I have talked several times about our families approach to homeschooling. We are super eclectic not only in the things that we use, but also in our style. In a lot of ways we are very delight directed and kind of "unschoolish" but in other ways I kind of "introduce" things to my kids that they may never choose to learn about but I think are important. For example, when John Allen, our oldest, first started homeschooling in fourth grade, we studied Latin. I felt that it would be a good thing to learn not only to help him with his own English language but also, since Latin is the basis for a lot of languages, it would be a good start in learning a foreign language. One thing that I never thought that I would introduce to my children was Greek mythology. It was never something that I learned and I really didn't have much of an interest in it. Well, as God often does, he put Greek mythology right smack dab in the middle of our homeschooling through the Schoolhouse Review Crew. We were chosen to review D'Aulaires' Greek Myths using the curriculum developed by Memoria Press.
We were familiar with Memoria Press because that is what we used when John Allen studied Latin, and we also reviewed a great Geography curriculum by Memoria that Joshua absolutely loves. And, of course, the excellent reading guides that we reviewed earlier this year. So, I knew that it would be great material, I just wasn't convinced that the Greek Myth part of it would be something that the boys would actually enjoy. However, to my great surprise, they are actually enjoying it. When I mentioned to Joshua that I was writing the review he quickly asked "We aren't done with the book are we?" No, we are far from done, but we did get through a good portion of it during the review period and both boys give it two thumbs up.
Here's what we received and reviewed:
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths - I had no idea how complicated and intertwining the stories of the Greek god's could be, however, D'Aulaires did a good job in trying to explain everything in a way that my boys, and even I, could understand. This huge, colorful, 192 page book begins with a couple of short stories on how the earth began and then is divided into three sections - ZEUS and his family; MINOR GODS, Nymphs, Satyrs and Centaurs; and MORTAL DESCENDENTS OF ZEUS. Each story is short - basically only 2-4 pages long - and is divided by pictures. In fact, probably half of the book is colorful pictures that depict what is going on in the story. Pictures really help a lot in this because sometimes the gods and other creatures are so unusually that it is hard to picture what they look like by just reading the description. Really, you could learn a lot about Greek myths just by reading this book, but the Student Guide and Teacher Guide really help to make things clear and make the stories applicable to everyday life.
D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Student Guide by Cheryl Lowe and Leigh Lowe - As I mentioned above, this book and the accompanying Teacher Guide really pulls everything together. They divide D'Aulares' Book of Greek Myths into 25 bite sized lessons. After reading the short section from the book, there are four sections to be completed in the student book.
- Facts to Know - This section contains several facts, usually around 10 or 11 that are very important that the student remember from the story. Important people, places, or things are briefly defined and are to be reviewed throughout the year. These are things that the authors suggest should be drilled so much that the student can recite them with ease at the end of the year.
- Vocabulary - As with any classical work, there are bound to be words and phrases that a student finds difficult. Especially 3-6 grade students, for whom this book is written, might find a few words challenging. Each word is used in a short phrase and the student is to look the word up and give a brief definition.
- Comprehension Questions - The comprehension questions are easy short answer questions that come straight from the story. The students answer them to make sure that they understand what they are reading.
- Activities - I probably liked this section the most. This is where we got into some interesting discussions. Remember me mentioning that the book was probably at least half pictures? Well, part of the activity section has us going back to look at the pictures to identify certain key things and characters from the story. They also ask some great discussion questions about the story and often ask the student to further define things found in the story. Finally, there are several lists at the end of the book such as "heroes hidden in youth" or "sisters" that the student is asked to add too as they are mentioned in the reading selections.
- Review Lessons - After every five lesson there is a review lesson where the student reviews the things learned in each lesson through "fill in the blank from a word bank" questions, multiple choice, and other easy methods.
D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Teachers Guide by Cheryl Lowe - Never fear! This book has good advice on how to use all of the material and has the answers to all of the questions in the student book. It also has questions for an exam to be given after every five lessons and also a final exam.
Flash Cards - Do you remember those important facts that were supposed to be reviewed each year? Well, the Greek Myths set includes handy-dandy flash cards that can use to review them!
We are super excited that we were chosen to review D'Aulaires' Greek Myths from Memoria Press. Because I was using it with both Joshua, who is an above level reader but has some problems with comprehension, and Jacob, who has a difficult time with reading but has excellent comprehension, I chose to use this book as a read aloud and we did the questions from the student book together. It worked out well for us and the boys (and I) have learned a lot.
To find out more about D'Aulaires' Greek Myths and Memoria Press just click on any of the highlighted links above. To find what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about this product and other products from Memoria Press just click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!