Dd wants to drop Latin only selected children are invited to do

(42 Posts)
Mumthebuilder Thu 08-Nov-12 21:18:18

I feels little disappointed dd wants to drop Latin. She's in year 8 in A1 at her private school and only the top are invited to do it. She seemed to enjoy it at the beginning and was surprised when others dropped out but now after half term shes gone back and is struggling. I am not a pushy parent but try to be supportive and persuasive if I feel it's right. Still struggling from guilt and disappointment she didn't get in at state grammar like her sibling ( although in our eyes brighter!!) so want to do best for her - do we just accept and allow her to drop it or persuade her with the aid of internet or asking the school for extra tuition etc any help appreciated..... Thanks

Are there other extra things that she does? What is her passion?

vj32 Thu 08-Nov-12 21:19:49

When could she drop it?

Nigglenaggle Thu 08-Nov-12 21:22:04

Have a word with her and give her your reasons why you think she should continue, and find out why she wants to drop it. Make sure she isnt just giving in to self doubt or silly reasons. But ultimately, if she really is getting nothing from it, in her opinion, I dont think you should push for her to stay. She'd be better off going for something different she really enjoys.

Abra1d Thu 08-Nov-12 21:22:24

Is she doing Cambridge Latin Course? There is a good online site with test and games to help. My two have both found it helped with learning vocab and some of the grammar. Perhaps ask her to try this for a few weeks and see if it helps?

Hassled Thu 08-Nov-12 21:26:11

Maybe the teacher isn't very inspiring, or the way the curriculum is delivered is just a bit dull - maybe she just doesn't like Latin that much. I think she's old enough to make a considered decision re dropping it or not - let it go. It would be a shame if she does drop it, because I think Latin helps enormously in understanding how language works, but there's nothing worse than being made to study a subject you just don't care about.

Mumthebuilder Thu 08-Nov-12 21:31:20

Great thanks very much for that I'll give it a try this weekend - I had dreadful education - the teachers struggled to teach basic English so Latin is all ...... Latin to me!!!

LynetteScavo Thu 08-Nov-12 21:35:28

This is probably one of the toughest quandaries I have ever seen on MN. Normally things are quite clear cut for me.

I would encourage her to keep it up until Christmas, and see how she feels then. If she really, really hates it she won't do well in it anyway.

Having said that, we are making DS1 take Spanish GCSE even though he hates it with a passion, and will very probably won't do well in it.

Oh, and try to get over her not passing the 11+. I know it's hard, but it's just one test. I'm quite sure your DD is brighter than other DC who passed.smile

So, I say try and look at the bigger picture. When she has a good set of GCSEs and A'levels, will it really matter if she has Latin or not?

DinosaurSchool Thu 08-Nov-12 21:36:11

I did Latin GCSE many years ago (though have no idea why I choose it really). Since then I have found it sooo useful at picking up other languages when I'm on holiday etc. it also helps me take a decent guess at definitions when I'm reading words I haven't seen before. Also ds1 is learning Italian in yr1 and I can help a bit with that. All from my Latin knowledge.

I don't know if that would've convinced me when I was your dd's age to stick at it but she will benefit from it ultimately.

ZZZenAgain Thu 08-Nov-12 21:36:44

why is she struggling, do you know? If she is in the top set, she is capable of it. She may not like the teacher or it may be that she has fallen behind with learning endings. Unfortunately, these have to be learnt off by heart and practised when you encounter them because you very soon encounter the next forms. Initially you don't move very fast so you can get away with not bothering too much about this for a bit and then you get lost.

The speed with which you have to learn these forms varies from course to course. Some have you doing 3 declinations in all cases by chapter 3 of book 1; Cambridge has just the nominative and accusative cases till you reach chapter 9 when the dative is introduced. That is it for declinations then for book 1, which covers adjective endings for those cases and the imperfect tense in all persons I think. My dd used a different course.

You can cruise for a while without doing all the rote learning and practise but at some stage it catches up on you. It is unavoidable really. If she has not been learning very long, she can still cover that ground. Maybe you can help with that systematic coverage. What might also help generally is using an extra exercise book. Practice makes perfect, it really does, at least it stops you having to think and think which case could this be, to which noun does this adjective refer and so on. My dd used the following book alongside her course material. The exercise book followed a different order of acquisition but is simple to use on your own without a tutor or parental guidance IMO because it spends a long time on nominative/accusative till that has really sunk in and perhaps 3rd person sing and 3rd person pl of 1st and 2nd conjugation verbs rather than all forms of 1st conjugation verbs at once.

This book: Latin Practise Exercises

The book has no answers in the back. You can either purchase an answer book but I think it is really not necessary at this stage. Grammar is explained before it is practised, little chunks of grammar are practised over and over, very clear and straight-forward.

Mumthebuilder Thu 08-Nov-12 21:37:42

Ohyoubadbadkitten - shes an absolute joy of a daughter - enthusiastic fast thinking and not at all lazy - she loves doing lots of things but no one or two specific things. She was really determined to do the Latin when it was offered so I'm unsure of this about turn. I'm trying to support her in whatever she wants to do but don't want her throwing away an opportunity she might later regret!!

lizziebach Thu 08-Nov-12 21:41:02

are you sure that the other children who dropped out are not putting pressure on her to drop out?

ZZZenAgain Thu 08-Nov-12 21:44:21

could you tell us which book your dd's class is working from?

If she does not already know them, I would get the Roman Mysteries from Caroline Lawrence for your dd, you can also get the dvds from the tv series; but I think the main problem is that she has become confused with the grammar.

Mumthebuilder Thu 08-Nov-12 22:01:20

Thanks for all the great replies - I can't give you any more info because she's in bed but I will certainly be looking at the DVDs and books suggested before letting her give up - I think she struggles with confidence after not passing for grammar school!! And prob thinks if she drops out at least she won't fail!!!! We try very much to be positive about the bad experience but are reminded of it each time people ask us why we have 2 children at seperate schools!! one being a highly selective the other being private the " they are at the best schools for them" answer doesn't ring true!!
But no I don't think her friends are encouraging her to give up but she seems to be surprised at how easily they've been allowed to give up.

ZZZenAgain Thu 08-Nov-12 22:06:33

could be that she was proud to be included in this group at first since it was not open to everyone but no longer sees it as something really desirable now that dc are choosing to drop the subject.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 08-Nov-12 22:17:30

DD is doing Latin at her comp and just utterly loves it
it may come down to the teacher ....

Latin of one of those subjects that is so useful
- core of all of the Romance Languages
- used in all scientific and medical terminology
- good for looking geeky in museums and on radio 4 / bbc 2 quizzes

try to narrow down WHY she wants to stop and work from there

happygardening Thu 08-Nov-12 22:37:20

To do well in Latin you need to learn the grammar and there is a lot of. The other problem from what I understand (DS doing IGCSE Latin) is the set texts which you have to virtually learn off by heart. My DS is pretty good at Latin and at one time considered keeping it up at Pre U but is being completely put off because of learning set text. My nephew also chucked in A level Latin for the same reason.
On a positive note DS started German last year and it has definitely helped with that.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 08-Nov-12 22:39:39

DD is not doing the IGCSE : its got much less (I think hardly any) of the bellum, bellum, bella that killed it for us and is killing it for your DS
it seems to be much more about how to convert Latin into English and use the words as they are used now
and she certainly won't be doing the A level

happygardening Thu 08-Nov-12 22:47:31

We have been very reliably informed by a highly regarded Latin teacher that IGCSE latin is the equivalent to AS level! My nephew dropped normal A level he achieved an A in the AS but found learning the set text tedious in extreme.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 08-Nov-12 22:51:50

which is cool unless its so heavy that kids drop it rather than carry it on and feel enthused about the language
DD is doing Latin because it will be useful in her anticipated career choices
why are your Ds and nephew doing it?

Abra1d Fri 09-Nov-12 07:45:08

My son is doing GCSE Latin and just loves the set texts. He is doing one piece about witches he finds fascinating. He finds it much easier to learn the translations than some of the grammar. Horses for courses, I suppose.

happygardening Sat 10-Nov-12 09:58:12

Talkin DS does it becasue he has to (he also happens to be very good at it) dont really know why nephew did it as he's a maths physics person I think there is this idea that people think your clever of you do well in it God knows if this is true. I believe the IGCSE has seen paper latin to english translation and vice versa answering questions about latin passage but the unseen requires learning chunks of very difficult Latin DH has A level latin and he really struggled with it and apparently its not necessarily correct or good latin!

TalkinPeace2 Sat 10-Nov-12 16:08:01

I forgot that Latin would probably be compulsory to 16 at his school - makes utter sense as the whole school are the equivalent of the top set in a comp!
Shame that they have made bits of it utterly dull though - see if they can downgrade to the normal GCSE and have more fun wink

lljkk Sat 10-Nov-12 16:11:18

I vote carry on until Christmas & let her drop it then if she still wants to.

I do not see any special merit in studying Latin. I would far prefer DC had the chance to study a living language (like Spanish). Sadly not available around here at all until 6th form.

DD is doing Latin in a state primary.

happygardening Sat 10-Nov-12 17:41:51

Talkin Unseen paper is fine hopefully with a bit more work on seen he'll feel more positive about it. Entrance exam equivilant to GCSE infact one part AS level so little point in changing to GCSE only those who have never done Latin sit it.

happygardening Sat 10-Nov-12 17:52:53

I too suggest she carries on my DS had his ups and downs in the past and I think you can get stuck in a bit of a rut for a while but if she perseveres hopefully it will start to come together. My DS had a truely awful teacher at prep and we found a fantastic tutor who after a couple of lessons reignited my DSs enthusiasm and this inspired him to really work hard for his entrance exam and do incredably well. But inspirational tutors are virtually impossible to find the one we used people came from miles and miles away.

Nonnus Sun 11-Nov-12 00:26:38

I did Latin and Greek and my private school (20 years ago). I absolutely loved Latin, which I had done from age 8, and Greek was something that I was able to start at age 13 at public school. I kept both on as A level topics and was one of a group of 6 for A level Latin and 2 for A level Greek. I got As in both and had a place at Oxford to read Greats. But as soon as I arrived there, I started thinking "what am I actually going to do with this, if I don't want to be a Classics teacher/lecturer?" It's quite niche. I changed to modern languages in my first term.

I'm a lawyer now. My own DCs haven't had the opportunity to learn Latin or Greek and I have to say I do believe they give a fantastic grounding in language, syntax, so much. But you have to love it. To this day I can conjugate and decline everything and remember so much of the Virgil, Pindar, Homer, etc. I find Romance languages very easy to pick up, which I think is a benefit of my classical background. However, I do think it's something which is almost like a "luxury hobby" these days - not really necessary for anything but very handy if you have the interest. No child is going to be prejudiced academically by not doing Latin or Greek, but if a child is keen then they are great subjects.

Most of my peers loathed Latin though, and even fewer kept on with Greek. So I would say that if your DD is not keen, let her choose a GCSE subject that she does like, instead. They are really quirky subjects that are wonderful if you love them, but dreadful if you're not interested.

seeker Tue 13-Nov-12 23:00:03

Why on earth are only the top allowed to take Latin? Seems very bizarre.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 13-Nov-12 23:03:22

at my DCs school its because they are the kids who could slot it around their other work in year 9
and will benefit most from the grounding it gives to other academic areas
(remember, its a comp, so kids aiming to be hairdressers will not want to do latin)

jetgirl Tue 13-Nov-12 23:15:46

Interesting one. One of my students came to me today saying she wants to drop Latin. She is also in year 8 and is just starting to find things difficult. I have no doubt in her ability - again in our school only the top 2 sets do Latin - so I am going to work on her confidence until Christmas and then we will reassess the situation.
Please let us know which book your daughter is doing. If it's CLC there are independent learning manuals also available which could support her learning. Her teacher may have them and be able to give you copies to use at home. Speak with her teacher too.

lljkk Tue 13-Nov-12 23:18:13

It's a selected children only, too, and only certain years at certain schools (am lucky DD is in the right year for it).

Ours has very limited external funding, though (yet within state schools), and the organisers are unapologetic about cherry picking the children they think will be most conscientious about making a success of it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 13-Nov-12 23:20:35

Usually the ones who don't look as though they're going to do well at Latin get made to do class. Civ. I believe!

Latin is hard, it really is. I would make it very clear I didn't think she should drop it, though.

Musomathsci Tue 13-Nov-12 23:24:41

Latin does seem to appeal to maths/sciency types - quite a few of DS's friends took Maths and Latin at A2. He did Greek off timetable as an extra GCSE as well. The ordered, logical structure seems to appeal, plus all the comparisons with other languages.
I would play up the prestige side of having been specially chosen to do this, and see if you can work on her confidence. If she gives up now due to lack of confidence, this will just be another knock, won't it?

Annelongditton Wed 14-Nov-12 11:21:37

DS went through a phase of hating latin, it seems to happen a lot, but he dug in put in some time and now really likes it. A friend's DS who hated,loathed and detested Latin at 12 is now applying to study Classics at Oxford!
I would second the recommendation from ZZZ for the ISEB Practice Exercise books, they made all the difference to DS. The 2nd and 3rd, aren't as good as the 1st, but are still worth having. As for not needing an answer book!?!?!?!?! it was the best money I've ever spent.

LettyAshton Wed 14-Nov-12 11:48:49

Ds is doing Latin GSCE in his own time.

Those ISEB practice books... which level is suitable for GCSE? Or is there anything else on the market which could stretch him a bit?

Plyushka Wed 14-Nov-12 12:04:55

Marking my place...such a useful thread...

Annelongditton Wed 14-Nov-12 12:13:40


There is a free website called virdrinksbeeer. It lists out all the grammar, vocab. etc by ISEB level and the practice exercises correspond to the same levels. Your DS should then be able to find out where he is and buy the relevant book. It also has a section linking through to GCSE.
DS's teacher says that CE Latin grammar and language is equivalent to GCSE, but for GCSE there is also a literature paper that CE doesn't cover.

What a wonderful DS you have teaching himself Latin, what books is he using?

LettyAshton Wed 14-Nov-12 13:14:29

Thank you so much, Annelongditton. Ds is learning himself (as not offered at his school) and has help from a tutor. Tutor costs ££££££ [looks down at torso after spending out two arms and two legs] so he just has a few lessons and otherwise works independently. He does the Cambridge Latin Course.

He is a little troubled that he doesn't know what level his "competitors" are who are doing it at school. Someone on another thread said that it is hard to do well in Latin GCSE given the general profile of the examinees.

Annelongditton Wed 14-Nov-12 14:43:24

Your DS sounds very self-motivated, I wouldn't be put off. No-one is expecting the same grade from a self-taught child as someone who has been spoonfed Latin since they were 9.

Cambridge Book 3, chapter 28 onwards is the approx. equivalent of Latin Prep 3, ISEB level, Unless he has passed here, I would think that the level 2 practice exercise books would be about the right level. It is expensive buying the answer book as well, but its a lot cheaper than Latin lessons. They also have hints (e.g.ablative because of the preposition) so you can feel extremely knowledgeable when you explain why the answer is wrong.

DS has started Prep 3 at school, so has just completed level 2 work, so far he has learnt declensions 1,2,3,and 5 and conjugations 1,2,3,3.5 and 4. Tenses he has learnt are present,perfect,imperfect, future and pluperfect. He is just staring the passive as opposed to the active, but that is definitely level 3 work. Adjectives he has learnt comparisons. I hope this gives you an idea of what level practice book you need, he is on chapter 16 of book 2.

DS is Y8, but at a very pushy prep and he needs to pass a level 3 paper for his senior school, so he will be way ahead of many DCs, particularly those who started Latin in Y7 . Maybe someone can suggest a good website for a school that start Latin at Y7, doesn't password it! and gives good detailed yearly curriculum notes.

LettyAshton Wed 14-Nov-12 14:47:20

Thanks, Anne. I shall order Level 2. I have no Latin knowledge so it's all Greek to me (!!) but ds burbles on about the ablative and wotnot so I presume he (sort of) knows what he's doing.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Nov-12 15:11:47

>Latin does seem to appeal to maths/sciency types
not necessarily...my DH still hasn't forgiven his school for forcing him to drop biology and geography and do Latin and Divinity (that ages him!) for O level . FWIW he got a As but reckoned the Latin was a complete and utter waste of time. I expect its worth doing if you are into languages, or might want to do classics or archaeology/history for eras when Latin was the medium...I don't doubt maths/sciency types can do it well...but its not as useful as other subjects

DDs school does Latin as an optional 'twilight' course - she didn't want to do it, I couldn't think of any particular reason to encourage her to do so. I'd rather she put the effort into French.

TheBuskersDog Fri 16-Nov-12 01:11:41

We try very much to be positive about the bad experience but are reminded of it each time people ask us why we have 2 children at seperate schools!! one being a highly selective the other being private the " they are at the best schools for them" answer doesn't ring true!!
I can't see why it isn't true? You chose that school for her over the other options available to her, the grammar school wasn't an option as she didn't get in. I'm sorry but it comes across as if you are embarrassed to admit that she didn't get in to the grammar, so are making out to people that you chose the private school over the grammar, which might not ring true.
It also sounds like you want her to study Latin as 'proof' that she is clever enough, because only the top set get the chance.
You need to get over your disappointment so your daughter does not feel she has let you down. Not sure why you feel guilty, I am sure you supported her as much as you did her sibling in taking the exam and she did her best, she will probably do as well, if not better where she is.

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