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What are the tech requirements?
Students will need internet access that supports live streaming on Zoom; a headset or earphones with mic (a built-in computer mic may be acceptable if used in a quiet room); a webcam; an email address to register & log in to our virtual classroom on CANVAS; and access to a digital camera. Typing skills are helpful, but not required.
How do I know if my child is ready for Latin?
In the PNEU programmes, Charlotte Mason scheduled beginning Latin lessons in the second year of Form II—roughly equivalent to our 5th grade. One of the beginning Latin texts she prescribed, mentioned in Home Education, encouraged lively engagement as students read and narrated Latin from the start. You can read all about that text HERE and HERE.
Ms. Mason designed an entire program of home & school education that ensured consistency in the habit training and grammar instruction needed before Latin. Modern home education, by contrast, is far more eclectic, which makes it harder to determine if a student is sufficiently prepared.
When applying Miss Mason’s method to Latin instruction today, I believe it worthwhile for parents to consider the following:
––> Is the student’s habit of attention well-established?
––> Can the student read English fluently?
––> Has the student completed at least a year of formal lessons in grammar?
––> Has the student practiced written narration and keeping a notebook?
A child’s steady progress in these areas is the best indicator of his/her readiness for Latin.
Are there any prerequisites for this course?
Yes. Your child will need to complete at least a year of formal English grammar before taking this course. Specifically, he/she will need an acquaintance with the following concepts:
🏛 The Sentence: Subject and Predicate
🏛 Parts of Speech: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Verbs, Adverbs, Conjunctions, Prepositions, Interjections
🏛 Action vs. Linking Verbs
Why not start Latin as early as possible?
We often hear “the earlier the better” when it comes to learning a second language. And for modern, spoken languages this is clearly the case. But for Latin, we don’t have the same access to native speakers or regular opportunities to immerse our children in the language. These are significant limitations that affect how we learn a “dead” language.
So while one can focus on rote memorization and chanting of forms in the early years in preparation for Latin, in my experience, these methods do not produce earlier or greater fluency in Latin. On the contrary, I’ve often seen these methods backfire—dulling a child’s natural interest through monotonous drill, and stifling the vitality of Latin as a language through an approach stripped of meaningful context.
If you’d like to start Latin early (4th/5th grade), I recommend you keep it fun and engaging, building up vocabulary and cultural context that sparks the desire to know more about these Roman people who gave us so much. The Charlotte Mason method of education, rich in literature and living ideas, will naturally appetize children in this way. However, if you are keen to start, a lively introduction to Latin can complement and connect to other subjects in the feast. Two CM-friendly approaches that are my favorites for these students: Latine Loquor (I Speak Latin) by Andrew Campbell and Minimus by Cambridge. Another resource that I’ve recently discovered and really like is First Latin by Marion Polsky.
What if my child has already had some Latin?
Great! Many students who have had some Latin have learned through the grammar or grammar-translation method. This is often the case for students using Latin workbooks. While effective in the long run, this method is highly analytical and so laborious on its own that students invest years (if they make it that long!) in mastering the Latin grammar—all before they get to read Latin literature.
My approach in this course helps students develop fluency in reading and understanding Latin from the very first lesson. We intuit grammar in the context of a sentence, a dialogue, and eventually a whole passage, internalizing meaning through vivid illustration, oral exercise and written narration. Only after students have experienced a grammatical concept do we begin to unpack what it means linguistically. And then, we play with these ideas!
So, in short, even if your child has had previous Latin, my course will probably present it in an entirely new way. It is an opportunity to flex different language-learning muscles, practicing efficient study habits and learning lots of new words in the process.
Let’s talk about your child’s experience with Latin and I’ll be happy to advise on whether your child would benefit from this course, or might instead be ready for a more challenging program at the next level.
Do you use a CM Latin curriculum?
In the Living Latin Lessons Pilot (2019-2020), I led a class through a vintage Latin text that Miss Mason recommended in Home Education and scheduled on the PNEU programmes. While there were many things I liked about the text, I felt it necessary to make substantial adaptations and supplement with other resources. I decided, upon conclusion of the course, that my students and their parents will be better served with a text that reflects modern standards for Latin and provides more support for students learning at home, allowing them to transition easily to other programs. To this end, I have adapted the Cambridge Latin Course for my classes; however, my approach remains grounded in the educational philosophy and relational method of Charlotte Mason.
How do you handle pronunciation?
With ease! 😉
Seriously though, I know that pronunciation can seem like an intimidating thing to master when you’re learning Latin on your own. And what pronunciation to use? That is a frequent concern. I’ve talked about it at length in the a podcast HERE, if you’re trying to decide what is best for your homeschool.
For the purposes of this course, I use reformed classical pronunciation, which is the standard adopted by most universities in the U.S., as well as the American Classical League and its nationwide network of middle and high school Latin clubs.
For some families, ecclesiastical Latin is already familiar as a living expression of religious life. I appreciate this, and encourage my students to use the pronunciation (classical or ecclesiastical) that they prefer. This variation offers great enrichment in our lessons together.
What if my child needs to miss a class?
As a courtesy to families, I provide cloud recordings of my classes. I try to make these recordings available within a few hours, though occasionally, delayed processing or technical glitches may interfere. When a student needs to miss a class, please arrange a time for him/her to watch the recording and complete the assigned prepwork before the next live lesson.
Can my child still take the course if he can’t attend live?
I now offer a “shadow” option for motivated students who cannot attend live lessons. The shadow option serves families who need more flexibility in their weekly schedule. Students who live abroad, prefer to work independently, or for other reasons cannot commit to my live lesson schedule may find the shadow option a good fit. This option can also be described as “self-paced,” in that a student has access to course materials for the entire academic year (from August through May) and can work at his/her own pace up until the final, fixed end date of the course.
Shadow students attend our live lessons via the recordings. They share a Canvas classroom with their live classmates and join in the same work, resources, and discussions. I provide constructive comments for narrations and exams and, in addition, offer weekly “Office Hours” via Zoom where students can meet with me individually for additional support. While I provide shadow students with pacing suggestions that correspond to the live classes, I recommend that parents and students agree together on a weekly timetable for Latin lessons and prepwork and commit to growing in the habit of diligent work.
Is it possible for my child to attend part-time?
Is there a tuition discount for families?
Sorry, but no. Siblings may share a screen for live lessons and work collaboratively on homework assignments (which can be a real plus!), but they receive individual attention from me—guiding practice and progress in class, responding to questions and communications, and offering ideas for growth on term exams. For this reason, I offer limited seats and charge tuition by-the-seat.
What about the National Latin Exam?
Ah, memories! As a student, I took the National Latin Exam (NLE) three times; and as a teacher, I have prepared many students to take it as well. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity.
The NLE is offered every spring to Latin students (grades 7 and up) all around the world. This course correlates with the “Introduction to Latin” level of the NLE.* You can find out more about exam registration and deadlines, download a syllabus, and access past exams and answer keys at the NLE website:
For younger students (grades 3-6) in this course or at the beginning of their Latin learning at home, check out the Exploratory Latin Exam.
*Beginning in 2021, I will be offering all my current students the opportunity to take National Latin Exam.
Can my child earn academic credit?
The crediting process for homeschoolers varies by state. Many states will accept a passing score on a nationally standardized exam for credit-equivalency. For high school students, the National Latin Exam may suffice as credit for graduation. But college-bound students will need official documentation of 2-3 years’ progress in Latin. This is most often accomplished through the CLEP, SAT II (sadly, now discontinued), or AP Latin exam.
As a professionally-certified teacher in the state of Florida, I can ensure that our lessons adhere to national Latin standards, but unfortunately, I cannot award credit.
What comes next after this course?
I now offer a second year of Living Latin Lessons, guiding students through CLC Unit 2—maintaining the middle-school pace and completing one credit year of Latin. Though I am not developing a third year of Living Latin Lessons at this time, I have investigated other program options that offer a living approach, and can offer solid recommendations for continuing into intermediate Latin. One of the advantages of the Cambridge series is its alignment with current standards for Latin (including the National Latin Exam) which allows students to transition easily to other Latin programs when ready. So whether they have one year or more with me, I aim to prepare my students for Latin I in full—or Latin II after the second year.