A lot of parents want their kids to learn Greek, but high school texts are often so daunting the idea is abandoned. Song School Greek takes the fear out of tackling a dead language by introducing it to your youngest students in a fun and lighthearted text that isn't filled with technical discussions of case, tense and mood. This isn't a complete course, but it can serve as an excellent segue into a more advanced program (like Greek for Children, also from Classical Academic Press).
How Does This Work?
While the book is designed for kids grades K-2, you could use it with older kids (we wouldn't recommend older than 4th grade). 30 weekly lessons cover a little less than one school year's worth of work and familiarize kids with the Greek alphabet, pronunciation (both traditional academic and modern), basic vocabulary and handwriting skills. The vocabulary is fundamental and focuses on conversational words and phrases and typical everyday words. Kids learn elements of both Koine (New Testament) and modern Greek. While there isn't a lot of biblical material here, the authors are Christians and some scriptural references are made.
The worktext is black and white with some illustrations and lots of games and puzzles to make learning more fun. Review is constant—students never stop practicing the alphabet or vocabulary, and while for older kids this would just get annoying it's just the sort of familiarity younger students thrive on. A variety of exercises help kids understand not only the Greek, but alsoits relation to English, making this a useful language text in general.
An accompanying CD with sing-along songs helps further cement the information. This is actually the core of the course, being the memorization tool for the material in the text. The songs are sung by a man and woman (sometimes alternately, sometimes together) accompanied on acoustic instruments and are usually set to familiar tunes like "London Bridge" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Kids older than the target audience will likely find them a bit juvenile, but they aren't particularly annoying.
Appendices and a glossary in the back of the student text are helpful for review. The teacher's edition contains the full text of the student book with answers, along with extra information, ideas for presentation, and help with pacing the course. A supplementary DVD offers chapter-by-chapter guidance for teacherswho either don't know Greek at all or have never taught it. Since the material covered at this level is so basic, the teacher's edition isn't necessary, though if you plan to continue your students' Greek education it could be a good kickstart reference.
Our Honest Opinion:
Of course it isn't necessary to teach kids Greek at such an early age (or at all, for that matter), but it can't hurt. Studies consistently demonstrate that the early school years are the most ideal for learning a new language since the brain is specifically adapted to memorizing unrelated facts. While this book isn't going to make your kids fluent in Greek by a long shot, it will go a long way in preparing them for more advanced study. The fun activities and catchy songs will likely even make them want to learn without language study being a possibly violent chore. Not an essential for the early years, but an excellent choice.
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