How to Teach Your Child Latin- For A Classical Education

We have decided to follow the Classical Education for homeschooling our children. I love English Literature and my kids love books, so for the most part we felt very confident in our decision to follow the Classical Education as taught by Susan Wise. ** However, we were hesitant to teach Latin. We had been teaching our kids Spanish, but Spanish was easy, there were countless resources, including TV series, YouTube videos, songs, and a huge section at our local library with Spanish books. However, since Latin is a dead language and even Universities are starting to drop it as an elective, there are not as many resources available to teach Latin. This is what we found:

Dino Lingo has a Latin course and it has been very entertaining for my kids, who are 3 and 5, I doubt it would be near as entertaining for older children, but for their ages it works great.

We create our own posters. We printed out pictures of animals and wrote the names in Latin on a sticker. The kids were able to participate in creating the posters as well, so they love the posters and will go to our classroom regularly to admire their work and read the words in Latin.

We have created a memory game in Latin. You know the game memory where you have 24 cards (12 sets) that are randomly placed upside down then you turn them over one at a time to find the match? Our kids love this game, so we created a game with the picture of the animal or the color and then they have to find the corresponding word in Latin. My 2-year-old son doesn’t understand this game, but my 5-year-old daughter and who friend who is part of our homeschooling group, love this game! We simply made it with 3×5 notecards and printing out pictures, much like we did with the posters.

We found quotes and put them throughout the house. We kept this inexpensive. I bought the pretty resume paper from Office Depot and document frames from the $1 store. We found some of our favorite quotes online and printed them out and framed them to hang throughout the house. We even included a few fun ones such as “Barba Non Facit Philosophum” which translates to “A Beard Does Not Make One a Philosopher.” It makes people giggle after reading all the meaning of life quotes that are so popular in Latin.

Bonam Fortunam!

**You can learn more about the Classical Education from the books and online program here, which I am not affiliated with in any way, I’m just here to share my experience.

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Give Your Children a Foundation of Language and Literature

I have recently realized how important it is for children to have a strong foundation of language and literature in order to be successful in life for themselves and more importantly to be well educated, productive members of society. This is goes against the current trends of parents encouraging their children to master math, science, and technology so they can have good paying jobs as doctors or working for Microsoft. I recently read an article that discussed this phenomenon of parents not allowing children major in liberal arts. You can read the full article here, it’s in the Washington Post written by Steven Pearlstein; Pearlstein quotes Debra Humphreys regarding the phenomenon: ‘“I have heard from many different colleges that there is now a considerable — and disturbing — amount of parental pressure against the liberal arts,” reports Debra Humphreys, a senior vice president at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.’ Don’t get me wrong, I understand the struggle of paying a mountain of student debt and only being able to land a job where you didn’t even need a degree.

When I was in my 3rd year of my undergraduate for English Literature I was working at Safeway, where I had been able to advance to office manager and hiring manager. I was continually interviewing recent college graduates with a four year degree in English Literature, and they were here interviewing to be a cashier along with a few high school drop outs. This made me decide to change my major to Business Administration, without any influence from my parents, so I understand why parents are encouraging their children to not “waste their time with a Liberal Arts Degree.” However, I now know that I have been able to be successful in sales, business, and in my personal life more from my three years of studying liberal arts than from what I learned in my business classes. img_6116

In the mandatory psychology, sociology, and literature classes I was able to gain invaluable insight on how people from different walks of life respond to events differently, on what  motivates people, and how to see issues from another person’s perspective.  I developed interpersonal communication skills, public speaking experience, and critical thinking. I can see the implications that my choices have on my future and my children’s future based off the experiences I have read and studied in history. The knowledge and skills I learned studying for my liberal arts degree have helped me to develop lasting relationships with my peers, bosses, vendors, and customers and this has helped me to be successful both in my professional and personal life.

Recently I have observed an extreme lack of education in language, literature, and humanity. Due to this lack of ability to communicate with each other, as a society, we have become angry with each other. We are no longer learning about the importance of society, diversity, history, literature, and the arts. All of which I believe play an important role in bringing us together a society and as people. We are losing that connection. We are losing our ability to reason, think critically, empathize, and communicate. I know I don’t have a lot of influence over my peers, but I do have an incredible amount of influence on my children, and so do you. Give your children the gift of language. Give them the gift of literature, history, and the arts. Teach them to love books, to love to learn, and to love to understand others. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Dr. Seuss, “The more you read, the more you know, the more you learn, the more places you’ll go!” Build the foundation while they are young, and you’ll be amazed at all the places your kids will go.

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Homeschooling as a Working Mom

I was first given the example by my own mother. My mother is a Physical Therapist, and an exceptional one as well. She did not choose between being a mother and having a career, she had both. When my older brother and I were 3 and 1, she found a job as a Physical Therapist at a Nursing Home that was owned and operated by a local family. My mother explained to them that she put being a mother first and that she wanted to be able to home school her kids, so she would need a somewhat flexible schedule and to be able to bring her kids to work. I want to add, my mom worked full time, a full 40 hours and sometimes up to 50 per week when her patients needed her! This is how she did it.

First of all, the owners agreed to let her use a small empty room as her class room that was very close to her office. Although she wasn’t in her office that often because she was usually somewhere in the building working with patients. We only used this for a few hours a day, after we were done with our lessons she would take us to a lady’s house, usually on her lunch break, for us to play and run around and have fun until she picked us up at the end of the day. Let’s be honest, you can’t expect a 5 or even a 7 year old to behave in a nursing home from 9-5. When we are a little older we wouldn’t go to the babysitter’s until about 3, so we had a normal length school day, although it was far from normal learning.

Before you get too worried about the quality of our education, my older brother just graduated medical school with an MD and my younger sister is a Pharmacist, so we were fairly well prepared for higher education. 😉

However, that isn’t really the point, you already know home school students usually do very well or you wouldn’t be looking into how you could home school your own kids! We need to focus on how to get it done!

First of all, to be really successful at being a homeschooling and working mom, it will help to embrace the notion of homeschooling on the go. For my mother, she used travel time as learning, as well as evenings and weekends. For instance, it was a 30 minute drive from our house to my mom’s work, then of course  a 30 minute drive home. She would use that hour as completely focused learning time. We would sing learning songs, do addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc in our head as our mom would quiz us. We would talk about our lessons from the day before or tell our mom about the book we read. Then over the dinner table (we sat down and had family dinner every night) we would talk about other interesting things and my father would often join in then as well. I would argue that we learned more from this hour and a half (the drive and dinner) then the average kid does in an entire school day. Not because my parents were these brilliant teachers, but because we wanted to impress our parents with how much we learned and we loved having their attention (as most children do), so we remembered what they taught us. I remember when I was in public school in 8th grade (my Mom only did home school for Elementary School) my teacher asked the class, why do we have fall back. Nobody was raising their hand so I did and explained why there is a time change. My teacher stopped and looked at me very surprised and asked how I knew that. I laughed and replied that everybody knows that. My whole class disagreed with me, none of them knew that. We had discussed it at a family dinner when I was 6 or 7 I think. I had known that since I was 6! And here were 8th graders that didn’t know! If you are homeschooling on the go, your kids will eat up your every word and will want to learn from you, and you will be shocked at how far ahead they are when you just teach them everything you know as you go about your day!

I currently have a daughter in Kindergarten and a very rambunctious 2 year old son. I’m going to be honest, I might be changing my story when my son is old enough for school on how practical this is, but I hope not! 🙂 With my daughter I have a friend who also home schools who has children the same age, and she takes over playing and teaching my kids in the afternoon when I’m focused on working. We wake up early in the morning and do Math, we are continually learning Spanish, and we read and write every night. My daughter can already read and she loves to read, she is ahead of her grade level and I have been able to work outside the home just like my mom did. You can do it too! You need a good support system, that’s not true, you need a GREAT SUPPORT SYSTEM, find that boss who understands you need flexible time to teach your kids, find that friend who is willing to watch your kids while you are working, and get to work!