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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Memoria Press Illiad & Odyssey Complete Set

Memoria Press


Memoria Press produces easy to use, classical, Christian materials for home and private schools. Memoria Press products require no previous knowledge of the subjects being taught but are designed with high academic standards. Over the last few months, we have been studying Greek history in our homeschool.  I have never had an opportunity to read the Iliad or the Odyssey, so I was excited to be chosen to review the Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set from Memoria Press.


Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set


The Iliad and The Odyssey are considered to be two of the greatest books of the ancient world. Written around 8 B.C. by Homer, these epics were very influential in Greek culture.  The Iliad was used as a textbook in ancient Greece and Rome and used as an authority in military tactics, ethics, and civic behavior. The Odyssey was a great adventure story and character study.  Both of these books influenced Western literature and art.

Memoria Press chose a translation of the books by Samuel Butler for their set because they believe his translation of the books are scholarly yet able to be read and understood by students.  Each of the sets of the Iliad and the Odyssey include the paperback book by Samuel Butler, a student guide, teacher guide, and DVD set.  The Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set can be purchased for $135 and is recommended for grades 7-12.

Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set
The Iliad by Homer and translated by Samuel Butler is a 447 page paper back divided into 24 books.  It starts with a preface by Samuel Butler and names and descriptions of the main characters of the story.  There are also black and white illustrations throughout the book. The Iliad begins in the 10th year of the Trojan War which was fought between the Greeks and the Trojans. The Iliad is about glory and conflict and the god's role in the Trojan War.

Iliad Text Sample

The Teacher Guide contains helpful information for teaching The Iliad.  In it you will find: information in using the Teacher Guide, Background and Drill information, discussion help, questions to mark for test, essays and assignments, and Teacher's Notes for each book along with the questions and answers from the student guide.  In the appendix you will find: genealogies, alternate names, characters names and descriptions, weaponry and armor description, ship terminology, and character reference.  The tests and test keys are also included in the teacher guide.

Teacher Guide Sample

The Student Guide is a consumable, paperback book.  You will need one for each student. The Student Guide contains comprehension questions, quotations, discussion questions, and a list of key characters and places from that book.  The appendix contains the same information as the Teacher Guide.

Student Sample

The DVD set contains 5 instructional DVDs.  They are taught by Sean Brooks who teaches classical studies and Latin at Highlands Latin school in Kentucky and composition courses for Memoria Press Online Academy. The DVDs start with an introduction of the Iliad and then have a section for each of the books.  After reading the book and working on the questions in the student guide, students watch the DVD where Mr. Brooks discusses what happened in that section.  The DVD lessons vary in length but are around 35-40 minutes long.

DVD Sample


Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set

The Odyssey by Homer and translated by Samuel Butler is a paperback 358 page book split up into 24 separate books. It also has a preface by Samuel Butler, black and white illustrations, and a list and description of main characters.  The Odyssey starts 20 years after the Greeks first sailed to Troy.  Odysseus has not yet returned home. The Odyssey tells the story of his journey.

Odyssey Text Sample

The Teacher Guide and Student Guide are set up just like The Iliad.  The student book is also consumable. The questions and answers can be found in the Teacher Guide along with background information, discussion help, teacher's help and the test questions and answers.  You will also find an appendix with helpful information.

Teacher Guide Sample

Student Guide Sample


The DVD set is also taught by Sean Brooks and contains 6 instructional DVDs.

View a sample.


I had never read The Iliad or The Odyssey, but during our study of Ancient Greece it was mentioned many times. My children are a bit under the suggested level for working through this book, so I decided I would go ahead and review this set myself so I can have an understanding of the books and be able to teach it to them in the future. I did purchase the recommended book on The Trojan War from Memoria Press for them to read. I have been working on completing 2 books a week, reading the text and working through the questions one day and viewing the DVD the next.  The course suggestion is to finish these books in around 18 weeks, but that is going at a rigorous pace. The pacing is flexible and can be adjusted according to your homeschool needs.

I started with The Iliad because it comes first but because we only have around 6 weeks to work on a review, I jumped ahead to read and view a few lessons in The Odyssey as well. I was very thankful for the Introduction lesson on the DVDs of each book.  It gave the background information and filled in the gaps giving me a greater understanding of the books before I started reading.

These are difficult books to just pick up and understand.  Many of the characters are referred to by different names at different places (not to mention they are difficult to pronounce!), there are a lot of characters to keep straight in your mind, and of course we have all of the different gods to remember as well.  But the materials provided by Memoria Press will make the reading and understanding of these epics much easier.

The Teacher Guide contains helpful background and drill information along with discussion questions.  The information in the appendix is also very helpful (there is also a character list and description in the front of the books) allowing you to quickly look up something or someone for a description or definition.  The questions and assignments in the student guide will help students to decipher and remember what they have read.


My favorite part of the course is the DVD set.  Listening to the DVD instruction adds an element of understanding that you will not get simply by reading the books.  The DVD set brings the expert teacher into your home and allows him to do the teaching for you. In each DVD segment Mr. Brooks does a recap and then discusses what has happened in the book you have just finished reading. He also discusses background information about some things that you may not know about, the symbolism that is found in the book, and the cultural references we may not understand.

Once again Memoria Press has exceeded my expectations. With the help of the Teacher Guide and the DVD Set I will have no trouble going through these books with my children when they are a little older.  I have enjoyed my study and look forward to completing both of these books.

Members of The Crew also reviewed the First Form Greek Complete Set and The Story of the Thirteen Colonies &the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History Set.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


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