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 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.

13021867383_2cf4e968cb_q

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 Cheryl: Timeline

Memoria Press’ Timeline program includes a Handbook outlining the program and containing summaries of each event. The summaries are used to help the students complete their Composition and Sketchbook. For each event the Composition and Sketchbook contains a blank page for students to illustrate the event and a notebooking page to record important information about the event. Student Flashcards are used to help students memorize dates, and Wall Cards are hung as a visual reminder of the order of events. The full package retails for $39.95.

I fell in love with the idea of memorizing a history timeline when I first began studying the classical method. Memorizing historical events in order as reference for later studies made sense to me. We tried a different timeline for two years, but I found it too cumbersome. We spent hours of our week trying to memorize the numerous events. About a third of the way through, we dropped it to make more time for our other studies. When I opened up the Memoria Press Timeline I was pleasantly surprised by the number of items to memorize, only half of what we had been trying to remember previously. It is doable without being the main focus of our school.

Each year builds on the previous year’s memory work. My oldest is in third grade. Third graders are only required to memorize eleven events. Fourth graders review the original eleven items and an additional twenty for a total of thirty-one events. Fifth graders memorize forty-two events and sixth grade students memorize all sixty events.

I used the curriculum with my third grader, and my kindergartener tagged along. We memorized two items each week. The handbook contains the answers that should be written on the student composition page. I used the handbook answers as a quick review of the event. Later in the week I had my kindergartener complete the sketch page (because she is my artist) and my eight year old the composition page (because he is my writer but does not enjoy drawing). I don’t have a place on the wall to use the wall cards right now, but the flash cards were great for a quick daily review.

My kids found the timeline activities fun and easy. I love the simplicity of the curriculum. It is an excellent supplement to any history program.

*Memoria press is a Christian company. The timeline begins with Creation. The five Biblical events could easily be skipped if you are looking for a secular timeline.

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

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.

cheryl

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

Memoria Press Review by Emma: Timeline

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Memoria Press Timeline curriculum. We are history nuts, here and love almost everything Memoria Press, so I was really looking forward to working with the materials. I received Wall Cards, Flash Cards, Handbook and the Composition and Sketchbook.

The Wall Cards and Flash Cards are made of heavy card stock and have white words printed on a dark background, making them easy to read. The Composition and Sketchbook has just the right amount of space for summarizing what was learned. The Handbook contains a brief summary of each moment in history.

This program was a great way to review previous history learned, and to start to build a sense of when things happened during history. We went through one card every couple of days, just reading through the notations in the Handbook, then we’d find the corresponding cards and hang the Wall Card on our Timeline. After that, my son would fill out the pertaining section in the Composition and Sketchbook.

Pros: Easy to use, good quality materials, great selection of moments in history.

Cons: There were a lot of pieces to the program, and it was a bit hard to keep up with all of them. It’s one of those programs that are easy to forget to use during busy weeks. Images next to each event would make the Wall Cards more interesting.

Conclusion: We will continue to use the program as review, although I was only able to use the program twice during our studies due to the period in history we are covering. I intend to schedule this into our week and think it will be an interesting addition to our history studies.

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.

Homeschool Rite of Passage: The Chicken Mummy, by Lynne

You’ve all heard of the Mommy Wars.

Get ready for the Mummy Wars.

There is some debate as to whether one can call oneself a homeschooler if one has never mummified a chicken during the study of ancient Egypt. The faint of heart try to pass off mummifying an apple or even a Barbie doll, but it’s just not the same. A shriveled-up apple simply does not compare to the slowly evaporating chicken carcass that must remain for weeks on the kitchen counter. Mummifying a Barbie doll does not give you the satisfaction of watching the muscles harden and contract.

All kidding aside, mummifying a chicken is quite an educational experience for parents and kids alike. Vegetarian and vegan families may choose to mummify another object and still benefit from learning about the process. Hands-on activities like this are wonderful ways to cement in kids’ minds the lessons learned from books and museums. It’s one thing to learn that pharaohs were mummified to preserve their bodies for their next lives, but it’s another thing entirely to see what that actually meant for the physical body.

Our family embarked upon the mummification journey almost four years ago. I documented the whole experience in photos. There are instructions for mummifying chickens on the internet and in several curricula, so I’m only going to give you an overview here. Take my advice and start with a small chicken or a capon. Ours was pretty big and took quite a while to dry out.

We prepared our chicken by washing it thoroughly, rinsing it in wine, and drying it completely. We chose not to preserve the innards in canopic jars like they did with real Egyptians mummies, but that would certainly be a good accompanying project. I was a little skeptical that this would actually work, so it was with trepidation that I watched the boys cover the chicken in its first salt bath. Here’s how it looked after the first salt bath:   12182643523_cd7e5a659d_z

We were all amazed that the chicken didn’t smell as horrible as we thought it would. I was beginning to think this might actually work. The chicken did smell a little bit, so we added some spices to the next salt bath. We repeated this procedure for several weeks. Each time we took the chicken out of the salt bath, my boys were excited to see that he was a little skinnier, and that his color and odor had changed as well. The boys dubbed him King Akhenaten.

12183028576_18946ff19e_z

Eventually, King Akhenaten was ready to be entombed, so we read about how the body was prepared for wrapping in the long strips of linen. We anointed King Akhenaten with oils and made amulets to wrap up in the linens with him. Wrapping was a messy step, but once finished, the chicken looked like a real mummy.

12183018636_6ea6d02ee1_z

The boys made a sarcophagus for King Akhenaten, as well as a pyramid in which to entomb the sarcophagus. We had a funeral procession and burial service. King Akhenaten remained in his pyramid, which was placed in my boys’ room, for three and a half years. Not once did any odor emanate from that pyramid. I stuck my nose up to that pyramid every so often, just to check. I think that was probably the most important lesson we all learned from this whole thing– the ancient Egyptians were pretty clever to figure out what it took to preserve a human body for eternity.

Unfortunately, King Akhenaten was purged from my boys’ room in the last great clean-out.  His pyramid did not withstand the test of time as well as the real Egyptian pyramids have. Despite protests from my sons, I made the decision that it was time for King Akhenaten to find another final resting place. He has been in the next world for about six months now, and I find that I actually miss that chicken.

After giving public school a brief try, Lynne and her two sons have decided they are really more of a homeschooling family.  Her older son is a humorous fellow with high functioning autism, who thrives in a home education environment.  Her younger son is a sensitive soul with a great deal of patience. The boys, Mom, and Dad, along with the two guinea pigs, live in Northeast Ohio.  Lynne holds a Master’s Degree in French Language and Literature.  She is also a Harry Potter fanatic, enjoys line dancing and Zumba, spends hours scrapbooking, and loves organic vegetables.  You can visit her soon to be revitalized blog at http://www.daysofwonderhomeschool.blogspot.com .

How We Made Our Own History Year: Native American Studies

By Caitilin Fiona

648229_59571850

As I was contemplating my son’s fourth grade and my daughter’s third grade history options (they do most of their subjects together, being at basically the same level, though twenty months apart in age), nothing was capturing my fancy. I was not even a little bit excited about studying and teaching through the “history cycle,” though I do think it an excellent organizing principle in general. Somehow, I just couldn’t get my head in the right space for it. At that same time, I happened upon a book at my local library, in the New Titles section. This was The Story of The American Indian, written by Sydney Fletcher. I took it home and spent some time with it, thinking as I did so that it would make an excellent text for a co-op class. Finally, the penny dropped: I could organize my OWN history program, using this book as a text! I dove into planning, head first.

My first stop was the education boards on the Well-Trained Mind Forum, where I read and solicited opinions on which books were suitably unbiased, and at the right level. Taking what I had gleaned there, I moved on to purchasing my books.

First, naturally, I bought The Story of the American Indian, as it was the title that started it all. Of all the books I bought, it is the most challenging to read for an elementary student. I planned to (and did!) read it aloud, for the most part. The other two texts I bought were The Indian Book, a Childcraft Annual book from 1980, and The Real Book About Indians, a 1950s era book for children by Franklin Folsom. These books I supplemented with the picture encyclopedia of First People, by David C. King.

Now that I had all my materials in hand, I had to decide how to divvy them up appropriately for our school year. [A couple of years ago I had switched our school year from the quarter system to a “six weeks on, one week off” system, labeled A through F, so I had to divide up the books both according to region and to sixths.] I divided the school year into eleven subject groups:

–Native American Immigration and Origins

–Southeast Tribal Groups

–Northeast Tribal Groups

–Great Plains Tribal Groups

–Southwest Tribal Groups

–Central and South American Tribal Groups

–Great Basin Tribal Groups

–Pacific Northwest and Plateau Tribal Groups

–California Tribal Groups

–Arctic Tribal Groups

–Caribbean Tribal Groups

I took each book individually and found and labeled the chapters according to which of these sections it would fall into. In none of the books were we able to proceed straight through from beginning to end, but had to jump around, often quite a lot, unfortunately. However, it seemed to me to make the most sense to have the whole year be coherent rather than any single title in itself. In the end, it worked out fairly well, as I made up a schedule where I wrote down the chapters from each book that related to each topic, and the weeks in which each would be studied.

So in section A we studied the Native American immigration and origins and the tribes of the Southeast. Section B was devoted entirely to the tribal groups of the Northeast, while C was dedicated to studying the peoples of the Great Plains. After our Christmas break, we learned about the tribes of the Southwest for all of section D. In E we covered the Central and South American native peoples, as well as those of the Great Basin. The last section was an overview of five different tribal groups: the Pacific Northwest, the Plateau, the California, the Arctic, and the Caribbean.

Clearly, there was a great deal more information on some tribal groups than others, but I was not troubled by this as there is no perfect system for any historical endeavor, and this was merely an elementary level overview.

As we read each new chapter, my children wrote narrations of what they had learned. This exercise gave me new insight into how difficult a skill to acquire this can be, but with perseverance, they improved a great deal.

Caitilin Fiona is a homeschooling mother of six children, ranging from sixteen year old twins down to a five year old. Her particular interests in the homeschool universe include teaching Latin, Shakespeare, and Great Books. Outside of homeschooling, her interests include language and languages, theology, cookery and nutrition, movies, and fooling around, er, researching on the Internet.