A very bright spot in the Middle School

I am one of those parents who consistently talks about how much better education was "back when I was in school".  I am happy to give a lot of examples, as you might be too.

There is one thing that I am liking better (so far - we're only a couple of weeks and a couple of chapters in) now: that is the Latin textbook!

I remember my first 2 days of Latin class very well! We had to memorize the verb to be (essere):
sum
es
est
sumus
estes
sunt

(I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are, you (pl) are, they are)

But it was taught as straight memorization. No context. Of course it is the basis of the entire language and vital to learning anything. Why do I remember this first lesson in particular? Because it is the only time I remember ever cheating in school! We only had one assignment on that first night: memorize "essere". On day two, I sat down, saw everyone else reviewing for the quiz I had forgotten and promptly wrote it on my desk! I felt so guilty that I never did that - or anything like it - ever again.

C is learning that Latin = Rote Memorization and hates that part of it. But she doesn't know how good she's got it. Unlike my dry book with lots of grammar and little real-world relevance, my daughter's textbook focuses on a real family who lived (and eventually died) in Pompeii. It was a husband, wife, their son and their "servus" (slave). Earlier this week she had to translate a passage about a friend of the slave who stopped by and helped himself to the dinner that the cook had made (without being invited). In the last sentence C learned how to tell someone off in Latin!

 Mrs. Mix was my favorite High School teacher bar none. She was a tall Canuck who was married to a professor of classics at the local college. She made sure we all got a strong basis in grammar - and rewarded us with awesome class trips to Toronto. (Some kids went to Rome, but my parents wouldn't let me go since I went on exchange instead).

And while I LOVED Mrs. Mix, C's teacher has something that Mrs. Mix didn't have: A PhD. I think it's in archeology! How many kids in public school have middle school teachers with cool PhDs. Not nearly enough!!! It was great for C to hear that she had been to "college for 10 years" and know that she "wrote a book" (which I tried to explain was a dissertation). She shares stories with them about digs she's been on and expands the kids' horizons beyond the classroom or the curriculum! Built in enrichment. I love it!

C may not be loving Latin yet - but I hope that with time and insight she will appreciate what a great opportunity this is and learn to enjoy it - after she gets used to actually having to work!

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