7 Reasons to Learn Latin

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The teaching of Latin has been my greatest downfall as a Catholic homeschooling mother. I know the importance of teaching it to my children, but I have a mental block when it comes to foreign language, especially Latin.

Knowing its importance, I haven’t allowed my lack of Latin knowledge create failure in my children. Over the years, I have sought out other resources so that my children could learn this rich, beautiful language successfully.

Part of being a good homeschooler is knowing when to seek outside help. If you are like me, that may mean finding a local tutor, using a tutoring service via Skype, taking a correspondence course, or signing up for a live, interactive course online.

Unless your child plans to major in the classics in college, two years of high school Latin study should be sufficient. All of the Catholic home study schools offer Latin in their programs. There are also a number of online curriculum providers who offer individual Latin courses, such as Carmenta Online Latin Classroom and Homeschool Connections. To find a private tutor, ask other Catholic homeschoolers in your local community.

Because emotions are contagious, consider learning Latin alongside your children. If they see that you are excited about learning, they will be more enthusiastic about learning themselves.

But why Latin? Why should you go to all that trouble?

7 Reasons to Learn Latin infographic

Here are the seven reasons I have my children learn Latin:

1. It’s the official language of the Church.

As Edward Peters has stated, “A working knowledge of Ecclesiastical Latin affords one direct access to nearly two millennia of accumulated Christian wisdom”

2. Higher SAT scores.

Latin students score 160 points higher than non-Latin students in the verbal section of the SAT. They also have significantly higher scores in math. An investment in Latin can translate into college scholarships!

3. Builds character.

Learning Latin can be challenging. It takes perseverance and dedication.

4. Builds vocabulary. 

At least 60% of words in the English language are derived from Latin, often through middle French, 30% of English words are of Anglo-Saxon origin, and 10% from Greek and other languages.

5. Scientific and medical terminology often come from Latin.

Did you know that most, if not all, of the 206 bones in your body are Latin words?

6. English grammar.

To learn Latin well, you must learn the grammar. In Latin the word order won’t help you, as it is a highly inflected language with lots of endings to learn.

7. Logic skills.

Latin trains your mind and memory. Translating a Latin sentence is an exercise in logical thinking.

As you can see, Latin is an important subject. While it is rarely taught in site-based schools these days, I think these seven reasons point to why that needs to change. I hope that, if you aren’t already, you’ll introduce Latin into your homeschool.

Copyright 2013 Maureen Wittmann

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11 Comments

  1. I am going to homeschool my daughter and I want to eventually learn Latin with her. We will also learn another language. I was a linguist for the Navy, so languages are something that come easily to me. Now Trigonometry is another matter. I am glad another mom has found great reasons to have her kids learn Latin.

  2. As a corollary to reason #1, learning Latin adequately has helped me in the exegesis of the Vulgate (the Navarre Bible).
    also, with Latin, one can get the flavor of historical masterpieces such Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Cicero’s oratory and other Roman writers.

  3. Dear Ma’am:
    I see that your seven reasons and your picture are copyright to you: I wonder if you would give me permission to reproduce the picture to use in the school where I teach to promote Latin??
    The course I use may be of interest to home schoolers anywhere: it is called ‘ So you really want to learn Latin and is by Nicholas Oulton. There are three volumes in the course, and for each of them there is an answer booklet published. The publisher is Galore Park. One of the great assets of the book is the attractive type face and the fact that it is laid out with explanation on the left, practice on the right. I do not know if there is an American edition with declensions written in the American order or not.

  4. I have a Latin teaching degree and most people told me I was crazy and would never use my Latin. However, God had a place and a purpose for me. I have been teaching Latin in a Catholic school for the past 13 years and find it very rewarding. I agree with all of her reasons for learning Latin as well as providing a foundation for learning any other language once you have learned Latin. I highly recommend the Memoria Press Latin curriculum. For young children start with Prima Latina and Latina Christiana. For students 5th grade and up start with First Form Latin. Even parents/teachers without a background in Latin can be successful with the teaching DVD’s and support materials through Memoria Press. http://www.memoriapress.com/Latin

    (No, Memoria Press did not pay me to say this!)

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