Latin as an Ordering Principle

Over the last few years, I have spoken at numerous homeschool conventions around the country, and talked to thousands of homeschool parents. On the basis of the many conversations I have had with these parents, I have developed a theory. My theory is this: most homeschool parents are looking for a Latin program. My theory … Continue reading

Why Study Latin and Greek?

The ancients did not press practical arguments too far. As Aristotle said, “To seek utility everywhere is most unsuitable to lofty and free natures.” Yet the pragmatic benefits of classical education are the ones our modern society is likely to look for first. Fortunately, they are abundantly available to answer some of … Continue reading

The Four Principles of Latin Study

In the last issue of the Classical Teacher, I gave some principles of Latin instruction as set forth in Charles Bennett’s 1911 book, The Teaching of Latin and Greek. This book, though long out of print, contains what I believe to be very sound insights into the teaching of classical … Continue reading

In Defense of Latin

Some critics have said that the value of Roman literature is that it has been the vehicle which conveyed Greek ideas to the world. The Romans took their art and, as far as their civilization rests on these, their civilization from Greece. Why, then, do we study Latin? Some of the reasons are given by Cicero … Continue reading

Recovering the Lost Tools of Latin (Parts I & II)

  Progressive education began its destructive march through schools at the turn of the century, and the first thing it corrupted was Latin. In his book The Teaching of Latin and Greek, published in 1911, Dr. Charles Edwin Bennett describes the changes in Latin textbooks that had occurred over the previous two decades and contrasts them with the successful classical methods … Continue reading

The Lost Art of Teaching Latin

Because of the education meltdown in the 20th century, the art of teaching Latin, and nearly everything else, has essentially been lost. As we work to restore the content of the classical curriculum, we must also strive to resurrect the art of teaching it. Latin, as it has been taught in the second half of … Continue reading

Top 10 Reasons for Studying Latin

In this day of computers, and the triumph of science and technology, when there is so much to learn and so little time, why study a dead language? Why not study something practical and useful? Like Spanish, for instance. While we agree the study of Spanish is a very good thing, what I propose to … Continue reading

The Natural Method is Not Natural

Modern languages are taught by the conversational method. If I understand this method correctly, it involves an emphasis on oral and written conversation in the classroom, supplemented with a secondary focus on grammar. Ideally this conversational instruction is augmented by travel and an immersion experience with native speakers. It could also be called the natural … Continue reading

The History of the Natural Method of Teaching Latin

 The centuries-old and nearly universally accepted method of teaching Latin is known as the “grammar/translation” method. But for well over a hundred years there has existed, mainly in England and the United States, a small but devoted segment of the Latin-teaching community that has advocated a very different method of Latin instruction. This group … Continue reading

The History of the Natural Method of Teaching Latin: Part II

In the first part of this article, we discussed the origins of the modern Natural/Direct Method of teaching Latin in the unsuccessful attempt to teach modern languages by downplaying the traditional student memorization of the complicated grammatical forms and the emphasis on written translation exercises in favor of conversational methods of instruction and student response. … Continue reading

The 3 Methods of Teaching Latin

1. Grammar-First Method: Grammar forms are presented in a systematic, logical order to aid mastery and memory. Vocabulary is limited initially in order to focus on memorization of the grammar forms. Vocabulary lists provide similar word groups to aid memory. Syntax and translation are limited initially in order to focus on memorization of grammar forms. … Continue reading

Latin: A Lustrous Language

Latin was the language of forgotten emperors, godly saints, and fiery church reformers. This language rose with the Roman army, lived on in the Church, and pervaded the universities of the Middle Ages. Of course, Latin is now a dead language: No one speaks it, and Latin-based jobs seem hard to find. However, Latin is … Continue reading

Why Latin Is NOT Optional

When you ask a fellow teacher or homeschool parent what classical education is, you’re likely to get a different answer every time. To one person it is the study of history chronologically, to another it is simply a challenging academic curriculum. To many, particularly in recent decades, classical education is seen as the application of … Continue reading

From Latin Student to Latin Teacher: This is not a test…

“Look, Mom, I’ve finished memorizing the first declension!” I was in third grade and ecstatic. My two older sisters had been studying Latin with Cheryl Lowe for a year or two already, and I was anxious to prove I could do it too. “Then let’s hear you recite it,” was my sister’s reply. “A, ae, … Continue reading

Unlocking the Treasure Chest of Latin

If you were to walk into a gym today, you would see men and women doing repetitive exercises that are seemingly pointless. Take, for example, lifting weights. Someone who had never been to a gym before would be confused. “Why does he keep lifting that heavy piece of metal and putting it back where it … Continue reading

Au Means…Gold?

I often address parents at schools that are trying to add Latin to their curriculum. At one meeting in particular, I was under the impression that there were several scientists and doctors in the room. As I extolled the benefits of Latin, I wondered how they were going to take my assertions that Latin would … Continue reading

The Four Principles of Latin Instruction

In his 1911 book The Teaching of Latin and Greek, Charles Bennett listed the central principles of Latin instruction. Although this book has long been out of print, it contains what I believe to be the most helpful explanation of how Latin should be taught. It is these principles which underlie Memoria Press’ Forms series. … Continue reading

3 Reasons To Study Latin

If you are a classical educator – either a teacher in a school or a homeschooler – there is one question you will be asked again and again: Why teach Latin? This is probably because there seems on the surface to be no practical reason for doing it. Why would we consider studying Latin with so many other priorities … Continue reading

Philosophers: 1, Scientists: 0

There are some questions we ask of science that it is ill-equipped to answer. The question of how human beings are different from animals is one. I thought about this when I read Kevin Laland’s article in a recent issue of Scientific American. “[H]ard scientific data have been amassed across fields ranging from ecology to … Continue reading

How to Teach Latin

Because of the education meltdown in the twentieth century, the art of teaching Latin – and nearly everything else – has essentially been lost. As we work to restore the content of the classical curriculum, we must also strive to resurrect the art of teaching it. Latin, as it was taught in the second half of the twentieth century, was a two-year ordeal -grammar in the … Continue reading

How Latin Develops the Mind

Many who are attracted to the idea of a classical education don’t know exactly why, nor do they understand the necessity for Latin, or at least so much of it. A little bit of Latin is a good thing, they say, but every year? Spinach is a good thing, but every day? In classical education, … Continue reading

How to Teach Latin to Young Children

It might be easy as a grammar school teacher to assume that the repetition of “amo, amas, amat …” is not as important as teaching Caesar or Virgil, but such self-deprecation would be wrong. Imagine a construction worker thinking that his role in laying the foundation is insignificant simply because no one will really see … Continue reading

Lost in Translation

Parents often ask classical educators, “What good is Latin going to do for my child? Is spending all those years on a dead language really going to educate my child?” We trip over ourselves in pointing out the many benefits of learning Latin. It trains students to think logically, to better understand grammatical concepts, and … Continue reading

The Justification For Latin

The question as to the educational worth of any study must always be a pertinent one. If Latin is not of fundamental importance in the high-school curriculum, then large numbers of students are making a prodigious error in pursuing the subject, and the sooner we understand this, the better for our civilization. If, on the … Continue reading

Which Latin Program Do I Start With?

Many parents and teachers ask how Memoria Press’ Latin programs relate to each other. When do I start? In what order should I use them? What if I start late? Let’s look at each individual program in order. PRIMA LATINA Prima Latina is the ideal beginner program. It is a simple course of study, consisting … Continue reading

Caveat Emptor: What to Look for in a Latin Program

With the rise in popularity of classical education, more and more parents are considering adding Latin to their curriculum. But many times parents are too quick to pick up any Latin program that promises easy results or to improve SAT scores. Here are a few considerations in choosing a Latin program for your student. 1. … Continue reading

Why Caesar?

Why is reading Julius Caesar‘s account of his conquest of Gaul the next logical step for a student who has completed a study of grammar forms and basic syntax? There are sound reasons that Caesar’s Commentarii De Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War) has traditionally been the preferred choice for the first immersion in … Continue reading

Elysian Fields: Why Students Should Learn Greek

Why should the student learn Greek? No shortage of pragmatic reasons comes to mind, and parents and teachers will delight to know that Greek has utilitarian value, although it seems uncouth to speak of it as such. While usually a hybrid of Greek and Latin influence, most existing English words come from the Greco-Roman vocabulary. … Continue reading

A Large Plate of Bones, Please!

There is a famous restaurant in Memphis called Rendezvous. It is down an alley off a sidestreet, with a small awning underneath a neon sign. You go in the door and down a couple flights of stairs into the basement, where you find tables with red and white checkered tablecloths and walls decorated with memorabilia – antique … Continue reading

How Latin Builds Vocabulary

For many who study Latin, the ultimate goal is to read the classic literature of Rome – one of the foundational elements of Western civilization – in the original language. But, while on the path to reading Caesar, Cicero, Vergil, et al., the study of Latin subtly but surely enhances the way students express themselves in English, and, most … Continue reading