What age is right to start Lukeion Latin or Greek?

Those who teach modern spoken languages generally agree that the earlier children begin to learn a spoken language, the easier it will be for them to achieve native or near native proficiency. Partnered with the first notion is the idea that students who begin language later will have a more difficult time and limited success.

This theory was first put forth in a 1967 study which outlined the idea of critical windows for language acquisition. This 40-year old hypothesis which passes as fact in some circles effects the decisions that we make about when it is best to attempt a new language, and when we should abandon hope for achievement.

Since we only offer Latin for students working at the high school level at The Lukeion Project, parents ask if their older child (12-18) is going to be at a disadvantage for starting Latin so "late" or, conversely, if there is an advantage for children to begin a study of Latin during the elementary years. In addition, many adults have an interest in learning Latin and fret about their abilities to "keep up" with younger language learners.

It is not only 'ok' to learn Latin after logic and maturity kicks in (usually age 12-15, the time varies for each child) but it is actually preferable.

A 1967 study proposed that the human brain was equipped with learning windows for speech, reading, writing, and learning the sounds of a language. Any good parent knows that children are powerful mimics at a young age and this study confirmed that hunch. The researchers in this study proposed that the learning window snaps shut at puberty. This assertion has had a big impact on education in America, especially as parents blame themselves for missing THE window, and older learners at college and beyond gave themselves the excuse to quit language studies prematurely.

While the "critical period" hypothesis is now spouted as truth, detractors have been successfully poking holes in this theory for the past 30 years. More recent research in neurology has demonstrated that, while language learning is different in childhood and adulthood because of developmental differences in the brain, "in important respects adults have superior language learning capabilities" (Walsh and Diller, 1978). The advantage for adults is that the neural cells responsible for higher-order linguistic processes such as understanding semantic relations and grammatical sensitivity develop with age. Especially in the areas of vocabulary and language structure, adults are actually better language learners than children. An experiment in 1973 with a group of American English speakers learning German, showed that adults did significantly better than children after 10 lessons. Another study in 1978 not only confirmed the first study (this time the language was Dutch), but added that twelve to fifteen year old adolescents scored the best, the adults came second, and children less than ten years old ranked the last.

Regardless of our ability to soak up a native-sounding accent, our brains are not equipped to think analytically about language and complex grammar until we are somewhere between the ages of 12 to 15. So even if a child works at French (or whatever language) from a fairly young age, he or she will not normally master complicated French grammar or read sophisticated French literature until he or she reaches the formal reasoning stage between ages 12 to 15.

So even if mastery of proper accent can only be achieved at a young age (for which there is diminishing evidence), remember that Latin and Classical Greek are not usually taught as a spoken languages. They are intended to be read. Having an accent like Sophocles or Caesar seldom make the list of reasons to take Latin or Greek. This is not to say that starting Latin or Greek at age 7 or 8 will do damage to a language learner (unless it is taught so that a student becomes bored or resistant) but the hard work of comprehension and translation will not usually take place until after he or she is 12 or older.

The cognitive advantages to taking Latin or Greek later are numerous but mastering organization, self-control, and self-motivation are other good reasons to wait for a bit of maturity. Finally, a more mature student is better equipped to communicate well with the instructor and ask insightful questions.

If you have a student aged 13 or 14 or older...or if you as an adult would like to take these languages, rejoice! 'Older' is the perfect age to start Latin or Greek at The Lukeion Project.

Latin at The Lukeion Project



Please note:  for those who wish to take the NLE, the final deadline to register and pay for Latin 1b, 2b, 3b, 4b, or 5b is December 15, to permit Lukeion students to be registered for the National Latin Exam. Courses may close well in advance of this date. Sorry, only students who are enrolled at The Lukeion Project during the spring semester may take the NLE via The Lukeion Project.

mosaic of the author Virgil and his muses

Why take Latin or Ancient Greek?

Learning Latin or Greek is well worth the effort. Studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service show that Latin students consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the SAT based on data from the past decade.[1] Latin learners even outperform other language students by a fairly large margin. Classics majors tend to have a higher GPA at the college level and have accelerated performance in nearly all other subjects such as math, music and history. This makes them appealing as first choices for law and medical schools. While there are advantages to taking any language, Classical languages pay the highest dividends.

More praises for the impact of a Classical education on a modern career.


Why take Classical Languages at The Lukeion Project?

Hieropolis, TurkeyWhy we do what we do:

There are many language products on the market targeting home educators. Most of these are designed for teachers (usually mom or dad) who have little experience with a Classical language and no time to master one. While this sounds like an appealing feature the end result is often years of busy work with no appreciable gains in language skills for students. After hours of drills, chants and worksheets, many students have no idea how to use a dative, subjunctive or participle, much less how to translate real Latin or Greek. Even after two or three years in these drill-type programs often provide learners no more than a scant couple of month’s head start over peers who have had no Latin at all. The very basic, simplified approach of Late Latin or koine Greek is highly attractive to those who are nervous about teaching a subject about which they know almost nothing. Many don't understand what is at risk. These highly simplified approaches to Latin or Greek will not pass muster on the National Latin Exam, the National Greek Exam, the AP Exam, the SAT Latin special subject, or CLEP; nor will it suffice if a student wishes to pass directly into second year language at the college level (as many of our students do after requesting an exam at college). Success on these exams can mean improved admission rates to college, scholarships and hundreds of dollars saved by testing out of college language courses. All national and college exams are based on the Classical languages, not on later and medieval forms.

High School Level Latin

Aphrodesias, TurkeyWe offer 4 years of high-school level Latin. For the first two years, students will work in Wheelock's Latin. This is the standard textbook used in college level Latin courses and the best available Latin program for students who want a well rounded Latin education. This text prepares students for reading Classical literature (Golden and Silver Latin) as well as later (so-called 'liturgical' and Medieval) Latin in which some later church documents were published.

Wheelock's Latin has been perfected through the years to combine a heavy emphasis on tools and grammar plus the opportunity to read real Latin beginning with the first translation assignment. This text book is grammar-based and gives the student all the tools he or she needs to read Latin and, after the first two years with The Lukeion Project, to enter second year college Latin reading courses. This textbook is currently in its 7th edition.

3rd year Latin is a survey of Latin authors. The text we use is primarily Wheelock's Latin Reader supplemented by Latin poetry and other authors. Supplements are provided by the instructor.

4th year Latin is an AP course which carefully follows the AP syllabus to prepare students to take the AP Latin exam for which they must make local arrangements.

In all levels of Latin, our classes meet once a week for an hour (16 weeks). In the first 2 years of Latin, students submit weekly translation assignments in which they are able to view the correct translations immediately after submitting their assignment. They also complete weekly graded quizzes online. Students should expect to dedicate 7-12 hours total per week to the study of Latin.

Our unique classroom environment is highly visual, interactive and engaging. Each session offers a fully illustrated explanation of the new material and review of older material. Our classroom allows each student to participate fully during class, ask questions about new material and respond during fun but competitive drills. Each Latin level has access to specially developed games that help students practice the material painlessly. Homework is credited and quiz translations are graded by the instructor.

If you or your learner has been taking Latin in another program and are considering switching to Lukeion Latin, help yourself to our placement exams:

Do we teach Classical Latin or Late Latin at The Lukeion Project?
Why do we use Wheelock's Latin?

We use Wheelock's Latin, 7th ed. for our Latin 1 & Latin 2 courses because, simply put, it is the best available textbook for an instructor-led course.

While there are a variety of Latin approaches out there, none of them sufficiently explain the grammar and syntax of the Latin language while offering plenty of translation practice using real Latin. Anyone who has endured a 'no grammar needed' approach knows that translating advanced Latin literature is impossible without a fairly complete explanation of the language mechanics.

I speak from experience. As an undergraduate in collage, my Classics professor used a well-known reading emersion approach, though her colleagues warned her against it. She was pleased to see that her students enjoyed the course while I, overly confident in my ability to handle the language, went on to start my master's program in Latin. I quickly discovered that while my other graduate school colleagues had a firm grasp of grammar and syntax, I had precious little. My 'reading immersion' introduction to Latin was flabby and boneless. In the middle of an already hectic graduate school schedule, I started over with Wheelock.

Most programs built for home educators will not prepare a student to advance.

There are currently a number of well-intentioned products on the market that are designed for ease-of-use for inexperienced home educators . Even after years of using these expensive approaches, students will not have the basics of Latin necessary to move on to 3rd year Latin, take the SAT Special Latin subject test nor move on to the AP exam.

Do we participate in the National Latin Exam?

Amy Barr, Latin Instructor at The Lukeion Project

Latin 1



First year Latin consists of two semester courses: Latin 1a & Latin 1b. In the first semester (autumn) we cover chapters 1-9 in Wheelock's Latin 7th Edition . In the second semester (spring) we cover chapters 10-19. Weekly quizzes and homework require students to develop and maintain good study habits. Please purchaseWheelock's Latin 7th Edition (the latest edition). It is not necessary to purchase the companion workbook since the instructor provides plenty of online review games that serve the same purpose.

We offer four session options (please adjust for your time zone). Register for one time slot. You may choose to register for 1a & 1b separately or both semesters at once if you have strong time and day preferences (registration in Latin 1a does not reserve your seat in Latin 1b, you must register and pay for each course). If you are transferring into 1b from another program, please use the placement exam above to help you evaluate your readiness.

Choose one (students may not audit language classes):

Check course availability

Register for 2016-2017 classes

Latin 2



Aphrodesias, TurkeySecond year Latin consists of two semester courses: Latin 2a & 2b. In the first semester (autumn) we cover chapters 20-29 in Wheelock's Latin, 6th ed. revised. In the second semester (spring) we cover chapters 30-40. Weekly quizzes and homework require students to develop and maintain good study habits. Please purchase Wheelock's Latin 7th Edition It is not necessary to purchase the companion workbook since the instructor provides plenty of online review games that serve the same purpose.

We offer three session options (please adjust for your time zone). You may choose to register for 2a and 2b separately or both semesters at once if you have strong time and day preferences (registration in Latin 2a does not reserve your seat in Latin 2b, you must register and pay for each course). If you are transferring into 2b from another program, please contact us for a placement exam though transferring into Latin in the 4th semester is not normally recommended. (Students may not audit language classes)

Check course availability

Register for 2016-2017 classes

Latin 3 Survey of Latin Authors



3rd year Latin consists of two semester courses: Latin 3a & 3b. Eligible students must have successfully taken Lukeion Latin 2a and 2b with Wheelock's Latin, or they should pass a placement exam which is equivalent to the final exam adminstred at the end of Latin 2b.

Latin 3 is a survey of Latin authors. After two years of mastering all the essentials, students finally get to enjoy the fruits of their hard labors by translating unaltered passages from some of the best authors in the Latin language.

Students will translate 50-80 lines a week, depending on the author. During this two semester course, students will translate passages from the Vulgate, Livy, Horace, Catulus and Ovid and more. Students will recite Latin and the translation aloud in class (all students must have a microphone for this course). Quizzes will include translation as well as questions about grammar, syntax and vocabulary and are assigned approximately every other week. In addition to other translation passages and quizzes, 3rd year students will be given several writing assignments to help familiarize them with methods of philological study.

We offer two session times (please adjust for your time zone). (Students may not audit language classes)

Wheelock's Latin Reader, 2e: Selections from Latin Literature (The Wheelock's Latin series)
, 2nd ed.

Cassell's Standard Latin Dictionary, Thumb-indexed

Microphone Headset with mute

Check course availability

Register for 2016-2017 classes

AP® Latin 4




This advanced course will prepare students to take the AP Latin Exam (students must make their own local arrangements in late autumn for this exam which is available in early May). The AP Latin exam includes a selection from Vergil's Aeneid and a selection form Caesar's writings on the Gallic War. Amy Barr, (MA, Latin, OSU), has built this course to include a lush and fully rounded understanding of Vergil and his mileau for Latin 4a, and a thourough discussion of Caesar for Latin 4b.


Students will prepare for this exam by translating all Latin assigned by the College Board for the Vergil/Caesar AP Exam. Exams and papers are all carefully designed to prepare students to respond appropriately to AP style essay questions. This is a challenging AP course. Students normally score 3, 4 and 5 on the AP exam after completing this exam.


Microphone Headset with mute

(Autumn) Boyd,Vergil's Aeneid: Selected Readings from Books 1, 2, 4, and 6. Bolchazy-Carducci, 2012.

(Spring) Mueller,Caesar: Selections from his Commentarii De Bello Gallico, Bolchazy-Carducci, 2012.

We offer one session time and seats are strictly limited (please adjust for your time zone). (Students may not audit language classes)

Check course availability

Register for 2016-2017 classes

Latin 5 & 6 (post AP Latin)



Students who successfully complete AP Latin (score of 3+) may register for Latin 5 & 6 as an independent study. There is no live online class meeting. Instead, students are assigned a weekly translation assignment to help be accountable for continued development in Latin as they bridge the years between AP Latin and college. Advanced Latin students are also assigned two to three writing projects each semester to prepare them for college level philology papers.

Students may choose to translate Ovid's Metamorphoses or Cicero (a selection of readings) for their 5th and/or 6th year of Latin.