Roman Roads Media

The following curriculum was provided by Roman Roads Media  for the purpose of this TOS Schoolhouse Crew review. 
My 11th grader was especially interested in Old Western Culture: The Greeks full-year integrated humanities independent study course for high school literature and social studies from Roman Roads Media, so I was especially happy for her to have this homeschool curriculum review opportunity. 

The mission of Roman Roads Media:
"To partner with master-teachers of classical education, turning their knowledge, wisdom, and experience into high-quality curriculum, leveraging the power of video technology and the internet to bring it into the hands of homeschoolers and classical schools."
This course consists of four separate units:

GREEKS: The Epics
GREEKS: Drama and Lyrics
GREEKS: The Histories
GREEKS: The Philosophers

Each unit 
in Roman Roads Media's "Christian Approach to the Great Books" is designed to be completed over 9 weeks, and it counts as 1/4 credit of Literature and 1/4 credit of Social Studies for "mature and discerning" students in 8th grade and higher. Each unit includes a set of 12 video lectures, a PDF workbook, a PDF Guide to the Art, and links to free eTexts of the literature. They also offer digital downloads which are accessible on iPads, computers, etc for $224.00. Online streaming is also available for $199.00, and individual semester units are also sold. History, art, doctrine, philosophy, and literature are all covered in this integrated humanities course. Term papers and final exams are built into each of the four semesters. 

One spiral bound workbook for The Histories was included in our package, and access was shared to download PDF workbooks, exams, answer keys, and even color coded course guides and daily lesson plan schedules. "Guide to the Art is included in each DVD case. Links are shared to paid and free downloads of the source texts.  See the book list here

So what exactly is covered in these DVDs? "The Great Books" including: The Iliad and The Odyssey, a collection of Greek plays and poetry, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, and selected readings from Plato and Aristotle. Mature topics are discussed, so this is not for a young audience, for instance nudity and violence present in the source literature and art. The video lessons are each about 30 minutes in length. Assignments are not light. "Read Plato's Crito and Phaedo" is just one assignment between lessons. Extra features in the videos include specific links to portions of the lesson that answer each study question. 

GREEKS: The Histories begins with an introduction of Greek culture, language, militia, currency, government, and beliefs. Thought provoking questions guided my daughter to make comparisons with Greek life and American life. Greek history 400 years before Christ was shared in such a way that was both understandable and interesting. 
Empires' differences in beliefs at different periods of times are discussed. Resources for this unit include selections by Thucydides and Xenophon.

GREEKS: The Philosophers is further broken down into ontology, epistemology, anthropology, and teleology which are defined and explained. (Brief interruption here... words such as those I just listed which we had not heard before are defined clearly including notes on the screen which could be paused and copied if desired.) Questions such as "What is our purpose for being here" fall under the domain of philosophy. "The basic aggregate ideas and thoughts of a group" versus "pursuit of knowledge" are both given as definitions of philosophy. The second definition is the one covered in this course. "Is there any real certainty?" "Can the fallenness of man be overcome?" Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Scriptures are discussed as the basis for modern ideas. Humor is integrated into these lectures, for instance Mr. Callihan jokes about Socrates with an iPad. Serious topics are also included. Wisdom, knowing why a student thinks what he does, and asking questions to know how to defend beliefs are all discussed. Connections are drawn between the past and current Christianity. The original audience of Corinthians, for instance, would have been familiar with the pagan literature including The Apology. The pagan philosophers don't recognize the Truth, and that is clear in the discussion between divine wisdom and human wisdom. Rational thoughts of philosophy as founded by the Greeks is contrasted with the revelation of Truth shared by God. Though much of this is new to me, this unit has interested me the most. 

GREEKS: The Epics covers Homer's
 The Iliad and The Odyssey, in depth. 

excerpt from The Epics Guide to the Art

GREEKS: Drama and Lyrics is the section that was most familiar to me, as the many of the included works were previously read in condensed forms such as children's stories and myths. A free link was shared to download the Roman Roads Reader which included 351 pages of source texts for this unit. Works include: Euripides (plays), Sappho (poems), Pindar (odes), Theocritus (idylls), Hesiod (works & days), Quintus of Smyrna (Fall of Troy), and Apollonius of Rhodes (Argonautica). 

My daughter viewed the video lectures and completed the downloaded questions in a notebook. Wes Callihan, master teacher reviews the material first which provides an introduction to the material. He then discusses the topic in depth, sharing maps, pictures, stories, and even occasional rabbit trails that bring history to life. His lectures are designed specifically for homeschool students and spoken in a conversational style. It is evident that he is indeed knowledgeable about these course topics. His books are referenced, but his lectures are completed without notes! 

These DVDs have provided a much more in depth jump into Classical Education than I previously understood and gave me the means to teach my children information while learning alongside them. Literature of the past is used to teach Old Western Culture. Wes Callihan's lectures are almost like having a specialized private tutor teaching my children Greek philosophy and ancient history in our home. Parents, you may enjoy these as much as your children. I have been watching the lessons with my daughter. 

In one of the downloadable resources De Descriptione TemporumC.S. Lewis echos the sentiments of Ecclesiastes author "And nothing is quite new." That is one of the reasons for lessons such as these. These comprehensive courses will be planned for my younger students to complete later, and I'll enjoy watching them again, with them. 

Additional full year courses are being completed to provide four years of Classical Christian education. The Romans course which is to be the second year of the four year course will debut this month. They also plan to add Christendom and Early Moderns. 

Connect with Roman Roads Media online: 

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