February Language Learning Report

Time for another language learning report! I definitely did better this month than last. I am getting more settled into the new job, so it has been easier to maintain some level of discipline.

So here are the basic stats. I logged 2,335 minutes of study (give or take a few here or there, I am sure), for an average of 83.4 minutes a day. That is an increase of over 20 minutes a day from last month. The study time was roughly 60% Greek, so Latin got less attention again. We can probably attribute this to how much I am enjoying reading Athanasius’ On the Incarnation, but perhaps it is just because I enjoy Greek more. I will probably be finished with my first reading of the book in just two or three days. I will post on that reading specifically soon. Also, and this is quite a change, 43% of those minutes were something other than reading. A lot of that was listening, a tiny bit was composition, and several hours of that was actually conversational, in both Latin and Greek. This is a combination of the fact that a driving commute does not allow me to read, the conversational Greek class I am in (a lot of fun!), and what I am doing with the kids now, so on to that.

One fun new Latin-related activity involves the kids. None of them could really stick to learning a foreign language on their own (which is about the hardest thing you could do, so I don't blame them). The eldest took a little Japanese and the middle child a little Spanish at the homeschool co-op, but when class was over they dropped it. What to do? Well, I decided to involve them in learning Latin with me. Though many will inevitably say that teaching your kids Latin in this day and age is not a great choice, this has at least three serious practical advantages for all of us (except the wife, who is abstaining): we can all learn it together (way easier than doing it by yourself), this allows me to align my own personal study goals with theirs (a win, for sure), and because we all live together, we can scatter Latin throughout our time together. The main advantage for Kathryn, the Headmistress of The Homeschool, is that she no longer has the burden of figuring out what to do about the language study needs of the kids.

So far everyone seems to be enjoying it. We started off with a few lessons out of the Cambridge series (they have excellent e-books for iPad), but we just switched to LLPSI. Since I am significantly ahead of them, I can pretty easily teach them where they are. And since we do our time almost entirely in (rudimentary) Latin conversation, this is great practice for me (and them). We all enjoy the group aspect of it as well, and we frequently break out Lego characters so we can all narrate little (rudimentary) stories. Keeping it fun helps everyone. I will definitely be looking for more sources for activities to do with the kids, so I have yet another area of teaching in which I need to improve. Any resources from my language teaching peeps out there would be appreciated.

And just to get a peek into the homeschooling life, here is how I am making this work on a practical level. I generally get up about 6:00, take a shower, grab some coffee, and do some morning Greek reading (Athanasius at the moment). I wake the kids up at 7:00. At 7:30 we all sit in the kitchen and do a 15-30 minute Bible study, then spend 15-30 minutes doing Latin. Having this consistent schedule gives me a solid block of time in discussion with the kids every day, and (hopefully) sets them up for a productive day with mom, who takes over at that point. That gets me to work at about 9:00, which is a reasonable time. I usually get home between 6 and 6:30, which is also pretty good. I also do other homeschooling-related stuff with them outside of our morning time, but that can wait for another post. This one is about language learning, and I have digressed quite a bit already!

What should I set in terms of goals for March? I am definitely going to shoot for a solid 1.5 hour average a day. That is only a little more then I did this month. I think that is quite doable. Also, I certainly need to get more Latin time. Other than that, I am not sure I want to set much else.

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