Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Different Perspective on Classical Language

This is a little off topic, but hopefully there won't be a riot.

I have mentioned before my affinity for the Classical/Well-Trained Mind approach to homeschooling. There is a strong movement within this part of the homeschool community to begin teaching Latin during the elementary school years. This is viewed as being a critical component to a sound education.

As much as I think there are good reasons for teaching Latin, I would like to suggest that Christian parents should consider teaching their children New Testament Greek instead. From my way of thinking, NT Greek is way more practical than Latin. Oh sure, Latin may help students score a little higher on the SAT or help them win spelling bees. But SAT scores aren't everything. I got into a good college with a so-so SAT score without taking Latin. But even just a working knowledge of NT Greek will (hopefully) deepen my daughters' Bible study for the rest of their lives.

Learning Greek isn't hard. There is a lot of overlap with English words. I started teaching my daughter the Greek alphabet in Kindergarten. Oh sure, she is learning it a lot slower than I did in seminary. (Ever hear of summer suicide Greek? It's not a fun time.) But it is my hope that teaching it to her slowly will help it stick with her through adulthood and enrich her spiritual life.

Pretty much the only option for teaching NT Greek to children is, Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek. Although this is a pretty good program, there are some times that it seems confusing to me. I'm not sure a parent without any knowledge of NT Greek could figure out certain things without assistance. I even find myself looking things up in my old textbook from time to time. But maybe that's just me. Maybe I know too much so I'm looking for things that aren't there.

If you plan to teach NT Greek during the high school years, you might want to consider the series of texts and resources written by William Mounce.

- Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar

- Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook

But unless you already know NT Greek, it is probably best tackled in some kind of group classroom situation with a knowledgable instructor. (The instructor doesn't need to be a Greek scholar, just a reasonably educated seminary grad.) So, here is my challenge to Christian homeschool co-ops: consider adding NT Greek to your curriculum. If there is no one in your group who can teach it, call a local seminary or Bible college. Ask to talk to the department head and inquire about who their "star" Greek student is. He or she will no doubt be thrilled to share their love of the language with young people - probably for free or almost free.

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