Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Beginning to Learn Greek {A Greek 'n' Stuff Review}

Anyone who knows how lacking in language giftedness I am and how inconsistent I have been in teaching my children anything beyond beginning lessons in any foreign language might wonder why I would opt to try out the 
Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 Set by Greek 'n' Stuff.  I mean, seriously, why would I want to tackle a language that has a different script than English and how on earth would I plan to successfully attempt to teach one - especially at "Level 3"?

Why Did I Choose Level 3 Greek?


Hey, Andrew!Teach Me Some Greek!

Let me explain why I chose Level 3 Greek - which is a two-part answer.

Part One: Years ago, I worked on a cruise ship staffed, in part, by Greek officers.  The family of one of those officers came to spend time on the ship and his then-teenage daughter Betty asked if she could be my pen friend upon returning to Greece.  I told her, sure, as long as she wrote in English, since I knew no Greek.  And there began a decades long friendship, not only with Betty, but also with her mom, who speaks minimal English, and, yet, has become my Facebook friend and who often says hello to my children and me via Facebook comments.

My daughter enjoys my friend's mom's quick hellos to us and thinks it would be neat to learn some Greek in order to write to her in her native language. I do, too.  Thus, our seed of interest in trying out
 Greek 'n' Stuff was planted.

Now, a planted seed is all well and good, but why would I start us off Level 3?  Remember?  I speak no Greek and am anything but language gifted.  Plus, my children have studied a bit of this foreign language and a bit of that, but never Greek.  So, why Level 3?

Simple. I had heard that 
Greek 'n' Stuff's Level 3 Greek curriculum begins with a review of materials taught in Levels 1 and 2 and is a good fit curriculum for beginners in upper elementary grades, which is the age my daughter is at.

How Can a Mom with No Greek Language Skills Teach Greek?

So, now you know why I chose 
Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3. However, you may still be wondering how I - a mom of no Greek language skills - was expecting to teach the curriculum.

To be honest, I wasn't.  Yes, you read that correctly: I did not expect to teach 
Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 and have not really done so.  Instead, I have sat alongside my child as co-learner - not a teacher - with our helpful triple resource of:

  • the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 student worktext  - a 178+ page softcover, spiral-bound workbook that can lay flat for each of use, has generous spaces for writing in answers, and includes a full appendix and flashcards
  • a full answer key - a 178+ page softcover, spiral-bound workbook that mirrors the worktext, but includes complete answer keys as well as pages with a lessons schedule, teaching tips, and more.
  • and a pronunciation CD - a recording of the Greek Alphabet song, pronunciation of new vocabulary, and pronunciation of paradigms, which is indexed to the worktext level and page numbers.

With these curriculum aids, my lack of prior knowledge has not hurt my daughter's learning.  We simply opened the books, used the CD as needed to check pronunciation, and began learning together.

How Did We Progress with Lessons?

The first several lessons are about the Greek alphabet, which, for children who have used Levels 1 and 2 of the curriculum, is a review.  Because we were beginning with Level 3, however, the names and sounds of the Greek alphabet were new to us.  Thus, instead of spending just the suggested two lessons on the first ten pages of the worktext, we spent about eight - taking thing slow but steady, with practice and review on whiteboards.  Likewise, we also did not do all of the suggested lesson three - which included six worktext pages as on lesson.  Instead, we practiced one vocabulary word at a time, extending the lesson.

Because of this slower pace, we have not progressed as far as might be expected in the program so far, but we have progressed far enough to know that my daughter has a better memory for the Greek alphabet than I do and finds the Greek words fun.  She even made up a little dance to help her remember the relatively long Greek word "an-thro-pos" for our English word "man".  It was so cute seeing her dance about the house and yard singing, "AN-thro-pos...AN-thro-pos."  It is equally delightful to know that even though my daughter is still developing with decoding and encoding English, she enjoys foreign languages like Greek and wants to pursue more foreign language learning.

What Did My Daughter Think?

When I asked my daughter what she thought of t
he Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 Set so far, she said:

"I liked learning the Greek. 

Learning the letters was nice and fun.  I like how they show the hands moving on the letters, so you know how to make them.  The Greek letters were fun to write.  The letters were not really that hard to learn, because we went slow and repeated them a lot using white boards.
My favorite word so far was anthropos, which is man.  I made up a little dance movement. 

(I would like to keep learning Greek), because it is fun and I want to be able to have a whole conversation in Greek.  I would like to use this once a week or so."

We will likely do just that, for, although the program is meant to be used more often - and, of course, learning Greek would happen with greater speed and retention if we used the program as written for multiple lessons a week, we tend to flex things around here.  My daughter needs more time with English decoding and encoding, so we'll keep her foreign language learning moving along now, just more slowly than others might.
Straight-Forward Learning

Greek 'n' Stuff

Whether you want to use Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 as an everyday sort of learning tool, a several times a week one (as we've been doing) or as a once-a-week one (which we will likely do henceforth), doing so can be easy.  Lessons are quite straightforward and are taught using the translation method, so Greek words are written in a large font at the beginning of each lesson and, beneath them, are phonetic transcription and meanings.  Then, there are a few activities using target vocabulary (write the word in Greek, draw a picture of the word, match learned words and their English translations, circle correct words, etc.)

Greek 'n' Stuff

 Pages of the book are uncluttered and in black-and-white (which is always a boon for children who struggle with dyslexia, attention, etc.).  The CD offers pronunciation without glitz.  There are no gimmicks (cartoons, catchy tunes, etc.)

Greek 'n' Stuff
Learn More You can find more information about the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! curriculum on the  Greek 'n' Stuff website, where you'll also find a placement test and free downloadable activities.

Greek 'n' Stuff
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Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews}

You can also read 80 Review Crew reviews, featuring several different products from Greek ‘n’ Stuff, which include:
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