Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How We Are Preparing for the National Mythology Exam

And by "we", I mostly mean Grace and Christopher, who are doing the bulk of the work. This will be our third year participating in the National  Mythology Exam. James didn't want to do it this year, and Rose isn't old enough until next year. So, it's just Grace and Christopher this year.

I don't do anything fancy to help the kids prepare for the exam. Excellence Through Classics does sell a packet of activities to aid in study, but the kids have done fine with just reading, so I'm not inclined to change anything. Since our holiday break they have been spending about 30 minutes each school day preparing for the exam. ETC puts a bibliography up on the NME website each year, detailing what readings and portions of the exam each student will be responsible for (this varies according to age).  Grace and Christopher keep a copy of that bibliography clipped to their clipboards.

This year Grace is in 9th grade and Christopher is in 7th, which means they are both responsible for completing ...

  1.  The 30 general myth questions. To prepare for this section of the exam, both kids are using D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.

ETC recommends that advanced readers use The Myths of Greece and Rome, so I had Grace try that last year. She did fine with it, but said it included a lot of extra material that added to the challenge of studying. I told her that was the point (to make it more challenging), but she prefers to use  D'Aulaires this year; we'll see about next year.

 2. The 10 theme questions.  This year's theme is Jason and the Argonauts, and the bibliography lists the pages of D'Aulaires that this portion of the exam will cover. The theme section is required for grades 5 and up.

3. A 10-question subtest. Students can choose from The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Native American Mythology, Norse Mythology, or African Mythology. The bibliography tells them exactly what source to use to prepare for this section of the test. Subtests are required for grades 6 and up.

Grace is going to take The Odyssey subtest, using this book to prepare:

Christopher is going to take the Norse Mythology subtest, using this book to prepare:

So how are we fitting this into our day? Grace likes to start her day by getting her NME prep out of the way, Christopher usually does his after our read-aloud. They are both starting out by just reading (and re-reading) all of the assigned pages. After a couple of weeks of this, I will encourage them to quiz each other every day in addition to reading. They enjoy trying to stump each other! I will also have them try the sample exam on the ETC website, and I saved last year's exam so they can look that over as well. And that is pretty much all they do to get ready.

The NME is to be administered February 22nd-March 4th this year. We are aiming for an early date, since Grace is also taking the National Latin Exam in March.

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