Listen to our fabulous Latin teacher, Sarah Weinschenk, talk about . . .
The study of Latin is essential to a classical education. Not only does it provide the student with an understanding of the essential structure and function of western languages, but it also allows the student to hone his/her analytical skills and build vocabulary. At the same time, the study of Latin exposes the student to the language, philosophy, religion, culture, and history of Roman Civilization that has provided the foundation for our own system of government and law, and has had an impact on many aspects of our culture due to the role played by Latin literature in Western educational tradition. Because of all these benefits, Latin is thoroughly integrated into the life of our school. From our morning routine with our Latin roots of the day, to our instruction in the classroom, Latin is a vital part of a well-trained mind.
Students at SLO Classical Academy are introduced to Latin in first grade with basic pronunciation, vocabulary, commands and greetings. Through this familiarity with the language at an early age, students become comfortable with the structure of Latin before entering into a more rigorous study of its grammar and syntax. Throughout the early years of studying Latin, students are exposed to the language through song and recitation in a way that keeps it light and enjoyable, yet foundational for future studies.
As students enter the SLO Classical Academy Lower Middle School (LMS) (5th and 6th Grades), Latin is learned via the Cambridge Latin Course. This curriculum allows the student to read and understand Latin from the very first day of class. The student will learn grammar and build vocabulary while reading stories based on real people. LMS Latin prepares students for the formal study of Upper Middle School (UMS) Latin. UMS starts with the Roman Empire between A.D. 79-84. Unit I is set in Pompeii in the year of the infamous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Students will follow a continuous plot line and characters, some of which carry over into Unit 2 where the action moves first to Roman Britain and then Alexandria, Egypt under Roman rule. This exposes the student to many aspects of ancient life in various parts of the empire.
In UMS, the student's work will consist of translation, reading for comprehension, grammar exercises, and memorization of vocabulary and grammatical paradigms. In class, the student will use various methods to help achieve a mastery of grammar, vocabulary, and translation. These will range from board drills, to tactile exercises, friendly competitions, and dramatic readings/acting out of stories. Mastery of a new language is best achieved through frequent practice. The student should always be looking out for opportunities to review vocabulary and practice translating. Periodically the student's progress will be measured by means of vocabulary quizzes and stage tests. This will help the student, parents, and teachers to know what areas might still need some work.
SLO Classical Academy’s High School offers studies in advanced Latin as well as the opportunity to study modern foreign languages. Because of the grounding in Latin, students in classical high schools experience great success in nearly every language.
One of the joys of studying Latin is that you never know where it is going to lead. Daily proverbs and quotations in Latin provide a springboard for exploring all sorts of ideas. The students at SLO Classical Academy, through a rich Latin curriculum, are well-prepared for advanced studies in many of the world’s modern languages.