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We are loving using this. We modified it to fit us, though, and I thought it might be helpful to other people who want to try it if I explained what we do for each book. We are going through the rhetoric literature list in roughly chronological order, doing a Shakespeare any time we need a break, or some poetry, or a fun modern short story. Every year, we have also done something un-great-books, like read Sophie's World. Before we began, I read How to Read Literature Like a Professor and gave it to my son to read. I also read some of Reading Strands. Reading Strands was short and very helpful. It contains example Socratic-method conversations for different ages, and a list of literary terms and their definitions. TWTM recommends it if you are insecure about teaching literature. At the beginning of every year, I read the list of vocab and try to make sure I use some of it so my children will be familiar with terms like setting and alliteration. The Harp and Laurel Wreath is a poetry anthology that has terms and defs in it, also. Sometimes we read some of that and try to use some of the terms. We read the books aloud together, mostly, which is slow but much more fun, so you can picture us cuddled up on the sofa in front of the fire with the dog on our feet, or lying on the dock tossing crumbs to the fish and paddling our feet in the lake, trying not to get a headache from reading in the sun.

 

For each book:

 

-We look up the book in TWEM (gives the date) and put the date on a timeline and the book on a map.

-We read about the year (and a few in either direction usually) in the timeline book recommended by TWTM - The Timetables of History. This is quick and fascinating.

-We take a quick look at Wikipaedia and see why the book is a great book. Usually Wiki says in the first paragraph or two.

-We read a bit of the introduction to find out something about the history behind the book, the translation, and the author.

-We read the book, taking notes if necessary. I try to encourage the children to write in the margins, things like "Wow!" or "How awful!" or "Cool!" or "Wrong!". Sometimes they have longer, more complicated observations and I have them make a note of them in their notes. Sometimes we have an idea, like trying to write a description of our friends like the ones appearing at the beginning of The Iliad, and we'll stop and do that. We discuss the book as we read it. This isn't usually on a very high level; they tend to notice similarities to Star Trek or gymnastics, argue over how a strange custom might fit into a culture, notice a bit of beautiful language, or wonder about the translation of a word. The nice part is that they notice the things themselves, usually, and as time has gone on, sometimes I'm completely silent and the discussion takes place between my two sons. And these are typical, non-academic-minded, not terribly interested in literature boys. This is why we read aloud together. Sometimes they notice something that would make a good paper and I point that out and they make a note about it for later.

-We read the genre section in TWEM if we haven't done it recently. This tells us how the book into the continuum of western literature.

-We answer the questions in the genre section. These fall into three parts: grammar stage - who did what to whom when how and why, logic stage - how the book is put together and how the author made his point, and rhetoric stage - what it means to us and what we think of it. These are amazing questions! As you go through them, books that you thought were mediocre but kept reading because TWTM said to suddenly become interesting and awe-inspiring. Some of the questions are short to answer, but some require quite long discussions before we decide what we think, even for us! I encourage everyone to look back through the book or their notes to find answers or to find proof or examples.

-We write something or do a project. By the time we get done with the questions, the children usually have an idea of what they want to do - try making a model reed boat for Gilgamesh, write a comparison of comedy through the ages after reading The Birds (using Fierce Creatures and Pirates of Penzance for the other works), make a drawing of all the circles of hell for The Inferno, write about how you would make Everyman appealing to modern audiences by setting it in the gangs of LA, ...

 

And that is it.

 

TWEM is fun to read, but you don't have to wade through the first half of the book to try it out. Get the book, pick a short work - a poem or a short play or short story, read the genre section, answer the questions, and see how it goes. If it works for your family, THEN you can go back and read some of the rest of the book. It is a fantastic method of studying literature. It works with everything from Gilgamesh to The Communist Manefesto to The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I hate to see it not even being tried because people aren't quite sure how to apply it to teenagers.

 

HTH

-Nan

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Nan as usual you amaze me, I had read your post last year about how you use TWEM, I didn't get to try it then because we were using TOG. This year since we can't afford TOG and I have to use something else anyway, I think i'll give it a try and see if we like it. Thanks for the reminder

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One is 13 and one is 17. We began three years ago. I hadn't planned on including my then 11yo, but he begged to be included. As he said, "You get to sit in front of the fire and discuss cool stories and I'm supposed to not listen and do my work by myself in the other room? That isn't fair. Can't I read the books too?" He reads well and I thought the discussions would work better with a third person, so I included him. It has worked well. He just doesn't write as much. He has read all the grammar and half the logic WTM literature lists, so he is well equipped to read great books, better than my older son (who started in 5th) and me. He helps us when we aren't sure what just happened.

-Nan

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Excellent! I"ve been debating about doing that same thing. I want to use TWTM/WEM for Great Books study in high school. Son #2 is just two years younger than Son #1, and he's a strong reader. It just makes so much more sense to do these with more than one child at the same time.

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Oh, thank you for going into more detail about this.

 

I was following the best vs. good discussion, about to throw myself on the floor moaning because I really don't want to deal with other programs people were discussing ( *cough*TtC*cough*)(I hate watching educational DVDs). I was hoping that you'd expand on your comments about TWEM.

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I have also decided to use the WTM/WEM history-through-literature approach with my son as he enters 9th grade. Your suggestions/method are very helpful! I do have a follow-up question for you.

 

If you could choose the top ten works for each of the annual history cycles, what do you think your picks would be? How many items on the WTM/WEM lists are necessary for each year? I am trying to plan and pre-read this summer, and I cannot imagine getting through the complete lists. I would love some advice from you, Nan, and other smart, experienced teaching moms to help me create our list for the year. I guess it doesn't have to be exactly 10 selections, but I'd just love to know the "don't miss" list! I am thinking I actually would like a shorter list for Ancients, which may help us move through them a bit more quickly since this may be a graduate-in-three-years boy. We have spent a lot of our time studying the Ancients and I feel the need to move on, spending more time in more recent history (post-Renaissance).

 

Thanks for your help!

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For ancients, I am starting before 9th grade. My plan is for my oldest, at least, to have read the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid before starting 9th. Then we can focus on plays and other works, having gotten those foundational pieces out of the way. Plus, this allows us to go more slowly through those foundational pieces.

 

If we only manage to read one before high school, that still frees up time in the ancients year.

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I am only reading most of these now for the first time. I can't compare the ones we chose with the ones we skipped to tell whether we made the right choice. And I am using different criterion (hmm guess that is another (sigh) word i've never written before) for choosing than most people. We're doing lots of the older stuff because my children are super sensitive and don't want to do the modern depressing stuff. In fact, we're skipping lots of the modern stuff altogether and doing scifi instead (with TWEM). I think they are more likely to read the modern stuff later on their own, anyway. Maybe. They like the ancients very much, being well versed in that era's myths and history. I'm picking the things that I think will appeal to them the most, too, rather than trying for the best education. They are active, emotionally reserved, non-academic-minded boys who like adventure. Beowulf and The Iliad and Shakespeare mean far more to them than The Great Gatsby or Of Mice and Men would. I'm trying to pick things that will mean something to them now, not just be useful for the future. I'm trying not to ruin the things like Great Gatsby that they might appreciate when they are older by having them read them now. Not the best educational approach, probably, but...

 

Why don't you make a post saying "What are the 10 most important things to read for ancients?" People here who are wider read than I can advise you better. I've noticed that posts like that tend to get lots of answers. I asked someone I trusted to give me 8 must-read ancients. By the time we got done with those, I was able to choose for myself and my children had some opinions.

 

-Nan

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Hi! I'm new here...this is my first post. I just wanted to say to Nan that I love your posts!

 

We are using the TWTM/TWEM also. My dd is in 7th, but I am planning 9th grade at this time and just yesterday made her a "question" sheet for her reading notebook. I took all the questions to consider from the Novel genre and typed them up for her with the pages in the TWEM for her to reference when she needs to and I will do this for each genre. For 9th grade we are planning to read 8 from the Ancients great books list in WTM and hope to read 12, but we won't stress over it if we don't! :)

 

We have been homeschooling for 2 years and are using TWTM as our guide. I also have a ds who is 9 and a 4th/5th grader.

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for him to do after he read his scifi (which he's doing alone). I'm finding mine are beginning to remember the questions and keep them in mind as they read, which is very cool, I think. If we were using guides to specific works of literature, I don't think that would happen. I'm also finding that TWTM grammar and logic lists lead up to the rhetoric list beautifully. Writing Strands and Kingfisher/history lists have been helpful, too. It is great to see how my youngest, who has done more WTM than the older one (or I), puts all the pieces together!

-Nan

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Our Ancients short list:

 

Either Iliad or Odyssey (my boys picked the Iliad)

Aeneid

Oedipus Rex

Plutarch's lives, first 8 & comparisons

 

Another way to break up ancients could be by genre:

literature (Homer or Aeneid)

drama (plays)

history (Herodotus, Plutarch, Thucydides, Caesar's gallic wars)

philosophy (Aristotle, Plato)

... and pick one or two of each depending on length.

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My two, boy/girl, are also 4 yrs. apart. My daughter is very bright and I think that, at 11, she will be able to do some of what we do for lit. discussion, as well. Help me with this, though- what will you do for school for your younger child when he becomes your high schooler? Will you just start over with the same books and have him do more written work? Or, will you have him study new material and add extra work, too? Thanks for your wisdom!

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Nan...great post. Thanks... You inspired me to get my highlighter out and go back through TWEM. Marking up that lovely book felt shameful and wonderful.:smash: I want my dd to feel comfortable using books, so I need to set an example. :grouphug:

 

We are loving using this. We modified it to fit us, though, and I thought it might be helpful to other people who want to try it if I explained what we do for each book. We are going through the rhetoric literature list in roughly chronological order, doing a Shakespeare any time we need a break, or some poetry, or a fun modern short story. Every year, we have also done something un-great-books, like read Sophie's World. Before we began, I read How to Read Literature Like a Professor and gave it to my son to read. I also read some of Reading Strands. Reading Strands was short and very helpful. It contains example Socratic-method conversations for different ages, and a list of literary terms and their definitions. TWTM recommends it if you are insecure about teaching literature. At the beginning of every year, I read the list of vocab and try to make sure I use some of it so my children will be familiar with terms like setting and alliteration. The Harp and Laurel Wreath is a poetry anthology that has terms and defs in it, also. Sometimes we read some of that and try to use some of the terms. We read the books aloud together, mostly, which is slow but much more fun, so you can picture us cuddled up on the sofa in front of the fire with the dog on our feet, or lying on the dock tossing crumbs to the fish and paddling our feet in the lake, trying not to get a headache from reading in the sun.

 

For each book:

 

-We look up the book in TWEM (gives the date) and put the date on a timeline and the book on a map.

-We read about the year (and a few in either direction usually) in the timeline book recommended by TWTM - The Timetables of History. This is quick and fascinating.

-We take a quick look at Wikipaedia and see why the book is a great book. Usually Wiki says in the first paragraph or two.

-We read a bit of the introduction to find out something about the history behind the book, the translation, and the author.

-We read the book, taking notes if necessary. I try to encourage the children to write in the margins, things like "Wow!" or "How awful!" or "Cool!" or "Wrong!". Sometimes they have longer, more complicated observations and I have them make a note of them in their notes. Sometimes we have an idea, like trying to write a description of our friends like the ones appearing at the beginning of The Iliad, and we'll stop and do that. We discuss the book as we read it. This isn't usually on a very high level; they tend to notice similarities to Star Trek or gymnastics, argue over how a strange custom might fit into a culture, notice a bit of beautiful language, or wonder about the translation of a word. The nice part is that they notice the things themselves, usually, and as time has gone on, sometimes I'm completely silent and the discussion takes place between my two sons. And these are typical, non-academic-minded, not terribly interested in literature boys. This is why we read aloud together. Sometimes they notice something that would make a good paper and I point that out and they make a note about it for later.

-We read the genre section in TWEM if we haven't done it recently. This tells us how the book into the continuum of western literature.

-We answer the questions in the genre section. These fall into three parts: grammar stage - who did what to whom when how and why, logic stage - how the book is put together and how the author made his point, and rhetoric stage - what it means to us and what we think of it. These are amazing questions! As you go through them, books that you thought were mediocre but kept reading because TWTM said to suddenly become interesting and awe-inspiring. Some of the questions are short to answer, but some require quite long discussions before we decide what we think, even for us! I encourage everyone to look back through the book or their notes to find answers or to find proof or examples.

-We write something or do a project. By the time we get done with the questions, the children usually have an idea of what they want to do - try making a model reed boat for Gilgamesh, write a comparison of comedy through the ages after reading The Birds (using Fierce Creatures and Pirates of Penzance for the other works), make a drawing of all the circles of hell for The Inferno, write about how you would make Everyman appealing to modern audiences by setting it in the gangs of LA, ...

 

And that is it.

 

TWEM is fun to read, but you don't have to wade through the first half of the book to try it out. Get the book, pick a short work - a poem or a short play or short story, read the genre section, answer the questions, and see how it goes. If it works for your family, THEN you can go back and read some of the rest of the book. It is a fantastic method of studying literature. It works with everything from Gilgamesh to The Communist Manefesto to The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I hate to see it not even being tried because people aren't quite sure how to apply it to teenagers.

 

HTH

-Nan

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Of course, the best laid plans...

My plan so far is to go back, start at ancients again, and do different ones the next time round. For example, my youngest loved the Greek dramas that we did, so we'll do more of those and I'll try to get a few TC lectures on some of them. We didn't read Heradotus, so we'll do that, and more of the Bible. We did Gilgamesh before he joined us, so that is another thing to do. There are plenty of works that we could hit the second time round. He isn't going to want to do the 20th century depressing novels any more the second time round than the first time round, so we'll probably do scifi again. He didn't do it the first time round (since I thought he'd be happier waiting on some of them), so that will be new and be a good option for his senior year, when he'll be busy with lots of CC classes. The scifi takes less work. He loved Sophie's World, so I'm hoping to find another appealing philosophy overview to do, and delve a little bit into some of that deeper. He plays dungeons and dragons, so I expect he will want to do lots of the medieval stuff. He can read French, so I'm planning on doing some French works, in French, each year, so he won't forget his French. And I'm hoping that he'll be able to read Latin (via readers) by then, so we'll do some work on that. Some things like Huck Finn I had my older one read to himself because I thought it would be better for my younger one to do them later, when he is older, so he has some of those to do. And although this one is quicker at the academics than his older brother, he is also more science/math/technology oriented, and probably that will be the emphasis of his high school education. He isn't going to go whizzing through vast quantities of great literature. On the other hand, he would totally balk at doing a conventional literature program after the freedom and depth of TWTM/TWEM, so even though great books isn't going to be the main focus of his education, I'm not even considering doing something else for high school. He is a WTM child, having done it from first grade, and he expects great books for literature and has the background to appreciate them in a way that I don't. He sees all sorts of references I miss, and reads the old-fashioned wording and grammar without a blip, even aloud. Honestly, I think he'd be bored if he were switched to the supposedly-more-appealing modern novels for high school. Things like Beowulf and The Inferno engage his imagination more. He'll read Spielvogel's Western Civ, since that follows Kingfisher nicely and he hasn't done it yet and my oldest has found it interesting and a good background for great books. We'll keep hammering on the writing and drawing. He'll take speech at CC, like his brother. If we have time, he'll do VfCR. We do grammar through Latin, so when he is done with Ecce Romani 3, he'll be done with grammar, as far as I'm concerned. I haven't had any trouble using Latin grammar to explain any punctuation errors in the children's writing, so far.

 

Does that help?

-Nan

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Yes, I balked a bit, too. To encourage myself, I took my watercolours and painted a few dandylions and things in the margins of a few pages. That somehow made it easier to start underlining. I balked at highlighters, though, and fell back on the coloured pencils I used in college. : )

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We'll keep hammering on the writing and drawing.

 

I picked up on this tiny little part of your post......will you comment more on the "hammering away on the drawing" part?? Are you/have you been teaching drawing to your kids?

 

I ask, because I have been, bit by bit, using Drawing With Children. I'm not an artist by any means, but I have enjoyed using this book. My son has not always enjoyed sitting down and drawing during "drawing lesson time" (He loves to free draw on his own), but I somehow felt that there were some more important things to be learned by a structured drawing lesson every few weeks.....can't quite put my finger on it.....maybe it's the skill of really looking at the detail of something, paying attention for a few minutes, or exercising his finger muscles and really working at the skill for 30 minutes. I don't drill and kill him on it, this is just every couple of weeks or so. And, lately, he has NOT been complaining - he seems to be enjoying this time more and turning out some really nice drawings that he is pleased with.

 

So, what did you mean with that obscure comment? :) thanks again!

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That sounds so warm and ideal. Maybe one of these years I'll figure out how to make that happen here. You make it all sound so easy and unintimidating.

 

I've read TWEM and toyed with the idea of buying it...I think I'm putting it on the "to buy" list for next year. Are you a paid advertiser for SWB? :) You could be!

 

I'm curious if you've yet read The Seven Storey Mountain. It's probably not a work your boys would appreciate yet, mainly because I think it requires a little more lifetime perspective to really understand. Just curious; I recommended Thomas Merton to you a couple of years ago. I'm sure you remember that, don't you? :D

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Quick! Grab the dog! She's about to roll in that dead fish!

Quick! Help me get the canoe! I see the the water snake and there are baby ducks on the other side of the neighbor's dock!

 

And then there were the chestnuts. We like to roast them in the fire for lunch. We had just read that someone was unhappy because he had only a vegetable sacrifice to offer the gods and were saying that we didn't believe that God liked animals better than plants when BANG! our chestnuts exploded with sounds like gunshots and a fine powder of chestnut rained down all over the livingroom.

Believe me, we aren't exactly zooming through the great books. If I had any sense, I'd do it the way SWB recommends - at the kitchen table where there are less distractions. Our style of homeschooling is definately cozy-casual and we'll probably have to pay for that some day.

 

I always worry when I post about our version of something that SWB has spelled out, since it varies and I don't want to lead people astray. Maybe they won't like our version and be discouraged from trying it because of the things I say. Or maybe my version is less workable for them than SWB's more general version. Or maybe I've misinterpretted something. It's very worrisome. I owe SWB hugely for the fantastic education she's given my children and I don't want to repay that by misleading anyone.

 

About Merton - you aren't the only one who has recommended it to us. A few years ago, I got the book from the library and made a quick read through the first half of it to see if I thought it would be useful or enjoyable for my son. I concluded he needed to be older to appreciate it and left it there. Since then, I've thought about it from time to time and wondered about how it turned out. I should get it again and read it for myself. Thanks for reminding me.

 

-Nan

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Nan,

 

While I don't want to take any credit away from SWB for her literature program and TWTM (my kids have been WTM'ers almost exclusively since K), I do think it's important that you get some credit, too. You are giving your children the education they are receiving. You have taken some very good ideas and run with them.

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I'm not an artist but my mother is and I can at least draw. I took Drawing 1 in college, too. I think everyone should be able to draw and I know that it just requires a little practice to learn to see something the way it is and to line things up and draw them. It isn't a big deal; you just have to do it. In fact, it only takes about 3 sketchpads worth of trying before you can do a reasonable job - perfectly doable. The problem is that unless you are an artist, the practicing is somewhat boring to do. It's like typing - everyone wants to be able to do it, but nobody wants to do the boring drills to learn it. I didn't want my children to stop drawing at about 4th or 5th grade like the children in my oldest's ps class because they got unhappy with how the drawings turned out, so I decided to give mine some drawing instruction and make sure that didn't happen. We started with Draw Squad (silly but sound drawing instruction) and then moved on to the older drawing books in Artistic Pursuits (which are just like my college class). My older one happens to like to draw and is willing to do the work to get there. The younger one also likes to draw but hates the instruction. So we just do it from time to time, because I can see that the instruction is helpful, very much the way we do writing instruction (equally hated). Sound familiar? I watch my children grab a pencil and draw something whenever they have trouble explaining something with words and congratulate myself. Both of them draw for natural history and really see something as a result. It is a great tool! They both use it as an emotional outlet, too. My youngest is making cartoons reflecting his worries and anger about the world he had just realized he is inheriting, and my older one is playing with graffitti styles and drawing his fantasies as manga. I'm happy because they are still using drawing exactly like they did when they were 5.

 

-Nan

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I always worry when I post about our version of something that SWB has spelled out, since it varies and I don't want to lead people astray. Maybe they won't like our version and be discouraged from trying it because of the things I say. Or maybe my version is less workable for them than SWB's more general version. Or maybe I've misinterpretted something. It's very worrisome. I owe SWB hugely for the fantastic education she's given my children and I don't want to repay that by misleading anyone.

 

Nan

 

Nan, you put that thought right out of your head! You are a perfect example of how the WTMWEM approach is *supposed to* work! Your children have received a fantastic education because you took the ideas from SWB's books and *made them your own* - to fit *your family*! I think that was SWB's intent for her program in the first place. And, if I may be so bold as to speak for her, I think she would *cringe* if she thought that people felt they had to rigidly follow the ideas in her book, word for word. Ack!

 

(((Nan))), I can't thank you enough for the ideas and encouragement you have given to me - bless you! Please, don't ever stop sharing! :001_smile:

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(((Nan))), I can't thank you enough for the ideas and encouragement you have given to me - bless you! Please, don't ever stop sharing! :001_smile:

 

:iagree: Thank you so much for all your words of wisdom. I have printed out a number of your posts and they have helped and encouraged me.

 

Thanks,

 

Veronica

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Nan, fear not! As much as I enjoy reading about what you do, I am well aware that not all these things are going to work with my dc. I take much of what you share in the same boat as when I had my first, very, very fussy baby. The most helpful mothers said, "This is what worked for me..."--none of their suggestions worked with any regularity, but most helped at least once (she was just going to be fussy no matter what sometimes). This is how I take the things you suggest and share. Now that my dd's 12 going on 13 this spring, she's in another stage where she's going to be fussy (aka moody) sometimes no matter what;)

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I always worry when I post about our version of something that SWB has spelled out, since it varies and I don't want to lead people astray. Maybe they won't like our version and be discouraged from trying it because of the things I say. Or maybe my version is less workable for them than SWB's more general version. Or maybe I've misinterpretted something. It's very worrisome.

 

Not a bit of it! There's a quote in TWTM, some comment made by the people at Norton, who upon meeting SWB were surprised that she was warm and genial rather than a stodgy old taskmistress (I'm paraphrasing that, but you get the idea). I always try to picture SWB as other than horrendously regimented, but I find it hard just based on reading her book. I guess I like that you come across as warm--and I suspect that SWB probably does things in your manner more than you (or I) might guess. I'm the only one who is a stodgy old taskmistress. :blushing:

 

I think the whole purpose of TWTM/TWEM is to give us a jumping off point, or framework, from which to work. That's exactly what you are doing. Telling us about your version just inspires the rest of us that have trouble getting away from the strict, exact interpretation--which is too overwhelming to be useful for me. I have trouble just "doing it my way"; I'm so "all or none". You help me see the middle ground.

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Not a bit of it! There's a quote in TWTM, some comment made by the people at Norton, who upon meeting SWB were surprised that she was warm and genial rather than a stodgy old taskmistress (I'm paraphrasing that, but you get the idea). I always try to picture SWB as other than horrendously regimented, but I find it hard just based on reading her book. I guess I like that you come across as warm--and I suspect that SWB probably does things in your manner more than you (or I) might guess. I'm the only one who is a stodgy old taskmistress. :blushing:

 

 

 

I have thus far only heard SWB on tape, and she comes across as warm & friendly, with a great sense of humor. I am looking forward to meeting her in person next month at our hs convention, and I am sure she will be just as friendly IRL as she seems to be on tape. :001_smile:

 

Here's an article on "A Day in the Life..." for SWB. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/hsday2.html

 

It was so refreshing to read an article by someone who is clearly knowledgeable, yet humble enough to let people know that she is "real", just like the rest of us.

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it just requires a little practice to learn to see something the way it is and to line things up and draw them. It isn't a big deal; you just have to do it. In fact, it only takes about 3 sketchpads worth of trying before you can do a reasonable job - perfectly doable. The problem is that unless you are an artist, the practicing is somewhat boring to do. It's like typing - everyone wants to be able to do it, but nobody wants to do the boring drills to learn it.

 

This is great! It's confirming some thoughts I was having! I keep thinking I should let art and music skills go by the wayside when I get tired and overwhelmed, but there was something prodding me on...there just seemed to be something a little more to drawing skills than what I saw on the surface - a fun diversion. So, we'll keep picking away at it. My ds actually said to me the other day that he isn't quite happy with his drawings cuz he can't make them look real - and I had read in DWC that that happens - now here it is, and I know how to help him through this phase!

 

Yep, I agree with the others....keep posting about how TWEM/TWTM has worked out in your home - it's fun to read about how people actually work it out. I'm almost positive SWB would agree - she's got the principles in her mind and she works them out for each of her kids, too, just like the rest of us.

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Yes, it is at the expense of history and some other academics, but I still think it is worth it. And sometimes it isn't at the expense of anything. My children sometimes draw something instead of writing it for great books, like the circles of Dante's hell, and I watch the process they go through to make a drawing like that. It is exactly the same one they go through when they want to write about something. Nothing but a little extra practice putting thoughts into words is missing there. And songs are primary sources, often very interesting ones. Learning Wade in the Water is a very direct way of studying history.

 

My mother talks rather reluctantly (I suspect she's remembering Emma) about "resources". What she means is modes of escape and expression like reading, writing, music, art, dance... the things that help you survive the confines and tradgedies and annoyances and unpleasantnesses of life. I think we do our children, especially our teenagers, a disservice when we don't help them to aquire those resources. Some teenagers survive teenagehood only by immersing themselves in music.

 

-Nan

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