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Classical Writing? How is it done?


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I enjoyed the reviews I read on Classical Writing, so I decided to purchse Aesop, and Aesop & Homer for Older Beginners. Well, I can not figure either one out. I decided for the younger one I prefer Writing With Ease so I gave up on Aesop. For the older one I am confused should I try Aesop & Homer for Older Beginners? I looked at the teacher's manual, and the student workbook, then gave it to my husband to look over. We just do not understand the instructions clearly. I understand the instructions halfway. I feel so inadequate not being able to figure it out. Can someone please make it a little clearer to me? If I coul dfigure it out maybe I could use it. Would IEW Student Writing Intensive B be a better option? Is it difficult to figure out? I purchased it as a back up plan, but it will not be here until next week. I was thinking maybe do one program the first part of the year, then do the other one the last half. This way he could be exposed to both, and have the best of both? Right now just a bit confused.

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I will give you that it is quite confusing at first. Did you get the Student Workbook? You don't need it, but it does simplify planning a bit. The way I was able to figure it out is to just walk through it a day at a time.

 

Don't try to read the whole thing from beginning to end. Determine what skill level you student is at (most likely level 1 if you are just starting with the program) then look at the recommendations for Day One, Level 1 for each of the categories. Then go through the directions for Day Two, Level 1 for each category. The method becomes clear after one or two lessons and it won't seem so daunting.

 

I don't have the book in front of me right now, but it usually starts off telling the student to read, then re-read, then read aloud to the parent the selection. Then discuss any unusual words and their meanings. The student might be asked to come up with synonyms for several words. Then the student may need narrate the story back to the teacher, and there might be another exercise, but that's pretty much one session for us at the beginning.

 

If I get a minute later I'll get my books and see if I can give any more concrete help.

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I decided against using Aesop with the youngest one and just continue WWE.

For my oldest child I got Classical Writing Aesop & Homer Student Workbook for Older Beginners, Instructor's Guide to the Student Workbook for Older Beginners, Classical Writing Homer, Classical Writing Aesop which is from the set for the youngest.

 

We will not be using Harvey's Grammar, we use R&S. I see where it says prepare a notebook for the first week.

 

Week 1 Day 1 It says read model aloud and discuss. Narrate the story to the teacher. I understand that.

In the student workbook it says "Write an outline of the narrative in preparation for your writing project."

 

Are they looking for a regular outline? I hate to misunderstand, but no examples are given.

 

For day 2 it says "Spelling Analysis." I assume it means unfamiliar words from the story? We already do a spelling program, and vocabulary program, so this may annoy him, I was considering skipping this step if it becomes overkill.

 

Day 3 has model sentences to be rewritten. I think I understand how that is done.

 

Day 4 is where I am confused. He can write from dictation, and he can copy. We can do that.

It also says write a rough draft, and then a final draft. Is this done on the same day? I see in the student workbook where it shows to check for mechanics. It does not have issues there. Style is where he has issues.

 

Is this how this program works? I want to make sure.

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It is precisely b/c it makes teaching writing so complicated that I don't recommend it w/o qualifying my comments. Teaching writing does not need to be anywhere that convoluted. If you feel like you need to abandon it, don't feel bad. (I bought and sold exactly what you purchased. ;) )

 

However, there are many people that really want guidance on how to teach and have been happy with the results. If you feel insecure in teaching writing, sticking it out and trying to find a way to make it work for you may be worth the extra effort.

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I do believe classical Writing is a good program, it is just unfortunate I do not understand it. If I do not understand it enough to use it, then it is doubtful my child would understand and be able to produce quality writing from my instruction. They do not provide examples of the outline, so I am unclear as to what type of outline they are looking for in day 1. On day 4 writing a rough draft and final draft in the same day as copy and dictation? I would think it should be done on seperate days? I need more guidance like seeing examples of what the student should produce. Lucky for me I did purchase everything used, so it is not as if I paid full price. I am not rying to devalue the program by any means, maybe it is just not a good fit for me. I am still trying to figure out what type of outline on day 1. I am just confused.

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Momlovesclassics,

 

I hear you! I just started using CW Aesop and was quite confused at first. It's unfortunate that it's so (disorganized) as really, it's not that bad once you get a grip on it and figure out a good routine.

 

There are many threads on CW that helped me get going. If you search on Classical Writing you will find some useful discussions.

 

As far as the weekly routine goes... I cannot find the original thread, but I just found this last week (I believe it was posted by SilverMoon, however I may have that wrong... sorry if I do). It is a schedule she uses and it just made sense to me so we started it this week and it was a great week!

 

Day 1: Story intro and outline

 

Okay, I believe I got this from the Aesop core... here's what we do for the outline. We go through each sentence (of shorter models) and each paragraph (of longer models) and write down a few key words for each one. Just enough for my ds to jog his memory. I think Aesop said to count up the number of sentences, number your paper and then write two-three words on each one. We do not use the official "outline" format.

 

Day 2: Analysis and Imitation

 

We don't do spelling either as we have an extensive spelling program. So... we do synonym work. I introduced the thesaurus and I choose 5-10 words for ds to look up synonyms for. So far we haven't had many vocab words as my ds has a good vocabulary and hasn't run into anything he can't define. We use JAG so we do lots of grammar outside of CW so I don't focus too much on this. We use the Workbook and do whatever exercises are in there though. I will throw in dictation on this day sometimes too.

 

Day 3: Rough draft

 

Using the outline from Day 1 and the Analysis page from the workbook (ie. synonyms and the sentence rewrites) he writes his rough draft double spaced on notebook paper.

 

Day 4: Edit

 

Not done on same day as draft. My ds edits with me because he's 9. Your older son may be able to do a first edit on his own, then you might look over it a final time.

 

Day 5: Final draft

 

I have my ds type his final draft. (Right now we edit and final draft on the same day because of our schedule. That will change after this next week though.)

 

I think something you have to keep in mind is that CW can be flexible. You can mold it to what you need. If you don't need spelling, don't do it! Don't be afraid to adjust it a little. I know that's difficult for some people so in the end, this just may not work for you.

 

I have the Homer Core and have looked through it and quite frankly I'm very overwhelmed. An idea in a thread I read was to purchase the workbook and just use that as the base... only looking in the Core to know how to teach something. I need to get the workbook! Also, someone suggested making a chart of when new concepts are introduced in Homer so you don't miss any. I'm going to work on that this summer.

 

There are a few other ladies on the board who use CW and love it. Siloam is one as well as Silvermoon (who I'm pretty sure posted this schedule originally). They have been very helpful! You may want to look at posts by them.

 

I would spend some time on it... it may grow on you! I think it is a bit of work up front to get to know, then it gets easier. At least, I've found that.

 

PM me if you have any other questions... I'm still new, but willing to give it a shot. I don't have OB, but I do have the Aesop and Homer Core.

 

Oh... and just to add... you asked what the student should produce... I know in the Aesop core appendix C has some examples of narrations from children. Some children are very creative and change characters and setting... this is okay as long as they stick to the basic story plot/moral. My son prefers to rewrite very close to the original, although since I introduced synonyms this week he did do some playing around with some of the wordings so I was glad to see him do that and own his writing a bit. I'm learning that Aesop is really just getting the hang of rewriting narratives. There really isn't a ton more going on. It's once you get to Homer that things really pick up with grammar, word, sentence and paragraph work (in my estimation).

Edited by robsiew
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I cannot help you in any shape or form because I, too, am still trying to get it all figured out. For starters I originally purchased CW OB as well and quickly realized that it moved too quickly for us. I sold it and purchased Homer. Homer seems to move at a better pace, but it is still overwhelming. I do NOT like NOT knowing EXACTLY what a curriculum wants us to do and/or produce. I have to really force myself to force my son to do the work...even though sometimes I don't know exactly what that work IS! :lol:

 

Daily, I miss Writing Tales. Daily. I so wish there was a WT3...4...5...6... because WT2 was so much easier to understand. I loved it and so did my ds! We are not loving CW; it seems purposefully difficult and convoluted. BUT, having said that, I hear that it's wonderful...once you get it figured out. Ha! I'm not quite there yet. ;)

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We've made some adjustments with how we use Homer too. In fact, Diogene's Maxim is going to be here any day now so that I can look ahead and see better where we are going and in turn making it easier to decide what we need to do with Homer.

 

We read the model and do not outline the scenes (since the model length is longer now) but do discuss the author's emphasis. I think outlining the earlier models is important to be sure they really see how this works but at this point (now that she understands it well) we can discuss this and not outline.

 

We rarely do the vocabulary since the models are slightly below her reading level (dd is in 7th and we are a little behind in the CW schedule) and there is rarely a word that she doesn't really know the meaning. If there is some doubt or hesitation we might do that one word but this is just to practice the skills of analyzing the word with a dictionary.

 

We do not do the copywork. The models are not challenging enough anyway but we keep a copybook (like a common place book) already and she makes an entry into this book weekly as it is. I think this is more suitable for us.

 

We, at this point, will not be rewriting all the models. We will do the analysis work in the workbook for all the models (so far) but will end up rewriting only 22 models from both books (like the Older Beginners book in that they reduce Homer's total model number from 40 (this is both workbooks A and B combined) to 20.

 

These are just some examples of how we have adapted this to work for us. I agree with previous posters. Use the student book to guide your understanding. I look through her book and then mark pages of lessons I must teach that are better explained in the core book as we need them. My instructor book is simply my answer key.

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I decided against using Aesop with the youngest one and just continue WWE.

For my oldest child I got Classical Writing Aesop & Homer Student Workbook for Older Beginners, Instructor's Guide to the Student Workbook for Older Beginners, Classical Writing Homer, Classical Writing Aesop which is from the set for the youngest.

 

We will not be using Harvey's Grammar, we use R&S. I see where it says prepare a notebook for the first week.

 

We also use R&S and haven't encountered any problems. So far all grammar we've met in CW has been review.

 

Week 1 Day 1 It says read model aloud and discuss. Narrate the story to the teacher. I understand that.

In the student workbook it says "Write an outline of the narrative in preparation for your writing project."

 

Are they looking for a regular outline? I hate to misunderstand, but no examples are given.

The outline needs to include as much information as the child needs/wants for their rough draft day. Their rough draft needs to be written entirely from their own outline. I have mine make a one point outline, how detailed that outline is depends on how much detail that child needs. My kids started out with lots of information on theirs, but have gotten better at smooshing the information as they went along. One child has a key-word outline down pat and prefers to use that.

 

For day 2 it says "Spelling Analysis." I assume it means unfamiliar words from the story? We already do a spelling program, and vocabulary program, so this may annoy him, I was considering skipping this step if it becomes overkill.
Feel free to skip it if it doesn't suit you. I've never done the spelling analysis with my kids, but I do have them find a suitable synonym for the ten words I choose for them from their current model. The synonym they choose must fit where the word I chose is used in the story.

 

Day 3 has model sentences to be rewritten. I think I understand how that is done.
This is done for you in the workbook. Unless they need a new grammar definition dictated for them they can do this step independently. I lump this into day 2.

 

Day 4 is where I am confused. He can write from dictation, and he can copy. We can do that.

It also says write a rough draft, and then a final draft. Is this done on the same day? I see in the student workbook where it shows to check for mechanics. It does not have issues there. Style is where he has issues.

This is rough draft day at our house and lands on day 3. We skip the copywork/dictation. Again, they rewrite the story from their own outline and don't get to check the model.

 

Day 4 is editing. This gives them a "light" day and makes it easier for them to rework particular sections without anything else to get done. Rough draft on day 5.

 

The writing assignment sheet in his workbook will give your ds exact parts to work on, such as more interesting nouns or verbs.

 

Is this how this program works? I want to make sure.

I think the confusing part is CW suggests two CW sessions a day, one for A&I work, and the second for actual writing. We found this to be redundant. If I were using Aesop with a young reluctant writer perhaps? The schedule Robsiew posted above is ours and works fabulously for us. Edited by SilverMoon
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I do believe classical Writing is a good program, it is just unfortunate I do not understand it. If I do not understand it enough to use it, then it is doubtful my child would understand and be able to produce quality writing from my instruction. They do not provide examples of the outline, so I am unclear as to what type of outline they are looking for in day 1. On day 4 writing a rough draft and final draft in the same day as copy and dictation? I would think it should be done on seperate days? I need more guidance like seeing examples of what the student should produce. Lucky for me I did purchase everything used, so it is not as if I paid full price. I am not rying to devalue the program by any means, maybe it is just not a good fit for me. I am still trying to figure out what type of outline on day 1. I am just confused.

 

We haven't used OB, but have done the Aesop and Homer Cores separately without the students books. A basic week takes 4 days with each day including some analysis work and some imitation work. The imitation work in Aesop is not divided out by day but will be when you reach Homer.

 

Day 1: analysis - read and discuss the model

imitation - keyword outline (for Aesop) count the number of sentences, pick 3 words from each sentence and write them down (directions for doing this should be in the imitation section of the Aesop core manual)

 

Day 2: analysis - spelling work, we prefer to do vocabulary work on this day

imitation - write a rough draft

 

Day 3: analysis - grammar work, this is optional in Aesop we do it to reinforce concepts from R&S

imitation - edit rough draft

 

Day 4: analysis - copywork or dictation

imitation - complete final draft

 

The book says to rewrite the final draft by hand. At the Aesop level, I type the final draft and let the kids illustrate it. At the Homer level, I simply have them make corrections in Word to their rough draft.

 

Like any other program it takes a couple of weeks to get the feel for it. Feel free to pm me if I can answer any more questions. HTH

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We're doing CW Older BEginners and are a tiny bit ahead of you if you want to PM me with specific week questions if you need to. I'll tell you what we did. I too found it very hard to jump into but it's easier now. I'm still learning, but figuring things out as I go.

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  • 8 months later...

 

Daily, I miss Writing Tales. Daily. I so wish there was a WT3...4...5...6... because WT2 was so much easier to understand. I loved it and so did my ds! We are not loving CW; it seems purposefully difficult and convoluted. BUT, having said that, I hear that it's wonderful...once you get it figured out. Ha! I'm not quite there yet. ;)

 

:iagree:

 

I'm another very confused very overwhelmed newbie to CW. Not sure yet if we're going to scrap it and try something else.

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:iagree:

 

I'm another very confused very overwhelmed newbie to CW. Not sure yet if we're going to scrap it and try something else.

 

Are you starting with Aesop? Can you give me some details about where you are at (reading the core, trying it but a little lost). I created a PDF of when there are new readings which seems to help a lot of people. Because they list the pages covered in the core every time, and they don't do a good job of giving you a clue as to when it is the same think you covered last week or something new, it is really easy to accidentally skip over a reading. Then suddenly your student is confused because they are trying to do something they haven't been taught, and you as the teacher usually end up frustrated because there wasn't a bigger indicator that you needed to teach something. The PDF I created is nothing that outstanding, but it will alert you to the fact that new material is being covered so you are on top of things.

 

Let me know where you are at and I will try my best to help. If you want my PDF's just e-mail me and I will get the to you.

 

Heather

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I totally understand the frustration w/ CW. I started with Homer for Older Beginners. It was really tough to follow, imo, but I was determined to stick with it regardless. I had been through too many other programs and I was convinced CW was what I was what we needed. I have no secrets. I just did my best day to day to follow the procedures.

We have fininshed CW Diogenes Maxim and I am THRILLED with the results- truly thrilled.

Siloam has posted a lot about using CW and she has been very specific. I would recommend searching her posts.

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The lack of streamlined, sequential organization is one of the reasons I am no longer doing CW with my children. I tried A&H for OB last year and found it extremely tiresome to flip back and forth between the books. I found it convoluted, distracting, and too time-intensive.

 

CW has worked beautifully for many homeschool families. Ours is not one of them.

 

GardenMom

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I'm glad I'm not the only one!!

 

Heather....you are very kind to offer your help. I will be looking into your other posts (as someone suggested above) for your expert advice. :) I may take you up on your PDF's offer.

 

I finished up Writing Tales 2 during this school year with my 6th grader and then started Homer A. Never did Aesop (someone had said that WT was similar to Aesop).

 

Soo.... Where we are right now is Homer A, trying to figure out the "Table for Analysis of Author's Emphasis" introduced in week 5, I think. Last week: taking the narrative, dividing it into scenes, and asking the "Theon's Six Components" for each component (splitting up the "Xenophon to the Sea" into 5 scenes--just understanding it was difficult enough--and writing down all six questions for each scene) was a task of nightmarish proportions!

 

But now....this week....having to break it down even further with the table for analysis, where, for example, you take the first component, "person," and subdivide it even further by asking about origin, nature, training, disposition, age, etc......and having to do this for each component, multiplied by 5 scenes?? Well, let's just say yesterday my 11yo was nearly driven to tears by the prospect, and I can understand! Wouldn't this take all day? Or do you just talk through it rather than write it out?

 

So, needless to say, we did something else for writing yesterday. I found some exercise off EdHelper, and we went with that. :(

Edited by smalltown mom
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Soo.... Where we are right now is Homer A, trying to figure out the "Table for Analysis of Author's Emphasis" introduced in week 5, I think. Last week: taking the narrative, dividing it into scenes, and asking the "Theon's Six Components" for each component (splitting up the "Xenophon to the Sea" into 5 scenes--just understanding it was difficult enough--and writing down all six questions for each scene) was a task of nightmarish proportions!

 

But now....this week....having to break it down even further with the table for analysis, where, for example, you take the first component, "person," and subdivide it even further by asking about origin, nature, training, disposition, age, etc......and having to do this for each component, multiplied by 5 scenes?? Well, let's just say yesterday my 11yo was nearly driven to tears by the prospect, and I can understand! Wouldn't this take all day? Or do you just talk through it rather than write it out?

 

So, needless to say, we did something else for writing yesterday. I found some exercise off EdHelper, and we went with that. :(

 

Personally I found this to be too cumbersome as well.

 

I have my dd mark up the scenes on the model. Now I am lucky that she is pretty intuitive. I suspect I will have to work with my 2nd dd a lot longer on it. My oldest it only took a couple of weeks, then I just let her go on her own and correct it with the TM. Given where to break for scenes can be a matter of opinion, I didn't want to spend a lot of time on it.

 

BTW I do the same with the accidental and essential elements. She marks up her model then she double checks it against the TM to make sure she didn't eliminate any essential parts. I really don't care if she leaves in some accidental details, but I didn't want her leaving out essentials.

 

With the 6 questions and Theon's questions, I thought going through them for each scene was ridiculously tedious. The answers often remain the same from scene to scene. Thus I modified it and have my dd answer the questions once for the whole model, then make any notations on the same page where it might change between scenes. I accept short one word answers and I don't expect every single box to be filled in. If she doesn't think it was really addressed, then I allow her leave it blank. I didn't want her to manufacture answers just to fill it in and finish it.

 

BTW I also had to go in with the Six Sentence Shuffle and tell her how many of each type of change to make. Otherwise she would only do one change of the whole sentence. :rolleyes: Thus I will specify do 2 synonym substitutions, one change of tense (ok you can only do one), one change of sentence type, one change from common to proper noun, one change from pronoun to antecedent, etc... She can do several of the changes on one sentence as long as I tell her what I expect her to do.

 

Also because I know that content is a major focus in the next level, I don't overly worry about their writing. As long as they make an attempt to do what was asked, and I can follow the story I don't have them change anything. If they have run on sentences, spelling problems, or over use of the same word, those I will address as well as places where the story might just break down. Beyond those type of issues, as long as they gave it a good shot I accept it. With Diogenes they will learn to really focus on what content to use and why. The goal here, IMO, is learning all the analysis so that you can think though what you want to say as an author in the next level.

 

Heather

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Hello MLC~

 

I was in the same positon regarding Homer and saw someone had offered to send her schedule and skills schedule to the original poster. I PMed her and she graciously shared it with me also! I would be happy to forward it to you if you would like.

 

Best Wishes,

 

Dina :001_smile:

 

Hi Dina!

 

I think I was the gracious one! :D I'm glad to hear it helped! I'm happy to see Momee has found her groove as well!

 

I would also suggest making use of Heather's kind offer of her .pdfs. She sent me one for CW Poetry and I can't tell you how helpful it's been!

 

Thanks again, Heather ......... I still owe you ...... ;)

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Hi Dina!

 

I think I was the gracious one! :D I'm glad to hear it helped! I'm happy to see Momee has found her groove as well!

 

I would also suggest making use of Heather's kind offer of her .pdfs. She sent me one for CW Poetry and I can't tell you how helpful it's been!

 

Thanks again, Heather ......... I still owe you ...... ;)

 

Original credit actually goes to Hidden Jewel. She is the one that got me through Homer when I was about ready to chuck it and she did so by sending me what she had put together in an Excel file. I took what she did and made both a more detailed and simplified version. The simplified is what I generally send out, and it shows when new information is introduces. The detailed version lists out what needs to be done each week. I don't send it out a lot because it contains so much information, though with out the core I am not sure one could make sense of it. I do occasionally give it to people who seem to need to see the big picture of where the program is going (which is me). It can be pretty overwhelming though too. By Homer B each week is taking a full page to list everything out. It sounds worse that it is though. So many of the skills continue to be done every single week, so by the time the child reaches Homer B doing them is automatic.

 

Anyway, just wanted to set the record straight that it wasn't my genius. :D

 

Heather

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Hello Dyan~

 

 

Yes, you are the gracious one! I really appreciate your willingness to share. You're the BEST! We actually had to postpone starting Homer due to health issues, but DD will begin as soon as she completes Writing Tales II. I seriously considered selling it until you sent your notes. Yes, Heather was very helpful to me as well by answering a zillion questions regarding CW-- thanks again Heather!

 

Thank you again,

 

Dina

 

ETA: Heather I would love a copy of any CW pdfs you are willing to share!

Edited by Dina in Oklahoma
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After years of looking at this curriculum and buying pieces of it, I finally jumped in and began Aesop/Homer for OB this semester. I found many of the CW threads very helpful and especially your comments Heather. I'm using this in a co-op. so I'm teaching to various grade levels as well as skill levels. We have found a rhythm and it's working out really well so far.

 

I'm teaching 6th - 8th graders. We ended up skipping all of the Aesop stuff altogether. Homer begins with narrative anyway and I felt that we could jump in at about Lesson 4 with the OB and go from there.

 

BTW I do the same with the accidental and essential elements. She marks up her model then she double checks it against the TM to make sure she didn't eliminate any essential parts. I really don't care if she leaves in some accidental details, but I didn't want her leaving out essentials.

 

When we're doing this in class, the kids have come up with a few essentials that weren't marked in the TM. If they can make a good case for it, we mark it as essential.

 

With the 6 questions and Theon's questions, I thought going through them for each scene was ridiculously tedious.

 

Ugh. Glad I'm not the only one! I thought it was b/c I'm a big picture person and tend not to get bogged in the details. We use the questions much like you have articulated.

 

Ah! I'd love to hear Lene or Tracy speak at a conference!

 

Lisa

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I don't send it out a lot because it contains so much information, though with out the core I am not sure one could make sense of it. I do occasionally give it to people who seem to need to see the big picture of where the program is going (which is me). It can be pretty overwhelming though too. By Homer B each week is taking a full page to list everything out. It sounds worse that it is though. So many of the skills continue to be done every single week, so by the time the child reaches Homer B doing them is automatic.

 

Anyway, just wanted to set the record straight that it wasn't my genius. :D

 

Heather

 

Hi Heather, I am deciding whether to do Homer next year, but I am having the same issues as others here with Aesop, and I really need to see the "big picture." Could I get a copy of your Homer files to see if I should continue with CW?

 

Thank you!

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  • 1 month later...

Just wanted to thank those of you who posted on here.....I was about to quit CW, but now...finally...I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Though it is still really intense and rigorous (at least for me), I appreciate the encouragement I received here. And Siloam, many thanks for your PDF. Very kind of you to help us newbies out!

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I have a love/hate relationship with CW. I do love the editing tools it gives and am very glad my girls have learned them. Dd#1 did Older Beginner and dd#2 has done Homer A and is in the middle of Homer B. However, for Homer B we are just doing Days 2-4 and no Day 1 or Writing Project. But I wanted her to have the tools in Days 2-4. I can see a huge improvement from when she did Homer A last year.

 

There is good stuff in Day 1 and the Writing Project. My brain is just too full to learn it enough to teach it right now. Hmm ... I just had a thought. I might pick up Homer A & B Day 1 and Writing Projects and incorporate them next year. I'll have to cogitate on that thought for a bit.

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