Tips and Hints on Teaching Latin

Well, well, it has been a long, long time since any of us posted anything here! But things have quietened down again, and I might as well make a post.

This year one of my regular jobs has been teaching my littlest sister Latin. I studied Latin on and off for seven years when I was younger, spending most of my time on the Mars Hill Latin course by Martha (and later, Douglas) Wilson. When I had finished the two Latin primers and the Latin grammar, Mum looked around for a more advanced Latin course (since the Mars Hill course was aimed at primary-age students).

She settled on a recent edition of the classic textbook by Frederick Wheelock. Wheelock’s Latin is basically the Saxon Maths of Latin courses—few frills, and contains most of what you’ll ever want to know about Latin in one dense textbook. I did that for six months before getting completely out of my depth and having to stop—and then university prevented me going on.

Mum was considering whether to start A. on Wheelock’s at the beginning of the year, and feeling somewhat daunted, when I offered to teach her instead. Wheelock’s had conquered me once and I knew now what the problem had been. I had not taken great care to learn everything in each chapter before moving on to the next. I had assumed that I could tackle a new chapter every week. Wrong!

So when I began teaching A. Latin at the beginning of the year, I realised that you had to work through each chapter very thoroughly, taking it slowly. We just finished for the year today and out of the 40 chapters in the textbook, we’ve only got through the first 7.

Had I not spent so much time away from home, especially in the second half of the year, we might have gotten a little further. But this is how we did it: First we would read the chapter together and discuss it. Then, we would start work on the worksheets for that chapter (I recommend getting the Workbook for Wheelock’s Latin, which has lots of supplementary exercises). After this, we would work through the Optional Self-Tutorial Exercises at the back of the main textbook. Finally, we would tackle the translation exercises in the chapter itself. This involves working through the chapter several times in a row, and really helps you to learn it. I also had A. drill the words and their meanings daily.

Why Latin?: Learning languages is an excellent mental discipline. Although English is a Germanic language, it has been heavily influenced by Latin and Greek as well. Latin and Latin-derived languages such as French have dominated world history for thousands of years, from the ancient times of the Roman Empire, to the medieval world in which Latin was the language of scholarship and French the language of diplomacy, to the modern world in which English has only recently replaced both. Learning Latin disciplines a student’s mind to understand words, not just in their current meanings but also in their ancient and medieval meanings. When the finer shades of meaning and history emerge, a writer becomes able to choose words with far greater skill and care than he otherwise would have. He can become a truly capable and powerful user of words.

A solid grounding in Latin is also an excellent place to begin learning other languages. French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Portugese, and other languages are derived from Latin. Learn Latin, and not only will you understand your own language better, you’ll also understand parts of others.

Finally, learning Latin is also an excellent way to learn grammar. Although Latin grammar is not identical to English, they share many points of similarity and you simply cannot learn Latin without a rigorous use of grammar. While everyone needs a solid introduction to English grammar, there’s no reason to keep on with it once you start learning Latin. Basically, it’s a two-subjects-for-the-price-of-one deal.

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I Am Not Going to Be a Lawyer

I originally posted this up on Facebook to explain what I’ve been doing for the last year.

A few of you have asked what I am going to do now that I’ve finished my Bachelor of Laws. Where I’m doing my articles, whether I’ve found another job yet, what exciting career choices I’ve made.

The answer is going to surprise most of you and may even offend or disappoint some of you. And to those of you who feel disappointed, I really do understand. I don’t like being one of those people without the character or gumption to pick a thing and stick with it. But I don’t think that’s what I am. I haven’t drifted. Instead, I’ve found something better, something more importaint. Something far more fulfilling, challenging, and exciting.

Something that doesn’t involve being a lawyer, or, indeed, having a career at all.

My family isn’t new to unusual choices. Mum gave up a cushy teaching gig when she married Dad, preferring to pour her life into her new family. They were pioneer homeschoolers; people would say “What’s that?” when they received the unorthodox answer to the question of where we went to school. Instead of getting a job after uni, Isaac started his own business when he was fifteen and put himself through uni, to which my maternal grandmother responded with “Now that he’s finished uni, is he going to get a job?” Ha, no! Why, when he can be his own master?

So this is me, reverting to type. I’m not going to be a lawyer. I’m not going to do articles, and while I may at some point consider becoming a fully-qualified lawyer, I have no immediate plans for doing so.

After my job at a local law firm finished last year, I found myself asking “Quo vadio, where am I going?” As months passed with no job coming up, I began to seriously question my purpose in life. The final straw was probably the moment I realised that working in the law was going to involve moving so far away from home that I would not have many opportunities of seeing most of my family. I did move to Melbourne for a while to look for work, and found the prospect depressing. Meanwhile I had time and enough of an internet connection to catch up on some interesting-looking blogs. One thing led to another and before long I was researching a relatively recent movement among the Calvinist homeschooling large-family Rushdoony-reading lovables I call my friends. The (very unofficial) figureheads among this movement, Anna-Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, call it “visionary daughterhood”. It’s more widely known among detractors and supporters as “stay-at-home daughterhood”. I still remember the day early in November last year that I realised I was thinking seriously about it. I had first heard of it way back in 2009, and thought it was a pretty crazy, legalistic sort of idea. Now, somehow, I was considering it for myself. Continue reading

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Suzannah’s Dahlia Brooch

I thought I should share with you my latest flower. (oh yes, I love making flowers!)
I made this flower with some left over lining from one of Suzannah’s woolen outfits

What I used:

  • Lining
  • Pearls
  • Hot Glue. (Sadly, my hot glue gun blew up as I was finishing it)
  • Cardboard for the base

You can make your own by looking here, and you can purchase one in any color or fabric from my etsy store.

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Should Girls Read Boys’ Books?

I have a book review blog over at In Which I Read Vintage Novels, my own blog. Today’s post is one I thought might be of interest to readers here.

Should Girls Read Boys’ Books?

One day in conversation I recommended a whole squad of books to a young lady. John Buchan would certainly have featured among them, but I’m sure others would have included The Prisoner of Zenda, Journey Through the Night, Biggles or even some Chesterton or Scott. Her reply amazed me. She would love to read all those books, she told me. There was nothing she loved as much as tales of thrilling adventure in far places. Unfortunately, her mother didn’t wish her to read many books like this and preferred her to read mainly ‘ladylike’ books like those of Louisa May Alcott.

Since I never had any reading guidelines, I was surprised to hear that anyone’s mother could impose a guideline like this. However since then I’ve noticed that lots of parents are trying to guide their children into good reading that will, in the short years of their youth, prepare them well for the days ahead of them.

The question parents ask is this: What kind of reading will help my daughter to develop a Godly femininity? What kind of reading will best develop a quiet, gentle spirit? What kind of reading will prepare her best to love home, husband, and children and make her a fruitful vine?

Read More…

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Jean Skirt Tutorial

Hello, there! This is Suzannah. You can see Abigail’s impressionist portrait of me up there on the banner, in a red bonnet.

One of my grandfathers used to say, “They don’t make the kind of clothes I like!” And when asked what kind of clothes he liked– “Old clothes.”

I was in this dilemma. I wanted a warm, cheap, sturdy, serviceable skirt (or three) which I could wear around the house, but which would take so little time to make that I would not end up putting it away for special occasions. Finally I realised what I needed…


It’s cheap! It’s easy! It’s hard wearing! It only takes two hours to make

Tutorial Continue reading

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Welcome to Three Chicks and a Hen! Thank you for stopping by. We hope to have some exciting posts up soon.
Meanwhile, let me introduce myself. I’m Elizabeth and the middle chick (you see me there on the banner). I live in Australia with the other two chicks, Suzannah and Abigail. We have always loved making things. You can see some of my creations in my Etsy store:
E J A R T !  I hope to post tons of great photos of my work with perhaps some step by step instructions. From me, you will also see some of my favorite Etsy stores and a few pictures of their works! Stick around!

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