Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Book of the Ancient Romans ~ A Crew Review

Memoria Press Review

Memoria Press is well known throughout most of the Homeschooling world as being a company that excels in Classical Education resources. Even if you do not consider yourself a classical educator, they have some great resources that work well with other teaching styles. Arlene and I have been reviewing The Book of the Ancient Romans Set this Spring. 

Memorial Press, Classical Education, Ancient Rome

The Book of the Ancient Romans was originally written by Dorothy Mills in the 1920’s. This story-style teaching of the history of early Roman culture can work well with any living-book or read-aloud style of teaching. The accompanying Student Guide written by Matthew Anderson gives an opportunity for students to easily record what they have learned. Each lesson covered in the reading has at least two pages of facts, vocabulary words, and comprehension questions to answer. While not every student thrives on a workbook/ worksheet approach, each section in the Student Guide also has activities to complete. If your student is more of a hands-on type than a write-it-all down type then you will both appreciate these activities. Most, but not all, of the activities involve map skills - reading or drawing, and timeline building.

Arlene will be the first to admit that she would rather give her answers orally than write them down. Since Spring always ends up being busier than planned around here, it was helpful to me for her to have a place to write down what she had learned that I could read through at my own convenience. The Teacher’s Guide includes all of the written answers for you, in case you need to be assigning a grade to your student’s work and don’t have time to read the book yourself. It does not, however, have suggestions for the mapping or timeline activities, so you should sit down with your student and have them explain those parts of their assignments to you.

In the Student Guide, at the end of each of the five sections, there is a two page review section that helps your student get ready to take the exams found in the Teacher Guide. Since Arlene had already taken a course in Ancient History that included a section on Rome, I decided to let her skip the tests. The Teacher Guide also has a Final Exam available. 

The five parts of the Book of the Ancient Romans include four sections on the beginning, growth, and rise of the Roman Empire. The fifth section talks about the decline and fall of Rome.

Since we follow more of a Charlotte Mason approach than a Classical one, we often skip written tests and have the girls present what they have learned orally. I don’t want Arlene to score low in a class simply because writing is difficult for her. This course for 6th grade and up from Memoria Press lends itself well to adaptation for your teaching style. It requires little teacher input to work well, and since all these books in the set are paperback, the cost for all three is only $39.95. I would recommend this for 6th-8th grade without the tests, and to use the tests either written or orally for those students in grades 9 and up. The review lessons in the student book provide the vocabulary words and their correct spelling, but you might want to consider allowing your student an index card full of difficult to spell names and terms for the exams. Unless you’ve been studying Latin and Roan history for a while with your students, they may have trouble remembering how to spell words like: Visigoths, Praetorian, Tiberius Gracchus, and reconnoitre.

Arlene’s favorite parts of this course were reading the story, and the timeline and mapping activities. I appreciate the story approach to the text, as I was often bored reading my history textbooks that were assembled by committee. This story approach tells the same facts in a much more interesting format. Drawing a map, or learning to label places on one are valuable skills. 

As far as the timeline goes, The Book of the Ancient Romans does not come with one inside, so it is up to you to decide how you want your student to prepare theirs. A couple years ago we had reviewed the Timeline Builder App from KnowledgeQuest. Arlene remembered it was still on our iPad and asked to use it for her timeline. This app works well because it is easily edited as more and more items are added to the timeline… no running out of page space worries here! It also has the feature of allowing you to choose which photo to assign to each event. Arlene can choose to use one of her own photos, or go looking for images to use for each event she adds.

An average day included Arlene reading from the Text, then answering questions in the Student Guide. Some sections to read are as short as two pages, while others are more than 10 pages. This leads to a varying amount of time necessary for each assignment. You should look through the Student Guide before your child begins this course and decide if you would rather have then finish each assignment in a day, or work a specific length of time and have some lessons take more than one day. Certain sections may lead to additional questions about a specific person or event. If your student is getting excited about learning more, perhaps you can set aside one day each week for deeper research or to find an biography to read.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew has been reviewing three different curriculums from Memoria Press this time around. I encourage you to click on the banner below and read all the reviews!

Memoria Press Review

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