Thursday, April 30, 2009
This school year I have had a crash course in Classical Education. There are some ideas I freely embrace, some I don't, and still some I just don't understand. However, I always feel as a homeschool mom to always be learning, always "perfecting," and changing to meet the needs of the individual student - which I call more eclectic.
I was introduced to Memoria Press a little over a month ago. On their website they have many great articles on the classical method of education. To visit this list click here. There are many articles there to get a taste or a full course meal, depending on what you are looking for.
Memoria Press puts out some great history products. They have reprinted the Famous Men series by John Haaren and A.B. Poland. They have occasionally clarified pronunciations and added beautiful color pictures. Otherwise they are the same as the originals. I was very impressed with the colored pictures. Many are full page and double spread pages. My only disappointment was that they don't have a hard cover. This might be because this would significantly increase the cost.
The Famous Men series is biographical stories of different people during the time period covered. These give young children a foundation in world history before going on to a more thorough study in high school. You could complete one or two guides a year depending on how fast you want to study, and how in depth you want to go, maybe supplementing with other real books. From my perspective, I felt that the books were better understood by second or third grade levels and up.
Also available to accompany the Famous Men series are student workbooks and teacher guides. The student workbooks contain lessons for each reading in the Famous Men series. They include: Facts to know, vocabulary, comprehension questions, timeline work, who said what worksheets, activities to accompany the lessons, drawing pages, tests, and map work. The teacher books are basically answer keys with some additional information and explanations, which I found helpful. The student books are more suited to middle school grades.
The Famous Men of Greece books combines myths (Greek allegory) with truth to tell the history and stories of ancient Greeks:"Apparently ancients did not think like we do, that things are natural facts and some things are untrue. The classical myths are allegories. The ancients saw these stories as true - not in the natural fact, but true in a different way." "An allegory is a story about real things told in terms of mythical persons and events. The meaning of an allegory is true, or intended to be true although the persons or events may not be factual." (From the Teacher guide book that accompanies Famous Men of Greece; page 11.) This explanation really helped me to better understand where the Greeks are coming from and how to explain it to my children. There is also an excellent article on: Why Study the Pagans? Click Here.
Some topics/ biographies covered in Famous Men of Greece:
The first half covers the myths:
The God's of Greece
Deucalion and the Flood
The adventures of Odysseus
Then the book goes onto a more biographical history of Greece:
Draco and Solon
Alexander the Great
The Fall of Greece
(and many more)
You can see a copy of the table of contents by Clicking HERE.
Famous Men of Modern Times is similar in lay out as the Famous Men of Greece except that the teacher guide contains copy work passages and writing prompts for the activity section, which I thought was a great addition to the program.
The Famous Men of Modern Times covers famous and not so famous people such as Columbus, Chevalier Bayard, Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Francis Drake, Galileo, Peter the Great, George Washington, Napoleon, and many more. My children did enjoy sitting and listening to these great stories. I do wish the stories had more "meat" in them, but overall were very good. The student guide helps the child to remember important dates and map the paths of the explorers to help cement this all in their memory and give a great foundation.
One of the great things about this series is the price. You can save 25% buy purchasing the complete set (teacher and student guides and Famous Men book) for only $39.95. To see all the Famous Men books available visit: Memoria Press by clicking here.
Memoria Press also offers Latin curriculum at several levels. We looked at the first level available: Prima Latina. This is for grades K-3, however they have to be reading before they can begin. Some say this level is optional and you can skip to the Latina Christiana program if you would like. All of their Latin books can be used and taught by the non-Latin teacher/parent.
Absolute essentials to the programs are:
The student book
The teacher manual
and the Pronunciation Guide, songs, and prayer CD
Optional, but highly recommended by me, the DVD's to accompany the program.
This program uses Christian Pronunciation.
You can do the program without the DVDs, however, they were such a blessing to me, I don't think I would want to do it without it. The DVDs contain the entire lesson taught by the author of the book. She makes it so much fun and is very encouraging to the student. She gives explanations that I just don't know.
Having done a few lessons, the lessons are appropriate for the young reading child. They are not overwhelming, learning just 5 new words each lesson. Grammar is gently integrated into the lessons, helping to understand grammar better. There is pronunciation practice, memory work, and writing practice to help build the Latin foundation. There is review built in and the program bridges the way into the next level: Latina Christiana.
If you are wondering why we should teach Latin. You can visit the article page listed above and read different reasons. One of the reasons is that most of our words are derived from the Latin language and helps build vocabulary. The one reason I appreciated the most was the fact that it helps the child learn critical thinking skills. You can read an article about how it helps build critical thinking skills in the PDF file: An Apologia For Latin Centered Classical Curriculum (Click Here.)
Memoria Press has other great products to supplement a great classical curriculum. You can visit their website to explore and learn more about their other great products.
Memoria Press Website - Click Here.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
First, you need to print out the deck of StoryBuilder cards. There are four types of cards: Character Cards, Character Trait Cards, Setting Cards, and Plot Cards. You have the option of printing out either colored cards on white card stock, or black and white cards on colored card stock paper. There are approximately 27 pages to print out to use this game. When this is done, you are really ready to go!
There are several variation of games you can play with these cards. You can decide for the child what they will write, roll a die, or even do a blind pick. You can vary the activity from day to day to keep interest. Then you have several game options. You can do it orally or have your child write their story on paper. You can even do a group game/project. You can then pick new cards throughout the exercise to help change the plot, setting, or whatever, to boost creativity.
Examples of Cards:
Character: astronaut; mad scientist
Character Trait: eccentric; flustered
Setting: desert; fishing boat
Plot: cannot move; finds a time machine
StoryBuilders is such a fun way for your children write, they won't realize they are learning. There are currently 4 of these available: World of People (where the examples come from above,) World of Sports, World of Animals, and StoryBuilders Christmas Mini Builder. You are almost guaranteed to laugh and have fun with this resource!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This work is written in journal form going from one topic to the next, without any clear connection to other chapters. The only underlying theme mentioned throughout are his thoughts and experiences with 9/11. In one chapter he shares about meeting the architect of the Freedom Towers. Included are a couple drawings / pictures of the proposed "Freedom Towers."
He does share some influences in his life, including his faith in Christ; new experiences, such as visiting colleges with his son; his experiences teaching troubled students and how art made a difference; he talks of his travels, his awards, and other life experiences that have shaped him.
According to Webster’s dictionary, "Refractions" are looking at something through a (art) medium. I guess you can say we get to see into the heart of Mr. Fujimura through his art, faith, and his writings.
This book has mostly colored pictures of his art and other photos, that embellish each chapter. This would make a great gift book, for your contemporary art loving friends.
Monday, April 20, 2009
In the first section of the book, Hanegraaff clearly states the history behind and the names of those “evangelist and “televangelist” in the faith doctrine movement and their heretical teachings. Many of these teachings have roots in “metaphysics.” The teachings date back to mid to late 1800’s. Like he says, some teachings are clearly silly, while others are out right wrong and attack the central teaching of Christ, often taking verses out of context or embellishing them. However he has been careful to state he is not attacking the sincerely held beliefs of the faith teachers’ followers, but the actual false teachings.
He continues through the parts 2 to 6 taking each heretical teaching, exposing the author and history, and then counters the teaching with biblical truth. Some examples of false teachings include: that we are made in the image of God, so we are little gods; having faith in faith and that God has faith; that Jesus went to hell to take our punishment in hell for us; that Christ was the first person born again; and the common prosperity teachings of “the health and wealth gospel.”
The last section of the book he takes us back to basics. Hanegraaff reminds us that when things are going wrong, we must return to our foundations. He brings us back around to the basic fundamental teachings of the bible to remind us of the truth. He reminds us to go back to the bible, read, study, memorize, and search the scriptures like the Bereans did. He gives us the foundational teachings of the diety of Christ, original sin, the resurrection, the Trinity and many more foundational teachings that all Christian should have unity in.
I had a difficult time reading this book because I know so many who are following those in the “faith movement.” I knew when watching these faith preachers on TV, I did not have peace in my spirit and could not watch them. Hanegraaff makes some strong statements in this book which will offend some. I am so glad that Hanegraaff has taken the time to expose these false teachings and teach the truth.
This book is somewhat long, and sometimes repetitious. I do feel it could have been done in a more organize manner, in less words. I would love to have seen a chart of some kind that lists the false teachings and who teaches what. However, I will give it 5 stars for the boldness to teach the truth that is so lacking.
I feel bad for all the people who are being deceived by the faith movement/doctrine teachings. Where are the others sounding the horn, exposing the truth? I highly recommend buying this book and sharing it with your friends. We, as Christians, must get back to the basics and expose the truth, in love.
Friday, April 10, 2009
To see the TOG DE interface: http://tapestryofgrace.com/de/sample/config/index.htm
To read more specifics about TOG DE version visit: http://www.tapestryofgrace.com/de/
Tapestry of Grace uses a 4 year cycle. This covers all human history over a 4 year period. The idea is that your child would cycle through the curriculum 3 times at a different level throughout his homeschool career. This helps keep the cost down and keeps your family all studying the same topic on their own level. You can also place your child by ability rather then grade level.
Lower Grammar: Non-fluent reader, Approximately grades K-3, Enjoys learning basic facts
Upper Grammar: Independent reader, Approximately grades 3-6, Enjoys memorizing concrete, sequential facts
Dialectic: Reads to learn, Approximately grades 6-9, Enjoys making connections and learning to debate
Rhetoric: Reads the Great Books, Approximately grades 9-12, Enjoys analyzing and synthesizing ideas and arguments
Tapestry Year 1 covers the history of the world from the Creation to the Fall of Rome in 450 AD.
Tapestry Year 2 covers the history of the world from the Fall of Rome in A.D. 450 to the signing of the US Constitution.
Tapestry Year 3 covers the history of the world during the 1800's.
Tapestry Year 4 covers the history of the world during the Twentieth Century and into the present.
Lapbooks :are great for your hands-on learner! Flaps, tabs, mini-books and so much more make a regular set of folders and paper burst with historical life. Geared toward lower levels.
There is a learning curve with this curriculum. You must spend time learning how to implement it. However the excellent teaching notes included in the curriculum make you an "expert" even if you can't keep up with your child's readings. After doing 3 to 4 weeks with this curriculum, I was sold on it. I knew I wanted my children to learn this way. I want them to have a strong grounded in their faith and why they believe. One of the goals of this curriculum is to discuss the events - good and bad - and what the biblical response is. I want my children to be able to learn why the believe what they do and not because their parents believe a certain way. We have always enjoyed learning through real books, but did not feel equipped to teach them unguided. I feel Tapestry of Grace will fill that need with our family.
Click map to see bigger picture...
Sunday, April 5, 2009
The first text book that we are reviewing is Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. You can see all sorts of samples, table of contents, course notebook and course flashcards here.
This book is generally considered a pre-requisite to the Zoology texts 2 & 3. This text covers classification of animals, in some detail, and the "dynamics" of flight. This text is meant for grades K to 6. However, my kindergartner and first grader were lost in the first chapter on classification. Although it got easier once we past that chapter. My third grade thoroughly enjoys the book and has gotten a lot out of it.
Like I said earlier, this text does have a curl up on the couch feel about it. The text (as are all Apologia books) feel like the author is talking directly to you. This book uses a "Charlotte Mason" type approach to learning. The activities in the book coincide with the (optional - not necessary to use the course) notebooking pages you can download at the website for free. You can build your notebook as you go through the book.
Since this is about "Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day" topics you would expect to cover are: Birds, bats, insects, and flying reptiles. This has a sturdy hard cover text, 14 modules, and 240 fully indexed pages. You would expect to complete the text in about a year.
Exploring Creation with General Science 2nd Edition, can be used for grades 7 through 9, depending on ability of the student. This is an overview of science to help prepare for future more in depth study of the sciences.
This text is similar to the above mentioned book, in that all lab supply list can be found in one place. In this book, it happens to be at the end of the book. There are 16 modules covering topics: history of science, scientific process, analyzing experiments, applied science, history of life (from a creation perspective,) geology, fossil record, life science, and several chapters on specific human body systems.
The text comes with a solutions manual and tests with answers to both.
My daughter was using an earlier edition of this text before we received this one. She enthusiastically switched over to the new edition which has updated pictures, and some new clarifications. For the chapters we compared, the questions were the same as the first edition.
My daughter (8th grade) is the none science type, but has found the text easy and fun to use. She has learned a lot about creation science and different theories, which has help cement her faith. My son also used the 1st edition of this curriculum and was able to give him a strong foundation in creation science. My son does admit this was not his favorite subject, because it was his first formal science class he had taken (when he was in 7th grade.) He thought the questions were challenging. However,this course helped cement his future learning in science by giving him an excellent foundation. He went on to do Physical Science, Biology and is completing Chemistry.
My daughter does happen to be doing a lap book along with hers. That may make it more fun. She says the material is easy to understand and follow along with. Some of the questions, she thinks, are more difficult then others, but overall has not had a problem completing the work. She has been able to do the science projects mostly independently, sometime getting help from her older brother.
There are some other options available for this class that were not reviewed. You can find out more and see samples, table of contents, etc. by clicking HERE!
Exploring Creation with Biology, 2nd Edition is recommended for around grade 9. There are no prerequisites for this course. This book also comes with the text and solution and test guide. Other options are available for the course (cd-rom, mp3, etc.)