The big kids have been working on a Latin curriculum. Reeves completed a year of instruction, Embree a year and a half. The reason we began with Latin instead of Spanish, or French, or Swahili, is because Latin is the mother language of so many other languages. While it is not directly related to English, our language is such a conglomerate of languages, that Latin roots are common.
I am pleased that after completing this study, both of the big kids and I are quite attuned to words that derive from Latin. Embree and I recently looked at a quick intro to both Spanish and French as we decide which language(s) she will study in high school. She recognized so many words in both, she feels confident that she can handle either quite well. She hasn't looked at Italian or Portuguese, but I have a feeling these hold similar promise, based on their Latin ancestry.
Now, I in no way feel that Romance languages are the only way to go. If the kids wish to study German, Russian, Japanese, or Sanskrit, I'm happy with that. I encourage that. The study of Latin, and Greek, offer more than an open door to other languages.
Our time on Latin proved valuable in a recent study of Taxonomy and Classification. Canus lupus was no mystery to kids who knew the Latin for wolf. A look up into the night sky and Ursa Major, or a drive past the local Equus Run vineyard, conjure visions bears and horses. Bits and pieces of unfamiliar words now stand out as hints to meaning. The connections made across the curriculum, and in all of our lives, have been profound.
Next year, Embree will begin to study her chosen language or languages. In the meantime, and for the middle school years for Reeves, we will continue to work on making these connections by working on Latin and Greek roots.
I think connections are the key to us finding meaning in our whole lives. Now, if some of us could find just the right ways see these connections for math...but that's a whole other post.