I received this question:
Comment: Hello! I am wondering where to place my children in your classes. They were at a classical Christian school until January of 2016. My 14-year-old has had 4.5 years of Latin before we began homeschooling. As we started mid year, I decided to not do Latin that first half year while we were getting used to homeschooling but then we did not pick it up this year either as he was WAY beyond where I could help and there just wasn’t time for me to learn it. My daughter had 1.5 years but will for sure need to be in the Latin 1 again as I’m sure so much of it has faded away with little use. Can you help me figure out what the best place to start would be and then let me know if he could just upgrade to the next level if he needs to? I’m only seeing the 3 years of Latin on here…do you go beyond? The school they were at did Latin from 3rd grade all the way through graduation with them reading and translating many large works. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
Here is my reply:
Schools spread Latin out over too many years, in my opinion. Students should learn a modern language when they are young, and should then learn Latin in high school. They should learn the grammar of Latin in one to two years and then spend any more time in the language reading. This is my approach.
I could spread Latin out over six or seven years and earn more money. But, I don’t think this is necessary. I think students could learn Latin grammar in two years or less.
I know that I am leaving a lot of money on the table, but I don’t care. I am in the business of helping people. I can sleep better at night knowing that I am not ripping people off.
My students are reading and translating the New Testament in their second year of Latin. Some are reading and translating Caesar’s Gallic Wars in their second year. For those who want to go on, I offer classes with the writings of Cicero, Tacitus, Livy, and Vergil.
That said, here is what I suggest. Order a copy of Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg. If your kids have not read it, they will like it. Unlike every other grammar-based approach to Latin, Lingua Latina is a novel. With the Latin your kids have learned, they should be able to read it.
If they can finish the book, they are welcome in any class I teach. If they can only read the first 19 chapters of the book, then I suggest they join the Lingua Latina 2 class. If they can’t read the first 19 chapters of the book, I suggest they join the Lingua Latina 1 class.
If they start reading and find themselves discouraged, encourage them not to despair. The book is challenging. I am never surprised when a fourth year Latin student cannot read the book. Unfortunately, that’s a pretty common story.
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