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Wheelock's Latin Textbook


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Initial post: Apr 26, 2010 7:33:24 AM PDT
B. Cannon says:
Is Wheelock's Latin Text a good one for homeschool students and a teacher who hasn't taught this one before? What helps are available for the teacher?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2010 4:53:43 PM PDT
S. H. Wells says:
Wheelock's is the standard for Latin instruction and is used in many colleges. I had the Ecci Romani (Prentice Hall) textbooks when I was in high school, and I think it is better for beginners. I would probably start with the Ecci Romani books. The Wheelock's was better in college.

I would strongly encourage you to find LOTS of audio/visual aids. Hearing Latin correctly is important when learning to read the language. You can search "Latin Language" on YouTube and find a few videos.

Also a great way to teach Latin is with some of the "modern" books in translation. My favorite are the Asterix & Obelix comics (you can get those here on amazon) and some people also like the Harry Potter.

If the teacher is creative and a quick study he/she can bring these materials alive. Hopefully, he/she can, because studying Latin can be and should be a lot of fun for everyone.

Posted on Apr 27, 2010 10:50:00 AM PDT
Mike says:
Use the Cambridge Latin. Wheelock is ungodly difficult for a modern student, esp. a younger one. It assumes a Latin taskmaster drilling the student. Excellent text, but the product of a different era. It shows.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2010 11:31:07 AM PDT
Wheelock is great for self-teaching, IF you are a motivated self-teacher.

It may be too much for younger students.

One text I have heard very good things about is Latin for the New Millennium. I have not used it myself, but apparently it is youth-friendly.

Posted on Apr 28, 2010 9:55:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2010 9:56:14 PM PDT
Todd Cook says:
Wheelock has a reader and a workbook and many supporting ancillary texts available. A certain amount of drilling is necessary; learning latin is about discipline. Wheelock promises and delivers a path for reading interesting pieces of unaltered classical latin. With some of the hip, new textbooks things are so easy, even the "advanced" course textbooks tend to use simplified latin texts. In the end, vary your material so that the student and teacher maintain interest in the subject.

Posted on Apr 29, 2010 6:12:46 PM PDT
J. kroll says:
i second the cambridge idea. i took latin all through grade school , high school and college. wheelock would be too much for a beginner. you should be starting with amo, amas, amat...etc. wheelock does not.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2010 6:52:04 AM PDT
Yes. I went to "nerd camp'' two years ago to take Latin 1. The camp was a little under 3 weeks long, but by using the Whelock's Latin Text book I was able to skip straight into Latin 2 the next year. Now I'm in Latin 3 and I'm getting an easy A in the class. I still use the textbook for vocabulary, verb charts, and declension charts. I highly recommend this book because it is easy to use, has sample texts to translate, and complete vocabulary lists.
You just have to be really dedicated.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2010 10:31:14 AM PDT
Brit says:
I am a Classical Languages major, and my college Latin 1 and 2 classes used Learn to Read Latin: Textbook and Workbook Set.

I haven't used any other Latin textbooks, but I liked this one: the way it was organized, the pace, the explanations, and the readings. The workbook also has a lot of exercises. More than you would probably ever dream of doing, in fact, but they are there if you want them. The only thing is, I don't know if there is an answer key. So that may be an issue for homeschooling. There may be one though. If so, I would recommend giving it a try.

Posted on May 2, 2010 7:31:23 AM PDT
Cuvtixo says:
Latin was the only subject I ever failed- and it soured me on learning languages for a long time. And the one thing that would have helped me is Hearing the language. I was repeatedly told that no one is certain how Romans pronounced Latin, and the only Latin worth studying was the ancient texts- therefore no audio. Unfortunately, my visual/textual memory is extremely poor and I always struggled to learn new vocabulary. I could basically understand grammar, but still contantly used wrong tense and case. Now that there are CDs and MP3 downloads, I would certainly take advantage of these audio aids if learning today.

Posted on May 2, 2010 8:46:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2010 9:02:47 AM PDT
N.M. says:
We homeschooled and this is the path we followed as was suggested by a friend who is a Latin teacher. Thanks to her suggestion my daughter enjoys Latin and is currently in her 2nd year in the Wheelock book.

If you start with Wheelock's you'll be overwhelmed. Start simple. First decide if you will be learning/teaching ecclesiastical latin or classical latin. We chose classical (which Wheelock's is) and studied the first year with The Phenomenon of Language (I had to get an account at Pearson) and bought the student and teacher guide. It walks you through the basics step-by-step. You'll learn it right along with your student. We added a used copy of Cambridge just for the cultural stories. Then we moved into Wheelock's which takes a few years to complete. We also bought books on Latin roots.

While using Phenom., take a year or year and a half to get a feel, kick the tires, enjoy the language. Check out some history books, tapes and read about ancient Romans. (Which is why we bought used Cambridge books. Too you can buy used Ecce Romani.) Use those to augment your learning and to provide insight. If highly interested in the language, look for other supplementary books (verbs, drills, etc.)

Then, after completing the Phenom., move into Wheelock's, and get Grote's 'A Comprehensive Guide to Wheelock's Latin' which will be your 'teacher help.' Also get the Wheelock's Workbook, the 38 Stories, and check out the website which has audio pronunciations of the words in each chapter.

If you feel Wheelock's is too difficult you can choose Cambridge or Ecce - each incorporates culture and history. My friend likes both equally.

This should help you move 'ab ovo usque ad mala.' ;^)

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2010 1:09:07 PM PDT
E. McKechnie says:
For younger learners I'd very very highly recommend "Latin Via Ovid", available at Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Latin-Via-Ovid-Course-Second/dp/0814317324
I graduated with a classics degree and learned Latin using this book. The advantage is that it's based on the mythology stories of Ovid, beginning with simple myths and progressing to more complex ones while teaching Latin grammar.It's a whole lot more entertaining than reading the fake Latin of other readers or trying to plow through Wheelock. I used Wheelock in my upper division classes but it isn't suitable for kids. You can see sample pages in Google books: http://books.google.com/books?id=fORWW12AoTAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22latin+via+ovid%22&source=bl&ots=1hQCVjsY45&sig=HAZDUNle86--Df65H19IyaT2lyI&hl=en&ei=oNrdS7C0NIX-tQOmwrjlBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2010 9:44:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 13, 2010 12:28:42 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2010 2:43:36 PM PDT
N.M. was correctly quoting Horace. The phrase means 'from egg all the way to apples', i.e. from the meal's start to its finish. In English you could say 'from soup to nuts.' 'Mala' is the accusative pl. of 'malum' meaning 'apple.' Wheelock is on the difficult side and quite formal, but if you can master it you're golden. Prof. LaFleur has stiffened up Wheelock by almost doubling the vocabulary for each lesson and enhancing the grammar. If you can find a used Wheelock from 40 or so years ago, it will be much friendlier but still very effective. Of the rest of the texts previously mentioned I have Ecce Romani. It is a beautiful text and reasonably complete, but very gradual and gentle. I have looked as well at Oxford's and Cambridge's versions aimed at U.S. students, i.e. the declensions are ours. They would both work and be roughly the same as Ecci. None of these texts is as strong as Wheelock on original Latin. Bolchazy-Carducci has come out with a new text called 'Latin for the New Millennium.' It is a mixture of the reading approach (Cambridge) and the grammatical approach (Wheelock.) It is fairly strong on original Latin rather than cooked Latin. You might like it. O, I almost forgot: another recommended 'Latin Via Ovid.' It's a very nice introduction. If I remember correctly, the macron indicating long vowels is abandoned partway through. An interesting feature that would definitely prepare one for advanced Latin. If you want an extremely gentle intro, try Peter Jones's 'Learn Latin.' It is an book version of a series that ran in The Daily Telegraph and has become quite popular. It will prepare you to move on to something more rigorous, but by the end of Jones you'll be reading some real Latin authors. Another starter that's good is by Gunnison and Harley called 'The First Year of Latin.' It was originally published in 1902 (yes, nineteen hundred two) and is grammatically strict, but it deals exclusively with Caesar. That's how Latin used to be introduced and in my opinion still has much to recommend it. Caesar's Latin is extremely clear and provides a good intro to a medium-level of the grammar. It's been republished in paperback by Armfield Academic Press. Another text I should mention is by Henley. It's 4 volumes covering Caesar, Cicero, and Vergil. The grammatical explanations and examples are extensive and very clear. But a caveat: it is intended for Roman Catholic schools, so if you're put off by references to that religion and its beliefs, stay away. If you don't mind, it's a very complete, traditional course. I could go on, but I've overstayed my welcome. Good luck. You're in store for a lifetime of wonderful literature and learning.

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2010 8:03:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 6, 2010 5:24:35 AM PDT
N.M. says:
Oh my! A. Harrison, are you always this unkind? Worse, your translation is a mess.

Latin students familiar with the history of Roman banquets and with how the wealthy ate, know the phrase 'ab ovo usque ad mala' means 'from the egg to the apples' or 'from egg all the way to apples.' IOW, an expression for 'from start to finish.' (BTW, thank you Skeptic on watch.)

A simple Google search of the phrase -ab ovo usque ad mala- will prove my accuracy.
Go back to your books:
-ovo means egg (think ovum, ovary)
-mala is plural for both apple and evil
-look at the apple's scientific classification - Genus: malus

Were I a Roman and you my guest, right now you'd be eating crow.

To: B Cannon,
As you can see, posters have offered you numerous fine suggestions. If possible, go to a library or find a Latin instructor and borrow the books to examine. I have scanned the posts and intend to buy some of the recommendations - Latin Via Ovid is already in my cart.

Posted on May 8, 2010 4:53:13 PM PDT
Télémaque says:
I agree with all who suggested the Cambridge Latin course. It is more suitable for children (and adults).

Posted on May 11, 2010 10:08:26 PM PDT
I have to say, I like Henle. Wheelock's has so much vocabulary that it crowds out the grammar. I also like Lingua Latina as a follow up to Henle.

Posted on May 12, 2010 2:29:30 PM PDT
I'm homeschooling as well and was planning on purchasing Prima Latina: An Introduction to Christian Latin by Leigh Lowe but I notice it's not mentioned here. Does anyone have input on that text?

Posted on May 12, 2010 2:46:35 PM PDT
Yes, Brieana, we have used Prima Latina and Latina Christiana I in our homeschool. I don't think you can beat it for beginning Latin. Henle is perfect for older children to start with, but I'd recommend after finishing LC I that you use Memoria Press's First Form-Fourth Form Latin in place of the first Henle book. Continue Henle thereafter. Lingua Latina after completing Henle will help you with idiom and every day speech.

Posted on May 15, 2010 2:51:48 PM PDT
Bibliophile says:
On Wheelock, I can say that it is the best textbook I have ever used, it has many supporting texts and is easy to use (assuming you are a dedicated student which I was not). Ecce really only enforces bad habits. If you are home schooling, find some online youtube classes or something for pronunciation, if you have not studied Latin you will not be able to 'get it' from the guides in the book. Long and short of it is that Wheelock is the best source you can get, I wish I had started with him in middle school instead of High School!

Posted on May 15, 2010 3:10:00 PM PDT
Hmm, I don't think I've heard of Ecce. I do prefer ecclesiastical pronunciation myself (which is identical to Italian, unlike Classical Latin) so I still like Henle. Memoria Press has DVDs and CDs with its programs. I don't know that Wheelock has those. Classical just sounds funny to me--like a speech impediment! Wouldn't be hard to learn both pronuncations at the same time, if one wished.

Posted on May 15, 2010 5:25:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2010 5:26:15 PM PDT
N.M. says:
A follow-up to Bibliophile & CrazyHorseLady's posts - for Wheelock's, you can find online audio pronunciation files that correspond with each chapter at 'The Official Wheelock's Latin Series Website. (See left sidebar for each chapter.) http://www.wheelockslatin.com/chapters/introduction/introduction.html

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2010 7:59:46 PM PDT
Bibliophile says:
I have to say I prefer classical, but that probably has to do with having learned it that way first. Church pronunciation just sounds garbled to me XD

I also started with Latin as my introduction to non-Asiatic/Slavic/Germanic languages so I had nothing to base it off of from the Romance branch. Classical: Older yes, speech impediment no.

Posted on May 17, 2010 12:48:36 PM PDT
Innana says:
I guess I don't know much about homeschooling, but it sounds like people who don't know Latin are planning to teach it??? (why else do they need online pronunciation help?)

This sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Posted on May 17, 2010 1:22:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2010 1:24:33 PM PDT
Pronunciation isn't the issue, really, and it's not really about homeschooling either. You can get other teach-yourself language courses that work quite well, such as Rosetta Stone (which is used by the government and homeschoolers alike). Have you taken an online course? Then you get the idea. You don't have to be in a classroom to gain knowledge.
I taught myself English grammar--since I didn't learn squat in school--and I can out-grammar the so-called grammarians I've run into. I also taught myself higher math and am teaching my kids. So your argument is void.

BTW, homeschoolers generally are able to CLEP out of a foreign language in college. Most of these homeschoolers were/are taught by parents who learned right along with their kids and had no prior experience in the said language.
I would say public schools are disasters and have been for decades. Also, not knowing a foreign language is not disastrous. Thus, knowing just a little isn't disastrous. That was a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think?

As there are no Romans around to correct us in regards to Latin, getting the pronunciation close is good enough. As Ecclesiastical Latin is extremely close to modern Italian, I've chosen that route. Classical Latin isn't close to anything at all, as far as I can tell.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2010 10:21:57 AM PDT
Innana says:
I didn't have an argument; I had a question.
I majored in foreign languages. I also used teach yourself methods. They are not like learning a language from someone who is fluent and who knows teaching methods.

The same is true for ANY subject. Self-didacticism is praiseworthy, but not especially efficient or completely accurate.

I remain unconvinced.
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