Romans Road Media ~ Old Western Culture: Romans – The Aeneid {a Crew Review}

 

Roman Roads Media presents Year 2 of Old Western Culture: The Romans – Aeneid. The Aeneid DVD set is the first unit of four, making up an entire year of not just literature but an integrated humanities curriculum. What is an integrated humanities curriculum? I asked the same thing… it means that the program brings together literature, history, philosophy, doctrine, geography and art. Pretty cool, huh? The entire Year’s course includes The Aeneid, The Historians, Early Christianity and Nicene Christianity.  Each of the Years is divided into quarters, so The Aeneid would be the quarter 1 DVD set for Year 2. All four of the DVD sets are available for $56 individually or $224 for the entire 16 DVD set.
 
The entire Year 2 of Old Western Culture is in Pre-Order state right now, so you can order the program but unit 1 won’t ship until September (this month sometime) and units 2 through 4 will ship sometime before December 2014. I was given online streaming access to unit 1 of the Romans- The Aeneid to review since it’s not available on DVD yet.
 
The Aeneid will include 4 DVDs with 12 lectures and about 6 hours of content. It will also include the student workbook, a teacher’s answer key, final exam and the “Great Book” texts all in PDF form. Inside the DVD case is a Guide to the Art booklet that highlights the art of the time period covered. The student book is available in spiral-bound form for $12.00 plus a flat rate of $7.00 for shipping. By the way, that $7.00 flat rate applies to international orders too! The spiral-bound student workbooks are 60 pages in length and like the PDFs are reproducible within your immediate family. All of the books, aids and texts will be available the same time as the DVD, which means I wasn’t able to review them but look forward to receiving them once they are completed!
 
All of the Western Culture Curriculum lectures are given by master story teller Wes Callihan. He not only breaks down the inexplicably complicated history of philosophy into understandable and memorable nuggets but also teaches how to approach the greats of Western Culture from a Christian perspective. His experience and anecdotes make the lectures enjoyable and anything but dry.
 
I watched the videos with my big kids (15 and 12 year olds) and I will say they were a bit above my 12 year old’s head. She sat through them without complaining but I could tell there was a point when her eyes glazed over and she wasn’t really listening anymore. That’s probably why they recommend the videos for 8th grade (or 14 years old) and up. Since we are studying the Roman era this year in our homeschool, these videos fit perfectly into what we are doing. I have watched a couple of the videos more than once and each time I watch them, something new sticks with me. There is so much information in each of the lectures and he does move kind of fast so taking notes isn’t really an option unless you want to keep pausing and unpausing the video.
 
I really liked that each time he used new (kind of like Roman vocabulary) words, they would pop up on the screen so you could not only hear the words but see them as well; I’m all about multiple intakes! I really wished we had the student book to go along with it, I’m sure it will be an excellent addition to the program.
 
As I mentioned before, included with each of the DVD sets is a Guide to the Art booklet. Within those booklets are of course examples and explanations of the art of that time period but there’s also a teaching schedule for the 9 week period you use the DVD and an introduction and overview of the course. Of course, you can adapt the teaching schedule to meet the needs of your homeschool family.
A couple of neat things about Roman Roads Media
1.      If you aren’t sure you’d like to make a purchase yet or want to see more from the different sections, they offer a Samples Page where you can view lectures, student page, etc. from different Years of Old Western Culture.
2.      Wes Callihan has written an e-book, “Preparing Younger Kids for a Great Books Education” and is currently offering it for FREE!
My bottom line
I look forward to being able to (hopefully) order the rest of the Roman year. While the DVDs are a bit pricey, they are totally worth it. This is an amazing curriculum with much to offer. Thank you Roman Roads Media for this opportunity!
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