EU laws require me to tell you if I have cookies. So many jokes there. I have ads installed, so I suppose I have cookies. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies. Learn more. Sing along.

The Greeks - a review

For centuries, it has been acknowledged that a classical education must include a study of the "Great Books" to be considered a quality education. These Great Books begin with the influences of the ancient world. Great civilizations of the past have formed the foundation of Western Civilization. By studying our past, we improve our understanding of our present and gain a clearer vision of our future.

Roman Roads Media Review
Having no personal instruction in the humanities, I was very excited to receive this generous package from Roman Roads Media, who sent us Old Western Culture: The Greeks. This full-year course consists of four separate "units" and is, "A Christian Approach to the Great Books." The four units in this course are:

Roman Roads Media has created 4 years of material in the Old Western Culture Series. My family is very thankful to have had the chance to review this study on the Greeks. This is a high school level course, intended for grades 8-12. As it deals with primary texts, and we are talking about ancient Greek culture, I do not recommend using it with students younger than 8th grade. While it does approach the topics with a Christian lens, it is more appropriate for mature audiences.

This series contains 4 units which are made up of 16 DVDs with over 20 hours of instruction, 4 Art Guides that correspond with the lessons, 4 workbooks which include Answer Keys, and lots of fabulous online resources. Students will need to purchase the reading material or download the free versions of the texts. Specific publications are recommended, but it is taught with flexibility to allow for the free downloads or other publications.

Roman Roads Media Review
The Greeks is divided into 4 units: 
1. The Epics. Works covered: The Iliad and The Odyssey
2. Drama and Lyric. Works covered: A collection of Greek plays and poetry.
3. The Histories. Works covered: Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon
4. The Philosophers. Works covered: selected readings from Plato and Aristotle.

The Lectures
All of the units are taught by Wes Callihan, who is a master storyteller. This was my first introduction to Callihan, but he apparently has a rich history in classical education, both in teaching, publishing, and speaking. He has a deep knowledge of the material and shares it in such a way that brings each story to life and leaves you hanging on his every word. The lectures are around half an hour each and they are shared from what looks like his study. They are professional, yet inviting.

The Reading
Students will read some amazing literature throughout this year's assignments. The author has carefully studied the available publications and recommends very specific books. They are detailed to purchase independently and available for sale on the website. However the books are also available as free ebooks on the website. These are not the recommended translations, but the author says they are satisfactory.

The Workbooks
Each video lecture is followed by comprehension questions (averaging 5 per lecture) which can be found in the spiral notebook, the downloadable workbook, or the DVD itself. The DVDs list the questions for each lecture and are hyperlinked to the relevant chapter of the lecture where the questions are addressed. If students have trouble remembering answers, they can rewatch that linked section on the DVD. The answer keys are found at the back of the workbooks.

Art Guides
Each Unit includes an Art Guide with its DVD case. These are an optional addition to your studies. They are not required at all, but they are a fabulous addition to the lessons. These Art Guides are also available as free PDF downloads from Roman Roads Media. These are small enough to fit in the DVD case, but are packed full of interesting and relevant material. The Art Guide for The Epics is 21 pages long and contains 18 colorful prints with descriptions.  Drama & Lyric's 21 pages contains 15, The Histories' 21 pages contains 15, and The Philosophers' 17 pages contains 12 works of art. There are excellent lists at the end of each guide, with recommendations for other works to study which correlate with each chapter in the study.

Other Assignments
In addition to the lectures, reading, and comprehension questions, students are also assignment term papers and exams. Each quarter ends with an assignment for a term paper of 750-1200 words. There are several discussion topics provided throughout each quarter's workbook and they are recommended as possible term paper topics. However, students are welcome to come up with their own topics as long as they are relevant to the term's lecture or reading.

The exams are downloaded from the website. Each quarter provides two exams: A and B. These are similar in style and level of difficulty, but have varying content. This gives students a second chance to improve their test score and to reinforce their mastery of the subject.

Roman Roads Media Review
The Lectures:

The Epics
This is the portion we have worked through so far, and where I am able to share the most detail. This quarter begins with a 20 minute Introduction to Old World Culture that you will NOT want to miss. Callihan defines "Great Books" and conveys the importance of a Christian perspective that doesn't replace the education of the past, but deepens our appreciation and understanding of history and the Great Books.

The introduction lists many Christian books of the medieval age that were highly influential, and yet are not on common Great Book lists. For instance, The Golden Legend was the most popular in distribution and copying for 200 years, second only to the Bible. And yet, it is commonly ignored by modern lists. The Venerable Bede's definitive history of England is quoted the world over, but is not on modern lists. It's a fabulous introduction that has students eager to dive into the rich history and literature lessons ahead.

The next lesson provides a backdrop to the Iliad. It begins with a five minute introduction to the outline of the upcoming year and then 15 minutes bringing the Iliad to life. For The Iliad, they recommend Richard Latimore's translation by the University of Chicago Press as it is the more faithful rendering of the story and provides the "feel" of the poem. It also includes numbered lines, to help follow the study. But again, the lectures are flexible for use of other publications or the free download linked on the Roman Roads website.

At the end of this lecture, students are assigned the first 4-5 books of the Iliad. It is recommended that they read aloud, even if it is just mumbling to themselves, so that they can "taste the poem" which was created to be shared orally.

The next week's lecture discusses the first four books of The Iliad. It helps readers to understand that the purpose of the story is explained at the beginning of the book and that everything stems from the Anger of Achilles and the consequences of that anger. It provides relevant details, such as the explanation that Homer never uses the term "Greeks", but instead references the "Achaeans", which is what he knew them as. It also shares perspective on a line in the story that says, "she persuaded the fool's heart within him." The Christian lens that is shared throughout the study helps us recognize that fool's heart within all of us. This lecture assigns books 5-9 of The Iliad, and the following lectures on Homer continue to assign 4-5 books from The Iliad and then The Odyssey each week.

The 9-week quarter ends with a lecture discussing the legacy of Homer in Western Civilization. Truly, Callihan is truly talented and provides a brilliant perspective for readers.

Drama and Lyric
This quarter includes 12 lectures that cover The Tragedies, Comedies, and Minor Poems of Ancient Greece. 7 of the 10 texts from the lecture can be purchased as a Roman Roads Reader packages for $22, which is a significant savings compared to the cost of purchasing all of the books independently. As with the other reading assignments, free ebooks are available, though not in the recommended translations. The first lecture gives a background of the development of Theater. The next gives background for "the Period, the Poets, and the Presentation." Students spend 9 weeks studying the following: Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, The Eumenides, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, The Trojan Women, Medea, The Frogs, The Clouds, Sappho/Pindar/Theocritus, Works and Days, The Fall of Troy, and The Argonautica.

The Philosophers
This quarter includes 12 lectures that discuss The Works of Plato and Aristotle. The first lecture gives an overview of Greek philosophy. After this, students take 4 weeks to work through Plato's works, including:
The Apology, The Crito & Phaedo, The Phaedrus, and The Republic. Next, students spend 4 weeks studying Aristotle's Metaphysics, Ethics, and Poetics. This quarter ends with a lecture on The Lessons of Greek Philosophy.

The Histories
This final quarter includes 12 lectures that discuss Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon. The first lecture gives an overview of Greek History. Students spend 4 weeks on Herodotus, 3 weeks on Thucydides (which is really fun to say), and 2 weeks on Xenophon. The schedule provided in the guide shows an edit to the schedule provided on the DVD.

This is an incredible resource. The DVD collection can be purchased for $224.00, or you can purchase online streaming access for $199.00. The digital art guides, workbooks, exams, etc. are available for free with purchase of either format. You can also purchase the 4 spiral-bound workbooks for $48.00

Be sure to check out the incredible amount of free resources as well as the full Sample Lesson available online. I am certain you will be impressed.

Roman Roads has many other materials available. Be sure to check out the many reviews from the Crew by clicking on the link below.

Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

No comments:

Post a Comment

"Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread." - Victor Hugo