Latin Update

So it has been a year and a half since I first started using First Form Latin, and I wanted to write an updated review.  First Form Latin did a really good job of teaching my child the first quarter of high school latin.  I definitely think it is a good option for people who want to teach their child Latin, and I would recommend it because it does what it says it will do.

With that being said, I will not be using Second Form Latin this school year.  Instead we are going to be studying Latin through The Lukeion Project.  They have two prerequisites of sorts for their Latin classes: Witty Wordsmith and Barbarian Diagrammarian.  My oldest is currently enrolled for both of those classes this year.

So why switch if First Form was working?  Well, there is a lot that goes into that.  The first reason is that I was frustrated with trying to implement First Form.  We are not robots.  I try really hard to have my kids get up and follow a beautiful schedule that I set up in Homeschool Planet.

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See?  It really is beautiful.  I tried to hit Latin first all last year, but guess what?  Life happens.  We had a rough month here or there.  We had some awesome extracurriculars and opportunities pop up that messed with our schedule.  And sometimes my perfect child felt less than perfect and didn’t want to do those worksheets NO MATTER WHAT!!  And when you miss, it really messes with your progress.  With a memory based curriculum you have to go back and review to refresh yourself before you go forward.  So a curriculum that is supposedly one school year long took us 1.5 years to finally finish.

I vowed repeatedly to get more structured–more robotic.  And we did get more disciplined.  Latin really pushed us into a new world of order and routine.  I started using a schedule like what I have above because of trying to teach Latin.  We managed to pull through the first book with an “A” on the last test, but it felt like dragging my daughter through thorn bushes.

Then I ran into a friend of mine.  She has amazing kids, and her oldest got a perfect score on the ACT and is very accomplished.  I told her that we were finishing up First Form, and she was surprised that I would use it for a kid like Anna.  One of her kids has a learning disability, and she uses the Form series for her.  She thinks it is good too, but not for a kid without any handicaps.  She told me to go through Lukeion.

I looked into Lukeion and saw that Chapter 1 of the textbook covers a ton of material compared to First Form.  At the end of four years of Latin with Lukeion, you are ready to take the AP Latin exam.  After four forms, you are ready to go into high school latin 2 and would still need 3-5 years of study for the AP test.  So for the same amount of time, we could do Latin and then Greek.  That is definitely appealing.

What isn’t appealing is the tuition.  I don’t want to pay to take all of those classes.  Especially because I would have to pay for it again with each subsequent student instead of just buying the curriculum once and then having it for each kid.  I hemmed and hawed over it for a long time, but after starting in Witty Wordsmith, I am convinced it was the right thing to do.  The routine and structure of due dates (that are not from me) and lecture times is exactly what we need to successfully study a foreign language.  I really feel that this investment will come back to me in the form of scholarships and college acceptance.

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Witty Wordsmith

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One of my favorite things to discover in homeschooling is a way to shortcut a lengthy curriculum, and still achieve the same (or more) learning.  And I am excited to announce that I have made an awesome discovery.

A lot of classical homeschoolers do spelling lessons, and then when they have finished their spelling programs they jump into Vocabulary from Classical Roots(VfCR).  This program spans 4th grade to 11th, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I could really use some more free time in my schedule.  I was excited to lose spelling and pick up some time for other subjects that interest my kid.  (Computer Animation in Blender, for example.)  I did not want to fill that same subject period with another program that spans 4th-11th grade.

Enter the Lukeion Project to save the day!  They have awesome course offerings, and among them is Witty Wordsmith, a fabulous, one-semester!!!! course that covers way more word roots than the entire scope and sequence of VfCR.  To give you an idea of how many more words, the first week’s lesson had 58 prefixes, and the second lesson word list had 8 prefixes and 38 base stems.  If you contrast that with VfCR, you would have to go 2 years and 4 lessons in to get that many word roots.  Plus there are several suffixes in the VfCR program and Witty Wordsmith doesn’t cover them as much because they are more intuitive and mostly indicate how the word is used in a sentence (-ly would indicate an adverb and -able is an adjective ending).

I have already seen results in Anna’s vocabulary after only 2 weeks.  She is thinking about words differently and is understanding them better.  She ran across megalithic in history this week, and was able to pick apart the meaning.  I am one happy mom right now.

The course is structured so that you attend a live, online session once a week and then you do a weekly homework assignment that is due two days before the next class session.  You also have a quiz every two weeks, and they are cumulative which really helps with retention.  The quiz has a window of time that you can do it that spans from Saturday to Wednesday.  My 10-year-old has been performing well in the class, and so far she has spent 2 hours in class, 3 hours studying flashcards, and around 4 hours doing homework.  So your weekly guesstimate on time commitment per week would be 4-5 hours, although Anna is very meticulous, so it may be less for your child.  Since the class is on Thursday and the homework is due Tuesday, those hours have mostly been in between those days for us.

I will come back and update this article at the end of her 13 word list adventure.

(I wasn’t offered anything for my opinion, and I paid full price for the class.)