Tag Archives: Henle 2

Second Year Latin Test 1 is up.

Even though John Gotto wrote this, “Who wouldn’t get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades?” and even though I agree with him, what am I to do?

Incidentally, I don’t deal with very many rude students.  But on a daily basis, I deal with students only interested in grades.  It’s depressing.  I can teach you to read the New Testament in Latin or in Greek  But what of it?  Only one question seems to matter.

“Will I be getting an A?”  Sigh.

Every other day, I receive requests to grade the work of my students.  Nope.  No longer.  (If I am currently grading your work, I will continue to do so.  But, I am taking on no new graded work.)

Remember.  When students send their work to me, they send their work in the ancient Latin or in ancient Greek.  Could you grade that?  It’s harder than you think it is.

If a student sends sloppy careless work, I could spend an hour or two on a single email.   I sometimes receive hundreds of emails a day.  It is no longer physically possible to keep up.  If a half dozen lazy students send sloppy work, I am sunk for a week.  Happens all the time.

On the other hand, It takes me about two hours to create and publish a test.  My site will then grade your work automatically, and (Unless you cancel) track your grades.

Just published a test for Second Year Latin this morning.  Please let me know if you spot any mistakes.

Will Henle 1 prepare me for Henle 3?

I received this question:

Hi!  I am CC tutor and I have completed 1-26 in Henle I four times.  I will be doing Henle 3 this fall with an older group.  Do you recommend I finish Henle I on my own this summer and get as much of Henle 2 done as possible, or jump into Henle 2 now?  What would be the best prep for Henle 3?  I have read before than 1-26 is all that is necessary for 3, but if you think I would be better off finishing the first book, I can do that instead.

Here is my reply:

I have never taught Henle 3 (I start this year) so, I am not exactly sure what to tell you about preparation.  I can say this, though… 

In my experience, Henle 1 does not prepare students for Henle 2.  I fear what is waiting for myself and for my students in Henle 3.  

I think the best thing students can do is simply jump in and start swimming.  

If you are interested, there is an ace you can play.  If you have time this summer, read Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.  Since you have read Henle 1 many times, you are already ready for it grammatically.  You will have to learn a lot of new vocabulary, though.  Henle Latin 1 teaches students about 400 words.  Lingua Latina teaches students about 2,000.  When laid out like that, it is easy to see the problem with Henle Latin.  

Henle Latin is worth going through.  But, in my opinion, it really needs to be supplemented with Lingua Latina.  

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It’s me against the world, and the world is winning.

This is more of a rant than a “tip of the week”.

Every year I take students through Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

Every year I ask myself, “Why am I doing this to these poor students?  And, Why am I doing this to myself?”

I personally am quite interested in Caesar’s romp through France, Belgium, and Britain.  But, then again, I grew up in this part of the world and have always been fascinated by European history.  To me, Caesar’s report is an interesting glimpse into ancient Europe.

However, if you are just starting to read in Latin, is this really the best place to start?  Congratulations, kid.  You just finished learning the complicated grammar of an ancient language.  Now, here are the war journals of a Roman general.  Have fun!

Can you imagine the outcry if we were to do the same thing to ESL learners?  Congratulations.  You just learned the complicated English grammar.  Time to start reading Pentagon reports!  I will help you get started.  Here’s the 2015 report on stability and security in Afganistan: http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/June_1225_Report_Final.pdf

How in the world did we end up here?  Who decided that Caesar’s Gallic Wars was the first Latin book we should hand to young learners?  We don’t do this to students of French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

Oddly enough, in America, we may have decided to use Caesar’s propaganda to reinforce our own propaganda.  Just as Caesar had “barbarians” in the path of Roman “progress”, some early Americans felt that there were “barbarians” in the path of American progress.  This is the argument of the late William Harris in his powerful, short essay on Caesar’s famous book: http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/LatinAuthors/Caesar.html .

The war against Native Americans is over.  Thank goodness. That particular episode of American history was rather embarrassing.  But, we are still stuck with Caesar.  To pass the AP Latin exam, you had better know Caesar’s writings.  To score well on the National Latin Exam, you had better spend some time in Caesar’s writings.  Sigh.

There is a better way.  Years ago, Dorothy Sayers (a good friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein) showed us the way.  If there is a “tip of the week” in here, this is it:

After learning Latin grammar, read the Latin Vulgate.  It’ easier. The gospels are written in simple, straightforward Latin.  They were written for the people.  They were written for the masses.  In fact, the word Vulgate comes from the Latin word vulgus, meaning, the common people.

I doubt seriously that Caesar was writing for the common people.

Whether he was or not, the fact remains.  The Vulgate is easier to read.  It just makes sense to spend some time there before moving on to Caesar’s book.

I plugged chapter 2 of the gospel of Matthew and chapter 2 of Caesar’s book into a readability test.  Here are the results:

The Gospel of Matthew
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 11.9
Flesch Reading Ease score: 66.7 
Flesch Reading Ease scored your text: standard / average.
Grade level: Twelfth Grade.

Caesar’s Gallic Wars
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 19.8
Flesch Reading Ease score: 31
Flesch Reading Ease scored your text: difficult to read.
Grade level: College Graduate and above.

While the tradition is to go from the basics into the highly stylized, elite, polished writing of the most educated Romans, Sayers takes an opposite approach.  Why not start with the easier, more accessible Latin of the Vulgate and the Medievals and work back toward the more difficult Latin?

“After all”, and here I am quoting Sayers, “that is the natural way of learning any language – to begin with the more modern and go back to the more ancient, even if the ancient is the more noble.  It is true that many people, if started upon the Medievals, would, in this hurried century, never have time to go further.  Even so, would half a loaf not be better that no bread?  Their training in the Vulgate would not enable them to write like Cicero; but it would enable them to write Vulgate Latin.  After all, few of us actually ever succeed in writing like Milton or Dr. Johnson; but to write like Conan Doyle or Elanor Farjeron is better than never learning to write at all.”

If you are learning Latin to pass tests and to get into college, you don’t have much of a choice.  Read Caesar.

If you are learning Latin because you want to be able to read in Latin, there is a better place to start.  Read the Vulgate.

Oh, and by the way.  Here is the Vulgate as a dramatized audio book… for free: http://www.bible.is/LTNNVV/Matt/1 .

Good luck finding such an audio book from the people telling you that you have to start with Caesar.

By the way, I realize nothing is going to change.  I will still be teaching Caesar’s Gallic Wars next year.  I am fully aware that, like Halo Friendlies, it’s me against the world, and the world is winning.

But, sometimes… it feels good to take a swing at the hornet’s nest.

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas, April 23, 2016

Subscription questions…

I received the following questions:

Does the $25 and $50 per month class include the live classes too or just recorded?  It also states all classes.  Does this mean Lingua Latina as well?   I’m trying to figure out if we should try and finish Henle 1 over the summer (My daughter will be finish with half the Henle 1 book in May.) but that would depend on if you have a recorded version that we can use over the summer.  If that is the case, then my daughter can start Henle 2 in the fall.  My younger daughter needs to begin Henle 1, but she is only 13.  Can an 8th grader really complete all of the Henle book in a year?  May I call you or one of your representatives to discuss my options?  My younger daughter did audit Henle 1 alongside my older daughter this year, so maybe she does have a shot at finishing the book.     I’m also considering using the Visual Latin and Henle plan so maybe that could help her along.  I am really looking forward to hearing from you because I can use the help.  There are so many options and everything from online classes to co-ops need you to commit before summer even starts.  I don’t want to waste time and money making something fit for our family.  Thank you!


Here is my reply:


I am going to attempt to answer all of your questions in this one email.  Unfortunately, we cannot call each other, as I am currently in Greece with my family.  I am here to improve my Greek pronunciation for the online Greek classes I teach.  Also, as I am an army of one, there is no representative to call.  :-).

If you would like to speak to a representative at http://www.compassclassroom.com/, that is a different story.  This is the company that sells Visual Latin.  Of, course, if you have questions about Visual Latin, they will all likely come back to me anyway.  🙂

Any subscription on my site ($25 or $50) grants access to every class I teach. This means you could join (one subscription per family, not per student) and have access to Henle Latin as well as Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.  Subscriptions also grant access to any special webinars I teach throughout the year, and the Greek classes I teach.  Soon, I will be recording a series of classes that are recordings only.  You will have access to those as well.

Can an eighth-grader handle all of Henle 1 in one year?  Perhaps not.  But, that’s okay.  I have students who go as far as they can.  Then, the following year, they start over and go further.  The review makes them stronger at Latin.

Should your daughter start over, even though she is half-way through the book?  Sure.  The review will make her better at Latin.  I have read the same Latin books dozens of times.  Each time through, I get better. 

Could you finish Henle 1 over the summer using the old classes?  Yep.  I never take them down.  I have students starting and finishing all the time.  There is a lot of flexibility.  In my family, we have time to study during the summer, but December seems to be out of control.  We subscribe to several online programs.  I appreciate the flexibility that constant access offers. 

Just to be clear.  Subscribers have access to every live class I teach and access to all archived classes.  

I like helping people.  Unlike some other online programs, I don’t have a desire to squeeze families for every last dollar I can get from them.  

I see myself as a helpful advisor, not a money extraction machine.  

I am likely leaving money on the table.  Maybe a lot of money.

That’s okay.  I can sleep well at night this way.

Let me know if you need more help!

Have a happy Friday!


Henle 2 or Lingua Latina?

I received this comment:

Hello….I have 2 students in 9th grade and we are finishing Henle 1 through the Classical Conversations program. We have had to pare down the workload considerably just to be able to keep up. We will not be in the CC program next year and I don’t wish to move on to Henle 2. I am looking for a Latin 2nd-year course for high school but I am not sure what a good follow-up to Henle 1 would be especially after getting through it with some difficulty. Do you have a recommendation on how to pursue the 2nd year of Latin.  Frankly, we are weary of Henle, however, would not mind using it as a reference and for reading from time to time. Thanks!

Here is my reply:


You are not alone.  I receive emails like yours every week.  Many people are weary of Henle Latin.  Believe it or not, there are 14-year-old girls out there who are tired of translating sentences that involve the slaughter of Gauls, the burning of grain, and dead bodies lying on the ground in the forest.  

There is always Visual Latin.  However, if you have already been through most of Henle Latin, you may want more.

I would recommend you switch to Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.  It’s a novel, and it is actually interesting.  It is more challenging than Henle Latin in many ways.  For example, Henle Latin teaches about 400, or 500 words.  Lingua Latina teaches 2,000 words.  

Some schools use Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg for Latin 1.  Some for Latin 1 and 2.  In fact, I have only seen colleges use it for Latin 1.  If a student makes it through Lingua Latina, they will be ready for almost anything.  They will be done with Latin grammar.  Nothing will lie ahead but reading and more vocabulary.  

If you start reading Lingua Latina, and you get stuck,  I teach the book every year on my site: https://dwanethomas.com/. 

Keep Henle Latin nearby, though.  You are correct.  It is a pretty good reference point.

Does Visual Latin cover Henle 1?

Compass classroom and I received a series of questions….

I have some questions about the Latin program. We are doing the First Form and Second Form with two kids and Henle for our oldest. I like the idea of visual Latin but was wondering what grade levels this is for. How many lessons per year the kids should do and where will they be after they are done with 1 and 2? How would they continue after that?


First reply:

Continue reading Does Visual Latin cover Henle 1?

Access to recordings?

I received this question:

I have a Henle I and II students at home. They both have reached a point where they need additional support. I don’t need you to grade their work, I’m keeping up with that and as you say it makes me better at Latin, too. I am a tutor with Classical Conversations so I have learned a bit. I would like to sign them both up to have access to your videos/recorded classes. What should I register for? Thank you!

Here is my reply:

I basically have two options.  With grading, or without.  

If you sign up for the monthly subscription, or annual subscription (which is a bit cheaper), you will have access to not only the Henle Latin classes that I teach, but you will have access to every other class I teach as well.

You will also have access to the live classes on Tuesdays, and Wednesdays if you are interested.  The Henle classes take place on Wednesdays afternoons (central time zone).

If you decide to join, just go here and scroll down a bit: https://dwanethomas.com/henle-latin-online-classes/

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Have a happy Monday!