Embracing a Healthy Family: classical education
Showing posts with label classical education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classical education. Show all posts

Our Review of Memoria Press' The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic & 200 Questions About American History Set

This post contains links as I am an affiliate with Memoria Press. Any purchases through a link may result in a small commission.

American history is really a critical subject to teach in our school systems. I remember that it was barely covered when I went to school and because of that and my love for history, I ensure my children obtain the best when it comes to a good comprehensive curriculum. I was pleased to have had the chance to review Memoria Press 
and The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set & 200 Questions About American History Set for grades 5-8. In case you might wonder why this set is appealing, it's because it combines H.A. Guerber's two-volume American history set from the turn of the 20th century. With additional heavy editing by Memoria Press, it provides a new set of lessons into the events that were so significant to history up until that time. H.A. Guerber (1859-1929) was a British historian and her two-volume set included lessons in patriotism, truthfulness, courage, patience, honesty, and more.

Memoria Press did a fantastic job combining the two works and with their additional editing, created a set that provoked an interest and an awareness that is much needed by youth. Memoria Press also made it easier to read and conscious of specific terms and words from a more sensitive politically correct culture. I was able to look at the original and I think it would have been hard for children to read and understand given it was penned in the late 1800's. Now for the details!


The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set is a three-book set:

  • The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic Text
  • The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic Student Guide
  • The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic Teacher Guide

The Teacher Guide's table of content lists the 32 lessons, an appendix and tests. It immediately jumps into the lessons and the lessons consists of five sections: Facts to Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions and a section on Enrichment.

The Appendix includes great resources from maps to a letter from George Washington to the Emancipation Proclamation and much more.

The Student Guide is similar to the Teacher Guide minus all the answers.

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic text contains a preface explaining the content and source. It's intended to be a historical reader for the elementary level either as a supplement or the source for introductory history starting with Columbus all the way to the Spanish American War.

There is a Hints for Teacher section that is invaluable as this is the guide to help in knowing how to teach the lessons with helpful tips in helping children to remember what they learned. Ranging from spelling bee type activities to utilizing flash cards as well as reading to the children first and having them recite certain passages back, are all exampled provided. The text (book) is not just a reader as it provides ways to incorporate subjects such as poetry, geography, and more.

My younger one becomes a little jealous I think when she doesn't get to participate in a review. Here she is reviewing the book as my other daughter begins her work.


We gathered both sets to start and focused first on The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic set. I'm going to use Lesson 7 for my examples and will begin with the text (book). The pages contain black and white illustrations ranging from important people, historical scene reenactments to maps. Each chapter ranges from two to three pages and each lesson contains the work from two or three chapters making each lesson manageable for completion during a week's time.

I first read the required pages to my daughter and then had her re-read the same pages. Each lesson is short but provides a lot of information. Below is the sample page from the text for Lesson 7:

As noted above, each lesson begins with a Facts to Know section of key persons and places. It's a nice summary of what they just read. The next section, Vocabulary, provides a lesson in spelling and the use of a dictionary as well as penmanship. The next section, Comprehension Questions, provides the students with an opportunity to fully express what they learned and if they understood what they read. It's a great opportunity for them to utilize their writing skills since each question requires the student to respond in their voice versus just copying an answer. Finally, the section titled Enrichment provides further instruction in various areas. For Lesson 7, the areas covered include maps, charting, timeline and a composition that has the student imagine they were given a land grant to create a new colony and what type of laws they would create, what type of government they would form, and a chance to describe their settlement and location. 

Below is the sample page of the questions provided for the lesson as well as the answers from my daughter. 

The Teacher Guide provides the same information as the Student Guide but includes the answers making it easy to check the student's work. All books are not large in size making it easy to tote anywhere you go if you are like us and are always on the go. 

Here is an example of Test One:

As the curriculum moves forward, it looks just as interesting and comprehensive as the earlier lessons. I wanted to share Lesson 29 as it covers the Civil War which I've found myself increasingly interested in it and so will my children as they tend to like most everything I do. One of the Enrichment lessons include drawing the route of Sherman's "march to the sea." I found this one interesting to share mostly because I just finished a documentary discussing his march.

The next set in our review is the 200 QUESTIONS ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY SET.

The 200 Questions About American History Set, grades 5-8, is a supplement to Guerber's The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic. As the title states, it contains 200 questions that contain information from the text. The questions are derived from Guerber's book and also from the Story of the World Volume IV.

The card set also includes the 200 Questions About American History Student Guide and 200 Questions About American History Teacher Guide. The Teacher Guide and Student Guide provides a section for Recommended Texts & Weekly Schedule to include teaching guidelines. I wanted to take it a step further and purchased the online Lesson Plan for this which was helpful in planning the lessons. It is not required as they do provide enough information to teach as noted in the photo below:

Within each of the Guides, are sections that include: 

  • Drill Questions - these include questions and answers from the 200 flash cards.
  • Timeline of American History is completed chronologically as the student progresses through the cards.
  • Notable Quotes are presented along with the chapter they are derived from if the student needs help identifying the notable person.
  • Presidents of the United States allows them to further their memory by listing all the of the first 45 presidents.
  • The words to the Star-Spangled Banner, Old Ironsides and O Captain! My Captain! are the last pages of the Student Guide and are contained in the Teacher Guide too.

The Teacher Guide includes the tests and answers. The tests are given at the following intervals:

  • Completion of Lesson 8
  • Completion of Lesson 16
  • Completion of Lesson 24
  • Completion of Lesson 32

The Student Guide provides the questions and references where the answers can be found if the student doesn't remember as noted below:


After reviewing The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History Set by Memoria Press, I recommend the curriculum. Memoria Press is consistent with the level of curriculum they offer and are very thorough. It's teaching in an easier, logical and practical form. To date with all the other products I have reviewed by Memoria Press, are top notch. I like how they integrate other subjects into the main subject. 

To sum it up, my daughter said:

"I really learned a lot from it and I really liked the short number of pages I had to read but they were informative."


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Check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine thought by clicking on the (photo) link below:

Classical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}

Latina Christiana: Complete Set by Memoria Press Review

I'm an advocate for learning Latin and the importance of all school children to learn it. I wished I had the opportunity and since I didn't, I couldn't wait to start and provide a review of Latina Christiana: Complete set by Memoria Press. I never think it's too late to learn and by taking the course with my children, I feel I provide them with further motivation in succeeding. One of the options Memoria Press provides is the option to purchase online instructional videos (streaming) instead of the DVDs. Some people have a preference in how they like to take courses. This is the second course I have had the opportunity to utilize with my children and I honestly can say that I think it's a terrific program. The course has a Teacher's Manual, a Student book, a pronunciation CD, an instructional CD, and a large set of flashcards. There are also Review Worksheets and lesson plans that can be purchased separately as well as a couple of downloads that I printed and used from Memoria Press' website:

  1. Classical Pronunciation Guide is for anyone that might be interested in learning how they might have talked in the late Republic. This program utilizes Christian pronunciation.
  2. Conjugations and Declensions - this one was a bit more difficult to teach as with any language, one learns new terms and meanings. Declensions organize nouns and conjugations organize verbs. With only five declensions and four conjugations to learn, it's not overly cumbersome. This is one area that I probably took a bit longer to understand with my student. I wanted to clearly understand as I've always heard how learning other languages are so difficult compared to the English language. Once I was positive that my student understood the declension cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and ablative, I proceeded with ensuring she understood 1st, 2nd and 3rd persons ability to be either singular or plural and the sixth tenses such as future, past, present, and so forth. 

In your account with Memoria Press under downloads, are also some printables such as Quizzes and Tests and Latina Christiana Reproducible Vocubulary & Grammar Drills. These were also helpful in ensuring they were retaining the knowledge they just learned from the DVD and worksheets in the Student Guide. Here is an example of two quizzes from Lessons 1 and 2:

Starting the Course:

To begin, the Teacher's Manual has a very thorough comprehensive beginning from Pronunciation Rules, Grammar Overview, Student Goals for First Year Latin, General Teaching Guidelines, Vocabulary Drill Sheets, and Grammar Drill Sheets such as this:

Next are the lessons that are also comprehensive and provide enough direction to start teaching your student(s). I highly recommend reviewing the Teacher's Manual a couple of times especially if you are new to Latin, along with the Student Book. Watching the video ahead of the lesson will also help to teach the course. Since I wanted to learn Latin as well, I found that the best way for me to provide them with instruction was to thoroughly understand the content first, although it's not a requirement as Memoria Press does an excellent job with providing a lesson plan point by point in the Manual. An example page follows and additional pages can be found by clicking this link: Latina Christiana: Complete set.  

My first student enjoyed the beginning so much that it prompted my other student to join in. Initially, I started this review with just one of my children and immediately had to purchase an additional Student Book so they both could learn together. 

Back to the Teacher's Manual, another aspect that I liked were the overlaid answers of each page from the Student's Book within each lesson. I didn't have to stop and ask to see one of their books rather everything was provided in the Manual. 

Instructional DVDs

  1. The video from the Instructional DVDs for Latina Christiana contained three discs averaging about 15 minutes per lesson so it's not too long for the students to lose focus. During times when my daughters might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, the lesson came to a conclusion which allowed me to press upon them that the lessons aren't long and are very manageable which quickly calmed them and gave them the motivation for the next day of instruction.
  2. The instructor, Jessica Watson, speaks in a manner in which you can understand and is pleasant. I think she does a great job trying to bring relevance to how Latin is like English so the students can understand the relationships better such as noun endings and how order is different between the two.
  3. The additional recitation and review really helps to reinforce what the students are learning and it helps to ensure everyone is pronouncing each word correctly. This was invaluable to me! 
  4. Vocabulary practice, illustrations and notes were also essential.


As I noted with the Pronunciation CD, repetition is the best way to learn for us so having convenient flashcards were ideal for furthering this teaching philosophy. They contain vocabulary with derivatives, Latin sayings and conjugations & declensions. 

Both girls don't mind practicing the flashcards since there are only a handful per week. My younger one noted how there were more after the first week but I walked her through how she already knows the meaning of some of them thanks to our English language using a lot of Latin roots already. She really loves to show me how well she retains the words right off from the start of week 1:

Pronunciation CD

This CD was also instrumental in teaching the course as it had complete verbal pronunciation for every lesson. For myself, I best learn through repetition and I do believe my girls are the same so this was key. The prayers and songs were a nice treat to hear!

Student Book

The Student Book contains lessons at the right length without bogging students down. It provides instruction that repeats previous words as well as looks ahead and requires the students to look for answers. I have them write out the different new words to help them reinforce it in a separate notebook. The video also provides a repeat practice of the previous words which also provides the reinforcement factor while building their vocabulary. We liked how it's set up and how it's easy to follow along each week. Each day after watching the video, I encourage them to relook at the work they completed in the Student Book to help retain the new information they are learning.

An example page follows and additional pages can be found by clicking this link: Latina Christiana: Complete set  

I was honestly quite pleased at how easy it was to get both girls interested in learning Latin and completely the lessons. 

Overall, even though some of the photos don't appear they are having a great time as it is education after all, they are enjoying the lessons. It's fun to watch them engage in the lessons and although sometimes a competitive nature hits my younger one and causes a bit of a rift, I think it still provides motivation to my middle one to keep pressing forward.  Last year, I reviewed the Memoria Press' First Form Latin Complete Set with one of my other children. I think the Latina Christina is a good starting place for my 11 year old and cannot wait to start with First Form Latin next year. Also, since beginning this course, I purchased a second Student Handbook and I also purchased a Latina Christiana Review Worksheets Set, Fourth Edition to further assist in our endeavors. The course in itself is very complete but I thought the additional review worksheets would be nice. From the instructional DVD to the Teacher's Guide, the Student's Guide, the flashcards and the Pronunciation CD, it's a very comprehensive learning experience that was put together to ensure success. Latina Christiana: Complete set by Memoria Press is a well rounded curriculum for teaching Latin and we highly recommend it. 

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Check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine thought about the Latina Christiana: Complete set by Memoria Press or one of the many others by clicking on the photo link below:

Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

Roman Roads Media Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder Review

Roman Roads Media Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder
Roman Roads Media has an online course titled Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder which is the subject of this review. Roman Roads Media provides parents and teachers with a classical curriculum choice for their student(s) in middle grades to adults. It is a self-paced program in which the student is expected to complete a lesson per week over 30 weeks.

  • Signing up was effortless to include enrolling my learners into the specific course I purchased or in this case, received to review. Each learner has their own login and there is a master account to track and adjust settings as needed. The master account holder can adjust the course from easy to normal depending on the skill level of the student.
  • The campaigns are sequential so a student cannot jump to another assignment without completing the preceding one. There are activities or games to reinforce what was learned.
  • Each word is presented and pronounced with extra information to put the word in correct context with an accompanied picture. The student can repeat the pronunciation as many times as needed to ensure he or she can pronounce it properly.
  • After so many words, a game follows that is more or less a quiz of recognition. There is an information button that allows the student a refresher of that word. If the student gets one wrong, he can review it and it will pop up again until the student can complete all them. It will not proceed until all are correct.
  • Scores will be listed on the Course screen and the student can repeat the lesson if he is not happy with the score.
  • Students can review completed lessons but incomplete lessons will remain locked. 
  • The online course is versatile and can be used on iOS, Android, PC or Mac.

The lesson screen shot example below shows how each word is presented in what my 15 year old student stated was in flash card format which she liked. Each screen allows the student to rehear the word and to see the definition:
After the short series of flash card type screens, a quiz follows to match the word with the picture. The pronunciation of the word accompanies each quiz question. My students, 15 and 11, both would have preferred longer time periods with the flash cards as well as smaller increments of words in between practice sessions. Luckily for them and myself, Roman Roads Media thought of everything and provides a training area to practice more. I can also track all progress and the grades received. 

There are 31 chapters in Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder to learn from and the parent/teacher can set the learning level based on the student's skill level. The various exercises helps the student learn each word from Learn, Choose, Spell, Forms and Test Forms. The hand drawn illustrations are simple which was the purpose to allow students to comprehend them faster.  I believe this is a great program for those who have a Latin background or for a student that can pick and up and run with memory based learning programs. It's easy to follow and we all liked the flashcard component of each lesson. The pronunciation and definitions provided a well rounded manner in which to learn each word. I had to contact customer service once due to user error and they were fantastic in the speed in which they helped me and making me feel I was important to their program. Although I feel my students aren't quite ready for this program, I am going to look at the other programs such as Picta Dicta Ancient World as I think that one might be a better starter program for them.

Roman Roads Media

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Read what others on the Crew thought about the three different products we reviewed:

Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}

Memoria Press Classical Composition I: Fable Set Review

Memoria Press

When I think of Classical Christian Education, I think of Memoria Press so I chose the Classical Composition I: Fable Set to review with my daughter. It's important to me that my children have exposure to as much classical education as possible as I believe it's a proven approach to education. How can one go wrong but to be educated similarly as John Milton, William Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin all experienced? The Classical Composition I: Fable Set is for grades 4-12 and I've decided I will purchase another set for my other daughter. I encourage all my children to read and write as next to play, there is nothing better to spark the imagination. Knowledge is truly gained by reading and I believe, by writing. 

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

The set included a Student Book, a Teacher's Guide and Instructional DVDs. If you aren't familiar with Memoria Press, it's been my experience with other items I have reviewed, they include these great instructional DVDs that help to reinforce what is being taught. I love them! The 14 exercises are organized in a simple yet organized way to teach.

Apparently, ancient writers invented a way to teach writing known as progymnasmata. It's not only a disciplined approach to communication but fosters the ability to appeal to their audience's heads and hearts. I found from reading the Memoria Press website, Quintilian and Cicero employed the progymnasmata way to teach their students the art of communication. Mr. Jim Selby, of Whitefield Academy, developed the Classical Composition and the students at Whitefield Academy have a 100% qualification rate on the optional essay portion of the ACT and SAT which to me, speaks volumes to the success of this program.

I have to admit that one does have to take the time to read the Teacher's Guide and perhaps watch the instructional DVDs for each lesson ahead of time to gain a better understanding of how the course is taught and to be able to effectively guide the student at first. The learning curve was short for both myself and my student.

Lesson 11

Each lesson is broken down into a fable with sections used to teach the student to think differently and to write something that is truly engaging. Learning from repeating others is a great way to learn how to write. 

Each lesson has steps for both the teacher and the student that is consistent across every lesson:

  • The fable, to include a vocabulary list, provides more student teacher engagement as well as exercises to write synonyms. 
  • I have an older student that this would be perfect for as she's very conscious of speaking out loud.
  • Three Plot Components which is tricky if this is the first time you have heard of this. This is where the Teacher's Guide and Instructional DVDs come in handy to further your own knowledge and provide the confidence needed in guiding the student through this section.
  • Variations Part 1, which is the same as above, required assistance from the Teacher's Guide and Instructional DVDs for me to feel confident in teaching it.
  • The Outline is an excellent exercise that will teach the student how to summarize what they read. It provides clarification of the events and the outline provides the student an aid for the Narration exercise.
  • The Narration exercise continues to foster creative thought and thinking when they have to narrate the fable in their own words. 
  • Paraphrases I and 2 provides the student with an opportunity to use figures of description to rewrite as well as training the student to view a set of ideas from differing perspectives.
  • Variations Part 2 is the same as Part 1.
  • The Final Draft encourages the student to use their work from Paraphrase 1 or 2 to rewrite their work.

Overall, I enjoyed the Memoria Press Classical Composition I: Fable Set due to the ability to really encourage and foster such a way in writing that it will last a life time. The lessons are not like I've seen in any other curriculums which really allows for immense creativity. The set not only teaches students to write creatively but it also adds vocabulary words and the practice of identifying and finding synonyms which I think is critical in the writing process. My student seemed to be really challenged by each lesson and was inspired to excel as each lesson was completed.

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Check out what other Crew members thought about Classical Composition I: Fable Set as well as some of the other Memoria Press products:  

New American Cursive

New American Cursive 1
New American Cursive 2 (Scripture)
New American Cursive 2 (Famous Americans)
New American Cursive 3 (Famous Quotes) 

Traditional Logic: 

Traditional Logic I Complete Set
Traditional Logic II Complete Set

Classical Composition: 

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

Classical Composition II: Narrative Set.

New American Cursive & Traditional Logic {Memoria Press Reviews}

Memoria Press First Form Latin Review: Highly Recommend

Memoria Press

First Form Latin Complete Set

I have always been interested in learning Latin and wanted the opportunity to teach one of my children. My fifth grade homeschooled daughter seemed to be the perfect candidate for this learning endeavor. We've been using the complete set for several weeks now and to date, she really has been enjoying the First Form Latin lessons from Memoria Press. Intended for grades 4-9, it's been the perfect program to introduce and teach her Latin. The complete set has everything needed to begin learning Latin and is affordable. I've tried another language program in the past that worked mainly from memorization but First Form Latin is much more and each product has a purpose:

  • The Teacher's Manual provides an introduction to the person teaching the language which is very comprehensive. It's not the type of program that one can pick up and teach without preparation. It appeared a little overwhelming at first given all the materials provided but once I was able to understand how each product fit into the overall teaching picture, it was easy to follow. 
    • I've tried many different homeschooling programs and curriculum over the years and what I liked about Memoria Press's Teachers Manual is the student text inset with answers in color to ease the teaching process. I didn't have to keep flipping from book to book as everything was right where I needed it to be.
    • I'm a chalk board type of teacher so the "Chalk Talk" portions of the instructions were favorites of mine.
    • The recitations helped to reinforce her oral skill set as well as memorization of each lesson.
    • The extensive teaching notes and FYI sections were also useful references to turn to when I needed extra guidance.
  • The Student Workbook contains lessons that provides practice and tests mastery as well as helps to teach the concepts behind Latin. It can be very confusing understanding things such as first conjugation present, imperfect and future and singular versus plural with the "o, s, t, mus, tis, nt" endings but the lessons helps to reinforce it along with the Student Text. Here is one of the pages from lesson twenty:

  • The Student Text is a smaller more concise 34 two-page lessons that furthers instructs.
  • The Quizzes and Test booklets is used to ensure the student is learning and can be reproduced to reinforce areas that might be troublesome. The Teachers Key has all the answers to the workbooks tests and quizzes making it easy to find without having to search.

Additional items in the complete set continue to reinforce and master First Form Latin by Memoria Press which includes:

  • Flash cards that are provided loose bound so the order can be created however is best for the student's needs. They include vocabulary, Latin sayings and grammar forms.
  • The DVDs, three discs at nine hours directed at 15-20 minutes per lesson, provide further instruction on ensuring pronunciation of the words are understood. The DVDs compliment the program greatly as Highlands Latin School teacher Glen Moore does a great job bringing Latin to life. My only wish here would be for him to slow down when he's pronouncing the words as he does go a bit fast but as time progressed and her learning increased, it was easier to understand.
  • The Pronunciation CD included all the vocabulary and grammar forms for each lesson. We were even able to take it with us as we ran errands to reinforce the lessons.

She really liked the program which I was very happy about! 

I think her only complaint was the length of the workbook lessons but those can be divided up pending the speed and attention span of a particular child. The resources compliment one another to provide an extremely comprehensive program for learning a new language in a pace that meets your's and your student's needs. I liked the ease of use once I got the hang of the program as well as being able to have tools that helped reinforce the lessons. I would highly recommend Memoria Press First Form Latin. I really like the classical Christian approach to education and I am definitely going to look into supplementing my children's education with one of the other subject areas Memoria Press has.

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Memoria Press has other packages in various subjects such as Traditional Spelling 1 and Traditional Spelling II along with many others. Click below to see what others from the Crew thought about First Form Latin and other subject areas from Memoria Press:

Spelling, Music Appreciation & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

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