Some people that homeschool have a set curriculum that they use and don’t worry about anything else the rest of the year. We are SO on the opposite end of the spectrum from that.. ha! Nothing wrong with either, I just wanted to put that out there. Memoria Press has been a company that I have had my eyes on for a couple years now and I just wasn’t sure where to start, but I always had it in the back of my head. I was given the opportunity to do a review for one of their literature sets and I had a deadline for my answer, so you can bet I answered quickly and with a yes! Being as eclectic as we are in our schooling, I realized that we hadn’t really touched on the Old English and Medieval works as much as I had wanted, so that answered the question of which level to do. We chose the Ninth Grade Literature Guide Set.
I was asked which book we wanted and after looking at the four different titles, decided on Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. I hadn’t read it before and I thought it would be a good fit for us, and not too girly, which some books that we have been reading lately have been. Poor boys, ha! I was so excited to get this box, see what I have been missing the last few years of wanting to use these sets….and I opened to find the WHOLE Ninth Grade Literature Set. All four of the guides! So, along with Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, there is Beowulf, Henry V and Canterbury Tales. Woah. This is a full years worth of studies on wonderful stories!
One of the things that had originally caught my attention about Memoria Press was that you aren’t just reading a book and answering some questions. You are really going through this book, top to bottom, front to back, inside out… I love that! And this had me change my mind on which child I was going to use these guides with! I had originally thought to use it with Kyle, since he will be going into the 9th grade.. But I realized that I should use this with Ryan, even if he was in 11th grade this year. I thought it would really help with some things he needed to knock out before graduating, as well as help him in his college courses he is taking! For the other three titles, I am thinking of ordering extra student guides and working on them as a family!
If you have never looked into Memoria Press before, they really do make it user friendly, in my opinion. The Student and Teacher guides are both pretty much written the exact same, the teacher guide has the answers written in whereas the student guide just has blanks. Everything is on the same page, you don’t have to flip around and try to find the matching page. Ahh… At the beginning of the guides is a step-by-step plan on how to use the study guide with the book. It mentions what to read and when as well as letting you know when it is time to discuss something rather that just having the student fill out their book. There is a lot of discussing, which is awesome, because it gets them thinking and then when they discuss something, it may not be in line with what the teacher guide said and that leads to more discussing!
You can really tailor this into your own style, they give you so many options! With Ryan’s college schedule, we had a slow start to it, but we got into a groove and Spring Break helped with that. It is a hard book to go through! What we found helpful was that I would read it out loud and then he could go back through and read it again himself. Since I hadn’t read it before, this really helped that we could discuss it and I knew what he was talking about!
I will share a quick section about the four stages of the guides.
- Stage 1 is Pre-Grammar/Preparation. Basically just a couple questions that get the student thinking along the lines of the story. It doesn’t take long at all as it is, but you could go into as much detail as you want. This is done before any reading of the story.
- Stage 2 is Grammar/Presentation. I found this extremely helpful because there are so many words that we came across that I didn’t know! It also has reading notes that really help you figure out what is going on as well as learning about different characters. Very helpful!
- Stage 3 is Logic/Dialectic. This is where the student starts putting things together and figuring out the Central One Idea. It uses the Socratic method which gives more questions than answers, and is wonderful for getting your child to think for themselves.
- Stage 4 is Rhetoric/Expression. The plot is generally summarized by the student and it also asks for the Central One Idea. It is wanting them to separate the two things. This section really gets the student defending why they believe the way they do. There is also an essay that your child can do.
Now, for Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, it is broken down into Fits. There are four of them. So each fit has all four Stages. Follow me? And what is great is that all of the guides work the same way, so once you do one, it will be easy to jump right into the next one since you know what to expect. I love when things are easy like that. 😉 So, Canterbury Tales has the Prologue and Three Tales, Henry V is broken down into 5 Acts, and Beowulf is broken down into three parts. They are all done in the same way though, so you know exactly what is coming next.
We have done a couple different things before with the Socratic Method and I find that it is a great way to get my kids thinking of things that they normally wouldn’t think about. I really should do more with it as I want them to question things and figure things out themselves more. I am excited to work on the rest of these books together!!
If you are curious as to what other grade levels hold, feel free to click on the banner below where you can read reviews from almost all of the other grade levels. There really is something for everyone! 🙂