Our family has been studying Latin for several years with the goal of allowing our children to choose another language to study in the future. Because we live in California, we thought the most natural choice would be Spanish. Imagine our surprise when our eight-year-old announced one day, “I want to learn Greek!”
Neither my husband nor I have any background in the Greek language, and especially not in Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament. God caused the biblical writers to use the everyday terminology of their time, spoken in the streets and in the marketplaces, so people could clearly understand His message to mankind. Koine--or "common"--Greek is not spoken in Greece today. That being the case, we felt we already had two strikes against us.
But we had more concerns: where were we going to find a curriculum that could give an elementary student a strong but not overwhelming start in Greek study? And if such a curriculum existed, would he be able to continue his study of Koine Greek in such a complete way that he would be able to understand and translate a Greek text of the New Testament? After all, that would be the ultimate goal and motivation for pouring several years of study into Koine Greek.
When the box of the complete set arrived, my son ripped it open as quickly as he could. Inside we found Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!-The Reader, all seven student workbooks, all seven "Full Text" answer keys, all seven quizzes/exams packets, all seven "Flashcards on a Ring" sets, all three pronunciation CDs, a Bible Copybook - The Gospel of John, and sheet music for “The Alphabet Song”, sung on the first CD. This is what Greek ‘n’ Stuff calls their “I Want it All Complete Greek Set”, and it is recommended for those who have not had previous experience with the Greek language. At $375, this is an investment but one that is well worth it if you have several children or one or two considering the ministry as a vocation. You can also purchase each item individually and take it one level at a time. Because we are a large family, our son is not writing in his consumable workbook; the price of purchasing new workbooks for each student would be prohibitive for us. It is something you may want to consider for your family as well.
We have been using the curriculum for a month now, and I have to say I am very pleased with its gentle and slow start. Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! is perfect for an elementary or beginning student. The Reader is geared for preschool children. The booklet contains pictures of four-year-old Andrew in various poses demonstrating the Greek letters. Catchy rhymes and giant Greek letters with directional arrows teach the alphabet in an appealing way. Once your child has pencil skills, he can begin the Level One Workbook.
Level One commences with the Greek alphabet. The student listens to the lively pronunciation CD and then practices writing the Greek letters. They stay on the same letter for several pages of fun drill exercises, insuring that they become familiar with each letter and proficient at writing and pronouncing it. If your student is mid-elementary or older, you may want to begin with Level Two. If your early elementary student already knows the Greek alphabet, you may want to begin with Level Two. Greek ‘n’ Stuff’s website offers a quiz to help you determine with which level you should begin. I found the site to be extremely helpful in determining which level to start with, including recommendations such as, “If your student is currently studying Latin (or has already studied Latin), and is familiar with Latin conjugations and declensions, you may want to begin with Level Four. If your student has had experience with another inflected language, you may want to begin with Level Four. If you strongly prefer a deductive approach to language study, you may want to begin with Level Four.”
To get a thorough idea of what exactly is covered in each level, take some time to peruse Greek ‘n’ Stuff’s website. I found it to be very helpful.
Greek grammar is also thoroughly covered in Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!. In fact, if I were planning to take a child through all seven levels of this curriculum, I would ditch any other grammar study, particularly in the elementary years. What is learned and put to use here will translate beautifully to the study of English grammar, or any other language for that matter. But because the curriculum is written for younger children, the authors purposely refrain from introducing grammatical terms and paradigm memorization until the fourth level.
When a student begins Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! Level Three, the authors recommend that he start spending time each day in a Greek Interlinear New Testament, beginning with the gospel of John. Of course, at this point, the student will just be beginning to understand Greek words, forms, and sentence structure. As he progresses through the workbooks, understanding will continue to increase.
By the time the student finishes Level Seven, he will translate and write Greek sentences, as well as parse (break a sentence down into its component parts of speech with an explanation of the form, function, and syntactical relationship of each part) and translate the first two chapters of I John. I’m estimating several years for our eight-year-old to complete this course of study, and we are looking very forward to seeing the fruit of his hard work. Certainly Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! will make his time studying Greek enjoyable and profitable.
You should also know that there will be further levels of Hey, Andrew!Teach Me Some Greek!, and the authors suggest that you consider purchasing New Testament Greek for Beginners by J. Gresham Machen or Basics of Biblical Greek by William D. Mounce. A portion of these texts will review the material the student has already learned, after which further aspects of grammar and new vocabulary will be presented. Machen's text is used in colleges and seminaries and is a favorite among many New Testament Greek professors. Mounce's text is relatively new, but is gaining in popularity. Having studied Greek using Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! should give your student a solid basis for upper-level Greek study. It might make the difference between familiar and confident and overwhelmed.
If there were a criticism against Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!, it would be that I feel the casual, almost silly title might be off-putting to more seriously academic families. Don’t let it fool you, however. Karen Mohs of Greek ‘n’ Stuff has done an excellent and thorough job of presenting this material and it is of a caliber that should be sufficiently pedantic for even the most scholarly.
-Product Review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, June, 2006