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How much English Grammar before higher level Latin? CC Essentials?

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Hey, just jumping up to the high school board.  A little scary.  :001_smile: (Haven't figured out avators and signature lines yet.  )


Anyway, we've been doing MP Latina Christiana II and will move on to FF II after that....but I have a son (currently 5th) who is not crazy about grammar or language study in general, so Latin is his least favorite subject, with grammar and writing right on par in his dislike.  We did JAG this last year and he did GREAT with it - I also used AG in full with my 7th grade daughter who loves language study.  Was planning to use it with him next year, but we're considering the CC Essentials program since we could use the camraderie and IEW writing program.  Think he'd do better with some positive peer pressure.


I know there is some debate about whether  Latin grammar teaches the English grammar or vice versa, but my son did much better in his Latin this year after working through the JAG - he seemed to understand it more clearly.   So I thought that what appears to be the overwhelming amount of info in CC Essentials EEL might be benficial to us in our Latin studies.  But honestly, I think the EEL is kind of....over the top.  I think the Charlotte Mason part of me just rebels against needing to spend more time on things that I can't tell are worthwhile, and are (frankly) boring and convoluted. (Honestly, 112 model sentences to memorize?  To what end? I'm not judging as much as genuinely asking....) I thought the AG was somewhat interesting and my kids actually didn't mind and liked it.  I had no trouble teaching it.  Was pretty hands off, really.  But the EEL seems more thorough and with more formal terminology.  And more teacher/time intensive.


So my question:  we're planning to move on eventually into Henle or Wheelock Latin - will the CC EEL help us immensely  in our First Forms and Henle/Wheelock study?  We'll do it if it going to help....or if you ahve another English grammar suggestion that would be helpful, I'd take that too!




DD 13  

DS  11

DD  8

DD 6

DS 20 months

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It might.  Language teachers complain frequently about how difficult it is to teach a foreign language to students who know little to no grammar.


Then again, I learned most of my English grammar in German class in high school, except for transitive and intransitive verbs which made no sense til I took Russian in college.


If you are going to eventually go to Henle or Wheelock anyway, I would buy it now.  I found the explanations in FF to be lacking - they are much clearer in Henle.  Dd did FF, but I had to look stuff up in Henle to be able to explain it to her.

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Essentials is indeed a solid program for future language study.  My teens went through it (one had two years, one four), and I was an Essentials tutor myself for six years.  They have sailed through Latin with multiple honors on the National Latin Exam, and my oldest will take the Latin AP in May.  Certainly you can learn grammar as you go, but it will go much, much better if you have a solid base. Because Latin is mostly a written language, the grammar is especially important. I taught high school Latin for two years locally and grammar was a huge barrier.  I spent about 2/3 of my time teaching English grammar, and then the Latin.


But is Essentials a must?  No, there are other solid programs out there.  Rod and Staff, First Language Lessons, and Shurley English are all solid programs that will go deep enough to make language study go much better.  You can do IEW on your own, or use other programs.  Like any other paid outside class, a lot will depend on the tutor and who else is in the class.  It isn't just the program, it is also who is leading.


My DC liked having a class, especially when I wasn't the tutor (thankfully I wasn't always).  No regrets here.




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I am learning Latin now and I definitely agree that a solid grounding in English grammar is immensely helpful in learning Latin.


If you decide to forgo CC for any reason, you can consider working through these books before starting Henle/Wheelock:


1. English Grammar for Students of Latin

2. Basic Language Principles with Latin Background


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My oldest is currently taking AP Latin with Lukeion, and my middle dd is taking Latin I with Lukeion (using Wheelock's). (My oldest used Latian Christiana before 7th grade, and my middle dd used Latin for Children).  I absolutely think that having a solid foundation in grammar is essential.  Their teacher often tells the children to review grammar if they are not familiar with a concept.  If a student does not know how to locate a direct object, predicate nominatives/adjectives, or tell the difference between verb tenses, including perfect tenses, Latin will be more difficult.


We have used Rod and Staff for grammar since 4th grade.  My oldest is finished with the series, and my dd is in the grade 8 book currently.  I am not familiar with the CC essential program, but 112 sentences to memorize seems very odd to me.  A child should be able to diagram any sentence without having to memorize 112 model sentences.  We do all of Rod and Staff orally (except the writing exercises and the diagramming).  It takes us about 20 minutes each day. 

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Our experience is similar to Michelle's. A solid grounding in English grammar has been incredibly helpful for Latin study. I've been especially aware of how useful that English grammar foundation is this year, as one of my boys takes Greek 1 with Lukeion. Almost every single week, overhearing some of the Greek class, I can see the pay off. He has a high A in the class, and I'm sure that is largely because he went in with such a strong grammar foundation. (That and the fact that he's such a diligent worker.)


My boys did R&S grammar 3-7, and my daughter will do the same. I'm hoping to get through R&S 8 with my daughter, depending on her course load in grade 8.  We do almost everything orally, too, and it only takes 30 minutes max/day.


My boys did a year of Essentials in 5th grade. I didn't like the grammar. It's similar to Shurley's approach, but it seemed too gimmicky to me. At the time, they had finished R&S 3 & 4 and were working in R&S 5.  There was very, very little in Essentials that they hadn't already covered, and in a much more thorough way, in R&S or with me.They loved the IEW writing part of Essentials, so we went w/ the Essentials grammar flow, but didn't stop R&S and didn't worry about the Essentials-specific grammar memorization. I can see where Essentials grammar would be useful for students who didn't have much previous grammar instruction. Kind of a crash course in grammar.

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