Thursday, November 02, 2006

E Pluribus Unum

"E Pluribus Unum." "One out of many," (or literally, "Out of many, one.") Before I had ever cracked open a copy of Minimus or my (now-well-worn copy of) The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Latin , I recognized that Latin phrase seen on the Great Seal of the U.S. A few weeks ago it was our phrase in our Latina Christiana lesson. More recently it was seen on the quarters that I paid my kids for their Latin memory work! Yes, I decided (or should I say resorted) to paying them 50 cents a sheet for their Latin recitations. I know, I know... paying for grades or performance is frowned upon by some. I read Punished by Rewards a few years ago and agreed wholehearedly with Kohn's premise that rewarding students for learning can reduce it to a chore or something in which they won't see the inherent value. Imposing a value or reward on it might imply that it doesn't possess any merit on its own.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I just want them to learn their conjugations and declensions. (They don't have to love it.) And my daughter just wants iTunes money. Besides, I have jars and jars of change under my bed. Might as well put them to good use! (By the way, if you've gotten this far and are thinking, "Why study Latin anyway?" you may want to read this or Google the words "why Latin" before continuing. Otherwise you may think I'm nuts or mean... or both.)

I've been printing out the slides that are on the DVD (available at Memoria Press' website) and stapling them into a folder. The folders have been handy to have to carry around, stick in the car or flop open during our recitations without having to flip through their workbooks. They do great during our Latin "class" time, but weren't very successful as of yet with memorizing the different endings for the cases and declensions which are required for the work going forward. SO, one day I said, "Okay. 50 cents a square. Let me know when you're ready so I'll have my coin jars with me." Within a few days, there they appeared, folders in hand. One and then the other presented his or her folder and began reciting page-after-page of Latin prayers, cases, declensions and conjugations. One earned $6. One earned $6.50. We're moving on in Latin. Life is good!

E Pluribus Unum. Maybe I should change that to Ex unus plures: Many out of one. Out of one folder... much memory work. Out of one mouth... many phrases. Out of one jar... many quarters.

Hey, sometimes you just gotta do what works!

"Labor omnia vincit." Virgil

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Cyndi, this is a cool post. Not that I am doing latin. I would like to, but I am having trouble keeping the basics together..., but- I have hit a wall with multiplication tables with my middle child, and my 11 year old is rusty with them. I never learned them in school, and I am having a hard time knowing how to teach it. The money idea...brilliant!! They are old enough to take responsibility of memorizing the tables themselves. I will still do drill in the morning, but it just wasn't enough. But money!! I bet I get one or two table out of them a week if I follow your lead here.
I am enjoying your blog very much.

Jenny in Ca


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