Many of Minimus’ friends are home-schoolers, so this page is devoted to them. We can discuss your thoughts and hints about studying Latin with Minimus.
Each month, we’ll tackle a grammar question in a new column: Corinthus omnia explicat!
Please send any comments to Ruth Ann Besse at firstname.lastname@example.org
We had our first meeting of our homeschool Minimus group this week, and it was a great success. The kids loved it; the parents loved it. What's not to love?
Judith , California, U.S.A.
I help my friend home educate her 11 year old son. He's very bright and a good visual learner, and loves to read. He is SO enjoying Minimus and so am I. We have a two hour session every Tuesday with a short break in the middle.
I think we must be an unusual team because I didn't do any Latin at school and am not much of a linguist (although I did German O Level, so at least I'd heard of four cases!). We started in September and have worked our way through the first book and have just started on the second. We invented a new game last week: 'how many verbs beginning with P can you remember in one minute'? and so on. 'Beating the teacher' has become his goal!
We have found that spending 5 or 10 minutes at the start of each lesson going over vocab, verb endings, subject/object is a useful refresher.
What makes Minimus so good is the firm grammatical base together with the historical context (not forgetting the myths and legends). It's all so well done. My sister-in-law gave me the OS map of Britain in Roman times and we've been poring over that, too. We don't have much in the way of Roman sites to visit in Cornwall (!) but it's interesting to know that villas have been found and one hoard.
I suppose one of the things I would find useful is to have small pieces of text to translate into English or vice versa - some way of practising what we have learned. I have prepared several for him to use, but not being Latin trained, I have to be very careful to copy exactly from the book in case I 'teach' mistakes. The chance to use the vocab we have learned in more creative ways would be good.
When he starts state secondary school in September, he'll have a skill that none of the other children have - and a very good start for learning other languages. Thanks to you.
Jane, Cornwall, England
Today we did chapter 4 in our weekly Minimus club. It's really going well. We have 8 kids in the group, all of whom are naturally bright and attentive, and we are lucky that everyone is enjoying it enough to take the time between classes to prepare the lessons. So our classes are fast-paced but lots of fun. Today we played Latin verb bingo and made our own Celtic warrior paper dolls (using one of the worksheets), as well as acting out the two comic strips in the chapter. A homeschool moment: our dog walked into the living room while we were figuring out how to conjugate some verb, and we had to shift gears for a few minutes so the kids could chat in Latin about the dog: "canis optimus est." "Canis benignus est." "Canis intrat." "Quam pulcher est." "Cur canis non dormit?" etc.
Now that I'm 5 weeks into leading this class, I have more thoughts about resources that might be useful. I could share them with you in more detail over the phone if that would be helpful. I'll just say quickly that the most useful thing would be better organization on the website. There is so much useful material there, but it can be pretty hard to find. I spend a lot of time on-line each week just hunting for useful worksheets and activities. We'd also love to see more ideas for games and activities and projects.
And, as I said, a grammar resource. As I've hunted for grammatical help, I've found some of what I wanted on other websites. (There is a Latin group in Hobart Tasmania that has full verb conjugation charts for dozens of common verbs, for example.) Minimus could be incredibly useful in systematically assembling these resources with links and writing some basic grammar lessons to fill in the blanks. I suspect that Latin teachers like you don't quite realize just how much some of us DON'T know. I took 4 years of Latin in Jr. High and High School, but that was over 20 years ago. The other moms in our homeschool group will ask incredibly basic questions that are not answered in the Minimus texts, some of which I know, others of which I've forgotten and have to go look up.
Judith, California, USA
I really love Latin because in Minimus the stories are fun, Rufus, Vibrissa and Minimus are my favorite characters", this is what my son said when I asked him why he liked learning Latin with Minimus. A year ago I decided to add Latin to the list of subjects that my home-educated son and I do. I have such fond memories of learning Latin at school and it gave me such a good grounding not only in other romance languages but also grammar and science that I felt it was a must for us. I had heard about Minimus via the home ed grape vine and decided to give it a try. I was delighted when the books arrived. They are so colourful and eye-catching that Sam and I were both immediately hooked. Not only are the books a joy to look at but they are also very user friendly. Despite my rusty Latin I didn't have any trouble following along and doing the lessons with Sam, in fact, I am not sure which of us is learning more! The series is fantastic because not only are you learning Latin but also history and geography. Doing Minimus with Sam has rekindled my love of the language and I am now doing the on-line Cambridge Latin Course just to keep one step ahead of him. I would absolutely recommend the series to other parents and home educators. We are just hoping that there will be a third book!