Frequently Asked Questions

What is I Speak Latin?

I Speak Latin is an innovative elementary Latin program created by author and classical educator Andrew Campbell. This flexible curriculum introduces students to Latin in a natural and enjoyable way, and provides them with a solid foundation for further study. I Speak Latin is a secular program.

What makes I Speak Latin different from other elementary Latin programs?

I Speak Latin teaches students to understand and speak Latin directly, without the intermediary of their native language. Students make direct mental connections between a thing, action, etc. and the appropriate Latin word or phrase. The program makes use of student-created picture cards, conversation, and physical activities to aid in this process. The course includes no translation, chanting of forms, worksheets, or rote memorization. Instead, students master vocabulary and syntax by using them actively, in real-life contexts, just as they did with their mother tongue.

Why learn to speak a “dead” language?

Speaking Latin helps students learn vocabulary quickly and easily by using it in meaningful contexts. Using the spoken language also gives students an intuitive feel for Latin grammar and syntax that prepares them for more formal study of the language. Besides, speaking Latin is fun! Being able to express their own ideas and opinions in Latin keeps students engaged in the learning process.

Is I Speak Latin a complete Latin program?

I Speak Latin was designed as a stand-alone program for students in the middle elementary grades, but it can also be used as a vocabulary and conversation supplement to grammar-based elementary Latin programs.

What grade levels can use I Speak Latin?

To get the most out of I Speak Latin, students should be able to:

  • use the rules of phonics to decode unfamiliar words of more than three syllables
  • accurately copy an unfamiliar word of four or five syllables
  • focus on a conversation or activity for at least 20 minutes

Students in the middle elementary grades (3-5) will benefit the most from the program. Younger homeschooled students can do the oral activities along with older siblings, if desired, but they should go through the complete program when they have developed the necessary skills. When in doubt, it is best to wait.

Can I teach I Speak Latin if I don’t know Latin myself?

Yes, if you are willing to learn along with your students, make mistakes, and have fun! The I Speak Latin text includes detailed scripts and pronunciation guides to help you, and free audio files are available for download.

One caveat: I Speak Latin requires active teaching; it is not a self-directed program.

How much time does it take to teach I Speak Latin?

Each lesson takes approximately 20 minutes to teach in a homeschool setting. At a rate of two new lessons each week, the active teaching time totals 40 minutes. Preparation time will vary depending on the teacher’s previous experience with Latin or other foreign languages, but teachers should allow at least 15 minutes to go over the script and to collect and arrange teaching materials.

What pronunciation does I Speak Latin use?

I Speak Latin is available in both Restored Classical (orange cover) and Ecclesiastical (blue cover) editions. Other than the pronunciation guides, the contents of the two editions are identical.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The pacing is flexible. Suggested completion times are as follows:

Students who begin in… Can complete the program in…
Grade 2 Two years (=1 lesson per week)
Grades 3-5 One year (=2 lessons per week)
Grade 6 One year (=2 lessons per week) if combined with another program; as little as one semester (=4 lessons a week) if used alone

What do you recommend for Latin study after I Speak Latin?

I Speak Latin was originally developed to prepare students for Hans Ørberg’s Lingua Latina per se illustrata. It also provides a good foundation for popular reading-method programs such as Cambridge Latin and Ecce Romani, and for grammar-translation programs such as Wheelock, Henle, or the Memoria Press Form series.

Younger students will need a transition text between I Speak Latin and these more demanding junior high and high school programs. The best text for such students is William Linney’s Getting Started with Latin. The chart below shows some options for students who have completed I Speak Latin.

Grade 4 Getting Started with Latin (over two years)
Grade 5 Getting Started with Latin (one year)
Grade 6 Getting Started with Latin, or Cambridge Latin, Ecce Romani, Henle, etc.
Grade 7 and up Lingua Latina, Cambridge Latin, Ecce Romani, Henle, etc.

How was I Speak Latin developed?

Dr. Campbell first developed the curriculum in 2008 for early elementary students at the Abbey School, a classical cottage school. The following year he expanded the program for use with students in grades 3-6 at New England Classical Academy in Claremont, New Hampshire. Elements of the program have also been used with high school students and with individual homeschoolers.

What materials will I need to buy?

The I Speak Latin text is a resource and instructional guide for teachers. It is the only book you need to teach the course. There are no student textbooks or workbooks to purchase, and the MP3 audio downloads are free, making I Speak Latin a low-cost alternative to other programs.

As part of the I Speak Latin curriculum, students create their own set of picture flashcards that are used as in-class learning tools and for individual study and review.

The following student supplies are needed, and can be found at any office supply or discount store:

  • Large (5″ x 7″) index cards (unlined on at least one side)
  • Index card file box
  • Colored pencils

Other useful items for the teacher include:

  • White board or large pad of paper
  • Old magazines
  • Family photos
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

Can I see a sample?

Download a 15-page PDF sample of I Speak Latin.