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Saturday, April 21, 2012

German, Greek and Latin- In Our Homeschool

Now just because of the title, don’t think that we can speak or understand those languages as well as we would like to in our house. No. It just means that right now those are the languages we are focusing on {besides English *wink*}. And the only reason they are written in the order they are is because it is alphabetical…um, yeah.

Using Charlotte Mason method in our homeschool I know that it is best to focus on one at a time until a good grasp is had then add in another. We’ve sort of followed that rule; but more not than so perhaps. I suppose it really comes down to our habit of attention {lack of more times than not!}.

With the most recent Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival themed Foreign Language, I’ve been thinking more and more about our foreign language studies. I thought I would share some of the books and other resources I’ve discovered {all fairly recently} to help us with these. Most are books but a few {too few} are audio. Online resources are good as well, I’ve found just a few. I’ve only paid for one resource with all these.


This has been the latest addition to our homeschool and it’s been more difficult {imho} than the others. Most of the resources we found first were from online. Sites such as BBC Languages, GUT!, and Duetsch-Lernen. BBC has been the most preferred to this point because it is more ‘kid-friendly’. GUT! I actually just discovered  and am still looking through. It looks good, too, though, because it has a lot of audio.

Having a large library system is a blessing! I could not find many books at the libraries closest to us but with a little searching and requesting, I was able to find 5 books dealing with teaching/learning German, 2 even have CDs. I also found a Lyric Language CD/DVD to request. It is geared toward younger kids but I think the catchy songs will help with learning the language. That one also has a pdf that can be printed. Otherwise I found quite a few books that are about Germany. They are mostly ‘picture’ books. I did also find one book in German, a kids book, but it will go back soon as it is too advanced for us!

Here are the teaching/learning books and DVD that I was able to get from the library:



This is one language that is primarily being learned by only one person in the family. Lee has a fascination with foreign languages; especially the ‘dead’ ones! We started Latin the second year of homeschooling and while she moaned and groaned at the start, it grew on her and she loves it now. {the same cannot be said of Fox!} I received Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek as a review item the first year on the TOS Homeschool Review Crew and initially used it with both of the kids. Learning Latin was tough enough for Fox; a second language was not a good idea. Lee finished Level 3 from Greek n Stuff on her own and has moved through 4 and is just about to finish 5. I plan to purchase Level 6 before the start of our next school year {July} so she can continue with it.

That is the only ‘book’ that we’ve found really for Greek. I did find a ‘modern Greek’ book at the library but we’ve not looked at it enough to say whether it’s beneficial or not.

As for online resources- I have found a few but we rarely actually use them. The first one that I was made aware of is Textkit for learning Ancient Greek and Latin. This site includes a forum to get in touch with other learners/teachers. Another is Headventureland, from Classical Academic Press. There are games, flashcards and ‘readers’. There is also one more site that we have been able to find works in Greek {I cannot find the link}. We copied part of Homer’s Odyssey {her request} to a Word document and Lee periodically goes through and translates as she is able.


This one is ‘tough’ because I’ve not really come across a lot of resources for it. We use the ecclesiastical pronunciation and many resources use the classical pronunciation.

For our ‘study’ we use Memoria Press’s First Form Latin. We have the pronunciation CD, the textbook, workbook, quizzes and worksheets and the flashcards. Honestly, the last 4 months we’ve been using just the flashcards. We really should use the pronunciation CD more often *note to self!*.

As for books, we have found none that we actually use. I do have a ‘reader’/textbook that I found at a used book sale a year or so ago. It’s title is Smith and Thompson’s First Year Latin. It is copyrighted 1962. Although we’ve not used it, I look through it sometimes. It also uses the classical pronunciation. Here is a snippet from one of the ‘reading lessons’ (page 63):

Viri Romani multas terras oppugnaverunt. Provincias et oppida occupare temptaverunt. Fama belli magna erat. Romani post bellum servos et captivos ad Italiam portaverunt. Postea per Romam in magno triumpho ad Capitolium vecti sunt (they were carried). Romani hanc (this) pompam (procession) “triumphum” appellaverunt.

Although my translation would be quite lacking, I do understand some of that paragraph! I did find a book at the library {the only one} but I’ve not looked through it enough to actually say we ‘use’ it. {I’ve opened it twice; once at the library and once just now.} The reason I got this book is because I would like more usage than just nouns, verbs and adjectives. Let’s put them together and make some sentences.


Those are the resources that I have for these languages {or can get}. Now, why did I choose these?

With Greek, that was because it was a review item and at the time I really didn’t have a choice. I’m very glad that we enjoyed it enough for at least one of us to become interested in learning more.

Latin I chose because I’ve taken Spanish in high school and college and I know that the root of the Romance languages is Latin. I personally found it very helpful when studying Spanish to have some Latin background {never-mind that I barely passed}. I hope that it will be helpful to my kids as well if they decide to pursue another foreign language.

German was chosen because {you might laugh} Lee was doing a second-second language so Fox wanted to do a second-second language. Why he didn’t just continue on with Greek as Lee did I suppose is because he wasn’t ready. He wanted to do Yiddish but I suggested strongly that he choose one that would be more applicable in his life. His dad’s side has German ancestry and he has always been fascinated with Germany.

How we do foreign language study is not glamorous or even tidy but it is working {for the most part} for us. For us it is an every day subject, much like Bible and math. Latin is the only one that we do all together. That is the only I have learned along with them and ‘know’ as much as they do! Greek n Stuff could definitely be more teacher/parent intensive but Lee prefers to do it independently. I think, perhaps, she enjoys knowing something we do not. German is 50/50 because we are not using an actual program.

I am insistent on correct pronunciation {as much as we can} when studying the languages. It is important, I feel, to say things correctly- or who knows what others will be hearing. In First Form Latin there is recitation, worksheets, flashcards, etc. We have learned quite a few ‘mottos’ but not sentences. Greek n Stuff has the same in regards to system of learning but it also has Lee making and translating full sentences {and it has a few more ‘fun’ activities}. With German, Fox listens to words and short sentences, writes down them down and repeats them. I try to emphasize the need to hear before reading {as that is how we all learn English} but he feels that he will get it faster or better with writing it as well as saying it. I do agree, to some extent. There are no quizzes or flashcards- yet.

My next step- which probably should have been closer to the first?- is to learn a song, poem or prayer in all three languages. I think as it stands right now, Latin is most likely the only one that we could translate with any real success. In both Greek and German the extent would be a word or two from a sentence.

I personally would absolutely love to learn Russian. I have a few online resources for that already! Perhaps that’ll be my second-second language *wink*

Ah, and before I forget: May 14-18, 2012, be watching for 5 Days of Foreign Language here on my blog. There will be 40+ other “5 Days of…” bloggers covering a multitude of topics.

 foreignlanguage   5daysbutton2

*all book cover images are affiliate linked; see disclosure/policies for more information.


  1. I love your idea of learning a song, poem or prayer in the foreign language being studied. I might have to try that with my peeps. We are learning Latin.

    1. I think that Latin is my favorite language of them all. I personally want to learn Russian (not sure if I said that in my post lol) but just can't stuff it in right now.


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