Yesterday I began teaching Latin again for the 2014-2015 school year at St. Joseph Homeschool Academy in Santa Clara. This year I have a tiny class of three 6th and 7th graders for 40 minutes on Thursdays and Fridays just before the school breaks at midday. I'm planning to write some blogs here about what I'm teaching and learning.
After my class is over at 11:30, the children pile into cars with their mothers and go to the noon Mass at Our Lady of Peace. During the afternoons, the students continue working with their parents at home. The school is a unique homeschooling co-op with parent involvement required every day. It is run by Sisters of the Virgin Mary of Matara (Serviadoras) who are part of the IVE family (Institute of the Eternal Word). The IVE is the order in charge of Our Lady of Peace Church and Shrine in Santa Clara.
The young religious sisters who run the school are energetic, bright, and generally awe-inspiring. They put together a program that gives home schooling parents the chance to have their children learn from others who may have more expertise than the parents do. I don't know the details of the arrangement, but for most classes (Latin is one of the exceptions), St. Joseph Academy tutoring is coordinated with a homeschooling organization called Kolbe. Grades are submitted to Kolbe at the end of each semester and at the end of the school year, and the teachers for subjects that are being taught using Kolbe homeschooling materials follow their lesson plans, and use their quizzes and tests.
Me, after following a textbook the first year, and developing materials for teaching Latin conversation and prayers for use while I substituted last year, I'm continuing to make it up as I go along, with the the full permission of the principal. Yesterday I started to tell the students that I would be teaching them conversational Latin, the Rosary, the Angelus and other prayers, and the Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form.
You might ask, "What's the Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form?"I realize that a lot of people think that the term Latin Mass refers only to the traditional Latin Mass. To explain to my class yesterday what the Latin Mass is and how you can attend one in the Ordinary Form, I spun off into a partial history of the Mass since the Second Vatican Council that eventually filled the white board. Even the mom coordinator (who attends the traditional Latin Mass at the Oratory at Five Wounds) looked fascinated as she took notes, and one bright kid, the only boy out of the three students, showed me his own clear notes that he transcribed from the white board, which I really believe were an improvement on my scribbles
I told them that with the introduction I was giving them, they will understand a lot more about the topic of where the Mass has been than most people around here (the San Francisco Bay Area) who are a lot older than they are.
In one of my next blogs, I plan to write down what I told the students to help them understand what the term Ordinary Form Latin Mass means so that it will be available for anyone else who might benefit. While singing in Latin Mass choirs and in researching articles I've written, I've picked up a lot of facts and a constantly growing understanding of this topic.
Weird Latin news. I just read that an "American social media star" named Gabi Grecko has begin studying Latin because she wants to improve her song writing skills and 'rhyme in Latin'." I'd post the link to this news in the Daily Mail of the UK, but I refuse to share the images I saw on that page with anyone.