blogging and writing at Starbucks.  So does my son, as it turns out.  We do not sit with each other. We get along very well and we both like funny videos on YouTube.  For this reason, we avoid each other in the morning.  

Nearly every morning a pretty high school girl walks past me, gets a coffee, and then sits with my son.  She hangs out with him for about five minutes.  She is always tired.  She is always stressed.  She is at school at 7:30.  She takes eight classes.  Each teacher assigns about an hour of homework.  After school, she is at soccer practice until five.  After soccer practice, it’s dinner, and then six to seven hours of homework.  After a few hours of sleep, it’s back to Starbucks.  

I want to swear here.  I am ticked off.

I will refrain.

I have been a teacher for almost twenty years.  Here is my homework policy.  Do it if you want.  Or, don’t.  Makes no difference to me.  I am going to work so hard in the classroom that you shouldn’t need homework.  If you listen well, you should be good to go.  If you learn to enjoy Latin, perhaps you will go on.  Great.  Perhaps you will not go on.  Great.  Makes no difference to me.  Isn’t half a loaf of bread better than no loaf at all?

Nearly every week, I get emails from “Henle refugees.”  Henle Latin is not really a bad book.  It will get the job done.  Get through it and you will learn Latin.  Chances are high you will hate Latin by the end, though.  I have seen enough emails.  I know  where the book will take you.

Henle Latin is old school.  It is heavily grammar based.  This is fine.  So are my classes.  The problem is, there is no story.  It’s just sentence after sentence.  To make matters worse, you have to translate sentences like this one (I am not kidding): “There were dead bodies floating in the river.”  Lovely.

Here is what I recommend instead.  Go through Visual Latin.  You will like it.  I promise.  If you do not like it, we will give all of your money back.  No questions.

When you are finished with Visual Latin, if you hate Latin, and if you are tired of Latin, quit.  On the other hand, if you want more, read a novel in Latin.  Read Lingua Latina.  If you tackle the book and can’t make it through, I can help you.  I teach the class every year: https://dwanethomas.com/lingua-latina-online-class/

If you are required by CC or anyone else to read through Henle Latin, I can help with that, too.  https://dwanethomas.com/henle-latin-online-classes/

So, why don’t I like teachers, school administrators, and academic types?  I don’t like them for the same reason Jesus did not like Pharisees.  They lay heavy burdens on students that they themselves are unwilling to bear.  Teachers are generally lazy.  I’ve been there.  I’ve seen it.  Are they up until 11pm working?  Or, are they watching Netflix while their students pour over burdens they themselves assigned?  

I sat with a teacher yesterday.  I know the school where he works.  The school lays heavy burdens on students.  Meanwhile, he talked about the latest season of some dumb show.

Why do teachers do this?  Oh, that’s right.  They do it to prepare students for college.  Don’t even get me started.

Henle Latin is a heavy burden.  There is an easier yoke.  Visual Latin is not easy, but it is definitely easier.  Latin does not have to be as hard as we like to think it is.  

Let me know if you need more help.


By the way… are all teachers this way?  Of course not.  Neither were all Pharisees.  Some came at night to warn Jesus that his life was in danger:  http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Luke%2013.31

Most teachers.  Most Pharisees.