Monday, July 03, 2006

Next year: French and Latin

Angel: French - Skoldo Book 3
Star: Latin - Latin Prep 1 (Galore Park)
Schedule: Four times weekly. Short lessons of 10-20 minutes.

I have had Latin and languages on my mind recently so that is where I am starting my series of posts about our plans for next year. I am more and more convinced that learning Latin has great benefits - not just for classical studies, but because it is an excellent way of improving English grammar and vocabulary.Despite this conviction I have decided to have Angel drop Latin and focus on French instead. Huh? you think. Where is the logic in that? It is in the need to tailor curriculum to the individual child. In planning for next year I am trying to keep constantly in mind that education is "for the children's sake" and look at which subjects and resources will best suit each child, rather than jump into the ones I find most appealing or blindly follow an educational "ideal". Latin may be the optimum language to learn, but any foreign language is good, so I am going to settle for the benefits of French along with a happier child and a less stressed mother.

Last year we dabbled in Latin, working through much of Latina Christiana I with friends alongside bits of Minimus, and then made a small start on Latin Prep I. With Angel it was like pulling teeth, and I have learned the hard way that trying to channel her in directions that appeal to my learning style and intelligences but not to hers is a recipe for disaster. If I were doing things over again I think I would have started slowly and gently with Latin earlier on, but from where we are now French seems a better option. Angel finds it more appealing, and we have already worked slowly but steadily through two levels of Skoldo French. Next year we will work slightly more quickly though Skoldo Book 3 before moving on to the the more grammatically focused Galore Park So You Really Want to Learn French Prep Book 1 the following year.
Note to self: Take advantage of Angel's musical intelligence by spending more time on the songs included in Skoldo, rather than skipping past them to save time!

Star, on the other hand, is going to do Latin. She tagged along with three older children last year and kept up surprisingly well. Often she grasped the concepts quicker than Angel, who tended to go into panic mode when confronted with Latin grammar. Latin Prep I looks just right for her. It moves in small increments, with short exercises that lend themselves to CM style short lessons. Star is a little young - the book is intended for age nine and up, and she will only be eight - but given that she already has a little Latin grounding I think she will cope. I'm hoping she will not only cope, but will thrive on the mental challenge ... but Star can be unpredictable, so who knows! We will work at it little and often, going as far as we can in the year but not expecting to finish the book. Star has also been doing French, and is about one-third of the way through Skoldo Book 1. She says she wants to carry on with it, but realistically I think two languages for her will be overload (for me, if not for her!) so I will put the French on the back burner. If it fits in, even on an occasional basis, then great. If not, then we can always add French in again later - with the benefit of a Latin background which should make it easier to pick up.

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