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New to self ed. with a question on where to start

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I want to learn Latin to a high proficiency and also writing. I'm intending to use Classical Writing with my children when they get to that point and was planning to use it myself starting with their books for older beginners. For Latin I already have the text for Cambridge Unit 1 on hand but was intending to buy Wheelocks and Lingua Latina (on disk for Mac).


Firstly, are these decent choices and secondly, with which should I start (taking into consideration that my knowledge of English grammar is limited and I'm not sure I could study both simultaneously)?

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Cambridge is fun, goes fairly slowly, and gives lots of reading practice. I found Wheelock's to be a slog, but very thorough (although it gets a bit incomprehensible in some of the later chapters). You could do both, although you could start with Cambridge alone and have a fair amount to do for quite some time.


You might want to think about something other than Wheelock. It has been the standard for quite some time, so there are lots of people out there who learned Latin from it and feel you should never use anything else, but I have wondered if there are newer and better options. I know that the two colleges near us switched from Wheelock to Ecce Romani and Latin for a New Millennium. Wheelock's isn't out of print, so I assume they found this worked better for them. I haven't used either myself, so I can't comment.


There is an email list group that does Wheelock's together:


They've also gone through a few other texts. That would probably be a better place to ask which Latin program to use. You'll get more opinions there, many from people who have taught with various books. (You need to sign up for the list to ask anything or to get involved in the groups.)


Another great place to ask Latin questions is the Cambridge yahoo group:


They also talk a lot about other books and methods and are happy to answer questions.


From this WTM forum, I think you'll mostly hear that Wheelock is the be all and end all. It might be interesting to hear some other opinions at these other sites.


Cambridge worked well with my kids. Wheelock's did not. I also found that, for myself, the information I picked up from Cambridge stuck in my head a lot better than anything I learned in Wheelock.


However, if you do go with Wheelock, there is a small book called 38 Latin Stories that are written to go along with the lessons. They're useful for reading practice.


I didn't find I needed an extra grammar book with Wheelock's. I just learned English grammar right along with the Latin as I went.

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We came late to homeschooling with my oldest, so he hadn't much English grammar when we started Latin. He found English Grammar for Students of Latin to be helpful:




Two things that I've learned about studying foreign language as an adult. Consistency is important. If I leave off for several days because I "don't have time" I come back to it having lost a great deal. So even if it's a few minutes to review vocabulary at the end of the day, that helps, but working for two shorter chunks each day is best. I think it might have been Nan in Mass who suggested this here on the boards, though I discovered it by accident. The second thing I found is that I do best with a program that includes an audio component. Even if you don't think you're an auditory learner, I would suggest using some kind of audio to help with retention. I think Wheelocks has oodles of downloadable audio stuff, and other programs have CDs you can purchase.


ETA: I just reread your question. Sorry if this does not seem relevant. Whichever program you choose, you'll be fine if you stick with it. Cambridge has a nice audio component, and I found the storyline to be a nice balance to the grammar-intensive programs, but very a very difficult program to start with. I would ease into Wheelocks, then do some Cambridge for fun.

Edited by Nicole M
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For Latin, I'm going through Lingua Latina (primary - with an online study group) and trying to fit in some of Linney's Latin class (he wrote Getting Started with Latin) since I need some instruction in English :P (Mr. Linney's lectures are helpful, and the book is inexpensive or free online). I highly recommend joining Latin Study and finding a group - its really helping keep me accountable. Even though I'm a chapter behind atm, it's motivating me to keep going and catch up.


I'd love to know how going through Classical Writing works out for you.



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I'm starting Latin with Getting Started With Latin. I'll then move on to Wheelocks, possibly with a detour through Lingua Latina first.


This is what I am doing as well. Once I have complete Getting started with Latin, I may do the authors free on-line classes (http://www.linneyslatinclass.com/) and then move on to Wheelock's. I have dabbled a bit in Wheelock's and there is an online guide workbook that is very helpful.


Good luck.

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