Alex loves the Lively Latin assignments that ask her to draw a picture, but she was intimidated to see the long set of sentences she was supposed to read first. She was sure it would be too hard. “I’ll help you,” I said reassuringly… and then I didn’t need to. She just read and drew.
Lively Latin Book 2 is definitely a big jump up in difficulty from Book 1 – she can’t just coast like she used to. So I’ve also had to change my teaching strategy. When she looks at a sentence, it’s hard for her to keep everything in mind at once, so I’ve started asking her preparatory questions. For example, today she had a set of sentences like:
Vaccae parvōs puerōs terrent.
I had a pretty shrewd guess that, left to her own devices, she would figure out the meanings of the base words and then string them together in a sentence that seemed logical to her, without attending too much to endings. So before she started I asked her, “Alex, how are you going to figure out whether this means ‘the frogs frighten us’ or ‘we frighten the frogs’?” She wasn’t sure, so I asked her what case “frogs” was in. “Accusative… oh! It’s the direct object.” “Right, so?” “…So that’s what the verb happens to.” Without hesitation she went on to translate the sentences: We frighten the frogs, The cows frighten the small boys, You frighten ants.
I showed her some of my (very slow) progress through Wheelock’s Latin – how I make little notes about things like noun cases and parts of speech before I start to translate. I’ve been thrilled to see similar little notes starting to appear in her Latin work too. In some ways it would be a real advantage if I were already expert in Latin, but in other ways – like this one – I think it can be helpful that I’m only a little further on than she is.