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Has anyone used The Lost Tools of Writing?

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#1 materursa

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 08:18 AM

Has anyone used The Lost Tools of Writing program from the Circe Institute? I would be interested in hearing pros and cons about it.

Thanks!
Amanda

#2 WTMindy

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 09:33 AM

Strange that you ask this today because I was just doing a board search about this very thing. I'll be looking forward to the answers.

#3 WTMindy

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 09:59 AM

I did find this in my search.

#4 WTMindy

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 05:15 PM

bump

#5 Karenciavo

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 07:28 PM

I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner Mindy, I got your FB message. I'll be back to answer tomorrow after church. My dad is in intensive care and I'm tired from driving and stress. :tongue_smilie:

#6 frogpond1

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 07:52 PM

10 6th-8th graders. I really like the invention part of it. These students have used CW and Classical Composition, but by Chreia (spell?) level, I was more interested in Lost Tools of Writing because I think it will get us to the same place eventually, but in a more practical way. It seemed like Classical Comp's Chreia needed to be on a certain history cycle and CW just had too much imbedded into it. I wanted to go at a faster clip than CW to cover the Progymn. This program starts at the very basics of persuasive writing and builds up from there. My students are quite good writers from the lower Progymn levels, so this is really working well to tune their logic brains and get them ready for high school. If we had used it earlier with the 8th graders I'd have been happier, but that is what happens in the homeschool world. CW is much easier to teach now than when I first began it and Lost Tools of Writing will become pretty second nature to teach also. I don't know if that helps, but I'm quite impressed with my students' response to the program and I can see it really has them thinking.

#7 Karenciavo

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 03:38 PM

I use The Lost Tools of Writing. I will go through the pros and cons using the LTOW method of brain-storming during the invention process; the ANI method:

Affirmative:

  • Incrementally teaches writing starting with the persuasive essay via 3 of the 5 canons of rhetoric - Invention, Arrangement, and Elocution or Style.
  • My man-of-few-words 13 yo's writing has thrived using the LTOW because once he masters the tools taught he is able to overcome his hurdles.
  • Scripted lessons at first till you get your feet wet then you write you own using forms provided. There are master teachers who write lessons and post them on the web site and yahoo group too in case you need more hand holding (like me :001_smile:)
Negative:

  • Very teacher intensive (which isn't really a con for me, but it is for some people)
  • Program is not complete and I believe is behind schedule. I thought level 2 was supposed to be out Fall 2008 and it's still not out.
Interesting:

  • There are three basic problems people have with writing; coming up with something to say, putting you ideas in the proper order, expressing your ideas appropriately. LTOW helps students and teachers get passed these problems using the canons mentioned above.
  • Students use Aristotle's Common Topics during the Invention process.
  • Students are taught outlining during the arrangement process.
  • Students are trained to use various schemes and tropes during the elocution process.
  • Teachers are trained to teach via the didactic mode i.e. teaching through discourse.
Basically students write an essay every 3 weeks. A week on invention, a week on arrangement, and a week on elocution. They start off very basic, painstakingly so for some, and build from there.

Does that help? :001_smile:
Karen

#8 WTMindy

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 05:37 PM

Thanks so much, Karen. I'm very sorry to hear about your father!!! I'll be praying.

Do you think that it is too intensive for a 5th grader or should I just do it with my 7th grader and wait for a couple years before doing it with my 5th grader?

Do you try and fit it with TOG or do you just do it as a separate subject? I know that I need to do something different next year with my dd (she'll be in 7th grade) and I'm trying to decide what that might look like. I know that WTM says that R&S is enough for writing, but I just keep getting drawn towards the progym/classical type writing.

#9 Karenciavo

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 06:32 PM

Thanks so much, Karen. I'm very sorry to hear about your father!!! I'll be praying.

Thanks :)

Do you think that it is too intensive for a 5th grader or should I just do it with my 7th grader and wait for a couple years before doing it with my 5th grader?

Some people use it with younger students, I imagine they focus on the basics longer and add in some of the more common schemes and tropes.

Do you try and fit it with TOG or do you just do it as a separate subject? I know that I need to do something different next year with my dd (she'll be in 7th grade) and I'm trying to decide what that might look like. I know that WTM says that R&S is enough for writing, but I just keep getting drawn towards the progym/classical type writing.


Both. I incorporate it with TOG when appropriate, when we studied the Mexican-American War for example I had them write an essay on whether or not the war was a Just War according to the definition of Aquinas laid out in his Summa Theologicae. Now that we are beginning to study the Civil War I'm sure I'll bring it in again. Otherwise they may write about their literature or science or just some random topic, although I try to limit those.

#10 LauraJ

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 08:25 PM

Is LTOW something that I could go through myself to learn the writing process before my children are at that stage???? I am weak in writing but I don't want to learn it with my children but stay ahead of them. I am planning to use Analytical Grammar to help but still deciding what writing curriculum is best to teach me correct sentence structure. Weighing going through CW. Now hearimg your explanation about LTOW.....:confused:

Thank you!

#11 WTMindy

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 11:40 PM

Both. I incorporate it with TOG when appropriate, when we studied the Mexican-American War for example I had them write an essay on whether or not the war was a Just War according to the definition of Aquinas laid out in his Summa Theologicae. Now that we are beginning to study the Civil War I'm sure I'll bring it in again. Otherwise they may write about their literature or science or just some random topic, although I try to limit those.


One more question about this. Do *you* decide what they are going to write about, or is it given in the curriculum what they should write about. Do you do extra work when you tie it into your other studies or do you just substitute? That is the part that scares me, the having to come up with things on my own. :-)

#12 Karenciavo

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 09:16 AM

Is LTOW something that I could go through myself to learn the writing process before my children are at that stage???? I am weak in writing but I don't want to learn it with my children but stay ahead of them. I am planning to use Analytical Grammar to help but still deciding what writing curriculum is best to teach me correct sentence structure. Weighing going through CW. Now hearimg your explanation about LTOW.....:confused:

Thank you!


I've heard it mentioned that IEW students do well with LToW, we never used IEW. You could go through it on your own and definitely listening to the cds will help, but I would suggest reading Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student by Edward Corbett.

#13 Karenciavo

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 10:10 AM

One more question about this. Do *you* decide what they are going to write about, or is it given in the curriculum what they should write about. Do you do extra work when you tie it into your other studies or do you just substitute? That is the part that scares me, the having to come up with things on my own. :-)


Well, during the lessons there are topics that the students work on and on the Circe web site I believe there are lesson plans for 11 out of 12 or 13 lessons. There are suggested topics as you go through the lessons, but the nature of persuasive essays are such that the issues examined need to be familiar to the student. I believe one example used is, "Should Brutus have assassinated Caesar?" If your students aren't familiar with the history they are not going to be able to complete the assignment. It really hasn't been that hard coming up with issues, you can pull them from the thinking questions in TOG.

Edited by Karenciavo, 16 February 2009 - 10:15 AM.


#14 materursa

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 05:52 AM

Thanks Karen!

Does LToW expect that the student has previously gone through a writing program?

Also, when you say teacher intensive, do you mean that in a learning to implement the program way or in a working with your child during lesson time way?

Thanks!
Amanda

#15 Karenciavo

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 06:23 AM

Thanks Karen!
Does LToW expect that the student has previously gone through a writing program?


From the teacher guide: "This curriculum is geared to the 7th to 9th grade student with a little writing background. Middle school students who have experienced basic writing exercises and who know the elements of grammar are prepared for this program. The practiced teacher can use the ideas contained in this curriculum for children at any age level, and The Lost Tools of Writing has been used as early as third grade."

Also, when you say teacher intensive, do you mean that in a learning to implement the program way or in a working with your child during lesson time way?

I suggest anyone using LToW spend some time going over the curriculum and listening to the cds before using it. If you plan on using it for next year spend some time with it this summer. That said, there is a helpful list of things for the teacher to cover if you need to get started right away. The first couple of lessons are very introductory and you could jump in and work ahead of your students.

Andrew Kern's teaching philosophy is, in part, that teachers need to know what they are teaching and they need to actively teach. This approach doesn't work for all homeschoolers, it doesn't work for me for every subject that's for sure - thank you Dana Mosely! By teacher intensive I don't necessarily mean it's "intense," because it's not. Mr. Kern has done such a great job of breaking classical writing down to simple concepts. It's just that you need to know it too, that's all. There are only 2 one hour teaching sessions a week, that's not bad.


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