Friday, April 24, 2009

Calling All Classical Homeschoolers!

Calling all classical homeschoolers! If you’re looking for a painless way to integrate the pillars of classical education—Latin, logic, and rhetoric—into your homeschool, look no further than Memoria Press. No Latin background? No problem! First Form Latin is a unique, non-threatening introduction to Latin. Traditional Logic I will ease middle school students into the logic years smoothly. Tenth through twelfth graders need to learn to tie everything together and how to present themselves and their ideals clearly, whether writing or speaking. Classical Rhetoric will help them prepare to write essays and give speeches that are college-worthy.

First Form Latin (geared towards students fifth grade and up) is a brand new, revolutionary Latin program. It teaches the grammar of Latin systematically, not topically. This helps the student understand and retain the information better, and really makes more sense. Copious, but not onerous, exercises guarantee mastery. My favorite feature is the Teacher’s Guide, which is in a binder for easy access to the clear, step-by-step lesson plans, drill sheets (reproducible), vocabulary drill sheets (also reproducible), and all the answer keys. Creative ideas make light work out of the drudgery of necessary repetitiveness. The Teacher’s Guide also helps with general lesson planning and additional information to help you understand the language better. The student textbook and workbook are separate so the textbook can be open for easy reference while the student completes the workbook exercises. Students will learn well-known and some more obscure Latin sayings and the stories behind them. Proper pronunciation and inflection are taught from the very beginning. I have never seen another more thorough, easy-to-understand, beginning Latin program—and I’ve used three or four others.

Traditional Logic 1 is much easier to understand and more user-friendly than other logic texts I have seen. My ninth grader could easily grasp the concepts without watching the DVD lessons, but she thought that younger students would appreciate being led through the lessons by a teacher. Here is your introduction to formal logic and better test scores. This is the way to help your students learn to think for themselves. The textbook is written to the students for independent learning, has many clear examples and nifty diagrams, and written exercises to reinforce the concepts. The student book, answer key, and DVD set is $68.95 (also available separately).

Classical Rhetoric (student book, $39.95 and answer key, $4.95) is a “guided tour through the first part of the greatest single book on communication ever written.” You’ve taught your children what they need to know (the grammar stage); you’ve taught them to think logically and critically through various worldviews (the logic stage); now it’s time to teach them how to communicate their beliefs clearly and concisely. It’s time to teach them rhetoric. While I feel comfortable writing myself, I didn’t feel comfortable teaching rhetoric. Memoria Press to the rescue! The textbook is written to the students on their level with many concrete examples to help them internalize the ideas. Don’t worry, the answer key will help you make sure your students stay on track even if you aren’t familiar with rhetoric. The main text is The Rhetoric and Poetics of Aristotle ($13.75). How to Read a Book ($15) is one of the recommended books. It’s an organized, systematic method of the art of reading, understanding, and retaining books. You can see from the text exactly how to use the examples. It’s so good that I’m making my daughter go through it two years in a row! Your children will be well-prepared to read and study college textbooks after learning from this book! Another recommended book is Figures of Speech ($16). It is full of clever witticisms and well-known examples from classic literature—analyzed and integrated into the program.