It is commonly acknowledged that every high school student should
take a foreign language. However, knowing I should teach a foreign
language didn't make it less intimidating. Give me a chemistry
class and I'm good! Want to talk about literature? I'm there. Need
to do a dissection or Geometry proof? Let the students come! Teach
a foreign language? I'm paralyzed with dread and fear.
I have no confidence, no enthusiasm and very little will to delve
into language study with my child. Frankly, my high school French
has seemed like the one courses for which the question "when are we ever going to use this" actually
could be answered - NEVER! Despite making A's, I remember hardly
any of that French and I've not seen any application of it in
30 years of academic work.
If you share my dread of this subject - dread no more. You too
CAN successfully teach a foreign language to your student --
without "really trying" by traveling the Latin Road to English
Barbara Beers of Schola Publishing Company has developed an easy to use, thorough and in-depth foreign language program for Latin! Not only has she developed courses for high school credit, but she has two other courses for elementary school children as well. All of these provide students with a firm foundation in both Latin and in their own English grammar.
From my own experience with science vocabulary I know that the majority of words
in our language are derived from Latin and understanding those word roots increased
my contextual understanding of science vocabulary in college. I also did some
research and learned that studying Latin:
- improves reading comprehension
- improves verbal SAT scores
- provides a good foundation for further
- trains the memory
- develops reasoning power
That's a lot of benefit from one addition
to the homeschool scope and sequence. The problem for me has been that
the "best" material I've
seen for Latin required far too much understanding on my part.
Finally, an accessible curriculum for this important subject! With The Latin Road to English Grammar,
parents are not required to have ANY prior knowledge of the language.
The course lays everything out in a simple and understandable way
using the methodology classical homeschoolers will recognize as "from the parts to the whole." Students build their
understanding step by step. However, Mrs Beers has employed a multisensory
method that will ensure that every student can master this foundational
The Latin Road to English Grammar is the average homeschool
mother's answer to that Latin foreign language credit! It was written
specifically for homeschoolers so that the parent/teacher can learn
along side the student! All the materials you need are included for
easy learning and teaching: textbook, worksheets, tests, vocabulary
cards, answer keys, lesson plans, verb charts, audio CD's for pronunciation
and teacher training DVDs.
Here's how it works:
During the course of study each student develops his own Latin-English
handbook. All information concerning grammar and vocabulary is presented
in a balanced combination of oral and written work. Students will
hear, say, see, read, and write Latin and English constantly. In
this way all students can learn with their strengths and yet also
practice their weaknesses. This multisensory method of learning does
far more to instill the information in the student's
mind than a mere workbook method. Everything is clearly defined, and,
equipped with the essential components, any student is able to analyze
both English and Latin.
The complete course is in three volumes that equal two entire credits
of high school foreign language. However, you can start with children
as young as 5th grade (and yes - - you can count it as a high school
credit even if they take it before 9th grade!) If the student finishes
this before high school they can then take another foreign language
with greater ease.
When we started using Latin Road, the first thing I noticed
was that there is a LOT of copying. Students copy everything they need
to know from the text into their notebook. Not only do they copy, but
they organize the information into categories and practice the information
with worksheets and other exercises. The copywork and the constant oral
practice are the secrets to this program. Copywork is a multisensory
exercise and when you combine it with reciting with the recorded passages
and using color-coded materials, all the learning modalities are covered.
Students who dread handwriting will probably balk at this program; however,
for the student who is not writing challenged, the copious amounts of
copy work do not seem to be a problem and they work!
As astounding as it seems, my daughter really likes the method used
Road and she's admitted that "all that copying really does get the information
in her head!"
Students also practice analytical skills as they translate passages
- which starts in lesson one. They build memory power by memorizing
all those vocabulary words, declensions,endings and roots - not to mention
the translation pieces!
Because Mrs Beers doesn't assume the student is fluent in English grammar,
she explains every concept thoroughly and demonstrates how English grammar
compares to Latin. These systematic connections reinforce both languages
and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm actually understanding some parts
of English better as well.
I'm delighted to say that this method is working for us! My daughter
is not the most academically inclined student and she's not generally
very attentive to detail. The repetitious nature of this program really
helps her learn the material; and it doesn't seem "boring" (go figure!). Furthermore,
I can tell that she's also applying what she is learning within the context
of vocabulary she has in science and other subjects. She's thrilled to be
learning to SING in Latin!
Each day's lesson takes 45 - 60 minutes. The first 20 minutes are "teaching" or "reviewing" and
require teacher involvement. For us that means we watch the Teaching DVD
segment together, go over flash cards and practice the recitation. Then
the student works on their notebook or other assignments. The parent is
supposed to make their own notebook, but I confess, my limited time as prevented
me from keeping up with that. Thankfully, the Teacher's Notebook is already
set up with examples that guide the student's efforts.
The cost for each volume set is around $149. Volume III is $189. However
the audio components, the text book, and the cards are non-consumable. The
Latin Road Teacher's Notebook is completely organized for the parent
- right down to detailed, daily lesson plans, a key to tell you the
track of the cd your material is on and examples of how student pages
All of the materials are extremely high quality. Even the covers of
the notebooks have a quality feel about them and sheet protectors have
been thoughtfully included for very important papers. I believe that
the quality of the materials encourages quality work from my daughter;
she is taking a lot of pride in the notebook she's creating for herself.
One optional component that is not "optional" in my opinion is the Teacher Training DVD. Each volume set is $89 and worth every penny of it!!!! I watch the lesson with my student and we mark the "day assignments" directly
in her text as Mrs Beers explains them. Mrs Beers presentation is clear and
she shows examples of how each page should be created. Don't try this program
without the DVD at first! In fact save yourself some money by buying the
DVD's as part of your set with the BIG FAT LATIN SPECIAL ($249).
In summary: Two thumbs up for Latin Road to English
Grammar. It works! It's
easy! If not "fun" at least it isn't distasteful! Finally, it will work with
students who may struggle with language because it employs all the learning
Parents who want to provide a firm foundation for a foreign language
or those who want their child to have a high school credit can't do better
Latin Road to English Grammar.
Schola publishes two other curricula:
The Phonics Road to Spelling and Grammar is for beginning readers. The
Bridge to the Latin Road for children in 3rd - 6th grade which
introduces the English/Latin grammar relationship and teaches about
400 Latin roots and affixes. If I had known about this program I definitely
would have used the Bridge in elementary school. Even if I was starting
with a middle school student and had time, I believe I'd use the Bridge
to establish a base of roots and affixes.