I’m enjoying reading Teaching the Trivium so much! I’d like your advice on a sequence for foreign Languages. My oldest daughter is 10 years old and we’ve completed Prima Latina and plan to do Latina Christiana I this year. We also worked on memorizing the Greek and Hebrew alphabets last year. After reading your section on foreign language, we are planning on learning Greek as a family. We are from the south, and it would be very helpful to learn Spanish as well. I’d like your advice on the sequence to achieve our goal in the area of foreign language. I’d thought about continuing the Latin until we finish Latina Christiana II, continue learning Greek with your Greek Alphabetarion, then on to Homeschool Greek, and beginning to learn some Spanish vocabulary now, and maybe get a Spanish curriculum when we finish the Latin. My reasoning behind this is that I want the children to know enough Latin to help with English vocabulary, but if I had to pick two languages for us to focus on, it would be Greek and Spanish. Any advice would be appreciated. We also have an 8yr old boy, 6yr old girl, and 18 month old girl coming up. The older two were in on the memorization of the alphabets last year. Thanks and God bless you, Carla B.
The goal for language learning is to acquire a familiarity and skill with a language at one of the following three levels:
1. Lexical Skill. When we acquire this level, we have developed a working knowledge in the basic elements of the language, such that we can read words, pronounce words, and find words in a lexicon.
2. Grammatical Skill. When we acquire this level, we have developed a working understanding in the connecting structure of the language, such that we can use both the lexicon and the grammar to read literature in the language.
3. Fluency Skill. When we acquire this level, we have developed a working wisdom in the flow of meaning of the language, such that we have confidence to read and translate in the language with little dependence upon a lexicon or grammar.
We must determine which level of proficiency we wish to acquire. For example, if our goal is Biblical study, we would need Fluency Skill in Greek and at least Grammatical Skill in Hebrew. If our goal is study in ancient literature and philosophy, we would need Fluency Skill in both Latin and Greek. (See more on this subject in our book Teaching the Trivium, chapter five.)