New Enhanced, Classical Education Edition of Caesar’s English I

Posted on: 03/08/2012 Back to all blog posts

by Dr. Tom Kemnitz, Publisher

Boy, are we excited! We have completed the Classical Education Edition of Caesar’s English I in the MCT vocabulary program.

It is everything we want a textbook to be. It is as beautiful as we could make it. It has a clean appearance. It is uncluttered. The aesthetics of every two-page spread have been considered and evaluated as the book will look to the beholder. The photographs, maps, and other illustrative material have been manipulated to give the clearest image. Every part of the book has been considered for its pleasing countenance.

Beauty has not been bound by the eye of the beholder; it is in the ear of the hearer. English sings in this edition. The poems that Michael Clay Thompson has written for this volume will delight.

The structure of this edition does double duty and then doubles that. First, the content is traditionally structured into twenty language lessons, each layered with reinforcing activities like lapping waves. Second, the underlying structure is grammar-based, designed to reinforce the grammar underpinnings of the entire curriculum. Each quarter of this edition relates the vocabulary to one of the four levels of grammar analysis. Vocabulary is not simply words; it is the use of words in place, and that place is grammar. Furthermore, the poetics form an appreciable part of each lesson. The writing is ever-present. And the literature is there, far more than the children are going to see in any other text, and far more than they are going to comprehend fully at this age. But it is there so they can begin to develop a familiarity with great writers, ancient and modern.

The primary pedagogic purpose of Caesar’s English is to teach vocabulary—the academic vocabulary children will need to succeed in education and beyond that in professional life. Caesar’s English has always been capable of doing that beyond the reach of other texts. That has not prevented Michael from adding substantially to the language lessons to increase the depth of the children’s comprehension. There are new activities. Favorite activities such as the word search have been added to each lesson. There are new words. There is new language play. And the vocabulary is everywhere—in the poems and in the other content so that young students see it used.

And this edition has additional content designed to facilitate those parents and teachers who are offering their children a classical education. Michael Clay Thompson has written a biographical essay of the life of Julius Caesar, which is presented in ten parts in the first volume. In addition to increasing substantially the discussion of the relationship between English and Spanish as two languages descended from Latin, Myriam Borges Thompson has written essays on Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and the Iberian connection. Thomas Milton Kemnitz not only took the photographs that provide the visual foundation for this edition, but also he has added fifteen short essays on column styles the Romans adopted from Greek architecture and on the Roman use of concrete on their buildings, roads, and fortifications.

What makes this enhanced classical education edition special for all of us is that this is the best work we have ever done, and we do not believe that anyone else has come close to doing it this well.

We have been so carried away with creating this edition that what once was a single volume is now too large for a young student, and we have had to divide the book into two parts, bound separately. Michael Clay Thompson has produced an extensive teacher manual. And the entire package is so weighty that we are going to lose money on the shipping of every book. Moreover, we cannot charge enough for the set to cover the costs of development as well as the costs of producing each book. But we are too committed to this edition to allow any such considerations to enter our thinking about it now. As soon as the final corrections are made next week, we will begin printing. It will be available before the end of March. It can be purchased now, but your entire order will not ship until this part of it is available.

You can read what inspired this edition here.

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