Tag Archives: Greek

I fight authority. Authority always wins.

Every few days, I receive an email from someone who needs me to grade their work.

Every now and then, I receive an email from someone who really wants to learn Latin, Greek, or Italian.

It’s a bit frustrating.  Grades overshadow everything.  90% of my students only want their grades.  10% actually want to master Latin, Greek and Italian.  It is what it is.  It’s what the modern state, the modern government school system has done to us all.  I hate it.  I fight it.  I will continue to fight.  Doesn’t seem to matter.

I fight authority.  Authority always wins.

I know you guys are stuck.  We all are.  I am doing what I can to help.

I am working every day this to build tools to help students check their own work.   I am creating more quizzes and tests for my site.   Just created another one this morning.  It is my goal to write a quiz/test every day.  Already, there are around 100 quizzes/tests on my site and that number is climbing.  My site will generate an automatic grade for students who take the quizzes.  

I have also loaded my own answer keys to my site, and I will be loading more.  These are free to subscribers. Over the past six, or seven years I have created a massive database of responses to my students.  Compiled, these answers total around 1,000 pages.  These pages I am uploading to my site for my subscribers.  I also have forums where students are able to interact with other students and are able to check each other’s work.

Life is slowly returning to a normal state for my family. Back to work.   

Last week, Classical Conversations asked for an article from me.

Here it is:


A few weeks ago life for me turned upside down. My family and I were in Athens, Greece at the time. I had moved to Athens to study Greek, and then we received the call no parent wants to receive.

My son had nearly died when the vehicle he was driving flipped six times on interstate 70 just east of Denver, Colorado.

My wife was on a plane to Denver within hours. My girls and I stayed behind to quickly settle our affairs in Athens. We left a day later.

These days, we are living in Aurora, Colorado. We are waiting for my son to heal. He is recovering. It is a slow recovery. But, he is recovering.

By the way, the Classical Conversations community in the Denver area has been amazing. Thanks to all of you.

A funny thing kept happening to me while we were in Greece. As we met people, they would naturally ask what I did for a living. My response was always the same. “I teach Latin online.”

The European response was fascinating. “Ah. That is a very important language. It is also very difficult. But, it is a good language to study. Without Latin, it is difficult to understand the history and the people of Europe. It is also difficult to understand the history of your own language as English is heavily influenced by Latin.”

This response stunned me. Not one person ridiculed my dedication to studying the Latin language.

I am not used to this kind of response. In fact, I am used to the exact opposite.

The American response goes something like this: “What? Who in the world speaks Latin? Why do students need to learn Latin? Does anyone learn Latin anymore?” Usually, there is a fair amount of ridicule tossed in.

Before I can respond (I don’t even bother anymore), the conversation moves on to politics or the latest football game.

Because we were planning to stay in Athens for so long, we had to apply for residency for my wife. (My kids and I have British passports and did not need to apply for residency.)

The process took my wife and I deep into Greek bureaucracy. When that proved fruitless, we ended up in the office of an Athenian lawyer.

Naturally, he wanted to know why I wanted to stay so long in Athens. “I have mastered Latin,” I responded. “Now, I want to master Greek.”

He raised his eyebrows. “I’m afraid that will take you a long time, my friend.”

“That’s okay,” I explained. “I dedicated ten years of my life to mastering Latin. I’m ready to dedicate ten years of my life to mastering Greek.”

He leaned back in his chair. “Yes. I think it will take you ten years. But, it will be a journey well worth it. As you know from learning Latin, you are not just learning a language. You are learning a way of thinking. You are learning a culture. You are learning a history.”

The stark contrast brought something home to me. Americans’ connections to our roots are shattered. We really have forgotten where we have come from.

If we could go back two hundred years in the United States, I believe we could have the same conversations that I was having in Europe. After all, Latin and Greek were part of a good education back then. Patrick Henry knew Latin. Thomas Jefferson knew Latin and Greek. I could go on. Latin and Greek played a significant role in early American education.

If you are anything like me, you feel like you are pushing water uphill.

Homeschooling is not easy.

Then, someone comes along and tells you that you must add Latin.

Making bricks is tough. Now, make bricks without straw.

Mastering Latin is tough. Mastering Latin under ridicule is tougher.

It takes nerves to push on when everyone is making fun of you. Just remember this. You’re doing a good thing. You’re not alone. America may have forgotten what a good education looks like. But, that doesn’t mean that everyone has forgotten.

Perhaps Europe has walked away from much of its Christian heritage. Perhaps not. I grew up over there. I see things a bit differently. That’s a debate for another time. One thing is for sure. The Europeans see the value of what you are doing.

The Founding Fathers would see the value of what you are doing.

So do I. Ignore the ridicule. Push on. You are not alone.

Dwane Thomas
May 2017

Original article here: https://www.classicalconversations.com/…/dont-walk-away-past

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Grading is time-consuming

I received this comment:

Please add me to the waiting list.  I think it would be worth triple the money (although I’m not saying j could pay that. Lol). I can imagine it takes forever to grade.

Here is my reply:

Got it!  You are on the list.  Still working on a solution.  And, yes.  You are correct.  It is incredibly time-consuming to grade.  I have hundreds of students emailing me in Latin and Greek.  It’s a lot.  I am ready to be done.  But, my wife reminds me daily that there are many struggling moms out there who have no idea how to grade the work of their children.  She is strongly encouraging me to continue grading.  

I, on the other hand, am wavering.  It is noon here in Athens.   I have been grading since 4 this morning and there is no end in sight.

A note from my wife…

Dear Friends and Family,

You are receiving this letter because I wanted you to hear from
me, rather than “through the grapevine”, about an opportunity
that God is opening for us to serve in Greece. A year ago, we
were able to serve the refugees with Servant Group International.
It had a lasting impact on all of us. Sitting at an abandoned school, in classrooms that were now homes to 3 or 4 families, we listened to personal stories of rafts sinking, buildings bombed, homes destroyed, forced military service, and walking miles to escape. These people, who had nothing, invited us to sit with them, eat with them, share tea with them.

Since that time, the plight of the many refugees that are still stuck in Athens has been on our hearts and in our prayers. More are still coming, although that flow has slowed some since the borders north are now closed. These individuals need supplies, ESL classes, places to take showers, but also they need encouragement and a reason to hope. How very excited I was when SGI contacted me to see if I would be interested in going back to be the field co- ordinator for teams going over short-term. This will allow me to continue to listen and love.

After a trip to Atlanta last month, I was approved for a Visa and we are now making plans to leave for Greece in late March and be in Athens for @ 4 months. During this time, I will be working with monthly short-term teams sent over through SGI. The teams along with myself and our girls will be working at local ministry centers and or refugee camps. We will sort and deliver supplies, help with children’s activities, cook, help with ESL classes as well as shop to meet unmet needs. Dwane will be continuing to teach his Latin and Greek classes online while studying Greek at a language school in Athens. Jackson will be joining us in Greece, later in the summer.

We are excited to see how God has been orchestrating all of these details, long before we knew of His plan. We are excited to go and serve and invite you to come also (contact SGI). We also invite you to take part through prayer support and financial giving. My goal is to raise $6000 in support to help cover my expenses each year.

You can send a one-time gift, or if you are able to donate monthly, your support will be held for me at SGI in an account and will be sent to me as needed.

Thank you for your prayer, encouragement, and support.

Blessings, Gretchen Thomas

To donate online, please visit www.ServantGroup.org, go to the donate page, and select my name from the pull-down list.

The upcoming Greek class…

I received this email:

First, thanks for all of your inspirational emails.  They always make my homeschooling day.

: ) 

I have a few questions for you regarding learning Greek…. 

When my daughter was in seventh grade she was interested in learning Greek.  I did some research and found a program that seems to work for awhile; however, she (we) were not able to keep up with it and we let it drop off

for the sake of her learning Latin, which she likes very much.  We are working through the First Form Latin text book as well as the first 30 lessons of your Visual Latin series.  This is the third year we are working on Latin, which I teach for one of the co-ops we belong to.  

1) At what point would it be ok for her to learn Greek?  That is, should she have at least two solid high school years of Latin (completed before she goes on to Greek?  

2)  What level is the New Testament in Greek class you offer?  Should my daughter take one year of Greek before taking this class?  

3) What, in your opinion, would “count” as two solid years of Latin — two years of Henle Latin or another curriculum? 

Sorry for all of the questions, but at this point, you are the only Latin and Greek expert I know of to ask these questions.

Thanks for your patience and have a blessed day and week with your family.

Here is my reply:


Thanks for saying that.  I am glad you find my emails encouraging.

It takes a long time to become fluent in a language.  For that reason, if you are interested in learning a new language, I always recommend starting now.  

When it comes to Greek, my general recommendation is this.  If you know you want to learn Greek, go for it.  Start here:

https://www.duolingo.com/.  It’s free, and it’s fantastic.  Greek is available.

If you are learning Latin, it is a pretty good idea to finish Latin first.  This is because Latin grammar is similar to Greek grammar.  Learning Latin grammar paves the way for learning Greek grammar.

The Greek class I will be teaching is going to be a challenge.   It will be a one year course.  The goal is to go from zero to reading the New Testament in Greek by the end of the year.  For those who have completed Latin, this is an achievable goal.  For those who have not completed Latin, it is still doable, but it will be tough.  

I hope this helps!

California here we come…

My son is moving out to California for a bit for work.  He and I will be driving out there starting March 1.

There will be no classes on March 7 and March 8 as a result.  I apologize.  If you don’t like spring break, you are welcome to watch the classes from next year.

I will be back in class on March 14 and March 15.  I may have to take another break at the end of March as I am moving to Athens, Greece to study Greek for four months.

Watch for more updates on my blog.


People need to be reminded…

In church last Sunday, the pastor quoted Samuel Johnson.

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed. “

If you hang out on my blog at all, you know that I like DuoLingo.  I have explored many, many language sites, and have purchased many, many language programs.  When it comes to performance, DuoLingo beats most of them.  When it comes to price, DuoLingo beats all of them.

Finishing the Italian language “tree” on DuoLingo was one of my major goals last year.  I finished it on the last day of the year.

Finishing the Greek language “tree” is one of my major goals for 2017.  I am ready to go.

But, I have hit a snag.

It turns out, DuoLingo makes you review.  Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

I am done with the Italian language “tree” and yet, to maintain what I have learned, I still need to spend time each day practising Italian.  Because I am spending time each day reviewing Italian, I have not yet found the time to work my way through the Greek tree.

I am not complaining.  I know that, somehow, I will find the time.  On the contrary, I am very impressed that the DuoLingo developers thought to build review into their courses.

They must have known what Samuel Johnson expressed so long ago.

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed. ”