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Art Through Faith

Book cover: 'Art Through Faith'
Author(s): 
Mary Lynch
the Seton Staff
Copyright: 
1999
Publisher: 
Seton Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
143 pages
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This Catholic Art text, intended for the eighth grade, offers thirty-six weeks of lessons in art appreciation, with an emphasis on religious art. The text presents 152 images (in full-color on glossy paper) which cover many of the basic schools and famous artists (in chronological order). Descriptions offer biographical sketches of famous artists, explanations of various art forms (such as icons, mosaics, statuary, church architecture, etc.) Although the focus is on religious art, there are a few non-religious subjects as well, such as the cave paintings from Lauscaux, France and The School of Athens by Raphael.

Although the book is intended for eighth grade, it is the sort of book that could be used for a family-wide art study. My five year old son, who is quite the art afficianado, enjoys paging through the book. When asked for a quote about the book, he had this to say: "The pictures are really colorful. It has a Michelangelo picture in it. There's a picture by Leonardo da Vinci in it. There's one by Raphael called The School of Athens. I like it."

Perspective: 
Catholic
Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1996/1999

Review Date: 
2-19-01
Reviewed by: 

Artes Latinae: Level 1

Book cover: 'Artes Latinae: Level 1'
Author(s): 
Waldo E. Sweet
John Arbogast
Publisher: 
Bolchazy-Carducci
Subject(s): 
Review: 

In two formats: CD ROM or workbook with audio tapes

Traditional format includes: Level 1, Books I and II, 15 cassette tapes, Teacher's Manual, Graded Reader, Teacher's Manual for the Graded Reader, Reference Notebook (consumable), Test Booklet (consumable), and Guide to Tests

CD ROM format includes: CD-ROM (Equivalent to Level I, Books I and II and the 15 cassette tapes), Manual, Graded Reader, TM Graded Reader, Reference Notebook (consumable), Test Booklet (consumable), Guide to Unit Tests

Artes Latinae has been called the cadillac of Latin curriculums, and if the quality of the program doesn't convince you of that, the price will. At nearly three hundred dollars for Level 1 (equivalent to one year of college Latin, or two years of high school), it's easily one of the most expensive ways to study Latin. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

If you want a Latin program that's self-paced, self-guiding, accurate, thorough, and which will leave your children in command of Latin rather than just having dabbled in it, and which works well even if you have no Latin background yourself, Artes Latinae may be just the thing. By the end of Level One, the student will be at ease with all the noun cases and verb tenses; relative, interrogative, and personal pronouns; and have committed to memory over a hundred "basic sentences" from classic Latin texts exemplifying the various points of grammar.

Instruction is based on Dr. Sweet's revolutionary structural method of teaching Latin grammar. Instead of memorizing vocabulary and learning rules of grammar which are then applied to the translation of Latin sentences, students learn to read the way real Latin-speakers did. Each sentence is approached as a sequence of empty "slots," and the reader identifies the correct word to fill the slot by recognizing the signal of the word ending.

Thus, for instance, a reader aproaching the sentence "Hilarem datorem diligit Deus" begins with the framework "Someone blanks something"; recognizes the "-m" ending which signals an accusative noun, and thinks "Someone blanks a cheerful giver"; then recognizes the "-t" signal for a present active indicative verb, and thinks "Someone loves a cheerful giver"; and so on. By contrast, the traditional method of reading Latin (as described for instance in the classic Wheelock's Latin text) calls for searching the sentence for the subject and its modifiers, then for the verb and its modifiers, and so on; in other words, forcing the signals of English grammar (i.e. word order) onto a language that does not use them.

One consequence of the structural method of learning Latin is that Artes Latinae does not track any other Latin program in sequence, making it difficult to switch to a different program in midstream. Other programs such as Latina Christiana may however be easily used as supplementation should you want more Christian content such as prayers or hymns. While Artes Latinae teaches classical Latin, the CD-ROM version offers a choice of classical or ecclesiastical pronunciations, and the voluminous supplementary readings in the accompanying reader include medieval as well as classical selections. The reader also provides supplementary vocabulary, as the basic program (CD-ROM, or workbooks plus tapes) focuses more on mastering grammar than memorizing vocabulary.

Review Date: 
6-23-05
Reviewed by: 

Astronomy for Every Kid

Book cover: 'Astronomy for Every Kid'
Author(s): 
Janice Van Cleave
Copyright: 
1991
Publisher: 
John Wiley and Sons
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
229 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Subtitled "101 Easy Experiments that Really Work", this book is one in a series that is very popular with homeschoolers (and understandably so). The book covers seven major topics - Planets, Space Movement, The Sun, The Moon, The Stars, Space Instruments and Space/Space Travel. Each experiment uses simple experiments and explains (briefly) the purpose, the procedure, the expected result and a brief but very understandable explanation of why it happened. Black and white sketches illustrate each experiment as well. To give you an idea of the kind of material that is covered, here are a few of the experiment descriptions/purposes (out of 101 total) - "To determine how color affects a planet's surface temperature", "To demonstrate a method of proving that the Earth rotates", "To determine why planets move smoothly around the Sun", "To simulate aimng a spacecraft for the Moon", "To determine why stars appear to rotate", "To determine why radio wave receivers are curved". I found the "why" segments of each experiment helpful background reading for me to brush up on my science knowledge.

Reviewed by: 

Augustine Came to Kent

Book cover: 'Augustine Came to Kent'
Author(s): 
Barbara Willard
Copyright: 
1963
Publisher: 
Bethlehem Books
Binding: 
Sewn Softcover
Number of pages: 
179 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Historical fiction account of the mission of St. Augustine of Canterbury to bring Christianity to England in 597, as seen through the eyes of a young boy accompanying the monks on the journey. While not as fast-paced as other Bethlehem Books titles, the story really brings the era to life and is a very good tale besides - full of little insights into human nature, Christian ideas and heroism.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
11-6-99
Reviewed by: 

Augustus Caesar's World

Author(s): 
Genevieve Foster
Copyright: 
1996
Publisher: 
Beautiful Feet Books
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
330 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

We've found "Augustus Caesar's World" by Genevieve Foster to be a wonderful resource. The book covers the period from 44 BC to 14 AD with events and ideas for that time, all over the world. I feel the stories really give my son a great sense of life during this period. The illustrations are outstanding line drawing of characters, maps and especially the time lines. Just wanted to share a great resource.

Note from the Webmaster: A number of Catholic homeschool parents have commented that the book has some problematic sections of a secular nature - soft on paganism, etc. It may well be a worthwhile book, but should only be used with a reasonable amount of caution and parental supervision.

Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1947/1996

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Baby Mozart

Author(s): 
Baby Einstein
Copyright: 
2000
Publisher: 
Baby Einstein Company/Walt Disney
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

It is commonly believed today that Mozart's music is so beautiful and well-ordered that it can have a beneficial effect on the brain's development in children who listen to it during their developing years. Using this theory, the Baby Einstein company have made an audio and video package meant to capitalize on these ideas. The audio CD takes some of the most famous (and most beautiful) compositions of Mozart and performs them with alternate instruments (small bells and/or a xylophone I believe) to make them more "baby-friendly." I didn't really care for this version of music. (In a way it seems to be a lesser version of the real songs, in a similar way to how elevator music compares to the original songs). I've found that my children, even at a young age, really enjoy fine recordings of the "real thing". Some would probably find the idea somewhat condescending toward children (especially considering the theories of Maria Montessori and Charlotte Mason) and there really isn't a lot to recommend this over some more straightforward Mozart recordings.

More annoying than the CD, however, is the video. The video takes the same watered-down music and combines it with images of moving toys that make their way across the screen. (This goes on for about half an hour, I believe. I haven't been able to sit through the whole thing.) The end of the video provides information on where to buy the toys. The toys aren't particularly beautiful or educational - just rolling toy animals, jack in the boxes, etc. I can't deny that my younger children enjoyed watching the video, but children like a lot of things that aren't necessarily all that great for them. I'd much rather have my children playing with pots and pans in the kitchen than be mesmerized by videos of toys and Mozartish music. I also object to the idea that this company charges money for what seems to be little more than a fancy toy catalog.

Additional information (added September 2007):

TIME Magazine article on studies involving "educational" videos for babies
Disney demands retraction of Baby Einstein study
Are "Educational" Baby Videos a Scam?

Review Date: 
5-29-01
Reviewed by: 

Baby Whales Drink Milk

Book cover: 'Baby Whales Drink Milk'
Author(s): 
Barbara Juster Esbensen
Copyright: 
1994
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

A nice picture book which introduces basic facts about whales and what they are: mammals rather than fish. Includes nice pictures (with some beautiful scenery) and informative text.

Review Date: 
4-4-01
Reviewed by: 

Beany and the Beckoning Road

Book cover: 'Beany and the Beckoning Road'
Author(s): 
Lenora Mattingly Weber
Copyright: 
1952
Publisher: 
Image Cascade
Series: 
Beany Malone
Binding: 
Softcover
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

After a heart-rending discovery of Norbett spending time with another girl, Beany is delighted to have an opportunity to go away on a road trip to California with her brother Johnny and her little nephew. Tight finances and a favor to a friend cause the trip to become harried with a whole array of fellow-travelers (and a horse). Kindly, motherly Miss Opal doesn't have money, but performs near-miraculous feats of producing food and lodging out of thin air (not to mention her tomato plant in the back seat). Cynthia forces herself upon the group through kind-hearted Johnny. While she's great at helping with the horse, she seems to be hiding something. Well, as Mr. Malone said, "Any trip is wasted unless you come home a little different and a little bigger person from the one you were when you started." A fun and satisfying read.

Review Date: 
6-5-02
Reviewed by: 

Beany Has a Secret Life

Book cover: 'Beany Has a Secret Life'
Author(s): 
Lenora Mattingly Weber
Copyright: 
1955
Publisher: 
Image Cascade
Series: 
Beany Malone
Binding: 
Softcover
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Beany's been having a pretty rough time of things lately. Norbett, away in college in Ohio, has sent her a letter breaking off their relationship. The Malone's widowed father decides to marry again - a pretty artist named Adair. Unfortunately Adair and Beany get off to a really rough start. Meanwhile, some troubled teens at school invite her to join a secret club - for those who want to shut out family as much as possible. This suits the miserable and stubborn Beany just fine. Misunderstandings abound and Beany starts to feel like her world is falling apart and her situation is hopeless before some light is finally brought to the situation from some surprising places. This is a really nice story. In addition to some thoughtful lessons about family life and misunderstandings, the author is clearly presenting a warning against other sorts of secret clubs that teens of that day might have gotten involved in (especially Communist).

Review Date: 
6-5-02
Reviewed by: 

Beany Malone

Book cover: 'Beany Malone'
Author(s): 
Lenora Mattingly Weber
Copyright: 
1948
Publisher: 
Image Cascade Publishing
Series: 
Beany Malone
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
186 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

In this second book of the series, 16 year old Beany struggles with the tendency of her family to "stick their necks out" for others at the risk of disappointment, emotional stress and failure. Johnny is busy trying to help an older, forgetful man write a book he's always wanted to write, but may not live to finish. Mary Fred is struggling with the fickle sorority girls in college and Elizabeth anxiously awaits her husband's return from the war. Beany sees a role model in her friend's mother who never lets herself worry about anything and enjoys a carefree life (which her own daughter detests). Beany begins to close herself to new friendships and other things that might make life "too difficult." Beany thinks this is a great idea until the mother's childish behavior betrays her and Beany learns to see things in a new light with the help of her family's attitudes in the face of difficulty.

Review Date: 
3-13-02
Reviewed by: 

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