My children have very active imaginations, and they are often impressed with mythology from other cultures. When we received our review copy of the classical education curriculum covering D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths from Memoria Press, the kids weren’t sure what to expect, but they were excited!
We received the full D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths Set, which included the beautifully illustrated 192 page soft cover copy of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. The set also came with the D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths Teacher Guide and Student Guide, as well as a packet of Flashcards.
This curriculum is intended for students in grades 3-6, so upper elementary. It is definitely produced using the Classical Education model, so it focuses a lot on vocabulary, comprehension, memorization of facts, mapwork, and predictable layout of each lesson, review, and test. This really tests students’ higher order of thinking skills and abilities and is pretty advanced, in my opinion.
I think that you could easily use this curriculum with older students, at least through middle school. For the older students, I would likely use this as more independent work for them and assign them compositions to go alongside the work presented in the Student Guide.
If you are working on this with more than one student, you will want to pick up and extra Student Guide for any additional students. This would give a good place for each person to be able to answer the questions, although the reading and flashcard work could be done together.
The Teacher Guide is slightly longer than the Student Guide. Both are easy to use softcover books with an easy-to-follow format. Both of them include a few pages explaining why Greek Mythology should be studied and how to use the guide. The Teacher Guide contains the exact same information (with answers, of course) as the Student Guide for the first 108 pages. This includes a total of 30 lessons (25 regular lessons and 5 review lessons), 110 Drill Questions (listed as 100 in the Table of Contents, 110 in the actual title in the back, and contains 107 different questions), Greek Myth Lists, Maps, and a Pronunciation Guide (we found this SO helpful!).
There must have been some changes in this edition that didn’t get changed in the table of contents and throughout some of the lessons, because the page numbers didn’t exactly correspond correctly. For example, the Greek Myths Lists was referred to as on page 97 throughout the book, but it was actually on page 103. However, it was easy enough to find what we needed easily.
After the first 108 pages, there are Tests, which are immediately followed by the Test Key. You could make a copy of the test for your student to give to them and then grade it using the key.
The format of both of the books makes it easy to understand what you should be doing. For example, on Lesson 5, it tells you at the top of the page (of either Guide) which pages it corresponds to in the D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, which happens to be 30-37 for this lesson. It also mentions the people or topic that will be studied. For this lesson, we focused on Aphrodite, Ares, and Athena.
Our family would read the assigned pages together, taking time to really look at the illustrations and try to understand the story before we even started to work on anything in the Student Guide. I worked on this primarily with my 3rd grade son, and we did one lesson a week during this review period.
Once we had a feel for the story, I would have my 3rd grade son look over the Facts to Know section. For this lesson, it included a lot of information, including characters such as Eros, Area, Metis, and Nike, as well as the place Athens, among other important terms and people. Next to each one, it listed information. For example, for Eros, it said, “Aphrodiet’s son, also known as Cupid.” This is all we would do on the first day.
On the second day, we would reread the passage again. Then, we would go over the Vocabulary section of the Student Guide. For this exercise, we would locate the word in the reading for that lesson first. I would ask him to try and come up with a definition based on the context clues in the passage. Once we had talked about that, he would either write it down if he was right, or we would look it up in the dictionary. I wouldn’t just let him copy from the dictionary, though. I would discuss synonyms of it and other words similar to the vocabulary word to really help him paint a mental picture of the terms being discovered.
On the third day, we read the passage again and then started answering the Comprehension Questions in the Student Guide. I did allow my son to do some of this orally, as I’d rather he give me the correct answer and show me his comprehension than simply spend hours writing. He has good handwriting, but his desire to be concise really drags the whole process out much longer than you would expect.
Anyway, I would have him answer these questions for me. Sometimes, he would need to reread portions of the book to be able to come up with the answer. I encouraged that, because I’m certainly of the school of thought that it’s very important to know how to find your answer when it isn’t totally memorized quite yet.
Finally, on the fourth day, we did the Activities section of the Student Guide. As usual, we did read the passage again first to keep it fresh on his mind before beginning. This section has several different activities. For Lesson 5, it had my son doing some map work and identifying places. It also had him adding information to some lists in the back of the Student Guide.
I like the Greek Myths Lists page because it gives students a place to tie together all of the Greek myths in one place. There are lists of: heroes hidden in youth, sisters, fifty sisters, mortals punished for hubris, and unusual punishments in Hades. This allows them to see themes emerge throughout multiple myths, which is really cool!
After every 5 lessons, there is a review lesson. This lesson reviews the previous 5 lessons, including vocabulary, characters, places and mapwork, and more. It is pretty intense, so I took it slow and worked on it with my son. I allowed it to be an open book review once he had an opportunity to try and remember it himself.
The set also came with flashcards. The information on these flashcards correspond with the 110 Drill Questions for Greek Mythology, which can be found on pages 100-102 in both the Teacher Guide and Student Guide. We didn’t utilize these much because my son had trouble with them, mainly because the wording on them is a tad different than the wording used when each person, place, or concept was introduced in the lesson pages. We would have liked the flashcards to contain the same wording to make it more uniform throughout, but I think this would be a great tool for older students to drill their Greek Myths facts.
Each flashcard is numbered so you know exactly which lesson it corresponds to, as well. I loved that, because it made it easy to look back and find out what we had already studied about this information, as well as where we could read about it in the Greek myths book itself.
Overall, I really do like this curriculum. It is very thorough and was kind of tough for my 3rd grader. In hindsight, I should have done it with my 5th grader instead, and just let my 3rd grader join in with the reading and possibly the flashcards with her so he could “test” his knowledge, too, without doing the Student Guide.
I love the amount of vocabulary introduced in this curriculum. It certainly makes you stop and appreciate the detailed descriptions and wealth of information that were shared by simply looking at and looking up the words chosen to convey the stories. We learned a lot as a family just through reading, but my son has really benefited from the Student Guide work over the past few weeks. He’s been truly working on his critical thinking and comprehension through this, which has actually translated over into other subjects as well.
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