If you've been a long time reader, you know that I have no fondness for Latin. And I don't make any apologies for it. I think it is a foolish, time wasting thing to teach a child who is SO capable of learning a language, a dead language.
Yes, I've read the articles about how it teaches proper grammar, etc. I know it's part of numerous homeschool curricula packages, but don't forget that the people that publish these books aren't just doing it because they want your children to learn Latin…they make a living doing so. Not that there is anything wrong with selling homeschool curricula as a business, just something we often forget when people try to convince us that teaching something their way is the BEST way. And please note that I don't have any language curricula for sale.
Now, I don't have any "beef" with any publisher, so please don't take it that way. I just don't understand why you would go through all the frustration (because I am pretty confident that 99% of homeschooling parents do NOT know Latin) to teach your child a language that he or she will never speak OVER a Latin based language.
"But Susan, what if my child decides to go to medical school and needs to know Latin because so much of medical terminology is Latin based?"
Yes…what if? Most of our children won't follow those paths, but even those who do would have a great advantage if they knew a Latin based language WELL. I've never heard of any business going "ga ga" over an applicant that knows Latin, but I have heard of young adults whose fluency in Spanish (or any other language, really) helped them edge above the others and land an amazing job.
So you know we're living in Costa Rica, right? If not, you need to read my Big Dreams post.
My children have been immersed into a culture where they did not know much more Spanish than one can learn watching Dora the Explorer or Go! Diego Go!. (And by the way, Dora and Diego teach kids ENGLISH here! Freaks my oldest daughter out! LOL!)
My husband was a bit disappointed in their seeming lack of progress in learning Spanish. That was until he sat down and started reading some stories to them in Spanish and they knew at least 80% of what he was saying. And until one day, when our little 3 yr old was getting bit by ants and he screamed out "Armigas!" which in 3 yr old speak is Spanish for ants. Or when our oldest 3 could understand their great-aunt telling them something in Spanish because she doesn't speak English.
One of the BIG goals we've had for our children with our travels is to help them learn how to be comfortable with people who are very different from themselves AND be able to communicate with them in order to share the Gospel hope with them. I'm not saying you should have these same goals for your children, but if you're a Christian family and believe Matthew 28:19 AND realize that the number of Spanish speaking people in the world is growing quite rapidly, it only makes sense that we should know how to communicate with them.
The world's top 3 languages at this point in history are Chinese/Mandarin, Spanish and English. Note that Latin isn't in the top 3 or top 10 or even top100. It is a dead language, but the benefits of Latin can still be received by learning Spanish or Italian or French or Portuguese.
But back to the aspiring medical student…that was me. And in my undergraduate years, I took a Medical Terminology class…and got an "A" in it, thank you very much. I had no previous knowledge of Latin, in the purest sense, but a very good handle on Spanish. To say that knowing Spanish helped tremendously would be an understatement.
It has helped me communicate with the people here in Costa Rica, a few in Panama and even someone in Spain. I can speak easily with Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, etc. And I was able to write to our Compassion International child in Peru in his native tongue…and realized that some of the translations by Compassion International's staff of his letters to us were not entirely accurate.
Am I on a mission to get rid of all Latin curricula? Maybe I am, but only because I realize how valuable fluency in a LIVING second language truly is. Do YOU? Can you and your children live out the Gospel message in Matthew 28:19 by learning and teaching them a dead language? You forge relationships with others when you speak their language.
Have you been teaching your children Latin? What made you decide to do it? Or have you stuck with teaching your children Latin based languages like Spanish, French, Portuguese or Italian? If you're a die hard Latin fan, convince me why I'm wrong! Seriously!