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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Roman Roads Media- Old Western Culture : The Greeks- Review

Roman Roads Media Review

Roman Roads Media  Shares a Classical approach , using a Christian perspective to you child's education. The Old Western Culture : The Greeks 

  Which Includes:

Greeks: The Epics

Greeks : Drama and Lyrics

Greeks: The Histories

Greeks: The Philosophers

A total of 16 DVD's, PDF Student Workbooks that accompanies each of the four Greeks, Guide to the Arts for each unit,  a Teacher's Edition, Course Guide for each Unit and 17 different PDF texts.

 I received the course as a digital download product with self- paced online streaming. I also received one DVD the Greeks: Drama and Lyrics to view as an additional gift. The DVD is not a part of the digital self streaming product or pricing. The DVD full curriculum is $224. and the Self paced is $199. Hard copies of the workbooks and texts are available as add on for the DVD version. However it is included as downloads with the digital version. The Greeks are geared toward students who are 14+ years of age.

Roman Roads Media Review

"Old Western Culture" is an Integrated Humanities Curriculum. The term coined by C.S Lewis to describe the ideas of the Western Civilization. This Curriculum brings together literature, history, philosophy, doctrine, geography and Art. The Great Books of the time period educated our forefathers.  The Course is predominately a video course. Year 1 Begins with the Old Western Cultures and Contains 12 video lessons. (48 in year 1, approximately 30 Minutes each)

In year one you will cover 4 Units-

1. The Epics- Iliad and The Odyssey

2. Drama and Lyrics- Greek plays and Poetry

3. The Histories- Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon

4. The Philosophers- Readings from Plato and Aristotle

The Epics
My oldest daughter and I decided to try out Roman Roads Together. Princess is 17 years of age and a Senior in High School this year. As a student my daughter can receive one credit of Literature and one of Social studies. (double credits)   Her mother is well you will just have to guess my age. (wink)  I have this great love for literature so I was more excited than her to follow along. We originally had our eye on Drama and Lyrics but when the course came we agreed it was probably best to start at the Epics and work our way through the course as indicated in the online screen. However you can go out of order if you like by simply clicking the area you would like to work on. However I did note that it would often take me back to the beginning when I reloaded the screen each time which is partly why we choose to start from the beginning. It just made it easier for navigation. Even before the Epics you are instructed on how the course is going to work. You are given download access to various works of literature and are schooled a bit on text and translation. You are given the name of the book that has the best translation however you still have the option of the text provided. This text can be viewed on your computer or loaded onto a Kindle. Personally I often find PDF text not as easy to read on my kindle so I kept it on our PC.

Roman Roads simplifies things by giving you a general guide to follow through a 9 week Schedule. This I liked so much. I'm a schedule type of person so This made sense to me. Although at the beginning of the course my daughter and I did the 1st two lectures in one sitting and then moved on from there. You can adjust accordingly.

See an example of the Epics schedule below... 

As I mentioned above there are 12 lessons. Each represented by a box on your screen . You  click on a drop down box and then your assignments appear for that particular lessons. Before you even click it that drop down box you can see how many assignments are in that particular lesson. Each lesson took us about 30 minutes to view and another 15 or so on the questions from the workbook.  Here are a list of the lessons represented.

     1. Introduction to Old Western Culture
2. The Backdrop to the Iliad.
3. The Anger of Achilleus. (Iliad I-IV)
4. The First Critical Turning Point. (Iliad V-IX)
5. The Deception of Zeus. (Iliad X-XV)
6. The Second Critical Turning Point. (Iliad XVI-XXI)
7. The Death of Hektor. (Iliad XXII-XXIV)
8. The Telemachy. (Odyssey I-IV)
9. The Court of Alkinoös. (Odyssey V-VIII)
10. Odysseus Tells of his Wanderings. (Odyssey IX-XII)
11. The Homescoming of Odysseus & The Judgement of the Suitors. (Odyssey XIII-XXIV)
       12. The Legacy of Homer in Western Civilization.
The lectures are on Video and are by Wes Calliahan. You meet Wes in a library of sorts surrounding as he weaves the tales of the Old world. You can tell as he talks that he really has a passion for great literature and knows what he is talking about.  I often sat with a notebook and jotted down things that I wanted to look up later or possibly listen for the next time around. There is so much information in these lectures that it is helpful if you listen to them more than one time. I have windows 8.1 and was able to stream them on my laptop . It worked as well in apps. I do have a higher WiFi connect as we often run 4-6 electronic devices at a time at various times
so obviously we had no issue streaming the videos.  

Throughout the videos you are often introduced to various vocabulary. At times the vocab and their definitions appear at the side , bottom or top of the screen with their definitions attached within a grey box. These are good times to have your teen jot them in a notebook. With it being on  video you can pause it and get all the information that you need. I later printed maps to add to our notes and we colored and marked areas that were discussed. You are also taken down the timeline as well. All good things for a notebook. This was not part of the curriculum but that is how my daughter learns best by taking writing things down. It was a nice addition to the study.

The Screen below is an example of what you might learn on these videos .Wes shares with us the Greek Language from the Iliad. Very interesting to hear. As he read the words they were highlighted so we could follow along. The purpose of this activity was to help the children hear the rhythm of the writing.

This is another example of what you will see on the videos. This particular one was on the Beginnings of the Iliad. Wes shares with us that the Iliad was created during the dark ages when literacy was the last thing on the peoples minds. He later goes on to set us up for the beginning of our reading. By sharing with us a bit of Greek Mythology and about the Trojan War. The stories are captivating and kept both of our interests. 

It worked best for us to print out the workbook pages and try to fill out as much as we could after the video. If we missed anything we would play it back again and listen for the questions that we missed. Below is an example of some of the pages. There are also discussion questions and other resources if your teen would like to dig deeper. If you struggle with any of the questions the teacher guide provides the answers. Once we completed this we added it to the notebook we started. 

To move on from the videos we would simply click next and it would take us chronologically through the lesson. After the video there was often an Assessment of about 10 questions. They were usually questions from the student workbook pages.  You would just click the circle in front of the correct answer and click submit. After you completed the Assessment you were able to go back in and see which questions you had correct and which ones you missed. If my daughter missed any we would go back and see if we could locate the answers on her student pages or in the video.


By the way Homer lived in Ionia, which is modern day Turkey.

The next part of the lesson was reading the "Great Work" In this case the Iliad and later the Odyssey. The reading could be difficult to understand at times but Wes suggested that we read with the rhythm. He also suggests you read using the punctuation. This seems obvious but with poetry people often stop at the end of a line and should follow the correct punctuation for breaks. Another tip was to read it aloud, which  really worked well when trying to understand the text. It just sort of fell together after awhile and you could picture what was going on although you may not understand ever word.

Another Add on of the curriculum is a PDF file of various art relating to the story and time period. We are an art family so it was so wonderful to me to have this included .

This is not considered an art course but you the parent could dig deeper with this and make it an add on to the existing curriculum. There are 100 examples of art throughout the course. The art with in the video course is not talked about as you go through but there is an art PDF that touches on some of the important paintings and explains some background and history.
*Note occasionally some of this art contains nudity.

At the end of each Unit your child will have an exam to take. There are two options to the exam. You will first take Exam A but if your child does not get a 90% or higher you can review the material and when you are ready  you can take Exam B.  Once your child has their set grade you will be able to print out the Roman Roads report card and write in the grade.

The Greeks : Drama and Lyrics
I was also given a DVD course to try out. This particular one was on Drama and Lyrics.  I tried to watch this on my laptop and was unable to preview it in this way. You will more than likely need a DVD player. My son has one up in his room. This wasn't ideal for us but it was easy to move it to a general location for our studies.

What was included was 4 DVD's and a small booklet that has the schedule and art inside. The booklet comes inside the DVD Case.

Roman Roads Media Review

The Greeks cover the beginning of drama , comedies and tragedies. This course includes lectures on Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides and Aristophanes. As well as Greek Lyric poetry of Pindar, Sappho and Quintus of Smyrna. There is also a lecture on the poetry of Hesiod as a compliment to the Epics. Below is the title of each unit provided. 1 - Background of Greek Drama: Development of Theater
2 - Background of Greek Drama: The Period, the Poets, and the Presentation
3 - Aeschylus' Oresteia: The Agamemnon
      4 - Aeschylus' Oresteia: The Libation-bearers and The Eumenides
     5 - Sophocles' Oedipus the King
     6 - Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus
    7 - Euripides' Medea and Trojan Women
      8 - Aristophanes' The Frogs and The Clouds  
9 - Lyric Poetry: Sappho and Pindar, and Theocritus    
10 - Lyric Poetry: Hesiod
11 - Lesser Epics: Quintus of Smyrna, The Fall of Troy 
12 - Lesser Epics: Apollonius of Rhodes, The Argonautica

The course is set up similar to the Epics . Your child will view a lecture, Complete assignments and answer questions related to the lectures. Drama and Lyrics does have a variety of poets and playwrights available for each unit. Roman Roads has published a reader that includes 7 of the 10 authors. This reading will save you the time of searching for all the books on the authors. Although if you enjoy the readings you might want to search for them anyway. The reader is available in Paper back , Kindle (available soon)  and iBooks. The Ebook is included with the DVD.

Greeks : The HistoriesIn this section students will be introduced to history's  of three influential historians. Students will learn about ...

Herodotus- "The Father of History"
They will read the Histories, and about the beginning of the Greco-Persian Wars. As well as Thucydides' History into the origin of the Greco -Persian War and political philosophy. Last they will read Xenophon's Anabasis which chronicles the march of ten thousand Greek soldiers through their journey home through enemy territory. This account is read as a novel. Below is the Chronological order of the study.
Overview of Greek History 
Herodotus 1: The Story of Croesus
Herodotus 2: Stories of Egypt and the other nations
Herodotus 3: The Beginning of the Persian Wars and the Battle of Marathon
Herodotus 4: The Battle of Thermopylae
Herodotus 5: The Battle of Salamis, and the End of the Persian Wars
Thucydides 1: Introduction, Thucydides' Philosophy of History, and the Beginning of the Peloponnesian
Thucydides 2: The Early Years, Pericles, and the Great Plague
Thucydides 3: Mytiline, Exile, Revolution, and Melos
Thucydides 4: The Sicilian Campaign, and the Downfall of Athens
Xenophon: The March of the Ten Thousand

Greek: The Philosophers
The Philosophers covers the works of Plato and Aristotle including text from Plato's Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Phaedrus, and Republic. You will also cover Aristotle's Metaphysics, Ethics and Poetics. Below is the course of study presented...

 Overview of Greek philosophy, introduction to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
Plato: The Apology: Socrates, St. Paul, and The Doctrine of Wisdom
Plato: The Crito and Phaedo: Socrates, Christianity, and the doctrine of body and soul
Plato: The Phaedrus: Socrates, Augustine, Dante, C. S. Lewis, and the Dialectic of Desire; True teaching
Plato: The Republic: understanding morality
Plato: The Republic: The Forms and the influence on Medieval Christendom
Aristotle: The Metaphysics: Aristotle, Aquinas, and the Doctrine of Wisdom
Aristotle: The Metaphysics: the Cosmos in Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Aristotle: The Ethics: Happiness the Chief End of Man
Aristotle: The Ethics: Friendship
Aristotle: The Poetics: Stories, Oedipus, and Jane Austen
- The Lessons of Greek Philosophy      

Both  the Histories and the Philosophers is set up the same way as the other two sections. You listen to a lecture, complete assignments and assess out through questions on their material provided.

My Thoughts: Wow I am so impressed with Roman Roads. I am in love with curriculum. I have a new favorite to add to my list.   I loved how in-depth the curriculum goes in the study. Wes Calliahan is an amazing speaker. It made learning about these "Great Works" So much easier. My love for Literature has only grown. I have high hopes of continuing with the program and possibly adding all the DVD's to my collection of educational material. My high school student will graduate but my son will begin this study and we will certainly move on through the course for his four year school career. I have two other students after him and will enjoy showing them the works of literature. 

I do want to mention that I did feel it was to intense for my 14 year old at this time. Now he is an 8th grader this year and I am wondering how well he will work in it next year . However, we are going to give it a shot. The reading is difficult but I think it has its value to struggle through and perhaps revisit it at another time. As their teacher I want to go through Roman roads myself. I love learning all about these writings in our history. I also enjoy history and art so it was a bonus for me.

I did have one issue with the videos course on one occasion but it was minor.. At one point on the question screens I was unable to scroll down and click submit. I had to remove my tool bar from my window to then be able to move it and submit answers. I mention this so you know what to do if it happens to you. It was an easy fix.

Overall I highly recommend this course for your high school students. Your child will be well versed for their literature/ history course in college.

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Warm Blessings,

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