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Getting Started with Latin: Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age
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Getting Started with Latin: Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age

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Publisher: Armfield Academic Press
Author: William E. Linney

List Price: $18.95

Ages: 15-18 Years

Reviewed By: Virginia Jones

I have gone from blissfully unaware of Latin, to being thrilled when I run across a promising Latin curriculum. I am engaged in multi-level teaching, students with differing learning styles, and while "learn Latin" is on all their lists, they aren't all learning in lock-step, convenient as that would be.

Latin has become a cornerstone in my educational plans, what with its importance in the various fields of science, and let us not forget vocabulary and language. However, while one student responds well to workbook pages that introduce a dozen words a week, all at once, I have another student who struggles at this pace.

Getting Started with Latin starts out slowly and gradually, introducing a new word almost every day. There are pronunciation tips, and examples and instructions for using the words, along with exercises and lots of built-in review. In the exercises, English words are translated into Latin and vice versa. That's a Latin phrase, by the way, which reminds me of another feature in this book. Every so often, the author introduces a Latin phrase, translates it, and talks about its use in modern communication. Even with such a seemingly relaxed approach, by the time the student finishes the book's 134 lessons, first and second declensions and first and second conjugations will have been covered. It is the author's hope that the student will develop a taste for Latin that will lead to further study, "the foundation of a lifetime enjoyment of the Latin language."

Along the way, grammatical concepts are introduced within the context of their practical use. Thus, the student learns about such things as direct and indirect objects first by using them in English and then applying them in Latin. This is a great supplement to any other English grammar you might be learning.

The author is not only knowledgeable but also enthusiastic about his subject, and best of all he has a sense of humor that keeps popping out in unexpected places. In reading the Preface, I found out that he's familiar with homeschooling, in that he's the uncle of some homeschooled children. His sister asked him to teach the Latin course in their homeschool, which was complicated by the distance between them. Getting Started with Latin was his solution. He took the advice of "several experienced homeschool mothers" in the writing, making the course self-contained and non-consumable. Instead of having to buy a lot of ancillary materials, you'll find the answer key in the back of the book, along with pronunciation guides for both classical and ecclesiastical Latin (and the clearest explanation of the difference of the two that I've found anywhere), a glossary of Latin words, and a subject index making it easy to find, say, where the concept of word order in Latin was covered in the book. The author also provides free pronunciation MP3 files available for download at his website,

A brief introductory chapter, "How to Use This Book," tells just that, offering simple advice to help you get the most out of your Latin study.

In a concluding note following the final lesson, the author offers a few thoughts toward further study, along with encouragement to continue that study. This slow-and-steady method is the most painless approach I've seen to introductory Latin, and it builds into quite an impressive body of knowledge and skill. With this foundation, you'll be well equipped to take on a traditional Latin curriculum. Highly recommended.
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Virginia Jones
Virginia Jones hails from a small town in the Midwest, where "Nothing ever happens, thankfully!" Her family's interests include horseback riding, cross-country skiing, swimming, and, when they can manage to sit still, reading.
Copyright © 2007 Eclectic Homeschool Association


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