This is part of a series which started here. If you have already read the introduction, feel free to skip down to the section: Note Before We Start.
Two questions are bound to come up, because of my article on the necessity of Latin and Greek. How do I incorporate Latin and Greek into my curriculum and how do I teach Latin and Greek when I don’t even know it?
First off, I will say, I hear you on both fronts. I was worried that learning two languages was going to be overwhelming and impractical. I wavered, thinking maybe we should just learn Latin. Who learns Greek anymore, anyway?! If you would like to know more about why to learn Latin and Greek see the article here.
Further, how am I going to teach any foreign language without having even a vague understanding of it, and only a passing knowledge of my own? Enter Memoria Press.
No knowledge of Latin and Greek? No Problem!
I will discuss Memoria Press and its wonderful homeschool materials later, for now, let me just say that everything they offer is what homeschoolers call “open and go.” This means that no prior knowledge is necessary, and no materials, other than those stated in the set (if sold as a set), are necessary to teach the subject. Teacher notes, helps, talking points (sometimes even scripted—having exactly what to say), and of course answers are all provided in the teacher manuals for their materials.
I had absolutely no experience with Greek before teaching my children; I even had to learn the Greek Alphabet just like they did. I knew pi and delta because of math and science, but even though in college I was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, if you would have asked me, I would not have been able to tell you what phi looked like, such was my limited knowledge.
Note before we start
We have been learning Greek going on five years now, but because this language is so “strange” and because we are also learning Latin, we are going slow and steady.
If you have a child who can devote a lot of time to languages or a child who excels in school, you could, potentially, quicken the pace given below, and do one Greek book a year. This would start the Form Greek series in seventh grade. It may be too much at that point, though, to do both Third Form Latin and First Form Greek with the pace of both of those texts being considered. So keep that in mind as you read ahead.
First, with the young ones, they love the new letters, and I made learning the Greek alphabet fun one year by chanting it as they did jumping jacks. We have a Greek Alphabet poster for the wall so they can reference it and get used to seeing the letters daily. But in order to actually learn what they look like, we use the Greek Alphabet set by Memoria Press.
We do Greek two times a week (on the opposite days as Latin) and we go through the workbook orally and do lots of review with flashcards. I actually made flashcards so that we have the lowercase and uncial (uppercase) forms separated, so that the children have to memorize them apart from each other, as the cards that come with the set for next year have upper and lowercase together on the same cards.
The children do some of the writing in the book such as the tests and the words list in the middle section, but other than that, everything is oral. This is an easy text and it is a gentle introduction into Greek.
This year we start Elementary Greek I and complete only half of the book in one year, which is fifteen lessons. This is super slow for this Greek series, as it is already slow and gentle, but because we are learning Greek alongside Latin and because the Latin eventually starts to speed up (with the Form Series), I feel it is necessary to take the Greek this slowly.
There is no teacher manual with the Elementary Greek series so I just read the book along with the child. This series, as I mentioned, is so slow and gentle that I have not found a need for a teacher manual, as all concepts that it teaches have already been learned in Latin by the time we get to it in the Greek lesson.
We do one lesson over two weeks. The lessons in the book are split up into “days”, and we do days one through three with their coinciding workbook sections during week one and days four and five with their workbook sections, as well as the lesson quiz during the second week. We review flashcards every day.
I definitely recommend getting the pronunciation CD, so that you can hear the words and listen to the vocabulary each week until you are comfortable being able to pronounce them. Greek is regular, like Latin, so once you have the sounds down, you can read them correctly without any problem.
As always, make sure there is ample time for review. Children should review so much that they can see the word and know what it is without having sound it out, just like with English.
I had to write out cards for the Bible verses and grammar forms as they are not included in the flashcard set, but the grammar forms are absolutely necessary to review, so making cards for these is a must. Keep reviewing daily, even after you finish the fifteen lessons, to ensure the words, Bible verses, and forms are memorized.
Fifth Grade through Seventh Grade
Elementary Greek I is finished in fifth grade. And Elementary Greek II is split up the same way for sixth and seventh grade. These two books are exactly the same format, so the teaching plan for them is exactly the same.
One note: the Elementary Greek II flashcards are out of order and not labeled by lesson, so plan the time to go through and organize these before the school year starts. I wrote the lesson number on them in the top corner just like all other Memoria Press cards so that they could be easily referenced.
In eighth grade, the pace quickens to complete Elementary Greek III in full this year. Remember to keep reviewing new material so that everything learned is memorized and mastered. The slowness of the prior pace gave ample time to master the prior grammar forms and vocabulary. And in high school we will use the Form Series.
This slow introduction works extremely well to acclimate the children to learning two languages at the same time without overwhelming them.
This is a series with individual articles for Latin in Elementary School, Middle School and Junior High, as well as this post for Greek. I will not be including a post on high school since I have not taught it yet, but I have heard great things about the Henle Latin series written for high schoolers with four levels. I will be using it myself and through it the children will be reading Caesar, Cicero, and Virgil’s Aeneid in their original language. That is the power of slow-and-steady training. As for Greek in high school, Memoria Press has First and Second Form of their planned three Forms available as upper level Greek curriculum, which technically you can start in seventh grade if your child is ready.
If you like what you’re reading, share this with a friend, and don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss my next post on How to Teach Phonics! As always, love your children; give them a beautiful Fundamentally Classical education, and make sure you include Greek!