I received this comment:

My daughter can’t seem to get past Lesson 16. (We have had a lot of family/personal/computer issues going on this year so we had to put Latin aside for a few weeks off and on.) My daughter can not seem to grasp Lesson 16 with the ablative and accusative nouns. I don’t want her to go on to Lesson 17 until she has mastered Lesson 16 because I know that these lessons build on each other. Do you have any advice or does this mean that she is not ready for Latin? I’m frustrated but I know that this is a very difficult language and I’m learning that it takes quite a bit of memorization. She has gotten the endings for the declenentions memorized now but it is the application of them that is getting her. I would appreciate any advice that you can give!

Here is my reply:


I am sorry to hear that your daughter is stuck.  I know how it feels.  I am a rather slow learner.  I don’t know how many times I read the same Latin books as I taught myself Latin.

These days, I am doing the same thing with Greek.  

That said, I have a couple of thoughts.  

First of all, don’t be afraid to repeat a lesson until you’ve got it.  When learning Latin, the “subjunctive” mood nearly killed my efforts.  I had to read, re-read, and re-read again the same lessons until it finally clicked.  It took a while, but, eventually, I got it.  As I said, I am a slow learner.  

So then, my first recommendation is to repeat the chapter until it gets easier.

The endings in Latin are terribly important, that is for sure.  But, unless you are translating from English to Latin, they likely will not stop you.  From Latin to English is a bit less complicated.  Your daughter should focus on reading the stories in the final section of each lesson.  If she can read and understand, she is learning.  

Prepositions drive my students crazy.  They rarely get them correct.  In live classes, I am constantly reminding students which case follows certain prepositions.  Honestly, I think this is one of those lessons that sinks in over time with practice.  

If you are taking the test for lesson 16, and not doing well, skip it.  

That, then, is my second recommendation.  Move on.  Really, the prepositions are unforgiving.  Just be sure to come back to lesson 16 once a month, or so.  Review it frequently until it makes sense.  

Finally, let your daughter know that she can contact me directly anytime.  It takes a few days for me to respond, but, I always return emails.  If she gets stuck, have her get in touch with me.  Latin is super complicated.  I can help.