Learning Goals in Latin

Published on August 25, 2021 by Steve Macias

God has spoken to mankind through language in the Bible. Those made in His Image speak one to another through languages as well. The mastery of language skills is critical to a sound Christian education. And that is why the teaching of Latin is so important. Latin is not a “dead language” but rather a language that lives on in almost all western languages, including English. Training in Latin not only gives students a better understanding of the roots of English vocabulary, it also lays the foundation for learning other Latin-based languages. Dorothy L. Sayers (renowned English writer, poet, and playwright) once famously commented: I will say at once, quite firmly, that the best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this, not because Latin is traditional and medieval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning any other subject by at least fifty percent.

General Goals

1. Learn the basic Latin alphabet and its ecclesiastical pronunciation 

2. Pronounce, spell, and translate approximately 600 words 

3. Learn 45 practical Latin expressions 

4. Learn four to five Latin prayers in full 

5. Learn one to two Latin passages from the Bible 

6. Learn the numbers 1-10, 100, and 1000 — plus Roman Numerals 

7. Learn the names of popular constellations 

8. Understand the concept of derivatives (Latin-derived English words) 

9. Basic Latin grammar 

10. Translate Latin to English 

11. Translate English to Latin 

Scope and Sequence 

3rd Grade Overview:

  • The basic Latin alphabet and the pronunciation of vowels and consonants
  • Pronounce, spell and translate approximately 125 Latin words 
  • Learn 25 practical Latin expressions and 4 prayers in full 
  • Learn numbers 1 through 10 in Latin 
  • Learn names of popular constellations
  • Understand the concept of derivatives, English words that are derived from Latin
  • Introduction to translation of Latin Bible verses from selected passages from the Vulgate
  • Introduction to Greek heroes as in the book Famous Men of Greece and D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths 
  • Grammar:
    • Learn to identify basic parts of speech, including verbs, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions
    • Recognize that conjugating is associated with verbs
    • Recognize that declining is associated with nouns
    • Memorize 1st declension noun endings and the 1st declension itself
    • Memorize 1st conjugation verb endings (present and future) and the present tense conjugation of amo
    • Memorize the present tense conjugations of sum and possum

4th Grade Overview:

• Pronounce, spell, and translate approximately 200 Latin words

  • Grammar:
    • Define noun, verb and adjective
    • Understand concepts of tense, number, gender, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd person
    • Conjugate 1st and 2nd conjugation verbs in the present, imperfect and future indicative active tenses; introduction to the present, imperfect and future indicative passive tenses, on account of deponent and passive verbs occurring in many Latin Bible passages
    • Decline 1st, 2nd, and 3rd declension nouns and adjectives
    • Recite and spell the five cases of Latin nouns
    • Make adjectives and nouns agree in number and gender
    • Give the singular and plural forms of 1st, 2nd and 3rd declension nouns (nominative case)
    • Complete Latin sentences so that the subject and verb agree in number and person
  • Teach the concept of prepositions governing accusative and ablative cases
  • Teach more derivatives, English words derived from Latin roots, and students complete sentences with derivatives
  • Students learn the meanings of common Latin phrases still used in English, for example, pro bono, quid pro quo, id est, et cetera, tempus fugit, sub judice
  • Students translate Bible passages from Christian Latin readers (vocabulary provided)
  • Students study the book Famous Men of Rome with a view to learning about the heroes of Roman history, virtues that made Rome great, and events and practices that influenced Western democracy

5th Grade: Overview

• 3rd, 4th, & 5th declension nouns 

• 3rd & 4th conjugations 

• Present, imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect and future perfect tenses and how these are translated into English 

• Review of the five cases, nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and ablative and their functions

• 3rd person personal pronouns

  • The principal parts of a verb with a view to forming the perfect system correctly
  • Numerals, cardinal and ordinal, 1-10, 100 and 1000
  • Review of adjectives and declining adjectives of 1st and 2nd declensions
  • Latin expressions and their English meanings
  • Translation of Latin sentences into English, and English into Latin
  • Translation of selected passages from the Vulgate into English (vocabulary provided)
  • Translation of simple passages from Latin readers about the history or Rome
  • Review three Latin prayers and learn to sing four Latin songs.

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