Monday, March 7, 2011

Learning languages - French and Latin

Twice a week the boys have French with a tutor who comes to our house. It’s a nice break for me, because not only do I know the boys get an excellent education in a specific subject without me having to put a lot of work into it, but I also get an uninterrupted hour in the middle of the day to get things done (the hour usually coincides with Abraham’s nap or quiet time).

Today during their French class I decided not to run errands or do other jobs, but to sit and read while half listening to their lesson. Their French tutor, a young woman, is absolutely amazing. She’s organized, speaks clearly, and is patient with the boys, adjusting her lessons and pace to their needs and abilities perfectly. During this afternoon’s lesson she was talking to the boys about clothing, asking them what they are wearing, what color their clothes are, etc. At some point she mentioned the French word chapeau, and William spontaneously blurted out “Chapeau is a hat. That makes sense, because the Latin word for head is caput. Chapeau, caput.”

I have indeed started teaching the boys Latin this year (we started last year but didn’t get very far), however our lessons have not been a priority – it has been a couple of weeks since we studied the word caput - partially because I was starting to worry that studying two languages at age seven was a bit too much for William. He didn’t ever seem to retain anything in Latin class. I guess I was wrong about that! Not only did I feel proud of William for making the connection and reference, but a wave of happiness came over me in seeing some of our hard homeschooling work pay off. It is moments like these that make it worthwhile.

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