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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

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 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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