I received this inquiry:
Hello. My son, now 12 y/o was in Classical Conversations Challenge A last year. He started the year LOVING Latin… then slowly began to hate it. I’m sure it’s because it was more difficult as the year went along and I was not on page with the instruction. Do you think your First Year Henle Latin is the best course match for him?
Here’s my reply:
I can almost guarantee that you were not the problem. I also highly doubt that your son was the problem.
My guess is that Henle Latin was the problem.
I see this all the time. It makes me sad. Students are constantly jumping ship because they hate Latin. I once found a note from a student in a Henle Latin book. It said, “If this is liberty, give me death!”
Don’t get me wrong. Henle Latin does its job. If a student makes it through the series, he will know Latin, and will likely know it well. The problem is this. The student is not going to have a good time as he passes through Latin. Henle Latin is one of the dullest textbooks I have ever encountered. And, to top it off, students have to translate sentences like this one: “Sunt corpora in flumine.” It means, “There are bodies in the river.” Lovely. That particular gem is on page 52 in exercise 56. There are more.
Personally, I would not be that excited about studying a new language if I were going to translate sentences like that one.
I always recommend Lingua Latina, by Hans Ørberg. The book, which is a novel, is filled with family squabbles, run-away slaves, storms at sea, pirates, school fights, and even romance. The problem is, the book is much tougher than Henle Latin. There is no English explanation. That is why I teach the Lingua Latina online classes. I want students to learn Latin with this book. They will not regret it. Most of my students love it.
I am a bit concerned about your son’s age, though. I typically do not allow anyone into the online classes unless they are at least 13. Of course, this is your call completely. You know your son. Perhaps he could do it.
If you were to join a class, only to find out that it was too much, you have two options. I will either happily refund the tuition. Or, you can take a break and repeat the class later (as often as you like) for free.
Let me know if you have any more questions. Happy to help with this.