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Veritas Scholars Academy | 4 Minutes

The Pleasure of Learning Latin

Hettie Weber Written by Hettie Weber
The Pleasure of Learning Latin

Latin - Grammar courses are a year long courses for Veritas Grammar students.

The Veritas Press approach to Latin includes these reasons why your student should learn Latin presented from greatest to least importance:

  1. Latin is a tool of leverage for mastering English, its vocabulary, its grammar, even its idioms, and expressions.
  2. Latin will help students get closer to some of the most transformative ideas ever written.
  3. Learning of other subjects will be accelerated.
  4. Learning modern foreign languages will be much more efficient.
  5. Learning the language of science, medicine, and related fields will be simplified.

Read more about Veritas' approach to Latin.

What will your child experience in a Latin Grammar Live Online class? Veritas Scholars Academy teacher Hettie Weber describes what material her classes cover.

A student from Singapore once asked me, "What do I tell people when they ask why I am taking Latin?" I proceeded to catalog my favorite reasons why Latin is fabulous, including expanding one’s English vocabulary, building a great foundation for learning the Romance languages, assisting one to think and learn better, etc. After a long pause, she asked, “What if I just like it?”

I teach Classical Latin, which is the form of Latin used by writers of the Late Roman Republic and the Early Roman Empire, such as Cicero and his contemporaries. Adhering to strict rules, this was the language taught in schools and was later referred to as “good” or “proper” Latin. As a highly inflected language, Latin nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs have patterned endings that indicate the usage of the word. In Grammar School Latin, we learn how to decipher these patterns along with a large number of vocabulary words.

Latin is an exceptional second language, especially for the grammar school student. Why Latin instead of Spanish or French, you ask? Well, since the emphasis is not on communicating or conversation, students are able to dive deeply into the structure of the language, observing how it is built. Amazingly, there are rewards from your first hour in Latin class. Students as young as eight years old are able to connect a word ending in “nt” with a verb in the 3rd person plural. Obviously, Latin is marvelous to learn alongside English grammar. Since Spanish, French, and other Romance languages are direct descendants, Latin is the perfect foundation for future language study. Attention to detail and ability to deduce the answer and think critically are absorbed in studying Latin. There are other languages that qualify as classical and are beneficial to learn, but for the English-speaking grammar school student, nothing beats Latin.

I am a flexible and adaptable teacher yet I strive to inspire. Since we inhabit the same space and time whenever we meet, I consider each class a community that God has brought together for the purpose of learning and fellowshipping. Using a variety of methods, I work hard to keep each student actively engaged. Preferring questions instead of giving answers, my students are discoverers. I aim to create a culture of mutual learning and favor in our small amount of time together each week. I highly value good behavior, I ask a lot of questions, and I highly encourage participation. If energy is low, I usually switch things up and try a game or something else to get the class energized.

In my Latin classroom, we begin with a thorough review involving each student turning on their microphone and webcam and saying a grammar chant aloud. This gives me an opportunity to gauge the energy of the class and to review important concepts. I ask the students to make their own observations about a new grammar chant in the hopes that they will connect what they see on the board with something they have previously learned. As we learn new vocabulary words, students are encouraged to make connections with English words and ideas. I make frequent use of the chat box and polls to assess understanding and engagement. On a weekly basis, I aim to place the students into smaller groups in breakout rooms to translate a passage together, which builds both independence and teamwork skills. I make it as difficult as possible in my class to sit on the sidelines.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when my Singaporean student said she took Latin because she simply liked it. Latin is enjoyable in and of itself with real educational benefits. It is fun when a 3rd grade student can recognize that a word like “ambulabo” has a 1st person, singular, future tense ending which includes pronouns and helping verbs. It is delightful when a student recognizes that an astronaut (astra-star and nauta-sailor) is a star sailor based purely on Latin root words. I agree with you, wise student…I just like it, too.