I recently received Old Western Culture: The Greeks from Roman Roads Media to Review. This full year course is available in two different formats. The online streaming version, a full year of access, is available for $199. There are four DVD sets, each set has 4 DVDs, available for $224. Each unit’s DVD set is also available for purchase separately for $56. Whatever version you choose, you are able to print the needed student workbook. The four Student Workbooks is also available for purchase for $48. Whether you choose to print your own, or purchase them, the student workbooks are a requirement. You can not do the course without them. I received online access for Old Western Culture: The Greeks. I also received one of the DVD sets, The Epics, so I could compare them to the online version for this review.
Roman Roads Media – Old Western Culture: The Greeks Review
What is Old Western Culture? Here’s how it’s defined on the website:
It is a classical education, based on the great books of western civilization. It is a Christian education, which sees the history and literature of the West through the eyes of the Bible and historic Christianity. It is an integrated humanities curriculum, bringing together literature, history, philosophy, doctrine, geography, and art. And it is a homeschool oriented curriculum, made by homeschoolers with the needs of homeschooled in mind, including flexibility, affordability, and ease-of-use.
Old Western Culture: The Greeks is one year, double credit course, social studies and literature, that is divided into four units. Old Western Culture: The Greeks is recommend for 8th grade and up. They also recommend that the student be at least 14, even if they are advanced in reading, because of some of the mature themes that are in the books that are to be read. Both the the DVD and online streaming versions are self-paced. The course allows eight weeks to complete each unit. Since it is self-paced, though, you have the flexibility to adjust that according to your schedule. To complete each unit in eight weeks, the student watches two lectures a week, in addition to completing the reading and writing assignments from the workbook. All that will take the student 2-3 hours a day to complete, that time will vary according to your students reading speed. During the last two weeks of each quarter, the student devotes their time to studying for the final exam and writing a term paper. The final exam is not included on the dvd, but rather available for download to print as needed.
The four units of Old Western Culture: The Greeks are The Epics, Drama and Lyric, The Histories, The Philosophers. Each unit can also be used as a one-quarter elective, or as part of another course of study. You can start with any unit you like, they don’t have to be done in a certain order.
Old Western Culture: The Greeks is a “Christian Approach to the Great Books.” The following works are covered in the four units.
The Epics – The Iliad and The Odyssey
Drama and Lyric – Works by Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, Aristophanes. Greek lyric poetry from the same era, including works by Pindar, Sappho, and Quintus of Smyrna
The Histories – The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories, The Landmark Thucydides, Xenophon: The Persian Expedition
The Philosophers – Plato: Six Greek Dialogues, The Basic Works of Aristotle
The majority of the required books are available for free online. The Roman Roads Media website has a listing of links for all the books, where you can download them for free, and where you can purchase them. You don’t have to buy all the books, though. Use the free versions, or use your library. While certain translations of the books may be used in the lectures, you can use whichever translation you have and will still be able to follow along easily.
Each unit also has a Guide to the Arts. This guide is included in each DVD set, or is available for download if you choose the online streaming option. Each Guide to the Arts has pictures of the paintings that are discussed in the unit. Under each picture is the name of the artist, when it was painted, and a paragraph about the painting. In the back of the guide, there is a listing of what lesson each painting is discussed in. The lesson numbers are also found at the top of each page.
If you want to make art a big focus of your study, I would recommend buying the DVD sets so you will receive their booklet. The pictures in their booklet are much nicer than what you would print out from the pdf available on the website. While the booklet is not huge, it stores inside the DVD case, the pictures are much clearer for easy viewing of the details in the paintings. You can see a sample in the picture below.
A schedule is included in the student workbook, as well as available to print from the materials page. This schedule is in the form of a table, and tells the student what to do each day. For example, which lecture to watch or what chapters in which book to read It is easy for students to read and understand.
I found the Roman Roads Media website easy to navigate, with clear instructions. My daughter and I have both been able to quickly find everything we need. The DVD is also very easy to use for the student. It did take me a few minutes to find the teachers edition and the student workbook on the DVD. You have to click through your computer, and open the DVD manually in order to print them. There is no option for them on the DVD menu. Not that difficult, just took me a few minutes to find it.
All the printable workbooks, exams, teacher editions, and guide to the arts, can be easily found on the materials page. You don’t have to search around for them. I had no trouble printing from the website, or from the DVD. The listing of books and links makes it easy to see at a glance what books you need and where you can get them. You can also view sample lessons.
I am loving Old Western Culture: The Greeks. My 15 year old, 10th grade daughter started with The Epics. It is a very in-depth course. The lectures included a great amount of history, as well as covering the books that are read. This is not a course the student will be able to cover in 30 minutes a day. It really does take 2 hours, or more, for the student to do the work. This is a double credit course, so it is going to be more in depth and time consuming than a one credit course. There is minimal prep and involvement required of the homeschool teacher. Unless you want to watch the lectures and learn with your student, you won’t be needed most days.
I highly recommend Old Western Culture: The Greeks. Whether you choose the online version or the dvd version is up to you. Everything in either version is identical. Just the method of delivery is different.
If your computer is available for a couple of hours a day for the course, and your child works well on the computer, that might be the best option for you. If you know you are only going to be using this course with one student, and finish in under a year, the online version will work for you.
If your child prefers to curl up on the couch while working, they may prefer the dvds. If you will be using the course with more than one student at different times, or you think you will take more than a year to complete the course, the dvds will probably work better for you.
If Old Western Culture: The Greeks sounds interesting to you, you might be interested to know that they have more Old Western Culture courses available, as well. The Greeks is Year 1. Year 2 The Romans is also available now. Year 3, Christendom and Year 4, Early Moderns are currently in the works.
Visit the Roman Roads Media website for more information.
Some of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed other products by Roman Roads Media. Click on the graphic below to see other reviews.