Latin Hack 1: Charts


My kids do great with vocabulary, but they have a hard time USING Latin rules. Over time, we’ve changed translating into a more concrete decoder-ring type experience.

We still learn the rules and how to find verb stems, but we don’t really USE that to conjugate.

First, we learn the “-ere Chart”:

  • Every verb has 3 parts:  what, when, who.
  • It’s backward from how we talk.

He was eating.

In Latin = Eating was he.

Using the chart: Ed + eba + t. Edebat.

Finding the Right Ending

If there’s a subject, you’re going to have to find the pronoun for the ending:

Shepherd was eating.

Pastor ed + eba + __

“So, kiddo.  You have “eating” and “was,” but what’s a shepherd?  I, you, he/she/it, we, ya’ll or they?”

“Yes, shepherd is a he/she/it, so use a t.”

Next Comes the “-ire Chart”

Once the child gets to 4th conjugation, we add a second chart. We call it the -ire chart.

There’s not much to add, so here’s what’s on the bottom of the charts if the kids forget which are the weirdos.


Then, we get the “-is Chart”

My kids have a HARD time with grammar analysis, even up until 8GRD, apparently. The chart below avoids the case names, though we still memorize them. Again, we just don’t USE them to make decisions early. We do, however, use the Easy Grammar marking system for sentences. I give my 5GRD Beginning Latin students Easy Grammar 3.  We don’t need much beyond subject, verb, preposition, direct object.


  • (Checkmark) We nominate someone to be #1 so they’ll DO or BE something.
  • ($) Owners own things; they’re possessive.
  • (gift) People give their DATE a present.
  • (pointing finger) I accuse -EM directly.
  • (abs) The abs have an “e” belly button.


When the kids go to do their work or take a test, they quickly write them out from memory.