Does anyone know why CM recommends starting Latin in 4th grade, but other foreign languages in 1st? I was going to start my 1st grader with Spanish this year, but I was at a homeschool conference a couple of weeks ago and sat in on a “Classic Education Unplugged” panel (with the founders of IEW, Memoria Press, and Classic Academic Press) and the general consensus was to begin with Latin. I took both (Latin in 7th grade and Spanish in 10-12 grades), so I understand the connection between Latin and the romance languages. It makes sense to teach Latin first and then introduce another language a little later. I just don’t understand why CM recommends the opposite.
Charlotte’s method focused on conversational oral foreign language first, with the goal being that the students and their families would be friendly ambassadors of their country to their global neighbors. Reading and writing the foreign language came after that oral foundation had been laid.
Since Latin is not usually recognized as a primarily oral conversational language used in neighboring countries and because it is often focused on the reading and writing component, it wasn’t introduced until the children had a good foundation in reading and writing their own English language, just as English grammar was not introduced until 4th grade and up.
Latin is a language more heavy on writing, translating, and grammar. In fact it’s a great way to teach grammar! Fourth grade is when CM recommended more formal grammar, so I think that’s why she started Latin at that point. French was a language more easily taught through converstation and songs, which I imagine was the focus during those early years, before moving onto French grammar and written translations in later grades. Programs like CAP and MP are classical and tend to introduce grammar at a younger age, so it makes sense that they would introduce Latin earlier.
I’d go ahead and start with Spanish if that’s were your interest lies. The Spanish words they do learn will be similar to Latin, if you add it later on, and will be fun for them to connect the two languages.
Thanks so much! That really helps clarify things.