Thursday, May 31, 2007

Adventures in teaching

For the last school year, I have had the opportunity to work with some home-schooled students. Not only was it fun, but I learned a lot too.

Here are some things I learned over the course of the year.

In our first encounter with Latin poetry, I introduced Catullus to my students. We used Catullus: A Legamus Transitional Reader, and it did what it claimed it would do. It took the students by the hand at first and slowly let go.

The "Making Sense of It" section was my favorite tool. It showed words that went together with special type, included gapped words and built student confidence. When we reached the "As it Was" part of each chapter, the students had a handle on what was coming. They could see that word order was not complex for metrical purposes alone, but for artistic reasons. By the end of the book, they felt comfortable enough with Catullus's style to manage without the help of inclusion of gapped words and special type.

We also dipped into Medieval Latin with Medieval Mosaic. My students really enjoyed this. I also enjoyed it, because I had not previously had much exposure to Medieval Latin. My students perceived the Latin in this book as easier, but I am not so sure—there are still plenty of complexities. The book's selections are varied in both time and subject matter, which also helped keep student interest.

As part of my own continuing work on my Latin skills, I read part of Eutropius' Breviarum. For those of you who do not know, it is an overview of Roman history and is written in fairly simple Latin. I found it to be simple enough that I could keep the reading all in Latin without needing to translate to English. Where did I find this gem? Lectiones Secundae, of course. Though this book is meant to go with Level II of Artes Latinae, you can enjoy it all on its own.