Preparing for Latin in Challenge A

Challenge A is such a WONDERFUL year in the life of a Classical Conversations student. 

We have walked the Challenge A road once before with my oldest child. It was a GOOD year, but it was also year of great growth, struggle, change, and revelation. 

After a couple of years in the Challenge program it became very clear that when my youngest was approaching Challenge A I would definitely prepare more for Latin in the year preceding Challenge A.

Yes, the memory work in Foundations is helpful.  Yes, having a firm grasp of English Grammar (through the Essentials Program) is extremely beneficial. And yes, our students will repeat the Latin they learn in Challenge A again in Challenge B.

I firmly believe, however, we can set our rising Challenge A students up for success so the Latin doesn't flatten and discourage them. 

Preparing for Latin in Challenge A - how to get a jump start on the Latin BEFORE you begin Challenge!

About the Latin in Challenge A

The Latin text used in Challenge A is Henle Latin

In my opinion, Henle isn't exciting. There are no bells and whistles - nothing that overly excites the student. It is simply HARD WORK and DILIGENCE.  

This is a GOOD thing. 

Students start at the beginning of Henle First Year Latin. Class usually begins with a review of an English grammar concept, and then students discover how that concept is treated in Latin. Together, students and the tutor practice translating sentences that contain the day’s concept. There is an emphasis on memorization of vocabulary and word endings. Students gain skills for learning any language through this systematic approach.
— Classical Conversations

Many people feel Henle is superior because it has less vocabulary  (a little more than 500 words) than the competing Latin texts, which allows students to learn the concepts of Latin without being bogged down with excessive memorization of vocabulary.

As students get older and begin to translate, this makes things easier for them. 

(For a nice review of Henle, read this review at Homeschool Christian.)

Preparing for Latin in Challenge A

In this last year before Challenge A, we are doing a few things to prepare for the difficult Latin that is to come next year. 

Know Your Memory Work

Having a firm grasp on the Latin memory work in Foundations is extremely helpful. 

We plan to review all three cycles of memory work this summer in preparation for Challenge A.

Specifically, knowing the NOUN DECLENSIONS before beginning Challenge A is a good idea. 

I love the Latin Noun Declension worksheets from Family Style Schooling. The lightbulb REALLY went off when my son started working on these sheets!  (good stuff)

Everything to do with Latin at Family Style Schooling is extremely helpful - take some time to explore the resources there.  One of my favorite articles is all about Latin nouns and what exactly a declension is. 

Getting Started With Latin

During our Morning Time, we are using a FABULOUS book, Getting Started With Latin

This book, which is a beginning Latin book for students of all ages, incorporates much of the Latin memory work from Foundations. It also begins to teach students the basics of learning Latin, and will prepare them for Henle Latin in Challenge A.

Having gone through Henle Latin with my oldest, I can see directly how using Getting Started With Latin benefits my son moving into Challenge A. 

I love it when we sit around the table during morning time and Anna says, "Ooooh Grant, this is going to help you SO MUCH in Latin next year!"

Flash Cards

We are beginning to learn the Latin vocabulary in Henle Latin using flashcards from Antiquated Notions. 

While I am 100% in favor of students making their own Latin flashcards for Challenge A, having them available to print and review easily has been extremely helpful.

Once in Challenge A I imagine we will be using Quizlet to make and review Latin flashcards. This proved to be very helpful for my oldest. 

I hear so many people question the validity of learning Latin, the fast pace of the Latin in Challenge A, and the dryness of the Henle Latin text. 

Yes, those are all valid concerns - and concerns I have had at one time.  Now, however, they are no longer concerns.  

Being in Challenge for nearly four years has taught our whole family that sometimes the best things are worth WORKING and WAITING FOR.  It has taught us that patience, perseverance, and doing hard things is WORTH IT.


Here is what I DO KNOW about the study of Latin in Challenge:

  • It leads to a tremendous understanding of English Grammar.
  • Students gain a greater understanding of word origins.
  • Studying Latin promotes great discipline and perseverance.
  • Parsing a Latin sentence and taking the time to STRUGGLE through translations builds confidence - a confidence that transfers to many other academic areas.
  • Sticking with something for many years (like the study of Latin) teaches our students that anything worth doing is worth doing well and over an extended period of time.  

I wish you all the best in your study of Latin!

Are you preparing for Latin in Challenge A?  Tell me about it in the comments below! 

Preparing for Latin in Challenge A - how to get a jump start BEFORE you get to Challenge! 

Learn Latin & Greek Roots with WordUp!

A fun vocabulary study is under way in our homeschool. 

Better still, it is an independent study done on the computer in short, focused lessons.   

I have been seeing so much about WordUp from many of my friends on Instagram... now we are giving it a try! 

I am AMAZED at the learning taking place through this simple, humorous vocabulary show!  

I received a copy of this product in exchange for this review. The thoughts and opinions here are my own. We NEVER use something we don't like or cannot endorse wholeheartedly. This post contains affiliate links. 

About WordUp! the Vocab Show

WordUp comes in DVD or downloadable video format.  We are using the downloadable video - so simple to do! 

It is created by Compass Classroom -- also the creators of Visual Latin. 

Specifics about WordUp

  • 10 video lessons (SHORT!  12-15 minutes each)
  • covers 20 Latin & Greek roots
  • more than 200 English derivatives
  • links to Quizlet flashcards to coincide with each lesson

You can see sample lessons and videos to see if this is something you would like.

 I love a product that lets me try before I buy!  

And, did I mention this is all just $15? I think that's great for everything you get!  

Word Up! The Vocab Show from Compass Classroom

Why We LOVE WordUp!

My 10 year old son has been working through the lessons this summer. 

They are humorous (laugh out loud kind of funny) and keep his attention. That humor also makes the words STICK in his memory. 

Yesterday, when my son needed to get some water he said, "Mom, I'm very thirsty.  Time to HYDRATE!"  

He had learned this word was a derivative of the Greek HYDRO, or water. 

WordUp! is giving immediate, useful knowledge in a humorous manner. 

Each lesson comes with a link to Quizlet online. Here my son can practice all of the words in each lesson.

He can drill the flash cards, practice spelling, and play some games. 

Then, a test is generated. He can take that, print it out, and I have evidence of his learning. 

WordUp! lets me evaluate learning and I like that. 

Latin & Greek Word Study Pages

Using Notebooking Pages with WordUp!

WordUp! can stand all by itself. In fact, I know many people that just use the $15 video curriculum and are perfectly happy with that. 

We are taking it one step further by using our Notebooking Pages subscription (I have a Lifetime Membership, and this is included - you can also purchase the pages for just $2 as a set.).


I printed the Latin & Greek Word Study Notebooking Pages, and my son is creating a notebook to go along with WordUp!  He writes the English derivative, the definition, uses it in a sentence, and also determines the part of speech. 

When I discovered this connection I was VERY excited -- it makes a great resource even MORE meaningful for my guy. 


Here's a sample of one of the pages.  

As my son goes through the videos, he completes the information. You can see that it incorporates dictionary skills, writing skills, grammar skills, and more. 

Again -- this is TOTALLY OPTIONAL - but I really like this supplement. I'm even considering having my 13 year old complete this study later in the summer. 

Using Notebooking Pages to learn Latin & Greek Roots

Final Thoughts about WordUp!

I would encourage you to look at the samples of WordUp! and then give it a try. 

Whether you are supplementing a language study, or using this as your primary language study, I feel it is a superb way to learn English vocabulary and Latin & Greek roots. It requires very little work from the parent and is enjoyable for the student.

I'm so thankful to Compass Classroom for letting us try this product.  

It's a KEEPER!  

Word Up! The Vocab Show from Compass Classroom