One of the hallmarks of a classical education is the teaching and learning of the classical language of Greek and Latin. This post, however, does not serve as an apologia for Latin. I believe that others who are more equipped than I am have already covered that.
- Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons
- Top 10 Reasons for Studying Latin [Memoria Press]
- 10 Reasons to Study Latin First [Classical Academic Press]
- Why Learn Latin [Lead with Languages]
- Why you should learn a dead language [The Guardian]
But as we try to classically homeschool, we have been slowly learning Latin. Along the way, we have discovered some commendable resources to help us in our education. I am hoping this list will help homeschool parents like me find the best resource to help your young children learn Latin. And by the Early Years, I mean preschool aged children up to third grade students.
Song School Latin
One of our earliest materials is Song School Latin by Classical Academic Press. It uses songs and chants to teach words. But I soon discovered that the natural approach taught in Hans Ørberg’s Lingua Latina per se Illustrata (this is what I use!) was an easier and more gentle way to get acquainted with any language, which brought me to discover the next resource.
BEST FOR LEVEL: K-2
Minimus Latin is like a younger elementary version of Lingua Latina. But it requires that children must read by themselves in order to understand the comic strips featured in each lesson. Having the parent or teacher read and explain each frame would not do well for the overall objective of the material, which is to learn Latin through context clues. However, because of our learning challenges (my child has dyslexia), I had to keep this resource for now and wait for my children to reach perhaps wait for another year or two in order to benefit the full extent of this resource. In the meantime, we shall be using the next resource which I have listed here, which is befitting for early elementary students, anyway.
Check out these resources that they have made available for FREE:
BEST FOR LEVEL: Grade 3 and up
I Speak Latin
I Speak Latin is a conversational Latin course created by Andrew Campbell, who also wrote The Latin Centered Curriculum, that is available in both Restored Classical and Ecclesiastical pronunciation. It is an innovative Latin resource that is open and go! I love the encouragement set forth in the Introduction:
The accents of almost all contemporary Latin speakers reflect their respective mother tongues, for the simple reason that all modern speakers have learned Latin as a foreign language, usually as teens or adults. We are all “barbarians.” As with any language, the bottom line is that we are able to understand each other well enough to communicate.
So please do not worry about the “correct” accent. Speak Latin like a barbarian, and speak it proudly!
One of my objectives to get my children to start speaking Latin while they acquire vocabulary, and this very resource does that job, which is superb. No worksheets. No singing or chants required. And no reading necessary, on the part of the student. It all springs from the teacher, which is exactly what I need. It is all vocal instruction and it is super engaging. Children will learn verbs through physical movements. That is gymnastic and musical education all at once! And priced at $20 (with FREE audio!), who could beat that?
BEST FOR LEVEL: Grade 1 and up
Latin Storytime by Emily Weis is a relatively new resource that encourages learning Latin by natural cultivation through stories. We have gone through several stories and my children look forward to listening and learning from Mrs. Weis:
Subscribe to the newsletter and get a Parent’s Guide to go along with each story, including a voculary list. See a sample of the Little Red Hen guide below:
This is a perfect resource for preschool to early elementary students. Just as Dorothy Sayers once said,
BEST FOR LEVEL: K-2
Mater Anserina is a delightful book of twenty-eight poems, many of them favorites from Mother Goose, rendered in Latin, with the English translation on facing pages. Designated specifically for early learners of Latin, the nursery rhymes are designed for reciting or singing, with the particular aim of giving young students an introduction to Latin pronunciation.
Listen and learn all the 28 song recordings by streaming the FREE audio via the publisher’s website.