"[The Latin and Greek] languages... constitute the basis of good education, and are indispensable to fill up the character of a 'well-educated man.'" --Thomas Jefferson
HCCS's Latin program lays the foundations for success at understanding this rich language that is central to our history and faith. There are many benefits to the study of Latin.
- Learning another language at an early age has been shown to increase neuron development in the brain and is therefore truly expansive.
- Latin is an inflected language, meaning the role a word plays in the sentence is determined by its ending, rather than word order. This means the student Latin must be much more aware of such grammatical constructs as case, person, number and tense. This also means that making sense of a Latin sentence is a bit like solving a puzzle, requiring careful attention to detail, sorting out all that the endings of each word are communicating and then figuring out how to reassemble the words into standard English syntax. This process is highly beneficial and most people also find it fun. It fosters the mental rigor we are seeking to instill in our students.
- Beyond these advantages, there is the weighty benefit of an increased vocabulary.
- As a classical school, we are by definition literary and historic in our orientation. Latin is the language of 2 millennia of western civilization. One cannot study this language without gaining access to the history, the mind of the ancients, the church fathers, the treasured texts and creeds of our faith, and the formative songs that stem from the inception of our faith. It is the language of our faith.
How do we learn Latin?
At HCCS, students approach the study of Latin incrementally, laying a careful foundation and building on it little by little. Chanting is the fun and long-established method of instilling Latin paradigms into the memory, so students do a good deal of that. The classes are vocabulary based and each week students are be expected to learn a vocabulary list along with the grammatical idea presented each week. Class activities and homework exercises are designed to foster understanding and memorization. Latin studies are "grammar based" in the lower grades and "literature based" in the upper grades.