True Confessions: No Formal Latin in Our Homeschool

Shhhhh…don’t tell the Classical Homeschooling Police! We have not been able to complete a formal study of Latin. It is not because we didn’t several times give it an honest to goodness try, but I just did not have the energy to power through and make it work.

We tried two different programs to learn Latin. We got a little farther with the DVD program, but we still were not able to stay motivated. I know I had a bit of a bad attitude about Latin and at some point I made the decision to set it aside and learn Spanish instead. I thought in our family that Spanish would be more applicable and practical. It was a great decision.

We have not totally ignored all Latin. We have enjoyed two programs that are giving us a taste of Latin by studying the roots.

English From the Roots Up:
We started off with the book and the cards but what has endured to the end are the cards. We took these very slowly, discussing and learning each root one at a time. When I say slowly, I mean it has taken us four years to cover the box of one hundred Latin and Greek roots. We just finished our very last card this week and I can honestly say that both boys know *every* Latin and Greek root in this set.

The cards give simply the root on the front and the definition with examples of words on the back. I love things that are that simple.

We use the cards each week to drill the roots into our memory. We play simple games with the cards if we have some extra time during the week. We study five minutes a day, four days a week.

  • Quiz each other: I give the root and they give the meaning or I give the meaning and they give the root.
  • Speed: Use a stopwatch and see how fast we can get through the cards we know.
  • Made Up Words: Use the roots to make up new words, mixing together funny combinations.
  • Matching: Many of the roots are given in Greek and Latin. I give them the Latin and they tell me the Greek or vice versa.


    Vocabulary from Classical Roots:

    This series of workbooks has helped us tremendously with our vocabulary. These books are meaty in content and they assume some level of sophistication to begin with. The pages are not colorful or full of illustrations. They have helped our skills in recognizing Latin and Greek roots in new words and thus giving us a pretty good idea of what the word means.

    I highly recommend that you view the samples on the website for the various levels before purchasing your workbook. The link to the samples is on the right sidebar of the website linked above.

    Here is a link to Lesson 2 in book A: Sample

    I admit that I did not use all the suggestions for activities in the Teacher’s Guide. Both my boys work on these independently and I only help them review from time to time. They have 15 minutes per day allotted in their high school schedule to work on the lessons. They complete a lesson every week with a test on Friday.

    I feel very good about what we have accomplished. Setting aside Latin, it freed us up to take our time to learn the roots and then apply them in our other schoolwork and in the vocabulary workbooks. Both my boys like words so they actually enjoy the workbooks.

    Sidenote: We muscled our way through Science Roots during our biology study last year. I found the program a little overwhelming to try to accomplish in one year. If I could have a “do over”, I would have started the Science Roots program when they boys were in middle school so they would have been ready for all the vocabulary in their biology study.

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