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What is the point of the Famous Men books?

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    What is the point of the Famous Men books?

    My boys are doing FMMA this year (brand new to MP) and we've been following the lesson plans as laid out in the sixth grade manual. I am careful to go over their workbook questions after they read and do the questions independently. I also drill the flashcards at least one time a week. However, I've discovered that although they can rattle off the flashcards and do okay on the tests, their understanding of the time period in general is lacking. For example, I printed off all of the Middle Ages timeline figures from Homeschool in the Woods, and we reviewed them today. I read them the little blurb and they had to guess who I was talking about. Well, obviously the language was different and it's like they couldn't connect the dots- as if they'd memorized the flashcards only but could only regurgitate the information unless it was presented in the exact same wording as the flashcards.

    Obviously, this concerns me. So, I have 3 questions for you.

    I will be doing the famous men books with 4 more children so I want to get it right.

    1.Am I doing something wrong with how I'm teaching it as described above?
    2. Do you add anything to this once a week study? Other resources, books, etc?
    3. What is MP's goal for these books? Being that I've not done the curriculum past 6th grade, I don't have the big picture for how all of this pans out later. Are the FM books simply a springboard for deeper studies to come, like a peg to hang your hat on? Or, did we miss the boat this year? We're attempting FMOG next year and I want to get it right, so your input is most appreciated!

    #2
    Hello.

    You are not missing the boat! You are doing everything right, and your point #3 is right on target. These courses are introductory to these time periods, like biographies of American heroes that set the tone for upper level study of American history. You will learn a lot about Charlemagne in FMMA, but you won't really see a detailed overview of his time period until you hit this again with the Mills Book of the Middle Ages and then European history. Our goal for the FM courses in grammar school is exactly what you are concentrating on - the memorization of the facts, which are the pegs on which we will hang a more thorough understanding on later.

    That said, when I was teaching (and I did teach this course), I did buy every remaindered book on the Middle Ages that I could find at B&N. I had the age-appropriate ones all over the classroom for students to peruse at their leisure. And I did use the Mills book for background information for me. I did a lot of research so that I could add to my students' experience. But I was only teaching one class of students all studying the same thing, so I had the time to devote to this. Because I had bought all those remaindered books, I had a shelf of adult Middle Ages histories, so when I was getting ready to teach Mohammed, I looked in the index of all those books and read everything they had to say about him. I know you probably don't have the time for this, and that is fine. I guess what I'm trying to say is that your instinct to add to the FMMA reading is a good one, and anything you can add will be of benefit to your students. But they will cover this material again - and again, so right now, you can rest assured that you are building a foundation of characters that they will revisit and their familiarity with them will serve them well as they delve into the more difficult concepts of each time period. That's the beautiful thing about Cheryl Lowe's vision. Everything was chosen from the top down; she knew what she wanted to accomplish in high school, so she placed age-appropriate curriculum in grammar school to set the foundation for her vision for high school.

    Tanya

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      #3
      Tanya, thanks so much for chiming in; I was hoping you would! Your explanation does put my mind at ease, knowing that they don't have to "know it all" at this stage. My next question is this: now that I have a little extra time on my hands, what resources should I look at to get myself ready to teach FMOG? At this point, I only know the first half of Greek Myths, so I would love to get up to speed as you suggested. Can you point me toward something that would give me a good overview of that time period? Thanks again.

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        #4
        I taught that too! But I don't think I had as many good resources. I'll look when I get home tonight and see if any one book stands out to me that was helpful. I do remember that I relied heavily on the Mills Book of the Ancient Greeks. I remember reading little excerpts from it to my class. I'll let you know if I find any other jewels that got me through. I commend you for studying ahead of time. It is going to make your students' experience richer. Have you read The Trojan War? That gives you a good background for the Iliad and Odyssey. And the first half of Greek Myths covers all you need to know there. If you have a good handle on the major gods and goddesses, you will be fine.

        I'll be in touch after I scan my bookcase at home!

        Tanya

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          #5
          Hillsdale offers some free online classes/lectures if you find yourself with some free time this summer. They have some great courses on Socrates and other ancient Greek philosophers and writers. They even have pdf's of the texts they study. I wound up taking notes and reading quite a bit through the courses. I wish I had an MP course to teach right away to keep it fresh. There are also some good Great Courses lectures on the Trojan War and Ancient Greek life on Hoopla if your local library participates.

          My favorite video resource is Dr. Ryan Reeves from Gordon Conwell on YouTube. He has quite a few lectures with beautiful Classical paintings running in the background of his lectures. His entire series on the rise and fall of Greece as it relates to Christianity's entrance on the scene is worth viewing. FWIW, he also has an amazing bio and literary analysis of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and their body of work.

          I also bought the Mills books, but I haven't popped them open yet.
          Mama to 2, Married 18 years

          Summer:
          DS 6-MPK with SC1 Phonics & Math
          Fall 2020
          DD9-4A

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            #6
            Originally posted by enbateau View Post
            Hillsdale offers some free online classes/lectures if you find yourself with some free time this summer. They have some great courses on Socrates and other ancient Greek philosophers and writers. They even have pdf's of the texts they study. I wound up taking notes and reading quite a bit through the courses. I wish I had an MP course to teach right away to keep it fresh. There are also some good Great Courses lectures on the Trojan War and Ancient Greek life on Hoopla if your local library participates.

            My favorite video resource is Dr. Ryan Reeves from Gordon Conwell on YouTube. He has quite a few lectures with beautiful Classical paintings running in the background of his lectures. His entire series on the rise and fall of Greece as it relates to Christianity's entrance on the scene is worth viewing. FWIW, he also has an amazing bio and literary analysis of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and their body of work.

            I also bought the Mills books, but I haven't popped them open yet.
            I really appreciate you listing these, enbateau . Other than what I've studied with my children, I have pretty mediocre frame of reference for Classical Studies. (Yes, awful, I know.) I always have my eye out for helps for me as teacher.

            To the OP, we used Tapestry of Grace for years, so I have quite a bit of those books on my shelf. I am teaching FMOG this year to my 7th grader, and I had The Story of the Greeks by Guerber on my shelf from our TOG days. It did help me put the big picture together a bit better. I would read the coordinating section before class so I could add a little more or answer basic questions she would ask.
            Mama to 5 Sweet Ones

            2019-2020:
            9th grade DS: At a University-Model School this year plus Henle I at home
            7th grade DD: Mostly 7M Core and MPOA SFL
            5th grade DD: 5M
            3rd Grade DD: The one that doesn't fit nicely in a core ;) R&S 3rd Grade Math and Grammar, TS II, Prima, some MP2&3 Lit, CSII, Mammals
            2 yo DS Pudding Pie

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