For centuries, the teaching of Latin was an integral part of any good academic training. It was considered necessary to a fundamental understanding of English, other Latin-based languages, and the history and writings of Western Civilization.
Like many traditional elements of good education lost in the name of “modern” education, the advantages of Latin have been neglected and then forgotten over the past few generations. Mrs. Dorothy Sayers (1893-1967), author and scholar, addresses the topic in her essay “The Lost Tools of Learning,” which has inspired the current classical and Christian education movement to revive the teaching of Latin in our schools.
Mars Hill Academy teaches Latin beginning in fourth grade for three reasons:
- Latin is historical. Latin is not a “dead language,” but rather a language that lives on in almost all major western languages, including English. Training in Latin gives students a better understanding of the roots of English vocabulary and also lays the foundation for learning Romance languages such as Spanish, French, and Italian.
- Latin is helpful. Learning the grammar of Latin reinforces student understanding of the reasons for, and the use of, the parts of speech being taught in our traditional English coursework (nouns, verbs, prepositions, direct objects, tenses, etc.)
- Latin is rigorous. The study of Latin grammar trains young minds to think logically like no other subject. Students see the benefits of their Latin studies in every other area of the curriculum.