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The Power of the Daily Quiz

When I was a new Latin student many years ago, my teachers showed me the power of the daily quiz. I took those quizzes very seriously and always aimed for getting 100%. My teachers emphasized mastery, therefore they would let us take the quizzes over and over (some students may have used that as an excuse not to study the first time but I did not). These quizzes were easy for them to grade and encouraged serious memorization. As I have seen as a Latin teacher, a student’s success, even in the later levels, is related to how well they have memorized.

As you are planning ahead for Latin studies with your student at home next year, I encourage you to consider incorporating daily quizzes three to four days a week. If your student does not get a 100%, then you can give them that quiz the following day (maybe in addition to the quiz you already have planned for them for the next day). Remember, these quizzes should require straight memorization and should be a cinch for you or your student to grade. You could type them ahead of time, write them on the board, or make your student write the whole thing from memory (which would teach them so much!). As part of your at-home preparation for community day, they should be written, administered, and graded by you.

Here are some examples of what I would quiz on in the beginning of the Henle Latin I book:

Lesson 1:

  • Case names spelled correctly and their uses—subject, possessive, indirect object, direct object, object of the preposition (found in Henle Grammar #22).
  • Declension of terra’s forms and meanings (Henle Grammar #31). Emphasis should be on spelling the Latin right. If it is not right, it is wrong!
  • Vocabulary terra—gloria. They should memorize exactly what the book says (I actually have my students put the genitive and gender for nouns too. I give extra credit for derivatives spelled correctly too e.g. terra, terrae F. earth, land (terrain, terrace, terrarium).
  • Vocabulary orat—provincia.

Lesson 2:

  • Declension of servus with its forms and meanings (Grammar #34)
  • Vocabulary quiz
  • Vocabulary quiz
  • Declension of bellum with its forms and meanings (Grammar #37)
  • Conjugation of the word “to be” and its meanings.

At this point, I would make them write the cases from memory on the left of their paper as they write the forms and meanings.

Lesson 3:

Lesson 3 is a massive lesson. At this point, you would want to figure out how many words your child can memorize for each day and divide the vocabulary up. You may also continue Lesson 3 memorization into the next week (a much smaller lesson).

  • Declension of lex (3rd declension m/f declension)
  • Declension of pars (3rd declension I stem noun)
  • Declension of flumen (3rd declension neuter)
  • Gender rules (SOX, ERROR, LANCET)

Lesson 4:

  • Declension of portus (Grammar #65)
  • Vocabulary quiz
  • Quiz on review material—This is so you can make sure they are retaining what they have already memorized. Don’t tell them what you are picking until the quiz! Again, make sure it is something easily produced and easily graded for your sake.

Lesson 5:

  • Declension of res (Grammar #69)
  • Vocabulary quiz

Notice that the Henle book gives ideas for memory quizzes. Anywhere it says ASSIGNMENT is usually something that should be memorized.

This is also not just for Latin I. The later Latin books have vocabulary to memorize as well. You can look up the most frequently used vocabulary for each author your student works on. Another thing that even I need to review frequently is all the Q words in Latin! You could also cycle through old grammar quizzes and make sure they have the grammar still in their brains.

Again, this is to help your student in their memory work. Success in Latin depends on how well they internalize and later understand the memory work. It does not behoove them to get to translate authentic Latin (Caesar, Cicero, Vergil) and to not know what dedit means. Imagine not having those simple things memorized? It would be like learning to read and then having to look up every word in the dictionary. I hope that you celebrate the daily quiz in your homeschool and I hope that it blesses your Latin study!


CATEGORIES: Articles, Classical Christian Education, Dialectic Stage (ages 12 to 14), Rhetoric Stage (ages 14 to 18)

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