Thursday, March 31, 2016

Memoria Press Review: 6th Grade Literature Guide Set {TOS Review}


My children and I love good literature, so we were happy to be chosen to review the Sixth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press.



What did we receive?

Memoria Press generously sent us the entire sixth grade set - 4 Teacher's Guides and 4 Student Study Guides. The four books that are used in this set are:

  • King Arthur 
  • Adam of The Road
  • Robin Hood {used by Eli, my 5th grader}
  • The Door in the Wall {used by Mikaela, my 7th grader}

These literature guides focus on spelling, comprehension, vocabulary, and composition skills. Each lesson in the Student Study Guide has six parts. I will briefly describe each part.

  • Reading Notes: This section is completed prior to reading the chapter {or chapters} in your book. There are key places, events, and vocabulary words that may not be familiar to your child. 
  • Vocabulary: There are 3-6 words per lesson. I had my children read the vocabulary words before reading their portion of the book, look for and highlight the words in their books, and we would discuss the meaning. 
  • Comprehension Questions: There are 4-6 comprehension questions for each lesson. The answers may be written in complete sentences on the lines provided or answered orally. Eli answered his questions orally, but Mikaela wrote her answers down and then we discussed them.
  • Quotations: A short quote from the reading selection is provided, and the student must answer who said it, whom they were speaking to, and what they meant by it. This was, by far, Eli's favorite part of the guide.
  • Discussion Questions: There are 2-5 discussion questions that are to be answered orally. 
  • Enrichment: This section is different every day. There may be mapping activities, drawing, research, literary terms, or poetry work. 
There are also Unit Review and Quizzes every few lessons, and a Final Comprehensive Test is included. The appendix also has maps, poetry, and extra information about the time period.

{Some of Mikaela's work}


What did we think?

We try to follow a Charlotte Mason homeschool approach, which does not include formal literary analysis. We have not used a study guide like this before, and there were things we liked and things we didn't like. I'll start with what we did like.

  • My kids loved their books! The book selections are really top-notch, living literature. Eli has thoroughly enjoyed reading "Robin Hood", and Mikaela was pleasantly surprised at how well she enjoyed "The Door in the Wall". 
  • The literature guides are very complete. I enjoyed my children learning the vocabulary words and about the time periods their books were set it.
  • The Teacher's Guide was also well done. The lessons look exactly the same in both books, but the Teacher's Guide has the answers provided on the lines {with the exception of the Discussion Questions - those are found in the back of the book}.
  • I enjoyed being able to discuss the questions orally. Eli doesn't like to write, and some of the answers were lengthy. He was relieved when I started to allow him to answer the questions orally if he answered in complete sentences. 
  • The literature guides are beautiful - the covers are glossy and bright, and the paper is nice and thick.
Now, what we didn't like.

  • I think there were too many questions per lesson. 
  • Some of the questions were difficult to answer {or even find in the book}.
  • The guides took Mikaela a long time to complete every day. Eli didn't take as long because he answered orally.
  • I feel like the guides took some of the fun out of reading. There was too much dissecting.
  • We don't give tests or quizzes in our homeschool, so I skipped those. Plus, the quizzes and tests were way too long! 
{The Discussion Questions and Answers in the back of the Teacher's Guide}

Are these guides all the same, or do they differ?

These literature guides are all set up in the same manner, but the content does differ some. For example, "The Door in the Wall" is by far the shortest book and literature guide. There are no quizzes in this guide; rather, there is a mid-term exam and a final exam. "Adam of the Road", on the other hand, includes 5 quizzes and a final exam. Also, some of the Appendixes in the guides have more information than others. "Robin Hood" includes a 7-page glossary, 2 pages of maps, several poems, and information about Mendicant Friars. "King Arthur" also has a large appendix and longer quizzes and tests. Each literature guide includes the 6 parts I discussed above, an appendix, and quizzes or tests. The discussion questions and answers can be found in the back of the Teacher's Guide of each set.

Do we plan to continue using these literature guides?

I think so, but modified. Mikaela and Eli both want to read "King Arthur" next, so I may let them both read the assigned chapter a day, and then we will discuss the literature guide orally. It would be fun to do the same book, and I know they would enjoy being able to talk about it together. Mikaela enjoyed the literature guide more than Eli did, so she may do them next year for her 8th grade year.

Memoria Press is a wonderful company providing classical homeschool curriculum to many families. I have looked at their website extensively, although we don't use a classical approach to homeschooling. They offer these Literature Guide Sets in every grade, and they even have complete curriculum kits for each grade level. The preschool and junior kindergarten curriculum sets look really amazing, with lots of rich literature.

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3 comments:

  1. We are currently reading King Arthur at bedtime and love it! This is a great selection of books :) I have a MP guide on my shelf, but I haven't used it. Thank you for sharing what you think!

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    Replies
    1. Their book selections are really fantastic.

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  2. I'm not usually one to talk books to death with my boys either. I think it takes the fun out of reading.

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