Saturday, January 24, 2009

Curriculum Review: Famous Men of Modern Times

Memoria Press was gracious enough to send me a complimentary set of the Famous Men of Modern Times to review and I am thrilled! I thought that I would incorporate it into our studies this spring but there is no way. This set is just to rich and full to rush through. It's on the docket for next fall and when we get there I want to savor and enjoy every minute of it.

The set comes with 3 books: the Famous Men of Modern Times Text, the Teacher's Guide and the Student Guide. All of these are soft bound.

The text is 165 pages long. Thirty-three famous men are written about in narrative form with portraits and famous scenes, some of which are in gorgeous, full color, 2-page layouts. All of the usual suspects are included, beginning with Lorenzo the Magnificent, followed by Columbus and ending with Count von Bismark. You'll be familiar with many of the men included and, unless you are a true history geek, you'll learn about less familiar world changers, such as Chevalier Bayard, Suleiman the Magnificent and Thaddeus Koschiusko. Every self-respecting library should include this on its shelves. It would be an excellent stand-alone text to read in correspondence with other studies, however, I'd suggest you indulge and get the Teacher's Guide to go with.

The Teacher's Guide is 192 humble pages, loaded with good stuff. There are 33 lessons, broken down into groups of 5 or 6 with a review lesson and maps at the end of each section. Appendix's include: Who Said That? Worksheet, Timeline, Copybook passages, Activities Section, Writing Prompts, Tests and a Final Exam.

Each lesson is comprised of the following 5 sections: Facts to Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, Activities, Appendix, and Tests.
Facts to Know highlights the most important aspect of the men's lives. For those of us who stress memory work, this section makes it easy.
The vocabulary section goes over the rich and advanced vocabulary included in the Famous Men of Modern Times text.
Comprehension Questions have been gleaned from the text in order "to direct students to identify the virtues and follies of the principal characters."
Activities include time lines, family trees, maps, discussion questions, research and writing prompts. Lots of thought provoking and fun ideas included here!
The Appendix contains a quotation worksheet, timeline and maps, including a modern geography reference. Poetry, speeches and documents needed to complete the activities are included (bonus!), and writing prompts are in here as well.

Tests for each unit as well as a comprehensive final exam is included, which consists of 100 drill questions. Drill questions can be used throughout the year as oral drill to encourage long-term retention for the major events, people and dates that are relevant.

The Student Guide follows the Teacher's Guide. There is a review lesson at the end of each five or six lessons, complete with detailed maps and a drawing page. Towards the end of the book there is a detailed timeline and copywork passages that include famous poetry and speeches such as the Gettysburg Address and the Prayer of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson before the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Those of you who have used Memoria Press' Christian Studies will be familiar with the layout. The text would be an excellent read-aloud for children as young as Kindergarten or any lapsitters present. Recommended as a course for students for mid to upper elementary through high school. Another excellent product from Memoria Press.
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Adam said...

I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the excellent review!