“Non uno die Roma aedificata est.”
This is part two of a three-part series. Here’s the first post, “We were Homeschool Latin Dropouts.”
So I packed up the “way fun” Latin for Children materials, and took them to our local used curriculum store.
I was seriously annoyed at the waste of money, but not especially discouraged. GraceNotes had a stellar year in fourth grade. Since a foreign language solution eluded me for fifth grade, she worked through a simple Latin and Greek roots program while I continued to investigate options.
There are many options. I looked at all of them. But once bit, twice shy.
There would be no commitment to a program without a solid personal reference. Convinced that all roads lead to Rome, I finally realized that I needed to find another mom who had successfully made this journey. Find out what program had worked, or was working for her children; ask how she used the program, get some advice and some tips.
First, I asked around on Facebook. Then, I inquired on our local homeschool Yahoo groups. Many moms made suggestions of curriculum providers, but no moms could tell me they had been through a whole program. Only a few moms mentioned how they had used their favorite program, and those moms said something along the lines of “It’s great! You don’t need to know Latin! We just pop in the videos and…”
How do you say “Red Flag” in Latin?
That Spring I asked around at the monthly Charlotte Mason discussion group meeting. One parent was using “Latin for Children” (she bought hers at the homeschool convention too!) and really liked it (she had not gotten to week 20 yet). Several moms shrugged and said they would probably wait until high school, and send their kids to community college or co-op. A few parents liked Latina Christiana. One parent, the leader, had successfully put her children, all four of them, through Latina Christiana and then Henle. Wow! I don’t know about you, but I found that quite a recommendation!
Returning home, I followed up on Latina Christiana. Latina Christiana is produced by Memoria Press whose slogan, “Saving Western Civilization One Student at a Time,“ clearly tells you that they think very highly of themselves. And if their slogan wasn’t a big enough clue, this is the website through which I discovered myself a member of the Homeschool Latin Dropout Club. Ahem.
While on the one hand it was more than a little off-putting, my more honest right hand found it reassuring that enough other parents had struggled with Latin in same way, misera comites diligit and all that. I also discovered that while Memoria Press’ Latina Christiana provides instruction for elementary children, and Henle is the high school program of choice for future patricians of Western Civilization, there is another program that bridges the Tiber: The Form Series, First through Fourth Form Latin.
Meanwhile, the idea of joining GraceNotes, and studying Latin alongside her had been percolating.
I had already learned a lot during our two years of homeschooling. Why not Latin? It occurred to me that I would be able to solidly understand the text when singing a choral work such as Dvorak’s Mass in D, or Vivaldi’s Gloria, or Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. As the idea grew on me, I realized that I felt more optimistic about our overall success with a foreign language, and was actually excited about learning Latin. My overall purpose and vision for foreign language blossomed as well, when I realized what a wonderful goal for Grace and I, as Christians, to read the Bible in Latin, (called the Vulgate) followed by some of the great ecclesiastical works of the early church.
We were leaning heavily toward First Form Latin, when Mr. Garner and I attended our third homeschool convention. Carefully avoiding the Exhibit Hall, we occupied ourselves with workshops, several by Andrew Pudewa of IEW fame. I was greatly encouraged when Mr. Pudewa mentioned that he was doing the same thing; learning Latin for the first time with his younger children. And with a similar goal; to be able to read the Vulgate and the great writers of early Christian thought and apologetics. This was just the encouragement I needed! Further, Mr. Garner announced that he would cross the Rubicon and join GraceNotes and I as we marched forward to claim the Latin language!
So it was that in September as we started our third year of homeschooling we began Memoria Press First Form Latin…
This is part two of a three-part blog series. The final installment is here: From Latin Dropout to Latin Lover.