First of all, we never completely stopped! We have continued with Latin, composition, and other Memoria Press subjects.
After completing 4th and 2nd grades, we took some time off from using a full core. Up until last year, we began our new school years in January rather than August. This worked well with my kids’ ages, abilities, and the fact that we were living overseas and weren’t very much affected by a traditional school calendar. When we returned to the US, I knew that I a) wanted to get back on a “normal” school calendar, and b) wanted to give my kids extra time to mature before continuing with the accelerated core track that we were on. To fill the extra, in-between time we did more with living books, narration and notebooking, experimenting with other curricula that had always attracted me. Latin continued to be a main priority, and we kept on with Rod & Staff for math and English, which we love. We had so much fun with it all that we even took an extra full year.
Sometime during this year, I saw that things weren’t really going as I had hoped. While I enjoyed reading living books for history, we weren’t really retaining much of what we were reading and it was hard to see the overarching themes between the people and events we read about. My kids decided they prefer working independently for their subjects rather than combining. As I considered our options, more and more returning to full Memoria Press cores seemed to fit the bill for what I want in our homeschool.
Some of the selling points, in my opinion are:
- We can cover just ONE great book for history, thoroughly learning the people, dates, geography, and events and actually retaining that information through constant review and memorization.
- Memoria Press does use living books for history, science, and literature. I really like the titles my kids will be reading, and they are mostly books I would have chosen anyway. The “Famous Men” series, Dorothy Mills histories, and John Tiner science books all get excellent reviews.
- I really like the way they cover both classical studies and modern studies every year. This just clicks with me. One downside about doing a four year history cycle is that you potentially only read Shakespeare every 4 years, and same with ancient texts. I love that Memoria Press has students studying older history, Shakespeare, and modern history/geography simultaneously.
- My daughter learned and remembered more geography doing Geography I than she has learned from any other source.
- Classical Composition has a comforting rhythm to it that my kids like. They know what to expect each day and get the chance to really perfect those skills by practicing them over and over throughout the year.
- Their Latin series just speak for themselves.
- They really make it easy to do an entire core, by willingly customizing the subjects to fit my kids’ levels and offering a significant discount by purchasing a whole grade. I am thrilled to have downloads for the quizzes and tests, and even for the lesson plans for each individual subject.
Of course, there are some. I’m realistic about the challenges ahead since we have already completed two full cores, and bits and pieces of other years. I’m mainly concerned that my kids will balk at the workload when it comes to things like actually writing well-constructed answers to questions in the guides, studying vocabulary, and taking difficult tests. This will require discipline and hard work, which we all can certainly benefit from.
There were a few curricula choices that I really enjoyed using and am hesitant to set aside. My kids did great with BJU Science this year, as well as CLE Reading. We will be using grade level Memoria Press science and literature instead. I have been looking through the materials and am excited about getting started. I couldn’t put down “History of Medicine,” it was so interesting and I know my daughter will LOVE it!