Visual Latin or Henle Latin?

I received this inquiry:

Comment: I have a question about Visual latin and Henle. I know you have a sheet for using both together. I am wondering if we really need it. My question is, will my children come away with the same level of latin just using VL 1 and 2 as they would going through, say, the sequence that Classical Conversations uses in Challenge with Henle over all the years. Are they 2 roads that lead to the same place, or will Henle as the main with VL as the supplement take them farther or get it in their head better? Or does it just depend on what we want them to know when it is all said and done? I would much prefer to just use VL but I am curious. Thank you so much.

Here is my reply:

You are correct. Visual Latin and Henle Latin are two roads to the same goal.   When it comes to the grammar, they are nearly identical.   That is because both courses are teaching Latin grammar!

When it comes to the vocabulary, however, there are major differences.  

Visual Latin stresses Biblical vocabulary.   This is because it was my primary goal to get the students reading the New Testament in Latin. The New Testament is one of the easiest first books to read in Latin. I also happen to think it’s one of the most important books in the world. For these two reasons, I decided to set up the course in such a way that the students would be directed toward the New Testament. I figured that if they can read the New Testament in Latin it wouldn’t be that great of a leap to other books in Latin.

Henle Latin has a different goal.   The goal of this course is to get students reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars as soon as possible.    For this reason, students learn warlike and sometimes gruesome vocabulary.   One mother recently said to me in frustration, “ After two years of Latin my son had better be able to pray to Mary or slaughter a Gaul in Latin!”   (Her son was not in any of my classes.)  

She’s right.  After reading Henle Latin students will be equipped to read more sentences like hers.

 If you are not required to study Henle Latin, I would avoid it.