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NLE before high school?

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I think DD has reached the point of diminishing returns on the ELE, where she actually concentrates less because the questions aren't all that challenging, and therefore makes careless errors, and the only new content for her will be the themed subtest.  She's working through Stage 3 of Cambridge Latin, and will likely finish stage 4 before next Spring unless she slows down. I plan to have her go through a more rigorous Latin program, probably using an online class of some sort, as high school Latin. Right now, it's simply that she loves Latin and enjoys the challenge of it. And, to be honest, she could probably use a kick in the pants that she doesn't know it all.


However, I've heard from other people that it's not a good idea to take the NLE before high school age because you can't retake levels or go backwards, and I'm pretty sure she'd do better on the NLE after a program other than Cambridge, since it's relatively light on grammar compared to others, and I'm not an expert Latin teacher.




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Sure, it's possible. NLE starts with the Intro level & then has 7 levels beyond that (counting the relatively new 3 level in addition to 3/4 prose and 3/4 poetry), & there are a few kids who manage all of them before graduating. They ramp up in difficulty, especially once you hit the 3/4 prose & poetry levels & are expected to sight read various authors. Before that, the intro, 1, 2, and 3 levels cover basic Latin grammar & adapted readings, in addition to culture, history, geography, & mythology questions.


NLE isn't written to any particular curriculum. While Cambridge might be lighter on grammar, it's probably got more of the cultural & historical background that she'll need for NLE. Regardless, though, it's best to refer to their posted syllabi & make sure she covers all the items listed before taking a level. It's a good idea to have a copy of Wheelocks or another Latin grammar that she can refer to when she needs to fill in gaps.


My dd started with intro level in grade 5 & managed to complete all of them by grade 12, taking the 6th level twice (they were nice & let her do it again when she ran out of levels), though not without some nail-biting moments at the end. There are book prizes for multiple (4 or more) gold medals, and a scholarship competition that you can enter if you receive a gold on one of the upper levels in grade 12.


It's interesting to take a look at the annual NLE report. You can see that while there were almost 5000 golds on level 1 last year, there were only 24 on level 6 (granted, it's still about 10% of all test takers, though). That's what some of us are considering when we advise others to think carefully before starting early, especially if you want to continue throughout the high school years.

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I have Wheelock's-we pull it out occasionally to flesh out the grammar, since Cambridge sometimes does things without any explanation as to why.


We may try to start the NLE this year, then. I'd rather challenge her than have her get used to things being too easy.







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