Charlotte Mason, Curriculum Reviews, Featured

Getting Started with Latin for Absolute Beginners

So how do you get started with Latin? Especially if you have never learned it yourself!

When my kids were starting 4th grade, I knew it was time to get serious about getting started with Latin.

I did a bunch of research. Ran into questions about pronunciations (ecclesiastical vs. classical), dative vs. genitive, online vs. book and a thousand more things about Latin I didn’t know.

I was very overwhelmed.

So, I turned to the Ambleside Online forum to look for more answers from moms like me and there it was — Getting Started with Latin by William E. Linney.


While there were many books recommended, I knew this was just right for my family and where we were starting from–absolute zero

To begin with the book is super simple, adding just one new word or concept per lesson. There would not be lists of vocabulary to learn each week.

The lessons built on each other so words learned one week would reliably appear again for reinforcement,. There were no extra words thrown in that hadn’t been used before. I found this lacking in programs we have used since.

The book had free online resources that I could use to make sure I pronounced things correctly as well as an answer key.

How We Used Getting Started with Latin

We used the book slowly, aiming for 3 lessons per week. Sometimes we did more or less depending on schedules but at that pace we made it through in 2 years easily.  You could obviously move faster if you preferred through the 134 lessons. Many kids could easily do a lesson or more a day.

I would highlight the new word or topic. We would go through the exercise — usually out loud but you could assign it for written work.


We progressed from very simple “I am a farmer” to sentences like “The queen’s sons are guarding the towns because they love the homeland.”

For our family it was the perfect speed to give us all (mom included) a firm grounding in Latin before moving on to other programs.

Now we are using Cambridge Latin’s books that are available online for free. They have many additional resources as well. These have been great for the next level but in my opinion would have overwhelmed us as beginners.

We also used Visual Latin from Compass Classroom for a time. We enjoyed the presenter and most of the material, but the speed would have been too much for us without our previous work in Getting Started with Latin.  To us, it was more appropriate for a middle or high school student.

You can try 6 free Visual Latin lessons with this link to try it out yourself!

Maybe we are just really slow but Latin was not a subject I ever thought I would learn much less teach so Getting Started with Latin was just the entry point this absolute beginner needed.

You can preview a few lessons from Getting Started with Latin here.

Other Online Helps for Getting Started with Latin

Here are a few other online helps for Getting Started with Latin:

Getting Started with Latin links list— A robust list of other Latin programs to consider after completing this book including an online course with Linney. Start here for your next step in Latin.

Quizlet Flashcards for Vocabulary review — Several users have created online flashcards for the vocabulary in Getting Started with Latin so you don’t have to!   A longer list is here.

Looking for more curriculum ideas?

How to Homeschool with Ambleside Online —  and Love It

Best Podcasts for the Charlotte Mason Mom




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