D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
Newly expanded edition includes an exclusive behind the scenes look at the book's creation, a biography of the life and work of Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire, sketches from the authors' personal notebooks and photos from their family album.
Golden fleece, titans, and muses, oh my! This is a very thorough collection of ancient Greek myths accompanied by artful pencil drawings in color and black and white.
Starting with Gaea and Uranus (Earth and sky), stories are chronological to the Titans, Zeus and his descendants. Supporting characters are also given their due. Children will read about Hera, Hades, Persephone, Pandora, Centaurs, Orpheus, the Gorgon, King Midas, Oedipus, and more.
The tales are written for children to understand. Add this book to a unit study of ancient Greece, the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mediterranean region, or even as a study of ancient religions. Compare their beliefs with modern ones. ~Sara
The set of all 12 literature units at each level are intended as a complete language arts curriculum teaching vocabulary, grammar, writing, spelling, story elements, and figurative language in the context of popular children's books. However, they are more than this, bordering on unit studies because of their strong social studies, science, critical thinking, and art/design components. Available at five levels (ages 7-9, 8-10, 9-11, 10-12 and 11-13), they correspond to concept units in the Moving Beyond the Page curriculum.
These use literature as a springboard for investigation, exploration, research, creativity and expression; the focus moves outward from the book. This is unlike most purely literature study guides which bring everything in toward a focus on the novel itself. Another unique attribute is the amount of creative expression involved, from identification with particular characters in the book to developing plotlines or stories having some common theme - there is much more running with a train of thought stimulated by the book than responding directly to the book. Motivated, artistic, imaginative, creative children will love all of the extension activities here! They will have many opportunities for creative expression as they write stories, draw and design things, use critical thinking skills, journal, reenact scenes, and mentally put themselves in the characters' shoes. Also striking is the rigorous nature of some of the assignments, especially at the lower levels. I can see why these are recommended for gifted students. Since these guides were originally created to enhance a science and social studies driven curriculum, there are many activities that get fairly deeply into these subject areas. This is especially the case in pre-reading activities as you set the stage for the time and location of the novel. The author utilizes these research opportunities to maximum advantage - and it does help to put the book in context. Often, this facet of literary analysis is skipped or passed over too lightly when we read a book, making it difficult to really understand some of the conflict, circumstance and social culture/customs that are critical to comprehension. While it's difficult to get a bead on the comprehensiveness of the guides for spelling, vocabulary, and grammar with only a small sampling, I can say with certainty that there's plenty of composition integrated into the units. Besides a large number of writing activities, the student keeps a journal which is used for some of the discussion question responses each day. In some guides, the journal is also used for other creative responses (such as retelling part of the story as diary entries through the eyes of Anna each day in Sarah, Plain and Tall). Other language arts areas seem to be covered in a solid, serious, and thorough manner, based on the samples I've reviewed. Vocabulary work is significant with children looking up words and writing definitions and using target words in compositions. Students learn how to use a dictionary and thesaurus to their advantage. Many activity pages are devoted to grammar, mechanics, and punctuation. Spelling lists, including common and challenge words, appear at the end of each guide.
Each literature unit is in a standard format. Lessons are structured and easy to use. There's no guesswork involved. Each one includes most of the following elements:
Questions to Explore - the Big Picture ideas and concepts for the lesson
Facts and Definitions - any knowledge or vocabulary learned during the lesson
Skills - objectives, identified by subject area
Materials - everything needed for the lesson, even included activity pages
Introduction - exactly how to introduce the lesson to your child (almost scripted)
Activities - generally from 1-4 of these which vary widely by lesson
Conclusion - summing up the ideas from the lesson along with response from your child
Real-Life Application - an extension activity which takes a concept from the story and applies it to a real person or situation
While the format is standard, the lessons themselves are extremely varied. In one lesson, the concentration may be on a grammatical or literary aspect. The next, you may have a lot of social studies related activity. One lesson will have your child writing a persuasive paper; the next a poem. She may study prefixes and suffixes today and be baking cookies tomorrow! Today a science experiment; tomorrow planning a party! You get the idea. Moreover, there are often several options for an assignment, so you can choose the most appealing or beneficial one. If you are using these guides as the basis for a language arts program, you will probably want to leave most of those activities intact, but you may still want to moderate some of the writing assignments. And while the lessons are easy to use and complete, there is still a lot of parental involvement required. Some activities are challenging, others need adult help and guidance - which is not unusual at these grade levels. Lessons that include reading in the novel have a series of questions about the chapter(s). These are not all recall questions, but include more in-depth and subjective discussion questions. You should read the book in tandem with your child in order to assess her responses.
The number of lessons varies by guide. Some of the units include other books and resources (see below). Typically, a unit will last from 2-3 weeks, though you may take longer with some lessons, especially with some of the more involved activities. Every unit ends with a final project, some of which may take a few days to complete. There are three literature units for every concept per level. Using all three would allow your child to compare and contrast themes and characters across novels within a thematic framework. Literature units and novels also become more advanced through each level. Please note that this is not a religious curriculum. It does, however, encourage character development.
Concepts and units by age are listed below. Each literature package contains the literature unit guide AND the corresponding novel. Where other components are included, they appear below the package in italics. NOTE: Student Activity Page sets are NOT INCLUDED in the packages. A single copy of each is in the study guide. Although you are not allowed to reproduce these pages from the guides, they are all single-sided and usable, so you do not have to purchase a set of student pages unless you want to leave your guide intact.
Beginning with ages 9-11, the guides are "Student Directed Literature Units." All instruction is written directly to the student in a conversational tone and the guides are a worktext with no separate student activity pages. Each package contains the SDLU, the corresponding novel, and sometimes other books (listed below the package in italics). Occasional tests are provided with an answer key at the back of the unit. Also in the back are several references/helps: spelling lists, handy guides to writing and grammar, and a writing rubric.
The new guides for ages 12-14 are structured around two semesters, with five literature guides per semester. Publisher recommends the literature guides be completed in order. Each literature guide provides 12 lessons and a final project. In-depth analysis of story elements and figurative language, challenging essays and comprehensive grammar assignments will enable students to appreciate and emulate the craft of great writers. Thematically, guides will aid students in gaining a deeper understanding of everyday life in the past through the selected literature and reading assignments.
Unit Study Curriculums are "complete" curriculums based on the unit study approach that are intended to be used over a longer span of time (typically a year or more). They generally have an organized structure or flow and incorporate as many subject areas as possible. Typically, organizational materials and methods are provided along with some instruction for use. Broken into logical segments or "units" of study, they are intended to comprise the core of your curriculum.
Unit study guides are like one unit of a curriculum unit study. They are meant to be used for a shorter amount of time to study a specific topic using this approach.
Talented homeschoolers are increasingly developing and producing unit studies not just for their own families, but to share with others. This is so exciting to me! For years, public school teachers have had outlets to share the products of their research and labors with fellow teachers. Now homeschoolers are doing the same - allowing others to reap the benefits. Each author has her (or his) own style - each unit study here is unique in its execution and focus. Someday, I hope this section will be brimming over with units! What a learning experience to see another perspective on a topic! For busy moms who like the unit study method but can't prepare their own from scratch, this section could become a treasure trove!
Although we receive a lot of "prospects" for this section, we try to limit our selections based on the following preferences. Basically, we avoid "no help" studies that give you little more than an outline to follow with suggested resources. Preference is given to studies that are "exciting and inviting", products of obviously thorough research and compilation, ones that provide some "meat" or base to work from (either a couple of basic resource books, or self-contained), and interesting, educational activities that are not just "busywork."
The idea is really quite simple - build a unit study around Latin. If you're committed to a classical approach to education, Latin will be an integral part. Why not follow a natural and interesting path to incorporate geography, history, reading, spelling, vocabulary, and composition into that study? User-friendly lesson plans allow you to teach through a basic set of stories that are fundamental to classical education. What's unusual about this study is the suggestion that it be repeated three years in a row, each time delving deeper into the interrelationships - the repetition and review helping to internalize the stories and to develop a command of them. No doubt you're wondering what this set of foundational stories might be. Three books were selected to provide them. The Golden Children's Bible creates in children's minds and hearts lasting and glowing memories of the people and events of the Bible while at the same time familiarizing students with important passages and the poetic qualities of Scripture. D'Aulaires' Greek Myths is a wonderfully illustrated volume containing the universal stories that describe human character and the human situation. Famous Men of Rome memorably tells the story of the men who contributed to Rome's model and long-lasting civilization.
The heart of this program is a set of thirty detailed weekly lesson plans. Reading selections from each of the spines is the foundational starting place. The plans include words to know, expressions to know, facts to know, a Bible verse to memorize and Roman history questions. Also included are timeline entries, map activities, copywork, picture studies, art projects, and suggestions for Honors work. The Teacher Guide includes a "how to use this guide" section plus the lesson plans. Additional teacher resources include an answer key (history and honors questions), worksheets with answer keys, timelines, maps, and a pronunciation guide. The Student Guide has some of the same "how to" information plus weekly worksheets (based on the lesson plans with space to record answers) and memory work lists for each week. The Appendix provides worksheets, timelines, maps, and a pronunciation guide.
If you've been committed to a classical education from your child's earliest school years, you may be thinking "hmmm, we've already covered this." You're right. Much of this material is covered in other ways if you follow a typical classical curriculum. However, if you have an older child (upper elementary) and you've just decided to follow classical, this is a terrific "catch-up" program. It will give both you and your child a great start on the foundational information needed to continue with classical schooling. I can also see it being used as a family unit study approach to a classical foundation. Student - 89 pgs, pb, Teacher - 78 pgs pb. ~ Janice
When several very talented authors create a curriculum that combines the educational philosophies of Ruth Beechick and Charlotte Mason, you know its worth taking a look. Designed to incorporate Dr. Beechicks educational principles in their entirety, this curriculum attempts to guide students in building their thinking skills through the knowledge they gain, not as a separate process. The Trail Guide to Learning program is a very comprehensive unit study curriculum that incorporates reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, science, art and more into a study of history and geography. Math is the only core subject not covered. Currently, three complete levels are available: Paths of Exploration (for grades 3-5), Paths of Settlement (for grades 4-6) and Paths of Progress (for grades 5-7). These first three levels focus on American history and are designed for the elementary grades (although they are adaptable for students at the top or bottom of each intended grade range so you could use Paths of Exploration with a 2nd grader or 6th grader). These make up the first segment of a planned complete curriculum series that will cover U.S. History (elementary), World History (jr. high), and Modern U.S./World History/Government/Economics (high school). While this review will undoubtedly be modified as this ambitious curriculum continues to be published, most of this review will focus on Paths of Exploration (POE), Paths of Settlement (POS) and Paths of Progress (POP).
Each level is organized into six topical six-week units. In POE, the units are: Columbus, Jamestown, Pilgrims, Daniel Boone, Lewis & Clark, and Trails West. The units are fairly discrete, and do not blend into each other. Each topic is covered exhaustively, however, with relevant cross-curricular content. Units are divided into six lessons, which are further split into five parts, so each level features 180 daily lessons in all. The authors make a point that although the lessons are broken down into daily chunks, there is enough review built in (particularly on Fridays) so you can be somewhat flexible with scheduling. Specific teaching instructions are provided for students in Grades 3-5, with a different animal track symbol designating each grade level suggestion. These assignments can be easily found in each lesson, or you can view the Lessons At A Glance in one of the Appendices to see a whole lesson broken down by skill area and assignments, with handy checklists for completion. As students progress through the course, they will add their student pages, artwork, and other projects into their Student Notebook (Notebooking Pages for Paths of Exploration are no longer available in pdf format. You can purchase the actual printed pages - 3-hole punched, blackline format, with activity pages included for all six units), a permanent record of the year. Reading material and additional activities are found in the required resources. that you will need for each unit. Please note that student pages are now a separate purchase for POE but are included in digital format for POS and POP until those are revised.
Lessons are written for ease of use for both teacher and student. Although the directions are written to the student, notes in the margins are intended for the teacher. No answers are given in the lesson content, which makes it easier to share the book. Each lesson begins not with specific knowledge-based objectives, but with several "Steps for Thinking" which are the larger ideas behind the topics students will learn in the lesson. In Lesson 1 in the Columbus unit, these include: "1. Journeys are made for a reason. 2. Knowing the reason for a journey helps you understand the decisions people make along the way. 3. Planning ahead and making preparations are essential for a successful journey." These are the ideas that should come up in discussing lesson content later on.
As you might expect from a curriculum co-authored by Debbie Strayer (author of Learning Language Arts Through Literature), language arts is heavily emphasized in every lesson. Each daily lesson segment begins with copywork and dictation, with assignments given at the three grade levels. Reading follows, with the student reading selected sections or pages aloud to the teacher. Then the teacher reads several pages from a more advanced book used in that lesson and reads the discussion questions, or the student narrates a provided assignment. Word Study, which encompasses vocabulary and spelling, is next, and typically is tied into the reading or the copywork. Again, several different grade-level specific assignments are provided. For example, in Unit 2 (Jamestown), Lesson 1, students look at words with apostrophes that they find in their reading book, A Lion to Guard Us. Theyll examine words with apostrophes, and learn the difference between an apostrophe that signals a contraction and an apostrophe that shows belonging. They also make a word list of names of people and places in their notebook and look at words that make the j sound with the dge combination. Throughout their reading, students will also make vocabulary cards for words that they might not have come across before. The guide stresses that these are not flash cards for memorization, but making the cards will help children remember the word and its meaning. That may sound like a lot, but remember that lessons are weekly, not daily.
Geography, history and science are well-integrated integrated into each lesson. History is naturally absorbed from the books the students read (and listen to). A related geography lesson is provided just about every day, which ties in beautifully with the units topic. For example, in the Columbus unit, students learn about compasses, directional terms, globes, maps, culture and worldview, the oceans, the continents, navigation, ships, map skills, using a map key, and more. Students will also locate the places they are reading about on maps, and become aware of where they are and why this is important to the events studied. In POS, students will also study the states as they work through the curriculum. POP emphasizes scientists and inventors, so students will soak up biographical details as well as science concepts.
Because history and geography often go hand-in-hand, and because the curriculum is published by Geography Matters, I had expected the geography lessons to be top-notch. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the science topics are related to the unit topics. Science can occasionally seem like an afterthought in unit studies, with vague assignments for the student to simply "research a topic." Here the topics are relevant and the content is good. Looking again at the Columbus unit in POE, students will learn about science topics that directly affected Columbus expedition, including oceans, air and ocean currents, the sun, stars, constellations, the solar system, weather and how it relates to climate, the moon, the early history of astronomy, spices, and the senses. There are several outside resources that you will use again and again for science material, including The Handbook of Nature Study and the North American Wildlife Guide. Although much of the science work is researching and reading, hands-on experiments from The Handbook of Nature Study are also used. It is worth noting that science is not covered every day like geography, but makes an appearance about 2-3 times per week.
The later sections of each daily lesson may be devoted to writing, art, drawing or another project. Writing activities are the most frequent of the three, and include a lot of variety in the assignments. Students may write fiction based on a place or event they have learned about, use a graphic organizer to identify the parts of a story, make lists, write about something learned that day in their own words, create poetry, make a book review card, write a friendly letter, and much more. Many of the art activities combine drawing with one of the topics covered in the lesson. Art or drawing is included about twice a week, with some activities contributed by homeschool art pros Sharon Jeffus and Barry Stebbing. The Lewis & Clark unit in particular uses Sharons book Lewis & Clark Hands On heavily and often combines art and writing activities. Although art is covered consistently, dont worry too much about investing in a pile of art materials from what I can tell, youll primarily be using the basics (drawing paper, construction paper, colored pencils or crayons, glue, modeling clay and possibly some paint).
The final portion of each days lesson is devoted to independent reading. Student and teacher will work together to find a book that interests them, and the student will read for 20-30 minutes (depending on their age) and record their reading time in their Reading Log. The reading material is completely left up to you and your student(s), which offers them the chance to read other books outside of the historically-based ones theyll primarily be exposed to.
Part 5 of each lesson is less structured, and is designed for completing any work that has not been finished, or for exploring some additional activities. Instead of assignments in each subject area, a bulleted list of activities is included, followed by several enrichment activities. In the unit on Daniel Boone, Part 5 of Lesson 4 suggests that you: review the Steps for Thinking, trace the Appalachian trail on an outline map, review the spelling words from the lesson, complete a week-long observation of your neighborhood, walk a hiking trail in a nearby park, and do a Daniel Boone crossword puzzle. Enrichment activities include researching General George Rogers Clark and making a list of facts about him, and finding a story or video about Daniel Boone and comparing it with the facts learned during the Daniel Boone unit.
There are a few things to note about this curriculum. First of all, it is written from a religiously neutral viewpoint, so it is an option for those of you ordering through charter schools. There is however a strong emphasis on good character, and many units spend some time studying the best qualities of historical figures. If you want to incorporate Bible study into the curriculum, you can either supplement your own program, or purchase the optional Bible study supplement, Light for the Trail directly from Geography Matters. Also, as noted previously, math is not included, so you will need a separate math program. Testing is not built into the program (the student notebook takes the place of assessments), but Geography Matters does offer an optional Assessment CD if this is important to you. Lastly, there are a number of resources that are required for use with the curriculum. These are listed below. Many titles have been chosen to accompany specific units of the program, while others are used all year long. - Jess
Language arts programs listed in this section cover most areas of language arts (reading/literature, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting) in one curriculum, although some skill areas may be covered with less intensity than a focused, stand-alone course.
Please note that a brief synopsis of many of the books included here are provided in our Library Builders section. Study guides for the same book are often available from several publishers, so we found it more efficient to give a description of the book only once.
This literature teaching resource is designed to accompany D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, using these high-interest myths to provide practice in reading comprehension, understanding story elements and construction as well as thought-provoking discussion questions on the conflicts, actions, and motivations of the gods and humans in the myths. A prereading activity given at the beginning of the book orients students to Greek mythology and takes stock of what they know already. The following activities correspond to the chapters of the D'Aulaire book, and contain both worksheet activities and writing assignments. The worksheets feature short answer and multiple-choice reading comprehension questions, while the writing activities ask students to draw upon content from the myths coupled with their own understanding to explore a variety of topics. Writing questions may ask the student's opinion on a god's judgment a mortal, hidden meanings or "morals" in myths, myths in relation to current topics, and more. Ten additional projects are included at the end, and include more involved writing activities, creative activities, and more. These include different forms of writing including stories, dramas, names for products or services, job descriptions, journalism articles, and more. A multiple-choice test, glossary, grading rubrics and answer keys are also included. A little pricey, but the content and scope of activities are excellent. - Jess
Beowulf is not the easiest thing to read or teach. This guide will help you as the parent or teacher to plan lessons, assign homework and assess student learning. Even the language is broken down for you. Maps are helpful and interesting to compare with modern maps of northern Europe. Written from a Christian perspective, it contains comprehension questions and activities, plus a closing project. Spiral bound notebook is easy to handle as it will lie flat. Student work pages may be reproduced for your classroom use only. 59 pgs, pb. ~ Sara
A set of Literature Units (LU) at each level is a complete language arts curriculum teaching vocabulary, grammar, composition, spelling, story elements, and figurative language in the context of popular children's books. LUs each explore one facet of a concept that ties three units together. Each unit has a primary book that is studied for 2-3 weeks and may include additional
What is a "unit study"? Briefly, it's a thematic or topical approach to teaching as opposed to the traditional by-subject approach. Rather than teach each subject separately, a unit study attempts to integrate many or all subject areas into a unified study - usually centered around a particular subject or event. Obviously History (the study of events) and Science (the study of "things") are well-suited to unit studies, and usually form the "core" around which other subjects are integrated. Subjects like Bible, Geography, Government, English (writing), and Reading/Literature, Music, Home Economics, Life Skills, and Art, are usually easy to integrate around a core topics. Remaining subjects (Math, Phonics, Grammar, Spelling) can be integrated to some extent via related activities. Each, however, has its own "system" (progression of skills, mastery of "rules") which must be followed to some degree. Since one of the additional advantages of a unit study curriculum is the ability to use it with students of varying ages and skill levels, these subjects are generally taught apart from the core curriculum. This may be as simple as assigning pages in a grammar or spelling book, or using a separate "program" for Phonics and Math. Unit studies also tend to be more activity-oriented than the traditional approach, a real boon to kinesthetic learners. Advocates of the unit study approach site studies showing that children learn best when learning is unified rather than fragmented and when learning is more participatory than passive.
This program explores this classic of Greek mythology. There are 25 lessons with review lessons every five lessons. Students read the selected pages from D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, familiarize themselves with the "Facts to Know". discuss and define vocabulary words, and answer comprehension questions (written to capture the essence of the characters and the main ideas of each story, which encourage students to think about the reading and provide meaningful answers). The final "Activities" section uses the fantastic illustrations found in D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths as a springboard for further discussion questions, asks students to mark locations from the stories on an outline map, and complete other activities such as research, discussion and compliling lists. A pronunciation guide in the back breaks down all the tricky Greek names for smoother reading.~ Steph
Instead of isolating Bible and Christian history from what was happening in the rest of the world, the folks at Veritas aim to incorporate it. They offer four different history time periods (each aimed at a different grade level and designed to take one school year) which take students from creation to the present. The program originally had three parts: teacher's manual, history cards (an absolutely essential element of the curriculum) and a memory song on audio CD. The song is sung by a woman with a pleasant voice at varying tempos and is designed as a type of auditory time line. The history cards are fantastic! They have many interesting facets (the more you study them, the more you learn). The cards from the various time periods are color coded and numbered - there are 32 cards in each pack. If the cards also relate to Bible history they have another color and another number. Each card has a picture (usually in full color) representing what it is about. For example, the card for Creation has a reproduction of the Creation of the sun and moon from the Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo. Many of the other pictures on the other cards are famous paintings as well. Each card has a