This is my last review on on the maiden voyage of the TOS Crew, and what a way to go out with a BANG!. Memoria Press's name was not at all familiar to me, but some of their products were. They are the publishers of Prima Latina and Latina Christiana-popular Christian based Latin programs that many "Classical Approach" homeschoolers use.
According to their website, " Memoria Press is a family-run publishing company that produces simple and easy to use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools. It was founded by Cheryl Lowe in 1994 to help promote and transmit the classical heritage of the Christian West through an emphasis on the liberal arts and the great works of the Western tradition. Memoria Press is currently developing a K-12 classical curriculum at Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Kentucky, where its popular Latin, logic, and classical studies courses are developed and field-tested."
I was impressed with this company from the very start. They were quite generous in providing me with several different products to try, and all of them were fabulous. I'll try to give you a brief run down of each one.
Prima Latina: This is a Latin program even the most Latin-intimidated teacher can handle. Designed for grades K-3, this program is a gentle introduction to Latin that introduces them to 125 Latin words. It is 25 lessons long, and by the end, they learn the first declension of nouns and conjugation of verbs. But more importantly, because it is designed for young students, it reinforces their understanding English parts of speech at the same time as it teaches the Latin equivalent. And a big "pro" to me is that each lesson always includes English words that are derived from their Latin vocabulary words, so they can see the tie in to our language today. My reluctant almost 12 year old learner has really been enjoying Latin thanks to Prima Latina, and has even been greeting people in Latin and then explaining what he said to them. And I'm learning too. I'm really loving this. The CD is GREAT, and it's fun to hear someone with a southern accent speak Latin. The bottom line for me on this is that if you are considering Latin, you won't go wrong with Prima Latina. The books are available in a set (Teacher's Manual, Student Manual, and pronunciation CD) for $32.95, or individually if you prefer (I'd do the set). DVD's of Leigh Lowe, the program's creator, actually teaching Prima Latina are also available.
First Start French: I studied French for 5 years in high school and college. FIVE YEARS! But I had not taught my kids a word of it. My daughter Mimi was very keen to learn a language though, and most interested in French, so I was thrilled that Memoria Press allowed us to review this new series. I like First Start French because it is as user friendly as Prima Latina. Each lesson has some basic vocabulary words (words that are useful in daily life like greetings, etc.), grammar (pronouns, negating verbs, conjugating verbs, etc.), dialogue (basic conversational sentences using the vocabulary words), sentences for translation, and comprehension questions, as well as a proverb or song for each lesson. My daughter has LOVED this. She has taken her book everywhere, and shown it to everyone. She has gotten up early to practice. It's amazing! The teacher's guide is very helpful in guiding you along and explains some of the concepts your children are learning in more depth so that you have the knowledge even if you never studied French. I will say that the CD might be helpful if you've never studied French and want to here how it is meant to be pronounced by a native speaker, BUT there is no English introduction to any of the sections, and the parts of the lesson go by quickly so you might not even understand what the person is saying enough to even know which part you are listening to unless you have studied French yourself, so I am not sure it is really helpful at all. The Latin one is much better. All in all though, the bottom line is I think this is a really good introduction to French and gives students a good usable vocabulary of common words very quickly. The set (Teacher's Manual, Student Manual, and CD) are $39.95, although again, you can buy each item separately too.
Lastly, we received the Famous Men of Rome set. The set is comprised of a book of stories about the famous men of Rome starting with Romulus and Remus and going through to Constantine the Great and the end of the Roman empire, a student manual with vocabulary, comprehension questions, and activities, and a teachers guide that again provides more background information for the teacher as well as all the student worksheet answers. Again, my eldest was my Guinea pig, and I chose to do this as his "reading" lesson since we are in Ancient Egypt for history. He (at almost 12) enjoyed the focus on MEN, and of course the battles that are synonymous with the Roman empire. He amazingly retained a lot of the stories. I had him read them aloud to me (I do that so we can talk about unfamiliar vocabulary words, work on proper inflection, and to make sure he is really "getting" what he's reading), and then we did the comprehension questions and vocabulary. I was pleasantly that he did quite well with it. I have to say, this book (and I assume the others like it in the "Famous Men" series are so rich, they'd make a great addition to almost any history curriculum, or if you are creative they could guide you to develop your own course of study based on them and the time period they cover. The illustrations and photos are really quite nice too and enhance the stories that they represent. The set of three books (Famous Men of Rome, the Teacher's Guide, and the Student Guide) is available for 25% off from Memoria Press, so it is currently $39.95.
The bottom line for me is that I haven't encountered a single Memoria Press product we didn't thoroughly enjoy, and I would LOVE to own their entire line. I may purchase their Christian Studies, and the Cursive handwriting, as well as the other levels of the products I've reviewed here. To read more about Memoria Presses other products, you can go to their website HERE, or go to the TOS Crew blog HERE as each reviewer chose their own products so I believe their entire line was reviewed.