Update 6/17/18: Well, I've gotten over my annoyance. Memoria Press does Classical Education so well and is so nice that I'm forced to admit that what they publish works and even though I don't share all their world beliefs I share enough to use and enjoy using their curriculum. We start our new school year August 1, 2018, and we'll be using a slightly modified version of their Grade Seven Package. I only tweaked the Latin and Math level. You can kick me out of the secular club if you want to.
I still don't think they fully grasp what secular homeschoolers want, but at this point, I'm not sacrificing my child's education on principle.
I haven't written a curriculum review in a long while. I planned on reviewing this Latin program as soon as I decided to order it. Then I got it, and we used it for a week. Then I saw what Memoria Press said about the creation of this product, and I'm left feeling yucky. This kerfuffle is why I should stick to writing about actual books- I've been on an emotional roller coaster with this one.
I guess I should start with the fact that while we are secular homeschoolers, I often adapt materials purchased from the religious curriculum community. There just isn't enough ready-made homeschool teacher-friendly materials that are secular and classical out there. I'm comfortable with revising a guide, reading a passage aloud and explaining how actual science has disproved that theory, etc. We study Greek mythology the same way- some people think etc., etc.
I'd be remiss if I didn't note that plenty of secular homeschoolers are not willing to purchase curriculum that is not completely secular. I respect that and I think if I started homeschooling now I might feel the same way. However, I have become adept at modifying curriculum and it's not a deal breaker for me personally.
However, this phrase from Tanya at Memoria Press- "I like to compare us to missionaries in China. Our primary goal has to be to the children, and these children are in a situation where they can't receive the Gospel in school. But we can still fill them with goodness through our materials and hope that as they learn to think well, they will be able to discern the Truth that guides our lives and theirs."
I'm left with the thought that, as a company, they will take my money, but I am somewhat perceived as "less than" their Christian customers. That's not the kind of feeling that will keep me coming back. Before I read that statement, I was thrilled and excited that a company that we already use was creating a product that would make my life easier. I'm even registered for their Summer conference for classical home educating parents.
It is also a market that is ripe for the taking monetarily. Charter School money must be spent on secular materials, and there are plenty of people that need to spend that money or lose it. It's a smart business move. What would have been wiser would have been to issue a statement that assured their customer base that while they are Christian, they respect the belief systems of those who are not and feel that those children can also benefit from a classical education.
As far as the actual review goes. Memoria Press has years of experience in teaching Latin and has created a curriculum that parents can utilize even if they themselves have ever taught Latin. I don't have both versions of this text to place side by side, but I can say that there are secular phrases to memorize instead of the biblical ones and that several vocabulary words have been changed. Any prayers that are in the original version have also been removed.
We are ending week 4, and In all honesty, I was leaning towards purchasing an entire package from Memoria Press for seventh grade and have now decided to go in a different direction. I'll continue to use the materials that I already own, and I'm not closing the door on their charter materials, but I am going to hold back a bit and see if their message to secular homeschoolers gets clarified at all in the coming months.