Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Teach Me Greek (Homeschool Review Crew)

"Learning a language that doesn't use the Latin alphabet" has been on my bucket list for years.  When I was in college, I had a friend who spoke fluent Ukranian, and she taught me how to transliterate my name using the Cyrillic alphabet.  However, that's all I ever was able to learn, so "learn a non-Latin language" remained on the list.  Recently, members of the Crew were given the opportunity to try out programs from Greek 'n' Stuff, including a program that taught elementary Greek.  Since my working knowledge of the Greek alphabet comes from letters I've seen in math or science, I requested the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 2 set, which included a Worktext, a corresponding Answer Key, and a pronunciation CD.  Forget the kids -- this one was for me!

While this is listed as a "Level 2" set, don't be fooled. The company produces a Level 1 set, but if you wanted to compare the progression to an elementary English learn-to-read program, the Level 1 is akin to a Pre-K/K level, where learning your letters is the goal.  Level 2 is closer to K/1/2 level, beginning with a review of the Greek letters (but still enough for me to learn the letters I didn't already know) and then starting to work on basic Greek words. The first seven lessons (36 pages) are dedicated to the Greek alphabet.  If you had a very young child that wanted to be "just like big brother," then I'd start with Level 1, but for the average new student, I think Level 2 is worth starting at.

I'm going to be honest -- this was hard! I think if I were a child, it probably wouldn't be nearly as difficult.  I think having seventeen billion other things in my head while I was trying to take the time to learn Greek didn't help. That's not to say it's impossible for a more...erm...mature student to learn Greek, just that it takes far more effort than I expected it would. I have a new appreciation for preschoolers learning to form their letters! I eventually decided to work in pencil in my workbook, because while some of the letters came very naturally, others didn't flow so smoothly (I'm looking at you, Gamma!).

Greek and Latin accounts for about 60% of the English language, so once I could sound out words, the program got a little easier for me.  I skimmed ahead in the hopes that something would be less "Greek to me."  Remembering what all the letters were and sounding out the word αδελφός was tough (transliterated: adelphos) but I knew the word meant "brother."  Ok, that one should have been easy...I grew up in Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love."  απόστολος wasn't too hard, either; it's easy to figure out apostolos means "apostle."  However, ανθρωπός sounds out as "anthropos," which doesn't look or sound like the word "man."  Score one for the grown-up -- I knew anthropology is the study of humans, so it made sense to me.  After tripping over my tongue and fingers for three weeks, I felt like I had the potential to actually do something besides haltingly recite the Greek alphabet!

Lesson 8 is where "learning words" begins.  This unit is about six pages long and focuses on the single word - its spelling, its meanings, being able to write it, and to pick it out of a list of words written in Greek.  Don't be tempted to rush through and do more than a few pages at one time - lessons are meant to be paced at approximately one per week.

After that first "word week," lessons begin to lengthen (Lesson 15 is ten pages long) because they include a constant review of previously taught words.  Trying to read in Greek was overwhelming for me at first, but the constant repetition helped me really cement what those words looked like.

By the end of this Level, I should be able to read about eleven words and make four sentences.  That doesn't sound like a lot for 30 lessons, but keeping in mind the general age that this program is geared to, I think it's not too shabby.  It's not a "cram for a vacation" program, but a progressive exposure to Greek for young students. That said, as an adult, I think if I could get the alphabet down fluently, I could probably be able to read enough Greek to navigate street signs and restaurant menus.  Yes, I'd have to consistently translate words back and forth in my head, and probably would get laughed at for speaking "academic ancient" Greek, but we wouldn't starve.

The Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! program teaches Koiné Greek, the dialect used in the Old Testament.  It has eight levels in all, and because it starts out with the absolute basics, I might consider it for a high school student. While this level was the absolute basics and a few words, Level 3 begins by adding simple grammar, and subsequent levels continue to add more advanced topics; by Level 8 the program has a student working on translations.

The student would need to work at an accelerated pace to cover the entire program in a shortened timeframe, but it's a program that I would consider for an academic-minded student that would benefit from learning a Classical language.

Greek 'n' Stuff has several curriculum offerings.  Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek is the "Greek" part of the company, but the "'n' Stuff" side has several programs.  Among them are their "I Can Study ... Alone" Bible studies.  Click the banner below to find out about all of the Greek 'n' Stuff programs the Crew has been working with.

Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews}

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