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This post,Ancient Rome History Made Easy with Classical Education Approach, was made possible with the chance to review The Book of the Ancient Romans Set from Memoria Press as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
This past year had my 9th grader working through ancient history including ancient Rome. For his program, he was reading original sources (e.g. Livy) which can be a challenge for a slightly younger student to digest. My rising 7th grader enjoys history and volunteered to review The Book of the Ancient Romans Set from Memoria Press. This set is geared specifically for middle school students like him using the writings of Dorothy Mills as the basis of their studies.
Learning about Ancient Rome ~ What is Included in The Book of the Ancient Romans Set
The Book of the Ancient Romans Set provides you with a reprint of the book written by Dorothy Mills in the 1920s. The reprint includes illustrations added to the text to help bring it to life. Additionally, you receive a student workbook and teacher guide. The student workbook breaks the material up into a one year schedule. The teacher guide contains answers to the student workbook as well as unit tests which can be given after the student has completed the section review. (Note ~ you can find sample pages as well as the table of contents on the product page.)
The book begins with the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus and progresses through the rise of Rome as a world power and its ultimate fall. As you read through Ms. Mills’ writings, you will see footnotes indicating her source material. Livy, a Roman historian, is one of the more frequently cited authors although there are others such as Virgil, Horace and Plutarch. While the writing is very factual like a traditional textbook, the author is trying to paint a picture of Roman life for a given point in time with the text written for a younger student of history to understand.
The student workbook has a set format which provides some formal structure to learning for the student. In total, there are 26 lessons which are grouped into 5 units. Each lesson has reading from the text required which can be anywhere from a few pages to around 50 pages. What is missing is a suggested schedule leaving the homeschool parent to decide whether to have a child complete one lesson per week or evaluate the pace based on the length of reading required.
For each lesson, the workbook has facts to know (which sometimes includes a quote), vocabulary words to look up, comprehension questions and activities to do. In the first lesson, the activity is to create a timeline. This doesn’t mean to have a fully developed timeline, but rather the physical structure as each subsequent lesson has a suggested event or events to add to it.
For the review pages of the workbook, the student is has a few components to complete. They match a vocabulary term to a description (fill in the blank style), name a specific person, place or thing which was important for that given time period, determine who said a particular quote, and identify places on a simple map.
Learning about Ancient Rome ~ How We Have Used the Materials in Our Home
My rising 7th grade son is rather independent of a worker. So, I gave him the materials to run with as well as reminding him to grab a dictionary for the vocabulary section. It has also been a chance for us to see how a transition back to homeschooling for most of his subjects will be received.
The text has not been too challenging for him to comprehend which helps to keep him motivated to work. If anything, it can help wet a reader’s appetite to learn more about those time periods which could involve digging into writings by historians who lived during the time of the Roman empire.
Where I encountered a challenge in his working through the material was the completion of the comprehension questions. This particular son expressed concern over writing a response in the book which might be incorrect. He isn’t my first son to have a bit of perfectionist tendencies manifest like this. What I’ve found is that sometimes talking about his response first will help him be confident in putting it into writing on a page.
Overall, we found this to be a good resource for middle school students learning about ancient Rome. Everything is presented in a straight forward manner and student work is easily evaluated using the teacher’s guide. I could see this being done in a semester for a highly motivated student or used as a base for history studies with other materials (books or documentaries) to further flesh out the learning experience.
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Classical Education in Latin and Ancient Rome (Memoria Press Review) post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.