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RubyPenn

When to Stop Latin

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When is it time to allow your kids to stop learning Latin?  My 8th grader is good at it, but HATES it with a passion.  He asks repeatedly if he can quit and I always say no, but I am now considering letting him because with our very busy schedule, we aren't getting to everything, and something needs to go.   He will have to study Latin and Greek roots with Vocab from Classical Roots if I let Latin go.

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@RubyPenn How far did he get in Latin? What were your goals when you started him in Latin? Has he achieved them?

I studied French and found the vocab was very similar when I started learning Latin with my kids. My dd#1 has found she's got a great grammar base in German (which is helpful) because of her Latin. In both of our cases (Latin pun!), it wasn't important for us to be able to translate Virgil.

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My Latin hater switched to Spanish once he reached high school.  I almost let him jump ship to Spanish in 8th grade, but I chose to let him have that year to consolidate his English grammar before high school.  It was a good choice for that kid at that time.  The fight to do Latin or else was not worth it for him.  We had other battles that were taking up our time. 😉 

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1 hour ago, RootAnn said:

@RubyPenn How far did he get in Latin? What were your goals when you started him in Latin? Has he achieved them?

I studied French and found the vocab was very similar when I started learning Latin with my kids. My dd#1 has found she's got a great grammar base in German (which is helpful) because of her Latin. In both of our cases (Latin pun!), it wasn't important for us to be able to translate Virgil.

He did Prima Latin in 3rd, then just vocab from 4th-6th.  I read Climbing Parnassus and was convinced he should actually learn the language, so last year he did most of Memoria Press's First Form.  We detoured into Latin Alive this year, but ended up back in First Form, which he just finished.   

My goal for him is really to learn vocabulary so he can decipher English words and do some simple translating, not so he can translate Virgil and Cicero.   What I do want for him is to be fluent in a modern language so he can read, write, and converse in it. 

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43 minutes ago, Zoo Keeper said:

My Latin hater switched to Spanish once he reached high school.  I almost let him jump ship to Spanish in 8th grade, but I chose to let him have that year to consolidate his English grammar before high school.  It was a good choice for that kid at that time.  The fight to do Latin or else was not worth it for him.  We had other battles that were taking up our time. 😉 

I'm on another forum where the moms say make him do it even if he hates it because he will benefit from it in the end, but I am beginning to disagree with that.  I also have other battles to fight!

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7 minutes ago, RubyPenn said:

My goal for him is really to learn vocabulary so he can decipher English words and do some simple translating, not so he can translate Virgil and Cicero.   What I do want for him is to be fluent in a modern language so he can read, write, and converse in it. 

Well, he did some very simple translating in FFL. If vocab is your goal, then I think your plan of the Roots is good. If he goes into German, he'd likely benefit from some more Latin but he'll pick up what he needs better if he likes the language he's studying.

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I'll add that I'm sure my kids are the outliers because I frequently read on here how much the kids just looooove Latin, but my kids have all disliked it.

Even my language-lover begged to stop after Henle. She was thankful later for the exposure to Latin as it helped her with Spanish, German, and now Russian. But, she wouldn't ask to climb that mountain (of Latin) again.

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6 minutes ago, RubyPenn said:

He did Prima Latin in 3rd, then just vocab from 4th-6th.  I read Climbing Parnassus and was convinced he should actually learn the language, so last year he did most of Memoria Press's First Form.  We detoured into Latin Alive this year, but ended up back in First Form, which he just finished.   

My goal for him is really to learn vocabulary so he can decipher English words and do some simple translating, not so he can translate Virgil and Cicero.   What I do want for him is to be fluent in a modern language so he can read, write, and converse in it. 

It sounds like you might have been *inspired* by Climbing Parnassus and its vision of Latin, but that when it comes down to it, you don't really *share* that vision - you haven't internalized it, haven't made it your own.  From what you wrote about your goals, I'd be inclined to either call finishing FFL sufficient Latin, or finish out Latin Alive and call that sufficient.  Then you have your Latin foundation for both English and for a serious study of a modern foreign language.  (It might be worth figuring out what about Latin he hated, so that with your modern FL you can take steps to mitigate those things as much as possible, and prepare him for dealing with them wherever they can't be avoided.)

 

Just going to get on my hobby horse for a moment, and point out that learning to *translate* Virgil, etc., is not the same as learning to *read* Virgil, etc., in Latin.  If unserious Latin means you don't end up with the ability to comprehend actual Latin texts, and serious Latin means you learn to translate actual Latin texts, I'd say that "medium Latin" is the ability to *read* actual Latin texts, though not necessarily the ability to *translate* them well.  I think there's a lot of value in medium Latin, even though it is less rigorous than full-on "able to translate" actual Latin texts.  (And it's a sad, ironic thing that sometimes "serious Latin" study nevertheless somehow fails to develop medium Latin skills.)  For us, I'm wavering between going whole-hog and aiming for serious Latin versus "settling" for a solid reading ability in Latin.  Right now in our intro work I'm setting the foundation for serious Latin, but it remains to be seen if I keep it up till the end.  I think serious Latin is a valuable thing, but it may be more work than we're willing to put in.

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DD switched when she started classes at the CC in 8th grade-they didn’t offer Latin. She’s found college Spanish pretty easy, even though most of her classmates had high school Spanish coming in, and she didn’t. 

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45 minutes ago, forty-two said:

It sounds like you might have been *inspired* by Climbing Parnassus and its vision of Latin, but that when it comes down to it, you don't really *share* that vision - you haven't internalized it, haven't made it your own.  From what you wrote about your goals, I'd be inclined to either call finishing FFL sufficient Latin, or finish out Latin Alive and call that sufficient.  Then you have your Latin foundation for both English and for a serious study of a modern foreign language.  (It might be worth figuring out what about Latin he hated, so that with your modern FL you can take steps to mitigate those things as much as possible, and prepare him for dealing with them wherever they can't be avoided.)

Yes, I think you are correct.  I actually agree more with what Karen Glass says the purpose of Latin is in Consider This.  

 

45 minutes ago, forty-two said:

 

 

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57 minutes ago, forty-two said:

It sounds like you might have been *inspired* by Climbing Parnassus and its vision of Latin, but that when it comes down to it, you don't really *share* that vision - you haven't internalized it, haven't made it your own.  From what you wrote about your goals, I'd be inclined to either call finishing FFL sufficient Latin, or finish out Latin Alive and call that sufficient.  Then you have your Latin foundation for both English and for a serious study of a modern foreign language.  (It might be worth figuring out what about Latin he hated, so that with your modern FL you can take steps to mitigate those things as much as possible, and prepare him for dealing with them wherever they can't be avoided.)

 

 

Yes, I think you are correct.  I actually agree more with what Karen Glass says the purpose of Latin is in Consider This.  

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1 hour ago, RubyPenn said:

He did Prima Latin in 3rd, then just vocab from 4th-6th... last year he did most of Memoria Press's First Form.  We detoured into Latin Alive this year, but ended up back in First Form, which he just finished.   

My goal for him is really to learn vocabulary so he can decipher English words and do some simple translating, not so he can translate Virgil and Cicero.   What I do want for him is to be fluent in a modern language so he can read, write, and converse in it. 

 

1 hour ago, RubyPenn said:

...I also have other battles to fight!


Sounds like you've met your Latin goals (English vocabulary help and prep/foundation for learning a foreign language), you've reached a natural stopping point (finished Memoria Press's First Form), and he hates Latin -- BUT he has 2 other languages he's interested in switching to (so not *just* dropping all foreign language).

Just me, but that all that adds up to "this is a good time to stop Latin and move on to something else". I'd vote for being done with foreign language until you start your new semester after the holidays, and then start dabbling with Spanish and/or German, and then you can get more serious and diligent with DS's choice of modern language in 9th grade.

Just my thoughts! BEST of luck, whatever you decide. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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21 minutes ago, RubyPenn said:

Yes, I think you are correct.  I actually agree more with what Karen Glass says the purpose of Latin is in Consider This.  

I realize this is kinda off-topic, but what would you say is the difference between Climbing Parnassus and Karen Glass wrt the purpose of Latin?

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10 minutes ago, forty-two said:

I realize this is kinda off-topic, but what would you say is the difference between Climbing Parnassus and Karen Glass wrt the purpose of Latin?

It's been a few years since I read Climbing Parnassus, but I own Consider This and keep coming back to it.  I think the purpose is the same, but she brings up how modern educators, including myself, use learning Latin grammar as a way to  train the brain in logic and reasoning, boost SAT scores, help with learning other languages, etc., not just for the end goal of reading Latin authors.   Referring to Charlotte Mason, she says, "By the time she lived, there was so much great literature either written or translated into English that she could see that a pupil no longer needed to clear the hurdle of Latin and Greek in order to read great literature, and in fact, spending too much time on that process did not allow enough time for real reading."   I think this is where I am at this point in my oldest child's Latin journey.  It's taking too much time and he isn't reading as much as he used to.  I hope this makes sense.  Writing isn't my strong suit!

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1 hour ago, Lori D. said:

 


Sounds like you've met your Latin goals (English vocabulary help and prep/foundation for learning a foreign language), you've reached a natural stopping point (finished Memoria Press's First Form), and he hates Latin -- BUT he has 2 other languages he's interested in switching to (so not *just* dropping all foreign language).

Just me, but that all that adds up to "this is a good time to stop Latin and move on to something else". I'd vote for being done with foreign language until you start your new semester after the holidays, and then start dabbling with Spanish and/or German, and then you can get more serious and diligent with DS's choice of modern language in 9th grade.

Just my thoughts! BEST of luck, whatever you decide. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Thank you!  I think I needed the permission to stop from those with a different viewpoint.  I like the idea of dabbling in the other languages.  He's had fun doing a little of that on Duo Lingo.

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I am not saying you should keep going, but to offer a pro-Latin perspective:

I understand not having a goal of reading Latin texts or having Latin as a cornerstone of your homeschool. However, as someone who had to learn Russian as an adult, and did Spanish in high school, looking back I really wish someone would have put me through the Latin grammar. Language learning would have been so much easier. I have a kid who is also chomping at the bit to learn a "living" language. I totally get the appeal of doing a modern language and how the battle for doing Latin is unappealing. But if fluency in a modern language is a goal, there is a case to be made for doing the grammar forms.

ETA: I think using Latin and Greek as vocab programs is good, but using it as a tool or framework for learning modern languages is much more useful.

Just my .02, and I know I'm biased because while not having read Glass, I totally disagree with that quote above. 😄

Edited by EmseB
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My mom was a Latin teacher, and I grew up with the benefits of Latin for vocabulary being drilled into my head.  I took Latin in high school.  
 

Latin was absolutely NO help to my English vocabulary.  I used my knowledge of English vocabulary to learn my Latin vocabulary.  I think there are benefits to studying Latin, but in general you can get those same benefits from any in depth study of any language.  And I don't think that building vocabulary in English is really one of those benefits, especially for a kid who reads widely or otherwise has a good English vocabulary.

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Just our very different experience: DSs (now adults) have said that doing a Latin & Greek roots-based program (no formal Latin studies) DID -- and continues to -- help with understanding English vocabulary here.

Also, my grammar experience: I grew up in a so-so public school system that had virtually NO formal Grammar training and NO Latin. I learned the grammar of a foreign language with no problems when I took Spanish in high school from an "old-school" teacher who drilled grammar. Years later, I made the mental connection from Spanish grammar to English grammar on my own when I started homeschooling DSs. (I was also a 'natural writer' and managed quite well all through high school and college without the aid of formal grammar.) Totally backwards approach according to traditional classical methods, but it worked for me. 😄

Just sharing, as I always feel that knowing your student is the "trump card" in making these decisions -- in this case, in deciding whether or not continuing with Latin will/won't help the student with foreign language acquisition. There is NO one-size-fits-all when it comes to language learning. 🙂

Edited by Lori D.
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56 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

 

Just sharing, as I always feel that knowing your student is the "trump card" in making these decisions -- in this case, in deciding whether or not continuing with Latin will/won't help the student with foreign language acquisition. There is NO one-size-fits-all when it comes to language learning. 🙂

I totally agree with you.  I am not worried about him having difficulty learning another language with or without the Latin background.  He is very much like me, and I learned French in high school without any trouble and I had no Latin.  When my husband and I went to Europe, I had no trouble learning German and Italian in order to communicate, and I also began learning Russian a few years ago and had no difficulty with that, either.   Could Latin have helped me learn better?  Who knows?  We are musical people in my family and I tend to believe the listening skills you develop playing instruments helps so much when learning new languages.

I also believe he won't benefit  much if it is forced upon him year after year.  Time would be better spent on things he actually enjoys, or at least puts up with, which is everything but Latin!

Edited by RubyPenn
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1 minute ago, RubyPenn said:

...I also believe he won't benefit from much if it is forced upon him year after year...


That is also an extremely strong factor when it comes to deciding on the course of study, esp. for high school -- student interest -- or resistance, lol.

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2 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


That is also an extremely strong factor when it comes to deciding on the course of study, esp. for high school -- student interest -- or resistance, lol.

Absolutely!  We don't have time to waste.

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I took Latin for 4 years of high school and 2 years of college. I can’t say it has been an asset. I have rarely used it to decipher a word meaning- not that I even remember any of it now.  It makes more sense to learn Latin and Greek roots if you want to aid in vocabulary (or French would actually help more). As far as grammar, my 9th grader never had Latin and is far better at learning Spanish grammar than I am. I think the advantages of learning Latin are largely a myth. 

I don’t think your student will miss out at all by dropping Latin for a modern language. 

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3 hours ago, Srtepe said:

I took Latin for 4 years of high school and 2 years of college. I can’t say it has been an asset. I have rarely used it to decipher a word meaning- not that I even remember any of it now.  It makes more sense to learn Latin and Greek roots if you want to aid in vocabulary (or French would actually help more). As far as grammar, my 9th grader never had Latin and is far better at learning Spanish grammar than I am. I think the advantages of learning Latin are largely a myth. 

I don’t think your student will miss out at all by dropping Latin for a modern language. 

Thanks for responding.  I've decided to let him stop and he's so excited.  

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First off, I think it’s hasty for someone to say Latin classes never ever helped her because you have not one time used it after 6 years of class. It’s more likely you don’t even know you’re using it, because it’s slightly inherent. I have a friend who won’t make her kids take algebra because she hasn’t ever used it. But that’s also not really possible. If you took it, you have used it.

And, first form barely touches on vocabulary. So if your goal was vocab, it’s not adequate. The forms really drill grammar. I think that’s the point of Latin grammar. The vocabulary is a bonus. My kiddo also doesn’t love it. It’s hard! She does well but it takes work. But we don’t do it to translate Virgil or to get good marks on the SAT. I require it so they can learn that sometimes doing hard methodical things leads to greater understanding of where we came from and how far we can go. 

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There are a lot of things that are methodical and stretch us. There is nothing wrong with taking Latin. But it is not the holy grail of academia. 

-signed the person who studied Latin and Greek; whose son took Latin I, II and III, and whose daughter isn’t interested and is being stretched and enriched in other ways. 

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^^^ I agree.  There are many things we do that stretch our kids, and Latin is not the only route to accomplish this.  My kids can't stop playing piano, learning math, struggling through biology, etc. just because they don't like it when it becomes difficult.   Just because we let Latin go doesn't mean we let it all go.

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And that is ultra wonderful for all of you! I’m glad you found your method of stretching and that it works well for you! Kudos!!! Just offering another perspective. She did come here asking for opinions. Or did I miss something?

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