Friday, March 5, 2010

The Value of a Latin T-shirt

My two oldest have been taking Latin online this year.

Freshman Ayeka is taking Latin 1. The pace is quick at two weeks per chapter, but Ayeka enjoys it. At the start of the school year I was ahead of her in Latin. By Christmas she was ahead of me.

Aku is taking J.H. Latin 1. I was worried at first that this class wouldn't challenge him enough, as he'd had some Latin already, and this class took four weeks for each chapter, but it has been a great fit. He has needed the extra time to assimilate the grammar.

Ayeka loves Latin, loves learning Latin. She has thanked me many times for starting her in Latin and finding the online class.

Aku has enjoyed answering questions correctly in this his first ever academic class with other students. He has said to me many times, "Can I quit?" and, "Tell me again why I'm studying Latin?"

Would he stop right now if I let him? Yes. But we have a policy that once a class (academic or sport) is paid for, the child must follow through and put forth effort. It hasn't helped that his class starts at
7:30 in the morning, and he is not a morning person. It didn't help when he missed early morning basketball practice for his Latin class, and it doesn't help now that he misses early morning weight lifting with the other junior high kids because of his Latin class.

As I type this I'm reminded that partway through the equestrian year last year, Aku asked to stop. He was the only boy in our local club and this played a part in his wanting to quit. I reminded him that because of his choice to learn this he'd committed to the year and we'd paid his fees and paid for his lessons. He then chose to follow through, had fun, took pride in his growing skill, and when we went to Rally - he was the only boy there and got a kick out of hearing the girls say things like, "There's the boy!" Even so, at the end of summer Aku was undecided about doing it for another year, and I suspected he wouldn't.

Then a new school year started and my son took his first class at public school - PE. He knew several of the kids from having participated in basketball, but still had a period of adjusting to the ways of kids in mass quantities. One day he wore his Pony Club shirt to PE.

Boy: "Pony Club? PONY club?"
Aku: "Yeah."
Other kids gather around.
Boy: "But Pony Club. I mean, PONY?"
Aku: "Yeah, I ride horses."
Boy: "But it says PONY. I mean, PONY! You're a guy."
Aku: "I jump things. On a horse."

He was asked how high he could jump (not very, it was his first year) and if he'd ever fallen (yes, and it hurt). Soon after this he told me he wanted to do equestrian sports for another year.

So who knows. Maybe if I buy him a Latin shirt...

If you buy the boy a Latin shirt, he’ll wear it to PE

And when he wears it to PE, a student will try to embarrass him

And when a student tries to embarrass him, the boy will have fun answering

And when the boy has fun answering, maybe, just maybe

An awareness will come, unbidden and without conscious thought

“This is something I value”

And maybe it’s all just wishful thinking by a mother who loves Latin.