Thursday, May 19, 2016

A TOS Review: D'Aulaires' Greek Myths

When I was young bookworm (as opposed to the old bookworm I am now) we had a huge library of books at home. One of those books was D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. The stories of narcissistic gods and creepy creatures fascinated me. It can be expected that when I got into high school and discovered that there was an actual Greek Mythological elective, I was over the moon! Needless to say…I nailed that class. I only wish I could say the same for Chemistry. And who remembers the old Clash of the Titan’s movie?

A few months ago, we reviewed an excellent set of Literature Guides from Memoria Press. They have been really good to The Crew this year. We just finished up another review from Memoria Press. This time, you’ve guessed it, we got to review D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths .

Memoria Press is a classical education company. They offer a plethora of great products geared for the classical homeschool family or private school. We’ve been able to review some great stuff before, but I have to say that this has been one of my favorites. 

The D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths Set comes with a Student Guide, Teacher’s Guide, flashcards and the D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths book itself.  It is intended for grades 3-6, but because Josiah is dyslexic I felt that this would be something he and I could tackle together. He is in 8th grade and managed just fine.

The D’Aulaires’ Book is big and beautiful. It also contains lovely illustrations. I could have used some of those illustrations when I read Homer in college.

The Student Guide contains 25 lessons with 5 review lessons in between. Instead of being divided into chapters the lessons cover certain pages in the D’Aulaires’ Book. I felt like the lessons were very well paced. The Student Guide is divided up onto a few sections.

Facts to Know: These are the names and places that will be introduced during the reading.

Vocabulary: Self-explanatory, except that the word is presented in context. There is a space to write the correct definition.

Comprehension Questions: These are just questions about the reading. There are generally about 5-10.

Activities: These vary. The student might be asked questions about the illustrations. They might be asked to think a little deeper. There are also references to Scripture, etc.  One of the fun sections in the book is a pronunciation guide in the back.

Of course, the Teacher’s Guide contains all the answers. Plus, there are a few suggestions to help you on your way.

As always, Memoria Press has done an excellent and thorough job of putting it all together.

How We Used It and What I Thought

This was one of the favorite subjects during the course of the review. Josiah and I would sit on the couch and read through our assigned reading for the day.

I want to share with you a few of the activities.

One of the stories Josiah enjoyed was the one about Arachne. It goes like this. Athena was the goddess of wisdom. She was also her father’s, Zeus, favorite. Which was rather odd considering she sprang from her father’s head wearing a full armor. Ouch! Only in Greek mythology.

Athena was also a great artisan and nurtured the arts in Greece. One of her pupils was a young country girl named Arachne. She was a beautiful weaver. She was also a bit of a braggart and boasted to everyone who would listen that Athena had taught her nothing.

Athena disguised herself as a young woman and approached Arachne and “tried to talk some sense into her.” Arachne apparently lacked sense and continued to crow about her own gifts…neglecting to mention the mentorship of Athena. Athena angrily threw off her disguise and challenged Arachne to a weaving throw-down.

And Arachne threw it down! She created a glorious and perfect masterpiece. Sadly, Arachne should have spent some time weaving herself a little humility. She had woven a very scandalous and irreverent picture of Zeus and his wives.

Athena (aka Daddy’s Girl) wasn’t haven’t it. She turned Arachne into a spider. Arachne’s doom was to weave an empty net forever.

The irony of Josiah’s love for this story is that he is extremely scared of spiders. In fact, it is how I have manipulated him all these years. “Josiah! You better get that room cleaned. You don’t want spiders to take up residence!” I have no shame.

Of course, D’Aulaires’ tells the story much more beautifully that I have.

This story was just a part of a few stories we had to read for a particular lesson.  But for this story, Josiah had to define the words loom, irreverent and vainglorious. He was also asked why Arachne was turned into a spider.

One of the more interesting assignments was discussing an illustration of the infamous tapestry and Arachne (post transformation).  We also looked up and discussed arachnid and arachnophobia.

This is really a fun study. I think it could be used as an independent study for some students. If your child struggles with reading and writing it still can be used successfully.  You will just need to be more involved.

We both thoroughly enjoyed this product.

There are samples of the product you can download on the Memoria Press site. You can connect with Memoria Press via the following social media outlets. Don’t forget to click on the banner to read more reviews. 

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

1 comment:

  1. My daughter has read this book, and she too has a fascination with the Greek myths.


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