Friday, June 12, 2015

Latin Lessons

After almost four years we are finally getting around to Latin lessons for Quinn.

Quinn, age 4, excited about his new book
I'm not sure why he's always wanted to learn Latin, but back in 2011 to distract him from his impending tonsillectomy, I ordered him a copy of Latin is Fun online and he was really excited.

The problem was I didn't know Latin, and I wasn't qualified to teach him.  We got him other materials (he even has a copy of The Cat in the Hat in Latin), but without someone to guide us with accepted pronunciation we were kind of lost.  Latin wound up on the back burner, and there is always so much else to do it was easy to keep it there.

But I recently had a conversation with a friend who has a son the same age as Quinn who is learning ancient Greek, and he recommended we contact the Classics Department at the local university in order to find a tutor.  Turns out the same man teaches both Greek and Latin and was happy to fit in Quinn for lessons.  We've had two lessons so far and it's been a lot of fun.

Even though I believe on several levels that it works out better for Quinn to be starting Latin at age eight instead of four, I'm feeling the weight of the parental guilt that comes with not attending to my children equally because of birth order.  The first child gets attended to differently.  One child all alone gets all the attention, all the resources.  There just isn't as much competition for your time and you feel you should be providing that child with all manner of things.

Then as the children grow the first one continues to blaze all the trails.  The oldest chooses activities that sculpt your schedule and dictate where the other children will end up going and what their options are.  Aden went to toddler music classes and had play dates and took a ballet class and visited museums.  We tried to replicate those things with Mona, but it didn't always work to have her follow in her sister's footsteps because those are not the places she would have led us herself.  However, those were the trails already worn and the ones that became most accessible.

By the time Quinn came along options were far fewer.  His life by necessity revolved around school drop offs and pickups for the girls.  There was no way to handle getting Aden and Mona to violin lessons and school activities on top of managing work and running a home and have any time left over to go do something extra with Quinn.

With Aden there was so much time to fill.  With Quinn there was no time to spare.

Now, there are advantages to being the baby rather than the firstborn.  Quinn got much more relaxed and experienced parents while Aden was the guinea pig for everything.  With Quinn we were not scrambling to figure out when things should be happening the first time, like enrolling in school or visiting the dentist.  His house was set up with rooms ready for play and companions do it with the minute we brought him home.  He got to try everything earlier, travel sooner, and be independent faster.  I don't feel as if Quinn has suffered by any means, but his life would likely have been very different if he had been born first.  

Quinn, age 8, still my baby.
At least we are finally getting around to those Latin lessons, though.  Melius tarde quam nunquam.

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