There is a lot of buzz around the homeschool community regarding Classical Education. I’ve asked quite a few of my friends – “What IS Classical Education?”, they just smile, and mumble a bit, and then say something like – we read classical books. It seems, that it is hard to put in to words.
Let me introduce you to Memoria Press – They have not only put it into words – but they have been putting it into practice since 1994, founded by Cheryl Lowe to “help promote and transmit the classical heritage of the Christian West through an emphasis on liberal arts and the great works of the Western tradition.” As per their About Us page – their philosophy can “best be described as classical Christian education – Classical Christian education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue through mediation on the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. This is accomplished in two ways: first, through training in the liberal arts; and secondly, through a familiarity with the great books and great thinkers of the Western tradition.” Their page goes on to explain the how, and their site is set up to provide many if not all of the tools for a successful classical education in the home, co-op or private school. This is evidenced by subjects which include Latin, Greek, Logic and Rhetoric, Classical Studies, Christian Studies, Primary Ed. K-6 Curriculum Packages, Literature Guides, Writing, American/Modern, French, Resource Books and an Online Academy.
I was privileged to be offered their First Form Latin plus DVDs & Flashcards, valued at $115.00 which included a Teacher Manual, Student Text, Student Workbook, Quizzes and Tests, Pronunciation CD plus Flashcards and DVDs. First Form Latin is an introduction to Christian Latin, intended for Grades 5 and up, or for those who have completed Latina Christiana 1. After reviewing the materials and completing two lessons – if you intend to use this in the home, as a student led course, I would recommend this product for an older child, 10th-12th, after they have a firm grasp on grammar, have a quick memory, and are able to pull many books, workbooks and objects together. Although there is quite a few materials, training pages, and answers for the teacher, for my two boys, I would think that the presentation of this material would be better suited to a class or group setting. According to Memoria Press, “Completion of First Form Latin is equivalent to one year of high school foreign language.” They offer First, Second and Third form Latin – which is different than other companies I have looked into – many of them stop with one year. If this product really works for your child or group – there are proven steps to continue with learning.
Here is what we received:
We started with Lesson Seven since we worked on Latin a bit last year and have been doing 3 lessons a week for the last two months.
The teacher’s guide is amazingly helpful- there shouldn’t be any question by the adult as to what needs to happen. Class Preparation is defined. If you have been charged with leading a Latin Co-op or Private School class – you should be able to jump in and lead with these materials within an hour of reading. Several more hours of reading are available along with addresses, email address and phone numbers for help.
I appreciated the written answer sheets in a separate spiral notebook – it would REALLY come in handy in a class when a child has a question. The worksheets are all pulled out and in order, simple to find. No need to go online, browse a site, search for the answer key and print anything – they come with the set. Awesome.
There is a very nice small reading guide for the videos. The recitation is in bold at the top. The kiddos stand up and do their recitations. So when the video teacher is moving along quickly, these are not quite from memory, students would be holding their books shown below.
After going through Lesson Seven, I realized that the style and direction of these lessons are different than our current program. It would not be a program to jump into the middle of. So I started back through with Lesson 1. Lesson 7? A bit overwhelming, I felt lost. Lesson 1? Very simple, introducing the how’s and why’s of the lesson. 1st, 2nd, 3rd person is not quite defined, it is assumed that the listener has advanced as far in Grammar lessons, along with Singular and Plural. Each word is immediately used in the six tenses of the word, without really putting it into a sentence. Not an immersion course through the teacher speaking, but rather a word introductory course.
The teacher quickly says and asks the students to recite the above words, while reading them in their books below.
Vocabulary cards are available, numbered by Lesson Number on the back, for the words introduced at the end of the lesson in the workbook.
For Petra School – I am glad to know of Memoria Press, and I think they have a wealth of information and an intense assortment of resources to help those who are pursing a Classical Education. Please know that we are in our second year of transitioning from a unit studying delight directed unschooling style, to an eclectic relaxed trying to be Charlotte Mason – to this year full forced notebooking Charlotte Mason. I see the completeness of this course, and the value of having a Language course that would fulfill the one year language requirements of schools. I am 100% committed to using Latin as a way to introduce language and vocabulary to the boys. This course for me, for a single family, seems to be a bit overwhelming – but if you are already 8 years into a classical education – it would fit your family differently. We will definitely keep it on hand, and re-introduce this course in the future, as the boys have a stronger grasp on Latin. Both of them listened in and out of Lesson 7, and sat through Lesson 1, and said, not right now mom. For you? Memoria Press has an amazing 60 Day Guarantee for their products, if the items are returned in condition to resell. Their return policy page even comes with an address, phone number and email address. Sounds like a Win Win situation!! Come over and see what other crew members have to say! The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog! – Memoria First Form Latin Reviews
I received these products for free in exchange for using them in my home and writing to tell you about that experience. I am thankful to be a part of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Review Crew!!!