Introduction to Classical Studies Student Guide
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
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."
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.