Here’s my confession for the day. I was an English major in college. I read a lot of classics, but I could never made my way through either The Illiad or The Odyssey. I wasn’t exposed to that kind of writing in my secondary education, so when I got to college, reading those works seemed too challenging.
However, I want my kids to be exposed to those great works, and I think I’ve found the perfect way to make these works more approachable for my kids–using the Illiad & Odyssey Complete Set from Memoria Press.
About The Illiad & Odyssey Complete Set
For the purpose of this review, I spent most of my time on The Illiad. (I was the reviewer for this product as my 7th grade son is not quite ready for this material. I’m thinking he will be ready in high school.)
Both The Illiad and The Odyssey come with four main components:
- Teacher’s Guide
- Student Guide
- Book Itself
- Instructional DVDs
In my opinion, all four are necessary to help your children understand these great works.
About the Teacher’s Guide
The Teacher’s Guide is rich in material. The beginning includes instructions for getting your students excited about reading the book.
Then, there are two pages for each “book” (the equivalent of chapters in The Illiad). Included are the answers to the student workbook pages as well as background and discussion help. The manual also states specifically what material will be on the test so you can tell your students.
The appendix of the teacher’s guide include genealogies, a list of characters, explanations about ships, weaponry and armor, etc.
Finally, there are the three major tests. These tests are cumulative and six to eight pages long. They are given after Book 10, Book 18, and at the end of the entire book. Answers are also given in the teacher’s guide.
About the Student Guide
The Student Guide contains two pages for each “book.” There are four sections to these two pages:
- Identifying Places and Characters
- Comprehension Questions
- Discussion Questions
The Student Guide also contains an appendix with almost the exact same material in the Teacher’s Guide’s appendix.
About the Text
The Illiad book itself is larger in size and has large print along with a few black and white pictures interspersed throughout. At 447 pages, this is a formidable book!
The Odyssey is a little shorter at 358 pages and 24 books. The print format is the same as The Illiad.
About The Instructional DVDs
There are five discs total of instruction for The Illiad. Each disc covers three to five books of The Illiad.
The Odyssey contains six instructional DVDs, each covering four to five books of The Odyssey.
My Experience with The Illiad
Wow. This is still a tough text to get through! In fact, I didn’t get through it all during the review period. I did order Memoria Press’ lesson plans for teaching The Illiad and The Odyssey, and they plan to cover The Illiad in nine weeks, so I was on track with the lesson plans.
I think not having studied Greek mythology and The Illiad before makes this book challenging. However, students who follow Memoria Press curriculum will have already learned about Greek mythology in younger grades, and they will be well versed with the heroes of ancient Greece. That alone should go a long way toward making this text more approachable.
For those like me who don’t have a lot of exposure to a classical education, the DVDs are invaluable! From the comfort of my own home, I could have a professor explain what is happening in each book and mention the important points I should notice when I read. In fact, I often ended up watching the DVDs twice–once before I read (using the lesson to prepare me for what I was going to read) and once after I read as a nice recap.
After watching the DVDs like this and doing the reading, I then filled out the worksheet pages, which helped cement the information in my mind.
Memoria Press has this set as part of their 8th grade curriculum. For a student who has not been exposed to Homer or Greek mythology, I’d recommend this for upper high school.
Overall, if you want your child exposed to classics like The Illiad and The Odyssey, this curriculum from Memoria Press is invaluable. All of the items that come in the set help an often overwhelming set of books become not only approachable, but understandable.
I was one of 100 people to review either the Illiad & Odyssey Complete Set or First Form Greek Complete Set or The Story of the 13 Colonies & The Great Republic Set and 200 Questions about American History Set. To read more reviews, click on the link below: