Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Memoria Press: Classical Christian Education


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When Memoria Press told us we could select items to review, my children all came rushing to the computer to help me choose.  I knew we wanted to review the Famous Men Of Modern Times set since it fits right into our current history studies, but they had so many other great products to choose from I couldn't make up my mind.  My oldest girls were excited about First Start French: Book One, so we chose it, as well.  Then we anxiously waited for our package to ship, and arrive.

When the package arrived, everyone gathered around to see the books.  My oldest two ran off with the First Start French and I had to make them bring it back to me after awhile.  I sat down with Famous Men Of Modern Times and was immediately impressed with the full-color artwork included with each biography.  I don't mean recent artists' renderings, but famous classical paintings.

Famous Men of Modern Times

Famous Men of Modern Times
is a reprint of a classic book, first published in 1909.   It covers 33 famous men who were prominent in history between the years of 1449 and 1898.  Memoria Press has added beautiful artwork to the book, and the book itself is a large paperback that is a comfortable size to hold and read. 

Memoria Press has created excellent study guides to go along with the book.  The student guide is designed for the junior high student (6th - 8th grade).  It includes important facts to know about key people, quotes, vocabulary, comprehension questions, activities, and some map work.  The student guide also includes review lessons, a "who said that" worksheet, and a timeline.  The student guide can be used as a consumable workbook, or the answers could be written on separate paper, but it is not reproducible.

The teacher's guide isn't just a list of answers without the context of what was asked.  Instead, it is a copy of the student guide with the answers included.  The teacher's guide also includes copywork passages, writing prompts, tests, test answer keys, and a final exam of 100 drill questions.

Memoria Press'  Famous Men Of Modern Times set is a comprehensive study of modern history centered around the interesting stories of real people.   With 33 weeks' worth of work, it is a full-year's history curriculum for junior high.  It is a complete history curriculum that doesn't require any other resources or materials.  The Famous Men of Modern Times text could also be used as a supplement to another history curriculum. 

We enjoyed the Famous Men Of Modern Times set.  The text is beautiful, with its artwork, and the biographies it includes are interesting.  All of my children listened as I read the biographies from Famous Men Of Modern Times aloud.  When we discussed the comprehension questions, I was surprised at the facts that even the younger children retained.  The student and teacher's guides are very comprehensive and include more than enough activities to help your student learn and remember the people and events in history.  Since the text is written in the form of biographies, it enables our students to have a memory peg to organize the historical events around.  Famous Men Of Modern Times is not a traditional textbook -- it's much better!

First Start French, Book One

First Start French, Book One is a French curriculum written for the 3rd - 8th grade student.  It provides an introduction to the French language.  The set includes the student text, teacher's guide, and a CD that enables the teacher and student to hear the proper pronunciation of words.  The student text and the teacher's guide are both quality full-size paperback books. 

The textbook is broken down into 36 weekly lessons, and the teacher's guide begins with suggestions for breaking each lesson down into 4 sessions per week.  Six of the lessons are review lessons, and the other 30 lessons introduce the student to French vocabulary, grammar, songs, and conversation. 

The teacher's guide is non-consumable and reusable.  The student guide can be used as a consumable workbook, or the answers could be recorded in a notebook to make the student guide re-usable.  Neither book is reproducible, however. You can view samples at the Memoria Press website.

I love the straight-forward approach of First Start French.  It is easy to use, for the teacher and the student.  The accompanying CD is recorded by a native French-speaker.  The accent is wonderful to hear, however we found it very quiet and had to turn our volume up very loud to hear it well.

My girls have enjoyed adding French phrases to their conversation and can be heard singing "Bon Matin" throughout the day.  It worked well to have both my older girls working on First Start French at the same time, for encouragement and carmaraderie. 

The ElCloud Point Of View

Although we have thoroughly enjoyed Famous Men Of Modern Times we will not be using it as written.  Since we already use another history-centered curriculum, we will use Famous Men of Modern Times as a supplement, but not as our main history curriculum. 

First Start French: Book One states that it is designed for 3rd - 8th graders, but it can also be used in high school.  Together,  First Start French: Book One and First Start French: Book Two equal one high school credit of French.  We enjoyed using First Start French and will be saving it for high school use in our home.

Final Details

The Famous Men Of Modern Times set is sold for $39.95 on the Memoria Press website.  You can also buy the text individually for $16.95, and the teacher's guide or additional student guides for $17.95 each.  

First Start French: Book One is also sold as a set for $39.95 at Memoria Press.  The teacher's guide can be bought separately for $17.50, as can the student guide book.  The Pronunciation CD is $4.95. 

I really feel that is a great price for both of these curriculums, and I'm glad we were introduced to Memoria Press and all their great products! 

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Trusting in Him,

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