Friday, November 1

Famous Men of Rome {Review}

Rome is considered the "model civilization" and its study is not only exciting, but gives students a better understanding of modern political history and prepares them for later study of great books, which often refer to this time period...  

My boys love studying ancient history, so when we were given the opportunity to check out Memoria Press’ Famous Men of Rome, they got very excited!!  This is the first curriculum that has truly earned the Gypsy Kid Seal of Approval…so much so that we went ahead and got the other three sets in this series.

The Famous Men of Rome Set is meant to be a year-long course.  It comes with a text, Student Guide and Teacher Guide. Most of the stories range from just a couple of pages of text to 5-6 pages. Throughout the book are gorgeous color pictures.  Memoria Press commissioned 30 oil paintings of the significant events in the Famous Men of Rome to be included in this updated text. The text can be used either as a stand-alone for pure reading enjoyment or with the workbook.

Each lesson begins with a section of "Facts to Know," where the authors have selected key people, places, and things well suited to memorization. Each name or term in the list is paired with a few words of explanation. The authors suggest using the terms and definitions for copywork. 

"Vocabulary," the next section, identifies new and challenging words - including Latin words and words with special historical relevance to the study of Roman history - to be found in the reading. The words are given within their context. (That is, the word appears in bold type within a fragment of a sentence, showing how the word is used in the reading text.) A blank line follows where a student may write a synonym or two, a brief definition, or copy the word. 

"Comprehension Questions" comes next, highlighting the most important parts of the story covered in the lesson. Generous blanks are provided in the workbook. The questions provide for some written work, but for a younger student who struggles with writing, answering the questions orally would serve just as well.

"Activities," the final section in each lesson, provides enrichment and further context. Here you will find map and timeline work, discussion and research questions, drawing and writing prompts, memorization, and suggestions for extra credit. Drawing pages, maps, a timeline, a pronunciation guide, and more are all included in the student guide, making this workbook self-contained. The teacher doesn't have to make copies as a part of lesson preparation! 

The “Appendix” consists of a European Geography supplement (a map of modern-day Europe plus a page listing countries and their capitals, as well as European islands and seas), a "Who Said That?" worksheet listing famous quotes from Roman history, a timeline of Roman history, maps (Ancient Italia, the Roman Empire, Ancient Rome, modern Europe), excerpts from Horatius at the Bridge, an essay on the influence of Rome in America, and a pronunciation guide (standard English pronunciation of Latin names found in the readings). 

Our Experience 
We rushed through the first few lessons, getting a feel for the curriculum, but the kids quickly decided that it was worth slowing down and “savoring.”  What we found was that the amount of writing required was not overwhelming – it was quite manageable.

I had the oldest read the passage aloud each day, and then we discussed the vocabulary and comprehension questions.  We used the activity section as a writing assignment, and studied the maps together.  Primarily, though, this was used by the oldest and he LOVED it.  He asked to do it first each day, and has already asked me to buy the other three books in the series.  When your child specifically requests a certain curriculum….of course you go for it!  He was even inspired to create his own comic strip...
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