Over the past couple years, I have introduced my children to Latin and Greek. Not so they can learn the Latin and Greek as a spoken language, but so they can learn more about English. We have concentrated on learning Greek and Latin root words.
The English language is largely based on Latin and Greek. Over 60 percent of English words have Latin or Greek root words. In the realm of science and technology, that number increases to 90%!
In fact, I learned more about using root words to determine the meaning of words from my science classes than my language arts courses. I still use this when I encounter new words. I want my children to have this skill, also.
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Tools For Teaching Greek and Latin Root Words
We have tried several approaches to learning Greek and Latin root words. We have tried workbooks, flashcards, and games.
My kids thought the workbooks were too dry and they just completed them to check them off the list. Nothing really sank in. The flashcards and games are a great idea, but are better when the kids have started building a knowledge base of words.
So, how did I get my kids to actually learn Greek and Latin root words? For my kids, it was Word Up!
My kids love using multimedia to learn. I noticed this when after 2 weeks of studying turtles my son could not tell me hardly any facts about turtles that we had learned from book. However, he could rattle off all kinds of fascinating turtle information he saw in a Wild Kratts episode a month or two before.
Experiences like these have changed my ideas about using books alone to teach my children.
That’s why it was no surprise to me that my kids finally started learning and retaining Greek and Latin root words when they started watching Word Up! episodes.
Word Up! is a totally entertaining video curriculum from Compass Classroom hosted by Dwayne Thomas. It is set up as a vocabulary TV show. My kids love the off-beat/corny humor and banter between the characters (all played by Mr. Thomas). That keeps them entertained and engaged. The use of visual images in Word Up! and examples help to drive the lessons home in the minds of the kids.
At the end of the lessons we use the virtual flashcards and matching games set up on Quizlet just for Word Up! to reinforce what the kids learned and then test their knowledge. We even started a word wall with the root words and words that are built from them.
My kids are 10 and 14 and they both enjoy Word Up! We downloaded the curriculum right to our computer and got started right away, but you can order DVDs, also.
If your kids enjoyed Dwayne Thomas from Word Up! and learning Greek and Latin root words, they might want to try Visual Latin. We had tried another Latin course that was recommended to us, but it just did not work for my daughter. She (and I) found it very dry, monotonous, and plain boring. When my daughter used Visual Latin, I would find her laughing and rolling her eyes. To my surprise, she was actually having fun learning Latin! (Check out our Visual Latin Review!)
Dwayne brings his humor and personality into Visual Latin just like in Word Up! However, Visual Latin is a total language program. Your child will learn to read, speak, and write Latin….and have fun doing it!
More From Compass Classroom
While you are at Compass Classroom, check out the history curriculum from another great teacher, Dave Raymond, or the new Devotional Biology, which is a high school biology course taught by one of the foremost creation scientists in the world.
Check out the entire line-up of fabulous curriculum from Compass Classroom. There’s something for everyone from film making to economics to history to Latin.