Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Classical Composition I: Fable - Writing Curriculum Review

When I think of Classical Christian Education I think of Memoria Press.  My youngest son doesn't like writing very much.  I'm not just talking about structured writing I mean he doesn't like writing at all, he would rather talk about it than write it.  We have dabbled in a few different writing curriculums in the past but nothing spiked his interest.  I am familiar with Memoria Press so when given the opportunity to review their Classical Composition I: Fable Set, I decided to give it a try with him.

My expectations were not high going into this because I knew that my son dislike writing very much!  However, I also knew that I wanted to introduce it to him because I know it's an important skill he needs to learn.

What We Received

It came with a spiral bound Teacher Guide, spiral bound student book, and an instructional DVD set which included four discs.

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

This Fable Set will teach kids how to use words to engage their audience.  They are taught how to create an outline and paraphrase a story, basically how to put their narration on paper or how to restructure the story without changing it.  This form of writing has been used for many years and helped some of the greatest masters of language such as William Shakespeare and Benjamin Franklin.

How We Used It

I have never used Memoria Press writing before so before we jumped in I read the teaching guidelines and highlighted the things that I wanted to remember when teaching each lesson.  
I also read the definition of terms, because they use rich vocabulary I wanted to be sure to brush up on my definitions so that I could better help my son.
Each lesson has eight sections so we decided to do a section a day.  Again, my son doesn't like writing so I did not want to overwhelm him.  So, each lesson took us about 2 weeks to finish, we only school Monday - Thursday.  This worked well for both my son and myself.  
Every lesson starts with a Fable. You can either read it with your child or you can have them read along as the instructor on the DVD reads it to them. We did both.  I read it to my son first and then we listened to the instructor on the DVD.  I actually did this for every section.  I went over the section with my son and we then listened to the instructor and paused when needed.

The Sections:

  • The Fable
  • Variations: Part 1
  • Outline
  • Narration
  • Paraphrase 1
  • Paraphrase 2
  • Variations: Part 2
  • Final Draft

He worked hard on this and made me so proud.

We did not do the final draft for the first two lesson because I did not want to discourage my son from writing.  We will, however, go back and do them after we complete lesson 3.  My logic behind this is that I want to build up his confidence in writing first before we go marking things wrong and making corrections.  This is working for us because my son is a reluctant writer and I want to make writing as fun as possible. 
Speaking of fun Lesson 1 was a fable called The Ant and the Chrysalis after we read it my son had questions about a chrysalis and a butterfly so we ordered a butterfly kit and watched their life cycle.  This small, yet, helpful step made his writing experience even more enjoyable.

The Caterpillars

After 2 turned to chrysalises

The beautiful butterfly

Our Thoughts

My 9-year-old son said, "I like it more than I dislike it.  Some of the words are hard and I don't know what they mean.  I like that because it is building my vocabulary and helping me write better.  I really like the fables.  The instructor explains the stuff well but it is sometimes hard for me to remember what he said so I like when my mama pauses it and explains it to me.  The lessons are too hard but I like it because it makes me think.  I think it is too much writing especially the paraphrase part.  I like the writing overall though.  I would recommend it for older kids"

My Thoughts

I think this is a very solid writing curriculum.  My son does not like writing at all so for him to complete these lessons without much compliant made me very proud!  I liked the instructional DVD because he explained it better than me in my opinion, however, my son thinks I explained it better.  In actuality, I just summed up what the instructor said in my own words.  I don't think I could have got through the lessons with it.  That could be because writing is not my strong point or maybe I wasn't confident in teaching it, either way, I am glad to have had the DVDs.  They do go over the lesson the same way it is written in the Teacher Guide.  He could have used a little more spunk to better captivate children in my opinion.  My favorite section is the Variations and the Outline, it pushed my son to think.  He is a smart kid and is so used to just knowing the answer but, these sections made him put on his thinking cap.  Overall I'm pleased with this writing curriculum and will continue to use it with my son.  It is recommended for grades 4-12 and I agree with that.  My son is only in the 3rd grade and is a reluctant writer so he required more of my attention.  I think an older child could possibly use this on their own with the instructional DVDs and a little if any help from mom.  I can't wait to try Classical Composition II: Narrative Set once we complete this one.

Us mamas on the Crew had the opportunity to review different products by Memoria Press so be sure to check out what they reviewed and what their thoughts were.  Click the banner below.

New American Cursive & Traditional Logic {Memoria Press Reviews}

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