History is a subject I’ve struggled with throughout our homeschooling journey. So far, the curriculum we’ve used is adequate, but I always have the feeling that we are trying to cover too much ground each year, resulting in everything blurring together and little long-term retention of what we study. I know I can’t keep all we cover each year straight, I surely can’t expect the children to!
When we got the opportunity to review Famous Men of Rome Set by Memoria Press I thought this might be the answer to my history concerns. Stopping for a year in Rome, seems like the perfect answer- a whole year to really dig in-depth and learn rather than breezing through.
The Famous Men of Rome set includes the Famous Men of Rome book, a student workbook, and a teacher guide. The curriculum is broken down into 30 lessons, which I love! A typical school year has 36 weeks, so this 30 lesson curriculum gives ample opportunity to stop at interesting points to do more outside research on topics of interest, or to take several weeks off to work on writing a historical research paper on the historical time period.
The Famous Men of Rome Book draws students into the story of the lives of important Romans, and in doing so teaches them the story of Rome’s past. Each chapter focuses on one specific person in Rome’s history (moving in chronological order), which is a very unique way of studying history. I think it makes history more personal, and for that reason, the facts seem to stick better.
The Famous Men of Rome Student Guide contains 30 lessons and a very nice appendix (which might be my favorite part). For each lesson students should read the corresponding chapter of Famous Men of Rome. For each lesson the student guide has “Facts to Know’ with a summary of important names, locations, definitions, and quotes that students should commit to memory, a “Vocabulary” section, “Comprehension Questions” to check understanding, and “Activities.” The Activities section is where we spend the majority of our time. These assignments and questions often assign extra research on a topic touched on that week, draw attention toward’s maps of the region, and various other activities to encourage students to really think through and digest the information read about in the lesson. After every 5th lesson there is a review lesson which checks for retention- including vocabulary questions, important dates and people, timelines, quotes, and map work. The appendix offers really great resources- many maps, a ‘who said that’ worksheet for famous quotes, a timeline, excerpts from Horatius at the Bridge, an article on Rome and America, a pronunciation guide, and more.
The Famous Men of Rome Teacher Guide contains a copy of the student guide with all the answers. It also contains tests to be given after each of the five review lessons and a final exam. I didn’t find the teacher’s guide absolutely necessary, since I read the chapters with my students and did much of the student guide orally with them. I do like the option of tests for my older students though. The tests alone are worth having the teacher guide for, especially if your students are on the upper end of the grade range for this product.
Overall, I really like the Famous Men of Rome Set by Memoria Press. I provides a great way to spend a year concentrating on the history of Rome. I feel that my children will retain a lot more information than in years past by learning Roman history through concentrating on specific historical figures of Rome.