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Astronomy and Greek Mythology Question

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    Astronomy and Greek Mythology Question


    I'm putting together a plan for my son's 4th grade year, which is next year. I am wondering if anyone has used the Book of Astronomy and D'Aulaires Greek Myths Lessons concurrently and, if so, if there is an obvious/complementary way to do this.

    If so, what do you think about using the Greek Myths for Language Arts rather than the literature study (I had on Mbeen planningr Popper's Penguins and The Moffats)?

    Thank you for your help,

    We're doing 3A, which schedules GM and Astronomy concurrently. I like that there is overlap, but there are plenty of times where we hit a constellation in Astronomy that we haven't read the story for in GM, so we jump ahead and read it. I can almost see how having read half of GM by the time you start Astronomy in MP4 Moderated isn't bad at all. With that said, I would not pick it as a literature selection for 4th grade. The questions are good for straight recall, but it lacks much of the explicit teaching of characters, setting, plot, usable (relevant to modern life) vocabulary, grammar and punctuation of quotes and dialogue, paragraph formation, story sequencing, thematic discussion, figurative language (like simile, metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, hyperbole, etc). As a former HS English teacher, the lit guides impress me. They have it all and teach it in a systematic way that gradually introduces and builds the skills. GM just wasn't intended to be all of that. I would definitely keep a few lit guides.
    Mama of 2, teacher of 3

    SY 21/22
    5A w/ SFL & CC Narrative class

    Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A
    SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1


      The other thing against using the GM book as literature is that the reading level is higher than the books you mentioned. I read GM aloud when we did third/fourth grade.

      Plans for 2021-2022
      15th year homeschooling, 12th year with Memoria Press
      DD College Freshman
      DS 10th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata Greek Dramas
      DS 8th grade - Vita Beata Literature
      DS 3rd grade - Vita Beata Literature, Right Start F, First Form Latin


        Hello and welcome!

        Astronomy is great for Science for this age, and Greek Myths is a fantastic foundational book for starting Classical studies. But yes, selecting actual literature guides for reading study is a better way to go. If you are feeling the need to design your own core, we might be able to help a bit better if you share a bit more about what your son has done previously and what you are hoping to improve on for him.

        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
        DS, 17
        DD, 15
        DD, 13
        DD, 11
        DD, 9
        DD, 7
        DS, 2


          Wow, I am so grateful for all the time you each spent helping me. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with me! I started my son in Story Time Treasures in the First Grade and we have been working our way through the literature guides, just one a semester as writing takes him quite a bit of effort. He loves to read, has wonderful retention and is great at articulating his ideas but putting these down in writing and spelling is rough. He is diligent though and I've seen a lot of progress especially in his weekly essays. He completed Little House in the Big Woods and is making steady progress through Paddington Bear. I'd like to continue to develop his writing skills. I confess that I haven't used any other Memoria Press materials but am looking to expand. (We use Saxon Math, have a four year cycle of SOTW Vols 1-3 including a deep dive in Roman history and Salvation history scripture study and are learning Spanish as my husband is of Hispanic heritage). When my husband requested Astronomy as our science study next year (he co-teaches with me as we are both part time at home) I saw the Astronomy course and thought it looked really good. I will take your advice and keep the literature guides in the plan. Perhaps we could enjoy reading the Greek Myths over the summer as a read aloud in advance of starting Astronomy in the Fall...I was hoping to use some MP materials to go deeper in our history studies with my son as it will be his second time through the cycle - first time for my Kindergartner). All suggestions appreciated, thank you so much for the advice you've already provided.


            Sarah's advice about sticking to the literature guides for your main reading program is a good one. The Greek Myths stories contain so many difficult, even for adults, names of people and places that it would really impair comprehension. I'm glad you enjoyed the STT and are continuing through the 2nd grade and third grade lit using the guides because this is the best way to expand vocabulary and practice forming a good complete sentence both of which are needed for future writing. The literature guides will provide activities to expand free writing as well though not necessarily in every lesson. Be sure you are working alongside your child on this as students this age are just coming out of the modeling stage where they learned how to form a good complete sentence with correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar to answer a comprehension question. Spelling can be challenging and we want to be careful asking students to compose without knowing how to spell. If they phonetically spell and are incorrect it could imprint that incorrect spelling later causing confusion. To avoid that at this stage especially, while brainstorming ideas be sure to write complete phrases on the board that contain correct spelling. Encourage your child to ask for spelling of words for which he is unsure of the correct spelling and correct incorrect spelling immediately. Don't worry about squelching the flow of creative ideas as students this age are too young for that to be a true concern.

            The Astronomy course will have some references to the Greek Myths study so the idea of completing it as a Read Aloud is fine. You might consider completing it with the student guide alongside the Astronomy course in the fall though, if only to help with your child's writing endurance. Much of the written work in that guide will aid recall of the people, places, and events in a way that just reading aloud will not. I suggest purchasing the Greek Myth TG and looking at the scope of information students will know by the end of the course. I think you will be amazed at what is covered. The work is well worth the time and effort so all the references withing literature are not missed!


              Just expanding on Michelle's advice regarding the literature guides (and any guides at this age!). There is so much that goes into writing an answer. They have to think about the question, what they read, where to find the answer if they're unsure, what they want to say, how to say it in a way that makes sense, how to physically form the letters, what punctuation is needed, what to's intense!

              Michelle has taught many of us to do the following (this is what they do at HLS, MP's brick and mortar school):

              1) discuss the question orally with him, working together to develop a complete, but age-appropriate, answer (their answers should NOT look like what's in the teacher guide!).
              2) If he's unsure what/how to answer, say, "Let's go back to the text." This reminds him that the guides are truly guides back through what we read, not show-me-what-you-remember assignments.
              3) Next, write down the answer you both developed on a piece of paper — or simply above the question right in the guide.
              4) After this has been done with each question, he then copies the answers on the appropriate lines.

              Sometimes we only answer orally, but I try to keep that to only once a week because I know the writing is really important. For my kids who struggle with stamina, we still do this with each question but then they choose a certain number of answers to copy down. Currently my son writes three of them. We're working our way up to writing more.

              This beauty of this method is that it models sentence structure, capitalization, spelling, and letter formation and also allows them to focus on ONE part of the process at a time!


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                Greek Myths and Astronomy are actually the only MP products I happen to be using this year for my 4th grader (we cobble together a lot of classical materials from different places). The lesson plans can be purchased separately for very cheap (I think like $5?). Between the lesson plans and the student book, they frequently reference the myths in GM and the reading that should be done. In fact, some people who haven't purchased Greek Myths get frustrated when they realize how much they are missing -- there's an entire assignment, if I remember correctly, about the 12 labors of Hercules. So you definitely want to do them together.

                Where to put Greek Myths then: Is it literature? Is it part of science? Is it history? I have been very convicted by what Angelina Stanford says about this. She says that the very best preparation for reading "the great books" later in life is to stock your child's head full of all the most famous myths, legends, and fairy tales, as well as Bible stories. These stories come up over and over -- Aesop, greek myths, legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood, etc. and they prepare your child to understand allusions in all the best books and in Shakespeare, etc. So I just call them "Lit/History" and fill my kid up with them. I consider them super important. Plus, it's a lot easier for kids to remember the Trojan Horse or the golden fleece for their entire lives, than for them to remember and retain things about yet another corrupt emperor in Famous Men of Rome (who killed whom in what year again??), so if our time is limited (and it is!!!) I try to focus where it will be most advantageous.

                As for literature, I like to follow the Sarah MacKenzie/Read Aloud Revival method: we just do a lot of free reads and audiobooks, with some basic discussion when they are done reading them, with me not really censoring books unless they are inappropriate, and I just try to throw in some good classic ones (especially on audiobook) and see if they'll read them. We don't do literary criticism, we don't analyze books. I have readers that love reading voraciously and the moment I try to "Schoolify" their reading, they start to fight it and dislike it. My 9 yo son probably reads 10 books a week, including garbage like Big Nate as well as Treasure Island and Jules Verne and other classics. The moment I tried to force some on him, he immediately started to avoid reading. At this age, I think literary criticism is unnecessary -- they can pick things apart better in 9th grade anyway, so there's plenty of time for that, if ever. I keep my eye on the prize: my goal is ultimately to raise lifelong lovers of good books who will keep reading, rather than to just check off all the boxes. But that's not meant to be a criticism of MP -- I think most curricula have this. Sonlight does, Seton does. It's very common. I think I'm the odd one out on that. Maybe it would be different if my kids didn't love reading already.

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                  I just wanted to clarify that the MP literature guides are not literary criticism. They highlight important people, places, and events from each chapter so the teacher knows what to be sure students understand. They aid in the development of vocabulary and ensure understanding through the comprehension questions which when implemented according to the Teaching Guidelines provide not only writing practice but also expand the ability to form good, solid, sentences that answer a specific question. They provide the tie-ins from other subjects and give teachers the proper focus for review so students retain what is necessary for later studies. A student who has just listened to, or even read aloud, one of the MP literature titles will not have the depth of understanding a student who has also competed the literature guides also has.
                  Last edited by Michelle T; 01-06-2020, 03:11 PM.


                    I agree with Michelle. MP lit guides are not literary criticism. They are an in-depth discussion about the book that also expand vocabulary skills and writing skills. My voracious reader who read Lord of The Rings at age 7 greatly benefited from the guides. We did what MP suggests and only studied 3-5 books a year. We didn’t use a “vocabulary book” or or a heavy writing course like IEW. We just used MP lit guides (and some light Classical Composition in middle school). Now that was in no way shape or form his only reading. He read a ton of books! Still does and he is 19. He read an entire Brandon Sanderson trilogy in two weeks (those books are over 1000 pages each!). MP guides did not kill his love of reading. If anything, they helped him learn to read closer and think more about what he has read. I see a big difference in how he reads books and what he gets out of them vs me who read a ton as a kid but was never taught how to study a book. He can sit down an breeze through a 1000 page fantasy book in days but he can also sit down and read Dante and make connections. I struggle to read “hard” books because my whole life was filled with easy education. I was told to read and read. Read classics and read a ton but don’t stop and think about them. Just read more. I have no idea how to carry on a conversation about a book or how to make connections to my life. I read a book, enjoy it and almost instantly forget what I read so I can focus on the next thing to read. I wish i had been taught to slowly study good books. MP offers a very happy mix of studying a few good books and leaving free time to read 10 other books a week for fun.
                    Astronomy and Greek Myths go great together. That’s why MP puts them together! I know “myths” sounds like something to put in the “reading/literature” category. Learning Greek Myths was part of my public school 7th grade English class. Myths are a precursor to lots of great literature like Shakespeare and Dante. So we think “literature” and it can certainly be that, but the MP guides are not set up in that mind set. MP actually adds a “subject” that most schools don’t- classical studies. This is a mix of literature and history from classical time periods. Literature like myths, Homer, Greek tragedies, and Dante and history like Famous Men. The history portion is not really a typical history course. It’s a classical studies course. They learn the big stories of ancient history so when they read the classical literature like Virgil and Cicero later, the context makes sense. It all has a specific purpose in getting children prepared for formal classical education in high school and college. You could create a literature course for Greek Myths, just don’t use MP expecting the guide to be like the MP lit guides. It has a different intent.
                    Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
                    DD, 27, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
                    DS, 25, BS '18 mechanical engineering
                    DS, 23, BS '20 Chemsitry, pursuing phd at Wash U
                    (DDIL married #3 in 2020, MPOA grad, BA '20 philosophy, pusrsing phd at SLU)
                    DS, 21, Physics and math major
                    DD, 18, dyslexic, 12th grade dual enrolled
                    DS, 14, future engineer/scientist/ world conquerer 9th MPOA diploma student
                    DD, 8 , 2nd Future astronaut, robot building space artist


                      Debbie makes such a great point. So many of these differences are explained by the philosophical approach MP takes to learning. Children need constant training and shaping to be attuned to the true, good and beautiful. They lack the right thinking brought on by time, experience and godly wisdom, which does not come naturally.

                      Just today, my 3rd grader answered a question from the Charlotte's Web lit guide in the most literal and hilarious way. The question asked what attribute Charlotte had that allowed her to basically come up with a good idea. Her answer: hanging upside down! It was hilarious. I had her reread the paragraph, and she basically came up with the same answer. Sooo, 3 Socratic questions later and we got to patiently waiting, and it dawned on her and she made a great complete sentence and wrote it down. She is also an incredible reader and adeptly analyzes scripture and great works of literature. But I've noticed that since we took 2 weeks off for the holidays, she has blown through 12 historical biographies and 4 novels. Her excitement to consume books has led to a little less cautious reading. It's almost like a competition to finish first. I love that MP forces us to read some books slowly and over time and with careful examination. Not every pleasure book needs careful reading, but the greats wouldn't be worth it without it.
                      Mama of 2, teacher of 3

                      SY 21/22
                      5A w/ SFL & CC Narrative class

                      Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A
                      SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1