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Classical Writing questions


Renee in NC
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In the new WTM, SWB (in her CW recommendation) states that while the authors recommend Aesop for 3rd-4th grade, she feels that it would be better kept for the mature 5th grader or 6th grader.

 

My questions:

 

Do you think this is true?

 

Can you jump in at Homer with a 6th-7th grader, or should you go back to Aesop? (My ds is dyslexic and struggles with writing, but it is getting better. By the time we are ready to use this he will have finished Winston Grammar.)

 

Would it be better if the student masters the WWE Levels 1-4 before starting Aesop (as TWTM recommends?)

 

Thanks for any insight you can give me! (I have looked at the samples and scope & sequence, but I can't get a good handle on the rigor.)

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We started Aesop with our new 3rd grader and I think it's fine. I don't know what WWE looks like so I can't comment on that but we haven't done any formal grammar or writing before and it hasn't been a problem at all.

 

My son makes mistakes with his writing and we use that as points of discussion after he writes his first draft.

 

I was very nervous starting this program because it seemed so complicated but after actually doing it, so far it seems pretty easy to implement. I did purchase all of the components.

 

HTH

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In the new WTM, SWB (in her CW recommendation) states that while the authors recommend Aesop for 3rd-4th grade, she feels that it would be better kept for the mature 5th grader or 6th grader.

 

My questions:

 

Do you think this is true?

 

I disagree with her recommendation. Aesop is a good fit for 3rd and 4th graders.

 

Can you jump in at Homer with a 6th-7th grader, or should you go back to Aesop? (My ds is dyslexic and struggles with writing, but it is getting better. By the time we are ready to use this he will have finished Winston Grammar.)

 

The recommendation for a 6th-7th grader is generally to start with CW for older beginners. I think as long as the student can write descriptive narrations with and without dialogue, they could start with Homer.

 

Would it be better if the student masters the WWE Levels 1-4 before starting Aesop (as TWTM recommends?)

 

Thanks for any insight you can give me! (I have looked at the samples and scope & sequence, but I can't get a good handle on the rigor.)

 

I don't use WWE, but I would assume it follows the LA sequence in TWTM. It would not be necessary to master all 4 levels before starting Aesop. Aesop begins basically with a written narration. You read and analyze a story, then rewrite the story. HTH

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The recommendation for a 6th-7th grader is generally to start with CW for older beginners. I think as long as the student can write descriptive narrations with and without dialogue, they could start with Homer.

 

 

I've looked at that option, but it seems to move so fast - I am not sure my ds would keep up well at this point.

 

How long are the narrations expected to be and polished?

 

Does Homer review Aesop at all?

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In the new WTM, SWB (in her CW recommendation) states that while the authors recommend Aesop for 3rd-4th grade, she feels that it would be better kept for the mature 5th grader or 6th grader.

 

My questions:

 

Do you think this is true?

 

Can you jump in at Homer with a 6th-7th grader, or should you go back to Aesop? (My ds is dyslexic and struggles with writing, but it is getting better. By the time we are ready to use this he will have finished Winston Grammar.)

 

Would it be better if the student masters the WWE Levels 1-4 before starting Aesop (as TWTM recommends?)

 

Thanks for any insight you can give me! (I have looked at the samples and scope & sequence, but I can't get a good handle on the rigor.)

 

Here's my .02. My ds is mildly dyslexic, we did Aesop B in 5th and it was a good fit for him. I moved him to Homer OB for this year. It reviews Aesop for 2 weeks then moves into Homer level work. The understanding and grammar has not been throwing him it's the writing. The amount of it, the spelling and copious amounts of frustration that come with the struggle. At least in the OB book about week 5 the models get quite a bit longer. It has been too much for my ds because of his dyslexia.

 

I bought the OB thinking I could spread it out over two years and find a few models of my own. that is what we will do after a little bit of panic on my part.

 

I like CW but we are taking the rest of the year (2009) off from CW to work on dictation, outlining, and increasing his typing speed. We're also going to slow down the CW speed and take one week to do the grammar portion, one week to focus on writing.

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In the new WTM, SWB (in her CW recommendation) states that while the authors recommend Aesop for 3rd-4th grade, she feels that it would be better kept for the mature 5th grader or 6th grader.

 

My questions:

 

Do you think this is true?

 

This isn't easy to answer. I see people who have 5th graders who are bored with Aesop. Now I don't know what they were doing before. It could also be they just don't like writing. But then when you step up to Homer, whew! Homer I wouldn't recommend for a 4th grader, and I could see it being too much for some 5th graders. It is much more a 6th-8th grade level IMO.

 

Also realize there are other complicating issues. Like if you plan to use the CW workbooks instead of finding your own models, there is only 18 weeks of Aesop A, and 18 weeks of Aesop B. Thus I hold off till 4th grade to start CW, so we have a full year of work. Also you have to keep an eye on grammar needs, if you plan to use a separate grammar program.

 

 

Can you jump in at Homer with a 6th-7th grader, or should you go back to Aesop? (My ds is dyslexic and struggles with writing, but it is getting better. By the time we are ready to use this he will have finished Winston Grammar.)

 

I think CW is very good for dyslexic children because they don't have to come up with original content and yet they still work on very concrete skills. That said you may have to plan to spend extra time with them till they feel comfortable with things. At times they will probably totally melt down when new skills are introduced. At those times you might have to stop and evaluate whether the child needs extra work on something, or if the pace needs to be adjusted to fit better.

 

Hands down start with Aesop. With a 7th grader maybe the Older Beginners program, but that is going to move VERY quickly. With a dyslexic you will very likely need to slow things down here and there so they can master a particular skill before moving on.

Would it be better if the student masters the WWE Levels 1-4 before starting Aesop (as TWTM recommends?)

 

Yes. Summarizing skills are used in Homer. Basically in Homer a child learns to do a book report by summarizing scenes. Very concrete for a child who knows how to summarize and who is dyslexic and needs things to be very clear. A child also needs to have mastered the skill of being able to think and write at the same time. If these two skills are already present then the child can move forward with CW without doing WWE. My 2nd dd in fact is doing WWE and Aesop at the same time, because she has the second skill down, but not the summarizing part. Given she doesn't need it till Homer, I can get away with doing both. She is just doing CW very slowly (3 weeks per model instead of 1), which also makes it easier for me to do everything with her. That helps her come up to speed and feel comfortable with what is required of her BEFORE she begins doing it independently, which she eventually will.

 

Aesop teaches some really good skills. While the outlining is considered optional, I require it for two reasons. First because I end up with one huge paragraph otherwise. I teach the girls to make each paragraph a new bullet on the outline, so when they rewrite they know where to start a new paragraph (BTW Diogenes formally teaches paragraphs and is the first level the child has to come up with original content for). Second because it gives them something concrete (can you tell I like this concept/word ;) ) to rewrite from. It also has the child looking up vocabulary and writing out the definitions, also doing spelling analysis, so the child is comfortable with their dictation later on in the week. The basic parts of speech, and sentence types are taught. In Aesop B there is diagramming work that is listed as optional. For writing a child learns to add and punctuate direct quotes and add descriptive detail. A creative child may also change the setting and characters as long as they don't change the moral of the story.

 

Homer begins to really use grammar. It carries over many of the skills used in Aesop, except the spelling analysis, though you could continue to do that as needed. Homer A will again cover all the parts of speech, but this time as you cover them you learn to go deeper. With Nouns you learn to find synonyms (note the child is now using both a dictionary and thesaurus weekly) and change from Singular to Plural. With Verbs you again find synonyms and learn to change tense, so on... With each new skill the child first works with individual words, then with whole sentences (this is where diagramming is done), and last with whole paragraphs. Once a skill has been learned it is continues to be reviewed (there is parsing review with words, sentence rewrites, and paragraph works is sometimes review, but not always), but the focus switches to the new skill. Writing wise the child learns to identify scenes and summarize them. They learn to identify the parts of a story that can't be left out and the parts that can be. The rewrite changes as well, and it will have different focuses. Keeping the authors intent, expanding on their intent, eliminating all unimportant details, adding details of your own. From my glimpses of Homer B the move into more advanced grammar (clauses of all kinds), and the writing teaches the child how to start the rewrite in the middle of the story or tell it from the end. Can you tell I am excited about what is coming? :D

 

The hardest thing with a dyslexic is you are going to have to hold their hands at times, more than you want to and/or you might have to slow the program down to their speed. I also pick and choose the things I am willing to be more fluid on, and the things I want them to master. For example because scene divisions can be argued I don't worry about them. In fact I have my oldest review her own paper with the answer key they gave and allow her to judge which she wants to use. Same with essential parts and non-essential. She doesn't get this right off, often keeping too much. Thus I allow her to correct her own paper with the answer key and while she has to keep anything they keep I allow her some wiggle room with what they eliminate. If she really thinks it needs to be kept I allow it. CW also would like to have the child do an evaluation of each scene. I found it to be way too much work, so I have my dd do it on the whole story, but make notes when things are different in different scenes. If I had her do each scene I would have to allow her longer than a week to finish.

 

One last note. I adore the Poetry work. For the FIRST time in my life I get poetry. As a dyslexic myself, poetry was so out there to me. I did like some of it, but overall it was a mystery. Now I get it! There really is logic behind it, and CW does a great job of making it approachable.

 

Heather

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Thank you Heather! That helps me a great deal. We'll start with Aesop and plan to do both levels in one year, then work on Homer and Poetry the next. I like the idea that we can move at his pace, so if he gets it we can move on or slow down when he isn't ready.

 

This will also allow him more time to remediate his dyslexia before really hitting original content.

 

Thanks!

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Here's my .02. My ds is mildly dyslexic, we did Aesop B in 5th and it was a good fit for him. I moved him to Homer OB for this year. It reviews Aesop for 2 weeks then moves into Homer level work. The understanding and grammar has not been throwing him it's the writing. The amount of it, the spelling and copious amounts of frustration that come with the struggle. At least in the OB book about week 5 the models get quite a bit longer. It has been too much for my ds because of his dyslexia.

 

I bought the OB thinking I could spread it out over two years and find a few models of my own. that is what we will do after a little bit of panic on my part.

 

I like CW but we are taking the rest of the year (2009) off from CW to work on dictation, outlining, and increasing his typing speed. We're also going to slow down the CW speed and take one week to do the grammar portion, one week to focus on writing.

 

Thanks! I am going to work on these things before we get to Aesop, then. He is taking a Keyboarding class online and we will continue working in WWE with dictation and narration.

 

And, as I said below, we will start with Aesop A and move forward at his pace instead of having to modify the Older Beginners book.

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Thanks! I am going to work on these things before we get to Aesop, then. He is taking a Keyboarding class online and we will continue working in WWE with dictation and narration.

 

And, as I said below, we will start with Aesop A and move forward at his pace instead of having to modify the Older Beginners book.

 

I forgot to add I teach all my kids typing too, so they type all their rewrites. Makes life so much simpler and you can read it! :blink:

 

Heather

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