Memoria Press Review by Tammy: Geography I

I received a copy of Memoria Press’ Geography I to review for Sandbox to Socrates. I’ve never used any Memoria Press materials but knew their curriculum to be of excellent quality, so I was excited to see what they offered for beginning geography. Geography I is part of their fourth grade curriculum and includes a review booklet for United States geography which is covered in their third grade program. Geography I retails for $48 and includes a student text, student workbook, and teacher’s manual (as well as the US review books).

 

My son (6th grade) and I have always studied geography in conjunction with history, and I was loathe to change that just for a review. So instead of starting at the front of the book and working our way though, we picked out countries that we had already studied and moved into new countries as they came up in our history. Each region in the student text begins with an overview and is then broken down into individual countries. We covered Ancient History last year, so we did a read-through of the Middle East: The Cradle of Civilization and discussed the map. Then we read the North Africa overview and did the workbook pages on Egypt. We moved on to Europe and read about Greece and Italy, completing those workbook pages. Each country is given a two-page spread and includes History’s Headlines (very distant past) and Tour of Today (more recent past), as well as a Fast Facts section and a map of the country in relation to its region (surrounding countries and geographical features). We moved on to Spain, France, Great Britain, and Germany as we discussed them in our history studies. We were able to connect each country with our history lessons via History’s Headlines and discuss more current events with Tour of Today. This piecemeal approach might not work for every family, but it was a fun change for us.

 

Conclusion: Geography I is a quick and easy way to cover a bit of history and learn a few facts. I like that can be as independent as your learner allows. My son was able to complete the pages himself, allowing me to come back for discussion when convenient. Geography I makes a great jumping-off point for students to delve further into a country of particular interest. It isn’t flashy or colorful, but the content is solid and useful.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Tammy lives in the desert southwest where antelope play in her front yard, grazing among the rattlers and scorpions. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and crochet. She currently  homeschools one son.

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Memoria Press Review by Darla: First Form Latin

This is a no-nonsense approach to Latin. That can be a real breath of fresh air if your student is ready for serious Latin study or is a bit older. I am using this with a ten year old and an almost fourteen year old. Both are learning Latin for the first time, and both are appropriately challenged.

I wish I could say my kids love learning Latin, but that would be an exaggeration. It’s work and not really all that fun. I enjoy teaching it with this program though. Each lesson is a two-page spread in the textbook and looks deceptively simple. I recommend quizzing and reinforcing the lessons using the suggestions in the teacher’s guide because there is more here than meets the eye. Also, do not skip any part of the workbook pages. It’s not busy work.

It can’t be all bad. She’s smiling:

 

 

I sincerely appreciate that this is a program that does not attempt to entertain. It’s not what I would call “dry”, but it is business-like. They get into verb conjugations in Lesson 1, and there are ten verbs to conjugate right away. Learning Latin is work, and my kids and I are benefiting from working on it together. We have made attempts in the past, but this is the furthest we’ve gotten in the shortest period of time. This approach clearly works for us.

Memoria Press provided me with DVDs, a student textbook, a workbook, pronunciation CD, the teacher’s edition, answer keys, and flash cards. It might seem as if using both CDs and DVDs would be redundant, but they really contain different material and he goes much slower explaining the pronunciation on the CDs. Pronunciation in this program is loosely based on Ecclesiastical. All the items I received are very useful. I also purchased the wall charts at a later date.

I love how the DVD teacher explains things thoroughly. He is even a bit entertaining! My kids loved his explanation of 2nd person plural (y’all).

 

The lessons are just long enough, and the workbook pages are very well done for getting in the right amount of the right kind of practice.

I very much look forward to seeing how my kids do upon completion of First Form Latin and already plan to move at least one of them on to Second Form after this.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

by Darla

Memoria Press Review by Megan: Timeline

I was very excited for the chance to review Memoria Press‘s (MP) timeline curriculum.  I have never used any MP products before, but I’d heard so many great things from my friends that I knew it would be good.

What I loved about this product was its simplicity. It’s not overly complicated; there are no frills, bells, or whistles. Our process included: learn about the key event, fill out the workbook, color in the illustration page, and paste the timeline card into our timeline book of centuries. This was simple enough to get done but involved enough to be interesting and memorable. My son loved doing the illustrations and narrations.

The beauty of its simplicity is found in tailoring this program to suit our needs.  In the handbook, each event is accompanied with an informational description. While my son and I didn’t cover all sixty events in the program, I did read the entire thing on my own. What a wealth of information! It was more detailed, informative, and sensible than much of my world history classes in high school.  And yet it can be a jumping-off point for even more reading and discovery. Take the Great Pyramids page, for instance. The description in the handbook is fairly brief. It is so easy to add other resources to this section. Movies, websites, and books can all be added if a child wants to know more (and believe me, they do!).

From the opposite side, it’s also very easy to supplement your regular history spine with this program.  All the events are clearly labelled and categorized, making it easy to use when you reach that spot in your studies. We aren’t studying much history at this point in time, but I can see that if we were to continue only using this program for the next few months, it would lay a solid foundation for more in-depth study later.

One more aspect that I loved it how it tied in various subjects in one place. While writing the key people and places, my son remembered from his grammar lessons that proper nouns should be capitalized. He had to erase a few mistakes and correct them, but he did this on his own. One time I did have to remind him that capital letters don’t go in the middle of words, but again he corrected it without complaint (unusual for him). I thought the picture above was cute. It’s the illustration that he did to go with Noah’s Ark. He drew the ark and the water but wanted to add the pilot whale so that it could spy hop, “something that only pilot whales do, Mom.” When I asked him about the fish out of water, he told me that some fish jump out of the water a lot. And he made the sky green because he’d heard that the sky looks green when there’s a tornado about to form (the tornado is the black shape in the middle of the page). I know it’s not very accurate, but I thought all his extra details were just so cute. I love how he is gathering all this information and processing it in every area of his life. This is the beauty of a classical education.

One thing to note, this program is written from a religious perspective. As a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I’ve tended to avoid any religious curricula. I’ve found it easier to use secular materials and add in my own beliefs. I’m happy to say that even though it was written from a religious perspective, the general descriptions from the handbook were easily adapted for our own beliefs. There wasn’t anything major, but my son and I did have some good discussions about our beliefs. We did some extra reading from the scriptures and I shared what my interpretations of it were (this was mostly in the Creation & Fall event).

My only complaints with this program is 1) that it is not a complete curriculum; it is a supplement and 2) that the workbook is not spiral bound. At $39.95, it’s a decently priced program if you use it for all four years. It is so informative and easy to use that I wish there were four separate curriculums, one for each year, with each one having more events. And the workbook not being spiral bound is just me wishing that all workbooks were spiral bound. I would love it if it were, but it’s not a deal breaker for something this great.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

megan

Megan–Megan is mom to three children: Pigby (boy, age 7), Digby (boy, age 4), and Chuck (girl, age 2).  She loves history, ballroom dance, and crocheting.  She made the decision to homeschool when her oldest was three and they’ve been on this journey ever since.

Memoria Press Review by Emma: Geography I

I have always loved Geography and so was excited when the time came to start teaching Geography to my kids. Life has been rather hectic this last year, so I really needed something independent and easy to use. I was happy to get a chance to review Memoria Press‘s Geography I.

photo by Ove Topfer

My eight year old used Geography I mostly independently.  I received the Teacher’s Guide, the Student Text, and the Student Workbook.  He would read through the Student Text and then answer the questions in the Workbook. After finishing the page, I would check his answers, and we’d discuss anything I had questions about. We would also Google some of the countries he was most curious about, and look them up on our world map.

▪Pros:  The fact that this was an independent lesson was great. It gave me the break I needed to take care of other matters but didn’t feel like busy work. I knew that the information would be presented well, and he would learn some facts about each country. I also used it as writing practice, since he had to fill out information about each country.

▪Cons:  The lack of color and visual appeal were the biggest downfalls, in my opinion. This curriculum gives a basic overview of each country and presents everything in a neat little package, but I would have liked for the pages to be more visually appealing with more images and color.

Conclusion:  I plan to continue using Geography I as a supplement to our Geography studies and will likely purchase the next levels. I enjoy the independent aspect and the straightforward approach.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

emma

Emma–Emma has been married for seven years, and is mom of two, plus one once-crazy dog. She’s been homeschooling for three years now in NC. In addition to being a wife, mom and educator, she is also a Graphic Designer.

Memoria Press Review by Kristen: Timeline

Recently I was given the chance to review Memoria Press’ Timeline curriculum.  I had been eying this for awhile, so I was very excited to break out all the material and see what I had to work with.  I received the Wall Cards, the Flash Cards, and the Composition & Sketchbook.  First thing out of the box was the Wall Cards; I’ve wanted a timeline on the wall for years!  The Wall Cards are very sturdy, and the colors are crisp and easy to read.  The Flash Cards are identical in quality.  I particularly liked the Composition & Sketchbook, though, as it gathered together all of the history review I wanted to wrap up our study of major events in a way that was easy to reference.  The Composition & Sketchbook fit the bill.

  • Method:  We used this as a review with our history program, Story of the World 4.  After each major event I had my daughter (9), go back through the material and use it to fill out the Composition book entries for Key Participants, Key Locations, and Event Description.  After she finished, I gave her colored pencils and had her sketch anything she felt was particularly interesting about the event.
  • Pros:  The Composition & Sketchbook is great.  I have seen similar individual sheets on the internet, but having these bound together is crucial for kids that lose things easily, and the space for sketching was a very nice extra to have.  This isn’t going to be the spine of a program, but it is an excellent additional resource to have on-hand.  The Timeline cards themselves are very sturdy and easy to read and the flashcards were a big hit here.
  • Con:  The flashcards and workbook are very easy to forget to use if you have a week where you are just trying to get the basics done.  I would have liked to see more events from the Modern Era as there are only a handful and it makes the use of this book rather limited if you are focusing on that particular time period.  However, it includes events from all of time, so there are ample opportunities to use it later when you cover other periods.   I have absolutely no complaints about the wall cards, besides the above mentioned lack of modern dates, but they do cover the essentials (World Wars, Great Depression, etc).
  • Conclusion:  I loved the idea of this product and wish that I had been able to use it more consistently.  We are currently studying the Modern Era,  and I found that over the course of the review time I only had the opportunity to use it twice, due to the material we covered.  I anticipate making better use of this in coming months as we cycle back to Ancients and I have more material to work with.  With attention, this could be a wonderful addition to any history program and an excellent way for a child to remember the highlights of a time period and to keep those fresh in their mind.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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Kristen is a homeschooling mom of four, living deep in the heart of Texas. She loves history, running, and camping, and drinks more coffee than is prudent. Kristen blogs about her daily adventures trying to classically homeschool kids who would always rather be up a tree than writing anything, ever, at www.unsinkablekristen.blogspot.com

Memoria Press Review by Kristen: Geography I

 

Geography has always been a tricky subject for our family.  I want to make sure that our kids are familiar with the basic locations of countries and land formations, and I want them to be able to follow any political discussions that deal with countries that aren’t their own.  Beyond that, I hope they leave our home knowing every country and people group bring something special and unique to the world and that no area is the sum of its generalizations.   These desires have always led me to geography curricula that is very hands-on, involved, and requires a lot of my teaching time.  We enjoyed it, yes, but as the kids get older I have found myself wishing for something that was less hands-on and more fact-based.  I was very pleased, therefore, to be offered an opportunity to review Memoria Press’s Geography I this spring.

  • Method:  I use Geography I with my daughter, nine, as an independent subject.  We have the Teacher’s Guide, the Student Text, and the Student Workbook.  Twice a week she sits down and reads through one chapter of the Student Text and then answers the questions and fills out the map in the Student Workbook.  When she finishes, I come and check her work and then I have her tell me a little bit about the country, show it to me on our own large world map, and then tell me something interesting that she has learned.  Often, we follow up our discussion with Googling anything we want to learn more about, and we’ve spent a little time looking in our own library for more information on places that we found particularly interesting.
  • Pros:  I really enjoyed this being an independent subject.  It was wonderful to hand her the workbooks and know that the content was solid and that she would be able to understand and answer any questions that followed.  The maps are detailed and easy to read, and my daughter had no trouble finding the locations or names of the required fields.  More than anything, I appreciated the straightforward approach.  This is NOT a hands-on curriculum, which is a plus in my book.  I have many hands-on things, and I needed Geography to be something that my daughter could reasonably do herself without sacrificing content.  This curriculum is exactly what I’d hoped for.
  • Cons:  If you want something with crafts, that delves more into culture and color, this is NOT the curriculum for you.  Memoria Press has put together a program that gives the student the basic facts of each country and a handful of interesting facts for a brief picture of their history and culture.  I believe that it is an excellent jumping-off point for any child to do more of their own research, but if you want depth and interaction, you will probably do best to look elsewhere.

Conclusion:  We will most certainly continue to use Geography I, and I plan to purchase the following levels as the kids get older.  I appreciate the “no frills” approach to the subject, and I think that it lends itself to familiarity of the subject without encroaching on the time needed to do the rest of our schoolwork.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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by Kristen  – Kristen is a homeschooling mom of four, living deep in the heart of Texas. She loves history, running, and camping, and drinks more coffee than is prudent. Kristen blogs about her daily adventures trying to classically homeschool kids who would always rather be up a tree than writing anything, ever, at www.unsinkablekristen.blogspot.com

Memoria Press Review by Tamara: First Start Reading

I had the chance to review First Start Reading from Memoria Press, which sells for $42.95.  Although this program is designed for an older child, we used this with my 3 ½ year old daughter. She is able to sing her ABC’s, cut with scissors, and draw well with a pencil, so we decided she was ready for a gentle introduction to phonics.

This program is wonderful! It could easily be stretched over two years (pre-K-K or K-1).  It begins with simple phonemes like /m/ and /s/ and concludes with consonant blends and “magic e” words. By the time a student finished book D, she will be reading 4-5 sentence paragraphs.

The program features a large teacher’s guide, which gives simple scripts and questions to guide the student in his lesson. Four student books (A-D) accompany the TG. The lessons generally span two pages and are easily accomplished in 20-30 minutes or less. They usually include a new rule or phoneme, some handwriting practice, a few lines of reading, and a space for the student to draw. There was enough variety that Leah had no problems staying focused on the lesson until its completion. As the student progresses to the last two workbooks, fun stories are included. My kindergarten son read several of these later stories to me and declared them to be “very cool.” I was appreciative of the natural syntax in the stories, as some readers we have used feature very strange and stilted verbiage.

The teacher is encouraged to read aloud often to the child while completing the program.  Listening to Mom read was our reward for finishing each lesson. Other skills emphasized in the program are proper pencil grip, ear training, punctuation, and capitalization. This program would be an excellent stand-alone language arts curriculum for K-1st.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

by Tamara –  Tamara is a proud Kansas City native who was transplanted to Texas thirteen years ago. She has three boys and three girls, and is currently in her seventh year of homeschooling. Several of her children have struggled with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and other learning challenges. She tells them often that God must have something amazing for them in the future, as they are learning perseverance now.