Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Memoria Press: Famous Men of Rome

Memoria Press publishes materials for the Classical homeschooler. They stress "training in the liberal arts" and "familiarity with the great books and the great thinkers of the Western tradition". Their products remind me of curricula that would be used in a highly academic private school setting and include Latin, Logic, French, Classical Studies, Christian Studies, Copybooks, and New American Cursive. They also have a new online academy.

Their Classical studies include the Famous Men series- Famous Men of Rome, Famous Men of Greece, Famous Men of the Middle Ages and Famous Men of the Modern Times. I received a copy of the Famous Men of Rome book, as well as the Teacher and Student Guides. These are all over sized soft covers and are attractive and appealing from first glance.

The history text itself is made with high quality paper and contains full color illustrations throughout. As the title implies, it is full of short chapters about famous men of Ancient Rome. These are written in a more engaging manner than a typical textbook, with the hope that the stories will be enjoyed as the history is learned. There are thirty men covered, ranging from Romulus to Julius Caesar to Constantine the Great. Along with the beautiful illustrations, there are also maps and a glossary of people and places.

The Teacher and Student Guides turn the Famous Men book into a year long workbook course. The Student Guide contains sections on Facts to Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, and Activities. There is also an Appendix with maps, a timeline, pronunciation guides, etc. The Teacher's guide replicates the Student Guide, but with answers provided. I can't seem to find a grade level listed anywhere, other than a simple mention of elementary schools in the preface of the Famous Men book. I would suggest the guides for Junior High through early High School, if I had to make the call personally. A highly Classical, academically focused homeschooler may choose to use these with upper elementary students. The text itself could be read aloud to elementary students and above.

I was familiar with the text itself, having used it along with Greenleaf Guides many years ago. The Memoria Press version has added the full color illustrations and the maps and glossary, which does make it much more inviting. I read aloud the stories and we enjoyed them. As a relaxed homeschooler, I don't see myself using the workbook but know many Classically minded home educators who would find it useful. All in all, it's a good product although not one that fits our family's education style.

Famous Men of Rome is available for $16.95. The Student and Teacher's Guides sell for $17.95 a piece or you can purchase the set for $39.95.

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