Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Learn about the Famous Men of Greece with Ease and Independence! {A Homeschool Review Crew / Memoria Press Review}

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

If you are looking for a well-written and designed classical history resource Famous Men of Greece by Memoria Press is worth a peek.

I had just been thinking about how I would like to refresh my 11-year-old’s history studies with something self-paced and mostly independent when an opportunity to review products by Memoria Press arose. Thus, I grabbed my son, showed him the options, and he chose the Famous Men of Greece set, a classically-based history resource designed for children in grades 5-6.

Shortly thereafter, we received our review materials - a text, a Student Guide, a Teacher Guide, and flashcards.

All three books are formatted in the same softcover size and are
designed to be open-and-go.

The textbook, written by John H. Haaren and A.B. Poland is broken into 32 chapters which introduce students to the rise, Golden Age, and fall of Greece, by beginning with discussion about Greek Gods and then carrying forth with introducing the lives and minds of thirty famous Greeks to include Aristotle, Ptolemy, Odysseus, and Alexander the Great. Written in an engaging and understandable style - with both black-and-white and full-color images throughout, the text helps student establish a grasp on the faces and places which made Ancient Greece and its impact.

Corresponding to each chapter in the text are workbook pages in the Student Guide which follow a similar pattern chapter by chapter, using the following sections:

  • Facts to Know, which names and defines essential people, places and concepts and, sometimes, lists famous quotes, too
  • Vocabulary, which presents a short list of terms that students will come across in their reading and can note the definitions of
  • Comprehension Questions, which ask for straightforward information from the chapter
  • Activities, which are primarily mapwork

Additionally, the Student Guide contains periodic review pages, which ask students to do such things as define words, name who said specific quotes, describe events, review geography, and recall important people, places, and concepts, thereby encouraging students to review and retain learning from prior chapters.

At the end of the Student Guide there are also pages for Greek Gods and Their Roman names, notable quotes, timelining, drill questions, and maps. Correcting and reviewing the Student Guide is made super simple with the Teacher Guide, which is almost identical to the student workbook, but has the answers typed in the blanks and includes the addition of seven tests, a final exam, and keys for all tests and exams.

The flashcards are well-constructed, traditional cards that can help students with memory and drill work.

How Did We Use Famous Men of Greece?

When our review copy of Famous Men of Greece set came in, I introduced it to my 11-year-old during a 1:1 on our back deck. Together, we tag-read the first chapter and worked through the first pages of the Student Guide. He told me he liked the book. Hoorah!

After that one sitting, my son began to self-pace through the material with me checking in on his progress about once a week. By the time he got to the first Review portion of the Student Guide he had tired of the workbook-style of learning so asked if we could just chat about some of the material, which we did, continuing to use the materials in this way - an easy, effective, mostly-independent approach for my son.

What Does My Son Have to Say about Famous Men of Greece?

When I asked my son for his thought to share in this review, he said:
The Famous Men of Greece is a fun-to-read, independent learning material set. The way it works is that you read a chapter or so of the book and, then, answer questions about what you read.
I like the reading part, but the workbook gets a bit old. It is a lot of writing, which gets repetitive. It does make sure you know what you're reading through. I plan to finish the book and parts of the workbook. I would recommend this to students who like Ancient History or traditional schoolwork and who are in fifth through seventh grades.
Considering my son has picked the text up since I had him give his review thoughts, I would say the materials are a success here.

Would I Recommend This Classical History Resource?

Since Memoria Press offers classical homeschooling materials, if your family follows a classical approach, the Famous Men of Greece set will fit right into your homeschool. The materials, in my opinion, would also be fully appreciated by traditionally-minded homeschoolers who benefit from straightforward, open-and-go, read-and-respond-to-prompts type materials and those who have children that want to move forward with learning independently off screens.

Here, because we tend not to have a traditional, workbook-type learning, the text and Teacher Guide (with its written answers which helped me to easily jump right into discussions/checks of my son's independent work) were our favorite parts of the set.
Overall, I have found Famous Men of Greece to be a well-organized, open-and-go set with opportunities to learn history, improve geography, understand the impact of Greek men of thought, and let students work independently. Thus, I am pleased that we have begun using it and recommend as a worthwhile resource for studying classical history.

Learn More

Classical Christian Education

Over twenty Homeschool Review Crew families reviewed
Famous Men of Greece or other Memoria Press, history, Latin, or math resources. Be sure to click on through to find blog, social media, and video reviews about each family’s experience.

Memoria Press
You might also enjoy browsing our past Memoria Press reviews.

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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pause... and Rejoice

When my daughter and I were chatting while walking on a favorite local trail today after Mass, she asked me something about "in ten years..." 

I laughed while responding, saying that in ten years she could very well be married with children of her own.

Those words made us stop short for a moment.

What? How? I thought to myself as we continued on. What did I just say? How is it possible that my daughter is on the cusp of adulthood already? 

As every parent knows, the days may go slowly, but the years fly by, and, somehow, in the seeming blink of an eye, your baby is all grown up.

You cannot stop time from marching on.

But you can choose to pause.

So, pause I did. 

I listened to my "little" girl share all her thoughts. I stopped at a favorite part of the trail to take silly photos with her.

I rejoiced in the gift of her being my daughter and us having time to spend together.

We rejoiced in the beauty of nature, the bond of mother-and-child, the gifts of this Easter season - which, yes, we chatted about along the trail.

During quiet moments on the trail, I prayed in the quiet of my heart with true joy and thanksgiving. I also prayed, of course, for my daughter's - and my other children's - protection, continued spiritual growth, and future.

It was a simple time, but a special one that I am truly grateful for.

I encourage you this Sunday, next Sunday, or any day in between to take some time to pause with a loved one of your own and rejoice! God is good - and taking time to pause and appreciate the simple gifts He gives us in nature and in one another is good, too.


Sunday, April 17, 2022

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

It amazes me how Christ shines light even in the darkest of places. 

We had a rather Lenty day of Easter Vigil here, but, by evening, were blessed with a beautiful Vigil Mass followed by Coffee and... with fellow parishioners.

We did not have a chance to take a family photo in front of the altar as we have in past years at our old parish, but we did snap one between chatting and eating.

Then, despite getting home after 1 a.m., somebunny was able to hide eggs and fill baskets.

Later,  my earliest riser helped me boil eggs, since we had not had a chance to dye any as we traditionally do on the day before Easter.

She also enjoyed opening her "bed egg" while waiting for her brothers to wake.

Meanwhile I set up our Easter breakfast table with our traditional donut tomb for the risen Jesus. 

Then, finally, the boys arose and the hunt was on!

 Post-hunt and Easter basket time, some of us walked to our local church for Easter morning Mass.

Then, we finally got to doing our Easter eggs.

I am so grateful that even at my children's ages, they will come together with me to do this!

Simple pleasures!

Then, there was cooking and preparing before the extended family festivities, which included an outside Easter egg hunt, feasting, celebrating a birthday, and belatedly celebrating a Christmas pajama stocking exchange since health issues prevented a family Christmas this year.

Truly, it was a day filled with light and love. I am so grateful. 

I pray your Easter season is beautifully blessed.

You can find our Easter archives here.

It was a ble

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Fix It! Grammar Gets the Job Done! {A Grammar-in-15-Minutes-a-Day Review}

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

If you've got a student who needs to bone up on grammar, vocabulary, and writing, but is not an English aficionado, Fix It! Grammar by the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) can help.

My eldest son is not a fan of English these days and needed as pain-free a push as possible to:

  • improve his grasp on grammar.
  • focus on expanding his vocabulary.
  • and encourage him to write legibly and well by hand.

So, when I saw an opportunity for us to review the latest edition of IEW's Fix It! Grammar, Level 5, The Frog Prince, I jumped at the chance.

In the past, an older version of Fix It! Grammar's, Robin Hood had been working well for my son until he lost his copy of the student book, got out of the habit of using the program, and threw his focus into other studies and projects. So, I knew the format of the fourth edition Fix It! Grammar books could work for us if I could just get my son to buy in to putting effort in.

Praise God! I gave enough of a carrot for my son to try The Frog Prince (telling him he could be done with grammar if he finished the book) and the ease and efficiency of the Fix It! Grammar program has been doing the rest.

This Grammar Curriculum Works for My Son!

Here is what my son had to candidly say about his experience with The Frog Prince  so far:

All high schoolers have that one subject they struggle with. For me that is English. I have tried multiple different approaches to studying the subject, few of which have been effective long-term for me. 
When my mother saw the review for IEW’s Fix It! Grammar, The Frog Prince, she decided to accept it. I had no say in the matter, which was probably for the best since I do not like English these days. 
As my mother handed me The Frog Prince, she told me to do it, and I would be done with grammar for high school. So, after some short-lived obstinance, I gave in and started working through the book. 
Even though I was not enthusiastic about working on English, I soon grew to appreciate how little effort I had to put in while still getting effective results. With just about 15 minutes a day, I was improving enough to get my mother off my back about how bad my English skills were, which was a sweet relief. In fact, I would even spend longer on some days just to get ahead. 
It has worked beautifully since Fix It! allows for self-pacing. All I had to do was complete editing a section on my own.


Then, during a 1:1 lesson, my mother would go through and check it. After that, I would copy the piece with correct spelling, grammar, and such. 


I have also learned some interesting vocabulary while using the book, which is a nice thing to be able to flex on my friends. 
Overall, I would say Fix It! Grammar has allowed me to do what I like to do: control my lessons and pace myself. It is easy to use and works well. I would definitely recommend it. 
My only complaint is that the version of The Frog Prince used is not the original, but one obviously adapted for this curriculum. You can not win them all I guess. 
Anyhow, that's all I have for today. Until the next time my mother decides to make me write a review...

As you can see, even though my son is not an English nor a review-writing enthusiast, he can see the merit of IEW's Fix It! Grammar, Level 5, The Frog Prince. What a victory!

Fix It! Grammar's 4th Edition Makes Language Arts Even Easier than Earlier Editions Did!

I like the fourth edition of Fix It! Grammar even more than I liked earlier editions of the program. The new editions have larger fonts, more white space, and more examples on the Learn It pages than prior editions Student Book pages did, which is something I always look for since my second child benefits from white space and larger fonts!

Each "day" of the lessons also has its own page now with a handy checklist at the top, a large-font passage to edit, and lines for rewriting the passage right on the page. This makes the proven method of Fix It! Grammar even more user-friendly for students. (Prior editions, as you can see in the side-by-side picture below, had passages for each day of a lesson week on the same page.)

There are also some fabulously user-friendly features in the new 205-page, lay-flat, spiral bound, softcover 
Student Book design which make it even better:

  • an instruction page.
  • a clear scope and sequence that shows which weeks introduce and reinforce specific concepts
  • a vocabulary chart.
  • a table of contents.
  • teaching pages.
  • pages where students read, maker, fix, and rewrite passages.
  • an appendix with the complete story.
  • appendix pages where students can collect lists of strong verbs, quality adjectives, and -ly adverbs.
  • appendix pages to help identify and review pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, clauses, phrases, and sentence openers.

I liked
 Fix It! Grammar student books before, but now am even more impressed by them!

The 4th edition Teacher Manual is also well-designed. It corresponds page-by-page, lesson-by-lessons with the Student Book and includes everything a parent - or self-correcting student - needs to correct each lesson quickly.  It also includes information for downloading other free resources and contains a full Glossary. So, wh
ether you are an English lover or not, you can easily use the Teacher Manual with success.

In addition, you can get thirty full-color, laminated, Fix It! Grammar Cards, which we also received. These support the Student Book by highlighting key concepts and can be used by students who like flashcards for quick reference, memory, and games. A digital list of games and activities for the cards can be accessed online. 

My son chose not to use the cards, but I have looked them over and plan to use them with my middle child when she is ready for them since she tends to like flashcards and games. They will be a handy, fun tool to use with her.

What I Appreciate about Home Learning with IEW's Fix It! Grammar

IEW's Fix It! Grammar, Level 5, The Frog Prince is a clear win in my home! My son appreciates that it is self-paced, easy, effective, and - as he so bluntly put it - gets me off his back. 

I like that, as Fix It! Grammar always has, the fourth edition works as an off-screen, open-and-go, full-year grammar curriculum that can be done in about 1/4 of an hour a day. I also love the new design of the curriculum which makes it even more user-friendly than prior editions. 

IEW has most certainly taken a good thing - its 
FIX IT! Grammar curriculum - and made it even better with its 4th edition. Whether students re just starting out with grammar or are at higher level, I recommend Fix It! Grammar. With six levels of user-friendly options this homeschool curriculum can help students at varying levels to learn grammar in context, improve editing skills, and transfer grammar and vocabulary concepts to improve writing.

Learn More

You can find our past IEW reviews by browsing here

Also, be sure to click over to the Homeschool Review Crew to find links to current blog, video, and social media reviews from families that have recently been using Levels 1-5 of the six-level Fix It! Grammar program.

You might also want to connect with the 
Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) on social media.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Get A Complimentary Printable Act of Hope Copywork Set

Happy Palm Sunday!

This week, after I posted a complimentary Act of Hope copywork printable, a reader reached out to ask me if I might complete our the Act of Faith and Act of Hope sets I had shared with an Act of Charity one.

I was happy to oblige and, so, today, am sharing forward a complimentary Act of Charity copywork printable for her, her children who are working on
 memorizing it for Confirmation preparation, and anyone else who might be blessed by it.

As with most of my free copywork sets, the Act of Charity copywork set includes a cursive model:

A print model:

And a blank line sheet:

That way, your children can choose to practice their printing, cursive, or both as they work to memorize this prayer.

Also, as usual, to help children who have difficulty with "grounding" their letters when writing, there is a double thick line at the bottom of each line on the blank sheet, and, for those who often forget to space their words, there are spaces between words on the model as a visual reminder.

I pray that this simple Act of Charity copywork set blesses your and yours.

If you have other requests, jut let me know.

You can find more free, printable prayer copywork here!

May our Lord continually to build within each of is the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Connect Faith to Algebra 1 {A Homeschool Math Curriculum Review}

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

When you think about Algebra textbooks, words like "faith-based" and "Biblical principles" don't often come to mind. Homeschool mom and math lover Mary Carroll sought to change that with her His Vessel Textbooks – Algebra I - an 11-unit, 64-lesson, hardcover curriculum book that weaves faith into math.

When my family was offered an opportunity to review His Vessel Textbooks – Algebra I, I was curious about how faith would be woven into its lessons, so spoke with my daughter about trying it out. She agreed, and, since we received our review copy, we've been slowly moving through it during portions of our 1:1 time.

In doing so, I have come to appreciate the time, effort, and God-loving thought that Mary Carroll put into creating this math curriculum. His Vessel Algebra 1 is organized logically and contains a number of unique  faith-connected features per unit woven in with more traditional straight-up math ones.

Features include "A God Moment" sections at the start of each lesson. These "moments" have a scripture and short devotional-type paragraph that explains math concepts in connection to Biblical principles.

Next, there are "Objectives for This Lesson", which are written as "I Can..." statements and outline what you will learn in the lesson. 

Then, there are "Vocabulary Terms", which come in handy for looking back at as the lessons progress.

After that come explanations, examples, "You Try" sections, and "Practice Problems". The examples are all worked out so you can follow along with them. The "You Try" problems require you to work them out on your own. Answers (not solutions) to them are given at the end of each unit.

Then, Practice Problems, of course, must be worked out on your own and answers to the odd ones can be found at the back of the book.

Sprinkled throughout the text are  "Helpful Hints" and "Make It Clear" boxes which give you ideas for remembering things and/or clarify concepts.

There are also "Family Activity" sections that suggest fun activities that aim to make math concepts more enjoyable. 

Finally, at the end of each unit, there are optional "Expressions Projects" which offer challenge ideas such as figuring how much Nebuchadnezzar's statue weighed or calculating descendants of a Biblical character.

My Daughters Thoughts about His Vessel Algebra 1

Here is what my daughter had to say about her experience with the textbook so far:

When my mother asked me if I wanted to review His Vessel Algebra 1 I wasn't completely sure, because my math skills are kind of all over the place. However, I decided to review it, thinking that maybe it would help me to improve my math skills. After making this decision, I was very excited about when the text would come in.

His Vessel Algebra 1 is quite thick, however, it is surprisingly light, which I liked. Another thing that I liked about the book is that the pages have plenty of white space; I've never liked books that are crowded on each page.

One of the setbacks I have had with His Vessel Algebra is that I am not able to use the textbook completely by myself. Explanations and examples in it are not written in a way that I can easily follow, so I had to ask my mother for help and ended up using the book with her during 1:1 study time. It has been a slow process.

I don't think His Vessel Algebra 1 is a bad book. In fact, I think that for some people it would be perfectly fine; they would be able to understand it. I just tend to take a bit more explaining to understand things, especially in math, and found that His Vessel was not as good at explaining things as some other programs I've used.

I would recommend His Vessel to someone who is willing to help their child with it. I would also have to say that if a parent wanted to make sure that all a child’s answers are right, the parent would have to go through and do some problems, because the back of the book does not give all the answers.


Overall I think His Vessel Algebra 1 has its pros and its cons, but I believe that it could be helpful for certain individuals. 

So, as you can see the curriculum has not been a total success with my daughter, but she can still find good in it, and I can, too.

My Thoughts on His Vessel Algebra 1

For students that head into His Vessel Algebra 1 without prior "holes" in their math, I think the text would easily carry them through Algebra 1 while helping them find connections between math concepts and faith. 

For students like my daughter who struggle with math, some hand-holding might be necessary.

I am not sure if we will continue to use the text with my daughter right now, because it is just going too slowly for her which is discouraging, but I will be saving it to use with her younger brother in years to come.

More Coming!

His Vessel Algebra I is currently the only text available from Mary Carroll, but she is drafting more books using her unique Biblical approach. She has plans to release a Geometry book in the fall of 2022 and Pre-Algebra, Algebra II, and Elementary Math in the future. She is also planning to offer a separate answer key for Algebra I in the summer of 2022.

Some Families Love It!

Some of the Homeschool Review Crew families who tried His Vessel loved it. To read what they appreciated most about it, click over to the Homeschool Review Crew to find links to their blog and Instagram reviews.


You might also want connect with Mary Carroll and His Vessel Textbooks on social media.

His Vessel Textbooks Algebra 1

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