Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Learning Greek...

When I began homeschooling, I read The Well-Trained Mind and found it's ideas of classical education very appealing.  I attempted to follow this model for two years, but found that it didn't work for my oldest daughter.  I had to step back and rethink how I was going to approach homeschooling if she and I were going to survive this journey!  In that process, I found that I am more of a standards based homeschooler who loves textbooks, because they help keep me on track and hold me accountable.  I have so many things going on in my head and in my life.  Having textbooks help my children know what to do next and works for us because I have very little time to plan lessons.

Not following a classical model of education means many things.  One of them is that I don't intentionally teach my children latin or Greek.  But, I am in a position with a local group now in which I advise several families who do follow the classical model.  I like to be aware of different curriculums that they might use and how those curriculums work.

I have a couple of books that follow this model that I'm going to be reviewing.  The first are a pair of books on teaching Greek.  Harvey Bluedorn, who's sons wrote the well known book The Fallacy Detective, wrote A Greek Alphabetarion:  A Primer for Teaching How to Read, Write, and Pronounce Ancient and Biblical Greek along with A Greek Hupogrammon:  A beginner's copybooks for the Greek Alphabet with Pronunciations.

Greek has always been a puzzle to me, a mystery that I didn't know how to decipher.  Like any language that one attempts to learn in addition to one's native tongue, learning Greek starts with learning the letters--how to pronounce them, memorizing their shapes, and learning how to write them.  The Greek Alphabetarion gives some vague directions on how to study the letters, but they are a little too vague for my liking.  This is where the Hupogrammon comes in.  I am very glad that the author wrote this second book with exercises for how to study the letters.  This book is well formatted and easy to navigate.  It walks the student through each letter and gives exercises which are simple and clear.  Together the two books make a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but alone they just aren't the same.

If I were learning Greek, I would consider this curriculum.  I have watched my husband teach two homeschooled high schoolers for the past two years.  He began with the alphabet of the language he was teaching, which took them quite some time, because it was completely foreign to their English letters.  So, I know that starting with the letters in this way is a good way to start with Greek.

I would recommend this curriculum to middle and high school students.  The workbook pages have large letters--so it would also be possible for a younger child to use the workbook if they have the propensity to do so.  The formatting of both books make these books much easier to use than many books I've seen.  The size of the font of a book can make a book daunting to a student if it is very small.

My only caveat is that you need to buy both books.  In the first book, Mr. Bluedorn writes about how to use the book and says that students/teachers must create exercises to go with the letters.  I would liken this approach to what I read in the first grade Horizons mathematics curriculum years ago when I read that I should "Teach the clock."  My mind spun--"How?  How do I teach the clock?"  I see Greek in the same way.  When a parent is unfamiliar with the language but desires to teach the material, more specific directions are needed--and that is where the second book comes in handy.  If you are interested in seeing a preview of these two books, you can find one on CBD.  Both Amazon and CBD sell these books, but a preview is only available on CBD.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of these two books from Trivium Pursuit for review, but these opinions are my own.

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