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Lizards 'n Onions 'n Latin for Children

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, March 12, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 20 March 12, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Guest Article
-- Lizards 'n Onions
Helpful Tips
-- Typing Software
Resource Review
-- Latin for Children
Reader Question
-- Why Study Latin?
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Guest Article

Lizard 'n Onions
by Israel Wayne

Life is hectic in the adult world. We run a mile a minute, climbing
the ladder, chewing the fat, and acting like chickens with our heads
cut off. Seldom do we slow down enough to realize the perceptions
we are leaving in the minds of children.

Children listen to more adult conversations than we give them credit
for. We simply assume that they are enveloped in their childish world
and are paying no attention to what we say or do. (Actually, I think
the only times they fail to hear adults are when they are asked to
help clean something or go to bed.)

It is amazing what happens in a child’s brain. Something that is
taken for granted by an adult can utterly confuse and befuddle a
child. Colloquialisms are commonly bewildering to children. For
example, years ago at our supper discussion, I was relating the
poor physical condition of our friend’s Labrador retriever. "Old
Binkley is on his last leg," I sorrowfully reported to the rest of the
family. "It seems he is really going downhill fast," added my mother.
A puzzled look, and a withheld tear came across my five-year-old sister
Bethany’s face. "The last time I saw him, he had all four legs," she
stammered, mentally picturing a one-legged Binkley sprinting down
a hill.

Once we invited a family over for supper, and when they asked what
we were going to eat, I replied "Lizard 'n Onions, my favorite!"
The lady almost passed out and her husband suddenly remembered an
urgent appointment. My rather embarrassed mother explained that
"liver and onions" were on the menu, not my imagined reptilian
entree. The couple breathed a sigh of relief, and the husband began
to explain to me what the function of the liver was. Now I was sick;
and to think I used to like that stuff! Still to this day, I can’t
choke down liver.

Of course, I wasn’t the only gourmet child to crawl the planet. Our
friend’s little boy absolutely loves Macedonian Cheese (Macaroni
and cheese). My little sisters couldn’t imagine why we had to dress
the turkey before we could eat it, and you should have seen us
trying to convince them that Horsey Sauce wasn’t an animal product!

The media can confuse children as well. Some friends of ours have
family devotions every evening. When they got around to their
youngest daughter and asked what she wanted to pray about, she
said "Let’s pray for Israel who is fighting in the Middle East; his
mother must be sad." Apparently she had heard the daily news
and assumed that I (the only Israel she knows) had gone to war.

My five-year-old son had been watching a Creation Science docu-
mentary discussing Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Later that
day he asked his mother, "What does survival of the fish mean?"

Sometimes even literature can cause a problem. I thought
Shakespeare was the most painful reading I would ever encounter
until our friend’s little boy told me he was reading C.S. Lewis’
"Chronicles of Hernia." Ouch!

My two-year-old son was listening intently to a conversation
between an older gentleman who often visits our home and I. At
one point the man bemoaned the fact that he had left an important
envelope at his home that he had intended to bring on his trip. My
two-year-old burst into uproarious laughter. Not being able to discern
what was so funny, I pulled him aside and asked him to explain.
"Mr. Riley forgot his Heffalump!" He was envisioning not an envelope
but rather our friend toting around the fictitious character from the
Winnie-The-Pooh stories.

These moments make great teaching opportunities. Like when my
little sister Mercy learned that the hymn was entitled "How Great
Thou Art" as opposed to "How Great I Art". (Talk about a theological
paradigm shift!) Or like the time when one of the old Christmas
carols suddenly became a hygiene lesson as one of our little
carolers loudly sang out, "We Three Kings of Odorant Are".

A misunderstanding of one small word can dramatically change
the theological focus. I like the story Dr. James Dobson tells of the
young boy who recited the Lord’s Prayer. "Our Father, who art in
heaven, Harold be thy name". Of course, Dr. Dobson knows quite
well how children can be confused by things adults take for granted.
One little boy has mistakenly titled Dr. Dobson’s national ministry
"Poke us on the fanny", instead of the proper "Focus on the Family".

The humor in these stories also conveys the simplicity and purity
of childhood. Just think how boring life would be if we were all born
knowing everything. Parents would miss the fun of training, correcting
and teaching their children. And children would miss the fun of
embarrassing their parents!

That’s why God gives children to parents. I suppose we adults must
look the same way to God sometimes. Some of the things we do
must make Him laugh. Not in a cruel, sarcastic way, but as a loving,
understanding Father. He doesn’t expect us to know everything at
once; he just wants us to keep a child-like faith and trust in Him.
Let’s slow down enough to enjoy our children, drink in the simplicity
of life, and enjoy a good laugh along the way.


Israel Wayne was home educated and currently serves as Marketing
Director for the national publication Home School Digest. He is the
author of the book 'Homeschooling From A Biblical Worldview' published
by Wisdom’s Gate, and site editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net
Israel and his wife Brook (also a homeschool graduate) reside in
Michigan with their four young children. Write to: Wisdom’s Gate,
P.O. Box 374, Covert, MI 49043. 1-800-343-1943
or visit http://www.homeschooldigest.com


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

"I found a free typing download to teach my children how to type.
I thought each of you might like to use it as well." -- Marla



Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Resource Review

Latin For Children
For more information or to order: www.classicalacademicpress.com

Latin for Children is more than just child's play! It is a detailed
curriculum, which could accommodate a middle or high school student -
but don't let that scare you if you have little ones. Latin
for Children consists of a videotape/DVD, textbook and answer key.
The lesson begins with watching the video to learn the chants and
rhymes and memory work as well as more in-depth information.
These mnemonic aids allow students to learn over 240 vocabulary
words and grammar in a fun, interactive format.

Most moms will appreciate the fact that this course assumes no
prior Latin experience!

For the COMPLETE review by Lori Carvell, homeschool mom, visit:


Last Issue's Reader Question

"What is the value of studying LATIN? How is it really used for
our children's future? Is it possible to study the basics of Latin
and learn the Spanish language at the same time?" -- Susan in MN

Our Readers' Responses

"Disclaimer: I am not yet an official homeschooling mom (only
child so far is 2), so I have not taught anyone Latin. I simply
studied in high school, so I am sharing what I enjoyed about it
and what I got from it.

Latin gives you a good foundation for all of the Romance languages
which derive from it -- Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, etc.
I can figure out some words from these languages when I see them
in print just because they are similar to words I know in Latin.
Plus, many English words derive from a Latin root word, so studying
Latin increased my English vocabulary (I learned words such as
pulchritude and ubiquitous). Many of our words where the singular
and plural forms do not make sense according to English rules are
actually following Latin rules. Examples include alumnus-alumni
and bacterium-bacteria. Finally, again drawing from my own
personal experience, my teacher incorporated the study of Roman
culture, civilization, and mythology with the study of the language,
and I found all of those fascinating. I also enjoyed reading the epic
poem The Aenead in its original language." -- Karen


"Studying Latin is excellent for vocabulary, which is something I've
heard is great for SAT's. I used 'Rummy Roots', not so my daughter
could learn to speak Latin, but for the sake of learning the roots and
meaning of words. I'm not sure if it will help you to learn Spanish
better, but it gave her a great understanding of literature, has helped
her to be an excellent communicator, and has allowed her to excel
in her English class at community college." -- Noreen


"Latin helps us understand English in myriad ways; a smattering of
Latin will usually help someone work out the meaning of an unusual
word, and helps in botany, zoology and medicine. It is also invaluable
if you ever intend to travel to Europe to be able to read inscriptions
on monuments.

It is possible to learn Latin and Spanish together, but it is best to
stagger the start, particularly for primary school aged children.
Learn one first for say 2 years, then start the second one.

Here are some notes from a homeschooling talk given in November '05.

'Learning Classical Languages'
(Notes from a talk by Fr. John Hill)

To learn any non-vernacular language young enough gives the brain
the ability to learn a number of languages later on. The language you
speak forms your face. A language contains within itself a complete
world view. To learn more than one language disturbs our local
arrogance, as it makes us consider the world from another world view,
and opens us up to the possibility that there are even more world
views in existence.

There is a proverb that goes 'A person who has traveled is a stranger
when he comes home'; he sees his normal life from a different
perspective and no longer takes it for granted. Saint Augustine said
that the world is a book, and not to travel is to be confined to one
page. Another language is another world, and another way of seeing
the world.

It is sad when a language begins to die. In Ireland schools have begun
where the only spoken language is Gaelic, and the number of these
schools is growing. However, because at home English is spoken,
and English is the language that most forms of entertainment come in
Ireland, it is increasingly difficult to conserve the Gaelic language
and its unique insights on life. The death of a language happens in an
exponential manner.

To understand history from 'the inside', from the minds of those who
created that history, is why classical languages remain important.
If you wish to get inside Cicero's mind, and see the world from his
perspective, you need to read his writings in the original language.

Seneca was a tutor to Nero. His letters have been preserved to modern
times. You can study the structure of his letters, and how he talks.
By reading it in Latin, you can understand the world as it was at that
time. The Letters of Seneca are good ones to begin learning from.

It is possible for us to read translations of the Confessions of Saint
Augustine, but it is fairer to the author to read it from the 'inside'
in the original Latin.

There is an Italian phrase that goes 'traduttore traditore’ -- a
translator is a traitor. A translator will always translate a passage
into his own world view.

There is a trap in learning languages. Grammar alone does not teach
a language, Grammar is 2nd order language. Just because you know
the rules (the grammar) doesn’t mean that you know how to play the
game. And it is the game that is the important thing.

The meaning of a word is its usage in the language. It is not enough
to know vocabulary; a student must also be able to use those words
within sentences. Can you give me a sentence in which you can use
this word?

It is better to not overload a child’s interest in languages with
grammar. It is better to use whole sentences first, and then later to
study those sentences. In learning another language they will come to
better understand their own vernacular. It is worthwhile to sometimes
parse and analyze passages in our own vernacular, to pause and reflect
on how our own language works."


"A good place to go to understand the importance of studying
Latin is MemoriaPress.com. They have an excellent explanation
of all the benefits of Latin. I have used their Latin program with all
three of my children and have seen tremendous benefits. It reinforces
their understanding of English grammar, builds vocabulary and their
understanding of the English language, boosts their memory, and
prepares them for learning other languages. I don't know how you
would fit in studying two languages at one time, but I suppose it
could be done. I started my children out in the study of Latin in 3rd
or 4th grade and worked with them slowly through 8th grade, then
moved on to Spanish in 9th grade." -- Kathy G.

Answer our NEW Question

"My husband and I recently moved my parents in with us. Both are
in declining health and require extra help. I am struggling to get
everything done. We have four children ages 14, 12, 11, and 9 that
we home school. I would welcome any suggestions on organizing
my day to make everything fit and work together." -- Jacqueline in AL


Do you have personal experience and/or practical wisdom to share?
Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


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Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
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Tags: Israel Wayne, free typing program, classical education, Latin for Children, teaching Latin, language arts, why study latin, value of latin, Rummy Roots, classical curriculum, homeschool Latin curriculum, learning classical languages, Memoria Press, tips

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