Saturday, March 03, 2007

Review: Greek Classics: Questions for the Thinker

Greek Classics: Questions for the Thinker by Fran Rutherford, illustrated by James Rutherford

2005, Mother's House Publishing, 213 pages, softcover

This one volume, written especially for homeschooled high schoolers, provides study questions to reflect on while reading the Greek classics. The study questions are simple and aid in comprehension. If you read the questions before reading the related passage, they give you a sense of what to look for, thus helping you stay focused on challenging subject matter. They're also helpful in discussions with an adult afterwards to help make sure that the student has comprehended the book and as starting points for further discussion on important ideas contained in the book.

I was grateful to discover that the author has skillfully avoided the all-too-common problem of questions that pre-digest the story for the student or take on a condescending tone.

Study materials are included for:
  • Homer's Iliad
  • Homer's Odyssey
  • selections from the Histories of Herodotus
  • History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
  • Anabasis: A History of My Times by Xenophon
  • The Oresteian Trilogy by Aeschylus
  • Three Theban Plays by Sophocles
  • The Clouds by Aristophanes
  • Plato's Republic
Detailed study questions are included for each segment of each work, and include line numbers to relate easily back and forth between the book and the study guide. There are "Questions for Further Thought" that emphasize certain parts of each book or summarize at the end. These could be starting points for writing assignments as well as fodder for discussion. Answers are included, as are timelines and a pronunciation guide.

This resource was written by a very experienced Catholic homeschool mom who has designed the program for ease of use by parents, even those with little knowledge of the classics. The questions reflect an understanding of the concepts and values that make these works worthwhile to Catholic homeschool students of the 21st century.

Reviewed by Alicia Van Hecke (3-3-07)
Available from Aquinas and More

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