I received this email:
After reading several blog posts, I am wondering (again) about Henle. Yes, I admit that I am also one of those people who HATE Henle. I find it cumbersome, confusing, limited (vocabulary ), and just plain aggravating. Our son has struggled with Latin at Classical Conversations and I have several times considered jumping ship. However, if I reveal this to anyone in CC, I am quickly put down and told to just keep pushing through. Our son is a freshman and he is a math/science guy. He has convinced himself that he will always struggle with language but to me, Latin actually seems like it would be the easiest language for a logic minded kid to tackle. I think we just need to find the right curriculum. Perhaps I am wrong in thinking that. What I do know is even if that may be true, he needs to fulfill his language requirements for graduation. Nonetheless, we can neither take Henle nor Lingua Latina because of co-op and a math class that conflict with both times. Could you give us some guidance?
Here’s my reply:
Ugh. First of all, I hate that you are being belittled for not studying Latin, or for wanting to stop studying Latin. How absurd is that? Very absurd, in my opinion. Good grief. People are weird.
I have met many happy people who have never studied Latin. So have you. Life goes on without it.
That said, you have the same problem we all have with high school. The law of the land says that we have to take two years of a foreign language. After all, government bureaucrats know best. That has worked well. Most Americans are fluent in several languages. (Read that last sentence with a sarcastic tone.)
I strongly suspect that your son’s difficulty with Latin is caused by First Year Latin by Robert Henle. My suspicion is based on hundreds of emails like yours that I have seen over the years. I am not simply mad at First Year Latin by Robert Henle. I am basing my suspicion on feedback. Lots and lots of feedback.
The worst part is that your son now thinks he is no good at languages.
No. School is no good at teaching languages. THAT is the problem. Of course, in this country, when school fails we blame the children. And then… we ask them where they’re going to college.
I grew up in Europe. I have met many Europeans who are fluent in multiple languages and who are also good in math and science. So, there goes that argument. The problem is the schools. The problem is not the human brain. In other words, the problem is not your son.
Actually, you can still join my classes if you like. I record everything I teach. I rarely take those classes down. I have quite a few students who use the previous classes only. In fact, many prefer this as they can move at their own rate. Students are always welcome to contact me if they have any questions.
And, by the way… a subscription grants access to every live class I teach. It also grants access to every recorded class on my site. This means that he can still take First Year Latin by Robert Henle with me, if he wanted to finish the book. On my site, you don’t have to choose between classes. You have access to them all.
Let me know if you need more help!