My older children have been exposed to Classical education with favorable results. My 11 year old however is quite different. She's a doer, a mover and a Charlotte Mason girl at heart. When I was given a chance to review Memoria Press Curriculum for her grade range I was a bit hesitant. BUT, after looking at the stories - especially those in Famous Men of Rome, I thought they were very interesting. I was also agreeable to take the chance that my daughter would too.
Founded in 1994, Memoria Press is a family-run publishing company that produces simple and easy-to-use classical Christian educational materials.
What is a Classical Education?
Famous Men of Rome contains a years worth of lessons broken down into 30 stories, 5 review lessons and corresponding tests covering the rise and fall of Rome. Along with the beautifully illustrated reader there's an accompanying workbook and teacher guide. Knowing that my daughter is not a fan of workbooks, I was overjoyed to see short exercises with enough variety between lessons so as not to cause a "curriculum revolt".
Each individual lesson is broken down into "Facts to Know", "Vocabulary", "Comprehension Questions" and "Activities". Activities include timelines, mapwork, writing stories, discussion, drawing and more.
Our experience with Famous Men of Rome
Just as I thought, my daughter wasn't thrilled when she saw the workbook. I however had a plan!
On day one of a new lesson, I read the story aloud to her. I knew this would be ideal to "hook" her interest, help her focus on the complete setting of the story and greatly improve her pronunciation of the ancient people and places. (This would provide vital when it was her turn to read that week's story over on her own on day three.)
Then we went over "Facts to Know". After this initial reading drew her into the historical account, she was more than willing to work in the student guide. I was amazed at the information she learned, remembered, and retained!
The next day, she conquered the vocabulary on her own. On day three she re-read the story and answered the comprehension questions. Finally on days 4 and 5 she went over the activities by taking her time and following any "rabbit trails" that popped up.
So far we've enjoyed learning about Romulus and Remus and the founding of Rome, the peaceful and wise King Nuna, the victorious Horatius, the popular and inventive Tarquin and the very clever Junius Brutus who comes to a tragic end.
Final thoughts about Famous Men of Rome
If you are pondering over curriculum for next year or wanting to add Classical studies to your homeschool (but don't have much experience), I encourage you to check into the Famous Men series from Memoria Press. With all the makings of a modern day soap opera with action, action, action, I personally would say this study is best used for older kids in the recommended 4-8th grade range.
Check out what other crew members are saying about Famous Men of Rome, Latina Christiana I, Book of Ancient Romans all from Memoria Press!
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