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How and Why You Should Teach a Dead Language

If you’d have asked me years ago when I first started to homeschool if I’d ever be teaching Latin, well, to be honest, I never would have answered you…

I’d be laughing too hard!

Why and How to Teach Latin


I mean, who wants to teach Latin? Isn’t it very commonly known as a “dead language”? Not only is it never (or almost never) spoken, but most people don’t even know how to pronounce much of it!

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But a few years ago I stumbled upon this program while co-teaching with Candy and her kids. We were basing our homeschool efforts that year on the Classical Conversations format and were looking for a Latin course of study. Over the years I read about multiple studies and classroom case histories showing how studying Latin helps build vocabulary, and while I had only taught our 2 older kids a cursory intro to Latin through games, I really wanted to dig in a little deeper with our 3 younger ones. I had NO idea what to look for in a curriculum, however, and had read so many conflicting things about the Latin programs that were available, and so, quite frankly, I chose this one based on their offer of 5 free lessons to try out!

We enjoyed it for a few years and then put it aside as both of our family’s situations and learning formats went through some changes…

But imagine my pleasant surprise as I began to plan for the coming year – more on that one in another post 😉 – and Visual Latin came across my radar once again! Yay!

This year I’m going to be teaching at our local Classical Conversations community and decided to incorporate CC into my middle schooler’s educational “mix” as well. I’ve always appreciated the classical method of learning, but this will be a new experience for her. (And I’m confident she’s up for the challenge!)

Once again she’ll be studying Latin, and CC uses Henle Latin. Now one of the reasons we didn’t choose Henle “way back” was because it was a bit too serious. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you, but at the time we had elementary-aged kids, and we were looking for more of a gentle introduction to the concept of Latin and Greek roots in the English language.

But here we are, years later, and we’re finding ourselves able to use this cool aspect: the makers of Visual Latin have prepared free materials to support students using the Henle curriculum! So my daughter will be able to study her Henle material in class, and then pop in the appropriate video at home for a friendly review with Dwayne. (Somewhere along the way, he kind of became an adopted family member who “just happens” to be a Latin teacher also.)  It’s providing a super bridge to renewed learning!

This is all well and good, but you still may be wondering “How can this help me?” or “What does this have to do with my homeschool?”  So…if you’re asking those questions, or even “Why should I try Visual Latin this year?” Let me give you my reasons:

6 Reasons Why We’re Using Visual Latin This Year (and why you should, too!)

  1. It’s a painless introduction to the language – Ohmygosh, you think learning Latin is boring? You have NOT watched Dwayne in front of the camera. Yes, I’ll be transparent here and admit we’re hooked on the teacher, too, not just the program. His dry humor is engaging to both kids and adults and holds your attention. And anyone who’s sat through a class – in any subject – with a dull and dreary teacher knows that the instructor’s personality really IS important, right?!
  2.  Optional worksheets (with answers for the teacher – yay!) allow for off-screen review. Not to mention all the free Latin helps they offer at the Compass Classroom site.
  3. It’s a wise use of your probably-tightly-squeezed homeschool budget! – Besides the 5 free lessons you can download immediately, Homeschool Buyer’s co-op has a great deal right now. AND, when you purchase a monthly subscription over at the Compass Classroom site, you get access to 6 other classes besides Visual Latin 1 and 2; and if you purchase a subscription on Dwayne’s blog, you get access to live classes, in addition to over 500 (as of the date of this post) videos! So many ways to save!
  4. Dwayne is a real guy. – I’m not saying this lightly, and actually, come to think of it, I should have put this as reason #1. Take a look at his Facebook page, and take the time to read a few posts, clicking on at least one or two links to his personal blog. This guy loves language. Seriously. But even more so, he has a passion for helping people learn; in his own words, “I like helping people. Unlike some other online programs, I don’t have a desire to squeeze families for every last dollar I can get from them. I see myself as a helpful advisor, not a money extraction machine.” And how could anyone take a pass on the kind of support he provides?  Heck, he even answers questions you send him on his blog or Facebook page! (And did you know he’s a homeschool dad, too?!)
  5. Its welcome flexibility –  Consider it a user-friendly intro to the language, and then use it as leverage to and follow-through for more studious and academic lessons later on.
  6. You can take a few lessons for a test-run! – As I mentioned, when you get on their site, there is an option to download 5 complete lessons at no cost: just click on the picture below! Try them out and then make a decision for yourself.

Visual Latin


Have you ever taught Latin in your homeschool? What materials or methods have you used? If you’ve used Visual Latin before, what’s your favorite aspect of it? If not, think you’ll be giving it a try? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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6 Responses to How and Why You Should Teach a Dead Language

  1. Ruthie Gray July 1, 2016 at 8:23 am #

    Wow Pat, this sounds like a GREAT series! Classical Conversations moved to our area about 5 years ago and it has exploded like hotcakes! I love how you explained the benefits and how engaging “Dwayne” was. Going to share with my Fb readers!

    Thanks for the visit to Tuesday Talk. I’d love to get back into the blog hop scene and visit Coffee and Conversation again on a regular basis. Maybe once the book hoopla dies down………………………:0
    Ruthie Gray recently posted…How homeschooling can achieve your family dream (Part II – my story)My Profile

    • Pat July 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

      Thank you for sharing, Ruthie – that means a lot to me <3
      You'll see us at Tuesday Talk again, fer sure. Hoping to see you here, too, but hopefully before "the book hoopla dies down" - we don't want it to die down, do we?! LOL

      Love all that you're doing for us "angry moms"!!
      Be blessed, friend!
      Pat recently posted…What’s Wrong With Apple Juice?My Profile

  2. Brandi Raae June 27, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    I’ve always used Latina Christiana for our homeschool Latin. 🙂 I took Latin in high school, so I guess it was kind of natural to include it in my kids’ learning. The Latin I learned was Classical Latin, though, so what my kids’ have learned is slightly different. I’ve never tried Visual Latin but have heard good things.

    • Pat June 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

      Brandi, I never studied Latin in school, but I sure wish I had! What’s the difference between Classical Latin and what your kids are learning now? I have a good friend who used Latina Christiana for her kids…and now as she’s teaching her grandkids!! Preparing for my daughter to enroll in Classical Conversations this year, and they’ll be doing Henle. Don’t know much about how it compares to LC, but I joyfully discovered that Visual Latin has a guide to use their videos to reinforce Henle – I’m SO happy!!

  3. Kim June 21, 2016 at 8:21 am #

    Found you from the hip homeschool mom link party. This is an interesting post. I would love to teach Latin, but my kids struggle with memorization. Someone told me that Latin really helps with grammar, do you think that is true?

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