In Latin, students are introduced to one of the most important languages in the history of Western Civilization and one in which the Catholic tradition is deeply rooted. The main emphasis of this course is learning Latin grammar but students will also be introduced to beginning Latin conversation, aspects of life in ancient Rome, the relation of Latin to other languages (especially English), and Catholic prayers in Latin. Memoria Press First Form and Second Form are the key texts for the study of Latin which include a student workbook. The teaching method promotes student engagement, with frequent questions and answers from both students and teacher. In weekly homework assignments, students cement the Latin skills they learn through applying them.
The role of language in producing clarity and depth of thought is the basis for making Latin a required course of study beginning in the 5th grade and continuing through 8th grade. The benefits of studying Latin are many-fold:
- The habits of mind of the student studying Latin take on the qualities unique to the unexcelled system that is the Latin language: logic, order, precision, structure, all while learning how to exercise patient, methodic, and diligent effort.
- 65% of English words have Latin roots—to understand and use English well, we learn Latin (e.g. ‘father’ in Latin is pater, therefore the English paternalism, expatriate, patronize, patriotic, etc., or ‘death’ in Latin is mors, therefore the English mortal, immortal, morbid, mortuary, mortgage, etc.)
- After learning basic English grammar in Kindergarten through 3rd grade when a child learns to read, the 4th grade child then encounters thousands of new words as he or she reads to learn. Latin provides the important next level of language organization after that of English grammar. Latin does for language, what mathematics does for science.
- A language can only be studied outside of itself. Latin allows students to study and appreciate words–their origins, relationships, and their travel between languages, Latin forming the linguistic foundation of the five most spoken Romance languages and greatly facilitating their learning.
- Latin informs the vocabulary of all the natural sciences (e.g. equinox, igneous, symbols of the elements, etc.), the life sciences (e.g. plant and animal classifications, etc.), mathematics (e.g. axiom, integer, exponent, etc.), law and government (e.g. subpoena, pro bono, quid pro quo, non sequitur, etc.)