Wheelock's Latin

Wheelock's Latin

This Wheelock's Latin text is in its seventh edition, although I originally reviewed the sixth edition. A few years ago, I received a few rave recommendations for this Latin text that prompted me to review it. This text probably has not been too well known among homeschoolers because it is written for college and adult students and only covers a little more than does a typical first year high school Latin course with no subsequent volumes. (It should be easy enough to switch to another traditional Latin program to continue on from Wheelock.)

While it covers five noun declensions and four conjugations as does Wilson's Latin Grammar, it is far more comprehensive in treatment with copious explanations, practice exercises, translations, and word etymologies. (An answer key is in the back of the book.) It is probably more comparable to Jenney Latin in scope, but it is much less expensive than Jenney Latin. The price makes this a very appealing option.

The reading level is obviously higher than most high school programs, including Jenney Latin, as evidenced by the following typical explanatory paragraph: "The personal agent by whom the action of a passive verb is performed is indicated by ab and the "ablative of agent"; the means by which the action is accomplished is indicated by the "ablative of means" without a preposition, as you have already learned in Ch. 14."

The text is proudly humanistic; the foreword tells us that "Frederic Wheelock set about to create a Latin text that would give students something to think about, a humanistic diet to nurture them both linguistically and philosophically." Consequently, parents must ensure that the philosophic influence of this text is used in a worldview context to consider the ideas presented, weighing them against biblical Christianity. The text is being used with at least one online course where I expect that this will happen, but it will be more challenging to ensure the necessary discussion if students use the text for totally independent study.

The official Wheelock's Latin website has free teacher resources such as a teacher's guide, translation keys, lesson plans, handouts, worksheets, and powerpoint presentations.

Scribblers, Sculptors, and Scribes by Richard A. La Fleur is a supplementary reader designed to be used along with Wheelock's Latin. Consider also supplementing with Latin Stories by Anne H. Groton and James M. May (Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers), which was also written to accompany Wheelock's Latin. At the beginning of each reading, it tells what grammatical knowledge is assumed and to which Wheelock chapter the reading correlates.

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