When I first received my Memoria Press Curriculum packages for my children, I glanced through the Memoria Press Curriculum Manual and placed it aside. I never follow other peoples schedules anyway, and I sort of balked at the idea of using a syllabus, as is, out of the box. After trying to create my own schedule, and trying out different ways of laying out our term and our days – I finally made a realization. We are off to a very late start to our school year, and I’m burning daylight over here trying to reinvent the wheel. The Memoria Press Curriculum Manual is the ideal way to use their curriculum. So I’m sharing why I love it, and how to get the most from it.
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Benefits of the Memoria Press Curriculum Manual
The folks over at Memoria Press are not just releasing a hodge podge of different resources. Their curriculum is very thoughtfully, cohesively, and carefully designed. All of the pieces fit together in an intuitive, easy to use way.
The Memoria Press Curriculum Manual is the guide that pulls together all of the components of their core curriculum packages, and gives us our daily routines. It removes the decision fatigue and for those of us who might be in a season of life where making our own schedule feels just too much – the Curriculum Manual removes a lot of that burden.
A Look Inside the Curriculum Manual
Included in the Curriculum Manual is more than just the five-day schedule. The first page is a checklist of all of the materials and resources you’ll need for this particular grade level. I have found this particular checklist very handy as I’m making substitutions and changes (more about that a little further down).
Then, in the Getting Started section are brief teaching guidelines for each subject. I totally bypassed this section when I first received the curriculum packages, but this is a little treasure trove of info. It really helps to show how the pieces are fitting together, and in one sitting you can read through how to shape your lessons for each subject area. When you read this section through, you really come away with a firm sense of how your days will feel and your year overall.
Now comes the schedule – the Memoria Press Curriculum Manual includes a 36-week, 5-day lesson plan. Each subject down the left hand side, the days across the top. Sitting down with the Curriculum Manual and the resources, you can go through and see how the days will flow and how much content the students will cover.
When the boxes of curriculum showed up at my door, it felt so overwhelming. The piles of books looked like so MUCH, and I worried our days would get bogged down and burdensome. However, the schedule in the Curriculum Manual brings all of these amazing resources together and makes it do-able. The actual amount of work assigned each day is not overwhelming, but still gives the student a rich, rewarding school day.
Finally, in the Appendix you’ll find another little gold mine of info and helps. In my Sixth Grade Curriculum Manual it has things like: recitation questions, a couple of introductory lectures for the Middle Ages classical studies book, a reproducible spelling copy sheet, and more.
In our Eighth Grade Curriculum Manual there are some wonderful resources like: how to teach a novel, how to teach a poem, how to mark a book when reading, tips on memorizing and reciting poems, and so much more. I had not even so much as glanced at this section in my first flip through of this Curriculum Manual, but when I did read it I came away feeling a new layer of confidence in my ability to teach this curriculum to my eighth grader.
Getting The Most Out of Your Curriculum Manual
I’ve touched on some of these already, but there are ways to really get the most out of this curriculum manual:
- Read through it thoroughly – and use sticky notes to mark the pages you know you’ll want to refer to later
- Make copies of the reproducible pages in the appendix (you’ll also find these as downloadable PDFs in your Memoria Press account if you purchased the Curriculum Manual directly from Memoria Press)
- It’s more than just a lesson plan – make good use of the tips, teaching guidelines, etc.
- Don’t worry if you are using different levels for some subjects, or are subbing in your own resources here and there (I’ll discuss how to adjust the Curriculum Manual just below)
- Trust their schedule – the amazing curriculum creators at Memoria Press really do have all of the products laid out in a cohesive way that makes sense and doesn’t overwhelm your children.
Adjusting the Memoria Press Curriculum Manual
So, I know that if you are anything like me, you’re wondering what the heck do you do if your child doesn’t neatly fall into the grade level packages? What if your child is working on a different level of Latin? Or you need to make adjustments to the weekly routine – maybe you’re four-day homeschoolers because of co-op days.
While you can’t make changes to the Curriculum Manual itself, there ARE ways that you can still utilize the Curriculum Manual even if you need to make adjustments.
One of the best things about Memoria Press is their customer service – it is truly second to none. If you want a Memoria Press core curriculum package but you need to make changes, you simply contact the amazing folks at customer service. You can substitute In resources that are more suitable for your child’s placement – and, you’ll receive a PDF of the individual lesson plan for that substituted subject.
If you’re only replacing a couple of subjects, you can use sticky notes and write in the lesson plan for that subject (found in the individual lesson plan). You can also print the individual lesson plan on to sticker paper and cut and stick the lesson plans into each day over the existing plan.
If, like my eighth grader, there are more than a few changes/substitutions you can do something a little different with the Memoria Press Curriculum Manual. I looked through the lesson plans, made note of which subjects seem to be assigned DAILY. Then I made note of which subjects were assigned less frequently and which days of the week they fell on.
I used the weekly planning sheet from Pam Barnhill’s Plan Your Year set to give my son a neat, organized plan to refer to each day.
I then printed the individual lesson plans for EACH subject on his ‘master weekly routine’ page, and placed them in his binder behind tabbed dividers.
So now, each day he will go to each subject and do the next thing in the lesson plan. This saved me from having to mark up and replace half of the subjects in his Curriculum Manual itself, but we’re still following very closely to Memoria Press’ recommended schedule. We’re getting all the goodness of the Memoria Press Curriculum Manual, but in a way that’s visually cleaner for my son to follow and less work from me (and, starting our school year late means I don’t have time to keep messing with our lesson planner).
Don’t Want to Reinvent The Wheel? Then Don’t!
While I really did my best to resist using a schedule and lesson plan written by someone else – here we are. I finally gave it a fair shot, and am really glad that I did.
There’s nothing wrong at all with going your own way, trying your own approach and creating your own schedule. However, there is also nothing wrong with deciding you do not, in fact, want to reinvent the wheel. I figure the fine folks over at Memoria Press know their products the best and I’m going to trust their system.