Wheelock’s Latin?

I received this question:

I have a question about your Latin course. My daughter is 14 and she has just started an online Latin course that uses Wheelock’s Latin. She is having a very hard time with it, there seems to be an overwhelming amount of information in each chapter and lesson and I am of no help! However this is our first experience with a foreign language, maybe this is how it goes? Do you have any experience with Wheelock and does your course differ from what we are doing? I don’t want to tell her it’s ok to give up on a course but she is very discouraged. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Here is my reply:

Good morning!

I have read Wheelock’s Latin dozen of times.  It is one of the books I heavily relied on while writing Visual Latin.

Honestly, I had books like Wheelock’s in mind while writing Visual Latin.  I wanted to create something a little less intimidating and a lot more user-friendly.  Wheelock’s is intimidating.  In fact, I have only ever seen it used in college.  I am a bit surprised it is being handed to a 14-year-old girl.

I grew up in Europe.  I met multi-lingual children daily.  Learning a new language does not have to be such a frustrating experience.  Unfortunately, Latin is typically taught using a grammar-based approach.  Wheelock’s is no exception to this rule.  The approach is probably a good on for adults.  (Wheelock’s was designed for adults who were returning to college on the G.I. bill.)  I am not sure it is the best approach for kids, though.  

I still search for the best approach.  Even Visual Latin is grammar based, though it is more geared towards children.  It would likely be a much better fit for you daughter.

Honestly, I have changed my mind drastically over the last few years.  I once admonished students to study Latin, and then (perhaps later in high school) to study French, Spanish, or Italian.  Now, I recommend the opposite.  Study French, Spanish, or Italian when you are in school, then study Latin in high school.  If you never get to Latin, you will at least speak French, Spanish, or Italian.  

If you are committed to Latin (not a bad thing), then I recommend Visual Latin.  If you want something more challenging, I teach live online Latin classes over at my own site: www.dwanethomas.com.

Please let me know if you need more help! 

Dwane Thomas