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Complete Homeschooling Courses in Phonics, Grammar, Spelling, Writing, and Latin
Complete Homeschooling Courses in Phonics, Grammar, Spelling, Writing, and Latin

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LATIN, the Mother of Many Languages

The development of language is a fascinating study. The ancient Chinese and Egyptians used pictographic languages which took years for the priests and scholars to master. The common working citizen had no time for such study and so remained powerless and able to be exploited. About 1500BC the Phoenicians developed a phonetic alphabet which could be used by the common merchants to conduct their trading businesses. The Greeks learned it from them and further developed it by adding vowels. This phonetic alphabet made people think differently. It encouraged analysis and the development of a whole written language of interchangeable components. All the languages that developed from the Latin and Greek root vocabularies function like that. If we don’t teach the root meaning of those components, we burden our students with the task of learning thousands of individual English words as wholes. We expect them to master a vast vocabulary of individual words as if they were Egyptian hieroglyphics or Chinese characters.

By studying Latin you and your students can master the components of many languages, including English. Most of the founders of our country could read both Latin and Greek; and they were able to use the English language the way a fine craftsman uses his tools. They could write and say what they meant and, with the power and elegance of their words, they founded this nation.

The Historical Significance of Latin

Latin is a language which has been the most widely used in all the world’s history. More than any other language, it has influenced the languages of Europe and the Americas. Since Latin was the official language of the government of the Roman Empire, its knowledge and use meant promotion and social prominence; it thus became the common language of culture as the Empire spread.

The spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire greatly influenced Latin. Christianity was a religion for all men, rich or poor, and evangelizing went hand-in-hand with translating. In 390AD, St. Jerome translated the Bible into the Latin Vulgate (spoken Latin). Now the Vulgar (spoken by the people) Latin became united with the written language and gave Latin the strength to survive the collapse of the Empire.

For 400 years the Romans ruled Britain and found it necessary to build many military camps, which developed into towns. A form of the Latin word for camp, castra, can be found in a number of town names: Chester, Manchester, Worcester, Lancaster.

A very important period of influence was after the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The language of the Normans was an old form of French, itself descended from Latin. In the course of a few centuries, the English language underwent striking changes and adopted many French (Latin) words.

Because Latin for many years had been the language of learned men, it became the basis of vocabulary of the sciences and law.

There’s a METHOD to the Madness
HOW you teach can be as important as WHAT you teach!

A major difference between The LATIN Road to English Grammar and other programs is methodology. Methodology is the study of how we learn, the steps involved in how the brain takes in and puts out information; actually how we order our minds. The classical method of education as put forth by Dorothy Sayers in The Lost Tools of Learning is a method used by men and women centuries ago to teach efficiently and produce a scholarly education. If you have read The Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, you can begin to understand that our minds work more efficiently when we are taught “from the parts to the whole”

I really understood this methodology when I studied and taught an intensive phonics course literally teaching “from the parts to the whole.” We start with the basic letters and basic combinations of letters of English. When the student learns these he has the basic skills to build words (spell). As he learns to spell words he reads them and begins connecting them in sentences. And sentences lead to paragraphs, stories, essays, reports, and research papers. Do you realize that no other method teaches a student to spell before he reads? These are the skills we build in my K-4 curriculum The PHONICS Road to Spelling and Reading.

The LATIN Road to English Grammar follows this methodology of learning, building from the components of the language to the whole. Many subjects today and for the past several decades have opted to teach “whole language.” When I took my Spanish in high school we began memorizing a long conversation during the first week, literally looking at the whole language of Spanish. By the end of the week we sounded pretty good, and anyone passing our classroom would think we had a fabulous teacher who could teach us so quickly. But we did not know what we were saying, nor did we know what any of the words or phrases meant, much less how they were formed. Our knowledge was without foundation. Unfortunately, we continued to learn more and more of these cute, rote conversations and were introduced to the individual words more slowly. It would have been more efficient to spend time learning the vocabulary, how words are formed, and the way Spanish is structured as words relate to each other in sentences. Then we could have taken that information and BUILT conversations of our own. Instead of having a handful of memorized conversations in our minds, we could have conversed with anyone about almost anything. With an intimate knowledge of the parts of the language we could have made it into the whole. This is what language is about - this is really knowing the language. A good methodology is important because without it you teach nothing but a lot of unrelated trivial facts.

Latin Is The Best Educational Investment
A Student Can Make Now For His
Future Years In College

Because many young people going into college do not have a definite career goal in mind, it is important that they choose a foreign language which will provide them with the kind of general background that will help them succeed regardless of their final choice. Which foreign language will give them the best background? Latin.

Recent studies in Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Indianapolis prove that the study of Latin significantly improves verbal skills, mathematical reasoning powers, and strengths in other academic areas. Also, students who have taken Latin were recently shown to score higher marks on the SAT than did students of other languages. Compare these figures:

          Verbal Math  
  National Average 424 466  
  Latin Students 558 585  
  French Students 540 566  
  Spanish Students 497 536  
  Hebrew Students 544 572  
  Russian Students 518 595  
  German Students 538 581  

As you can see, Latin students score higher on this test than do students of any other language. They score 134 points above average in Verbal and 119 points above average in Math.

Since a student may not know which specific language will be required in college, Latin is ideal because it prepares him for all of them. The Romance languages- Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian are all descended directly from Latin. Because of Latin’s total reliance on word endings to convey sentence structure, its study also makes it easier to learn German and Russian, languages which still rely on the use of such word endings.

The benefits of Latin have been related to these frequently mentioned career areas:

Law: As western world law is steeped in Roman jurisprudence, so is legal vocabulary steeped in Latin. Such terms as prima facie, habeas corpus, nolo contendere, corpus delicti, and amicus curiae are part of the everyday Latin vocabulary of practicing lawyers.
Medicine: For over a thousand years the language of medicine was Latin. Today, a knowledge of Latin can provide a pre-med student or student nurse with the winning advantage in extremely competitive medical school studies.
Pharmacy: Like medicine, pharmacy is also steeped in Latin terms and phrases - terms and phrases a student will not have to spend precious college time memorizing like the not-so-lucky fellow students who have not studied Latin earlier.
Ministry: Latin, together with Greek and Hebrew, is the language of Judaeo-Christian thought and tradition. Every serious student of the New Testament eventually studies Greek so that the New Testament can be read in the original language. A knowledge of Latin will make the mastery of Greek infinitely easier.
Journalism: The ability to communicate with an extensive vocabulary and a thorough command of English is essential to success in journalism. The contribution of Latin to these skills is immeasureable.
Archeology: To become a working archeologist specializing in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome, a student will find a reading knowledge of Latin and Greek to be as indispensable as the tools he will use for field excavation.
Linguistics: If a student enters the field of linguistics - the study of how languages work - he will find that Latin is one of the most significant of all the Indo-European tomgues.
Ancient History: To be a serious student of ancient history in college, a student will have to be able to read in original sources - sources written in Latin and Greek. The cost of having such original sources translated for him can run as high as $20.00 per page.
Teaching: In case a student is interested in becoming a teacher of any subject, a study of Latin will equip him with a depth of understanding that will be invaluable to him in his own classroom.

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