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I have to find some help with Lost Tools of Writing. It's going to waste.


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I don't know how to write. I mean really write. I didn't learn HOW to do it in high school. I learned how to fill out index cards, arrange them and create a really uncomfortable, boring paper or facts and info. I don't know how to come up with an idea, gather the information around that idea and them put it all into an interesting, well-organized form. I love Lost Tools and think it's a great idea.

 

However, since the day I opened the box from them I'm nearly completely lost and overwhelmed. The DVD's are the only thing in there that doesn't have my head spinning after 15 minutes trying to figure out what it all means.

 

I love the steps of coming up with questions, turning them into issue, and ANI charts. I can even grasp the general idea of how to turn ANI charts into outlines. I don't see how to get past that. Not only that but when I pull out the student books and teacher book, I feel like I'm reading Greek. It has its own language and pattern that I just can not seem to grasp! I don't have to have something that I can pull out of the box and just read the prompts but I have got to see what it is they want me to do. I have these beautiful student books that have never been used.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that due to the DVD's we've covered questions/issues and ANI charts to death. I haven't used the teacher book or student books to help with this. I WANT to use the curriculum but I can't seem to get past their special language of what things are. I don't understand the order of what to use when or even the time frames. I finally understood that the student book isn't used front to back a week ago.

 

I've read the past threads on Lost Tools. They help a bit. I'm on the Lost Tools Yahoo Group but that hasn't helped at all. They all seem to know exactly what to do and what it all means. A wonderfully written message a couple weeks ago from the creator seemed to tell me (we look for what we expect to see, huh? :) ) that the books are meant to be confusing so that nobody uses the curriculum in a curriculum-in-a-box way. I know that isn't true but... I know they want teachers/parents to do it in the way that works for them but I'm just not getting it.

 

I hate posting this because I just feel so dumb when I realize I can't seem to get comfortable with a simple writing curriculum that I really do love the theory of. I just feel like an idiot. Ugh! :) Would any successful user of the curriculum be willing to exchange some private messages with me to help? I'm actually at least a semi-intelligent person most of the time. I promise!

 

Thank you for reading my plea for help. I feel like I'm drowning because we aren't covering writing at all and we are already behind. I DO believe this is the answer for us. I just have to figure out what I'm missing.

 

Thank you!

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I have no help but just sympathy and :grouphug: for you.

 

I am stuck with dd on writing and thought LTOW looked like what I needed. Someone let me look at their LTOW last week and I almost went into shock and handed it right back. I feel your pain.

 

WHY do they make this stuff so complicated??????????? I think many of the classical companies are guilty of this-so high and mighty. (Classical Writing comes to mind, and others.) Hello, I'm a busy mom, just make it EASY for me to use!

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I don't think you're alone. I thought about getting LToW when it first came out but waited to see how others liked it. Since then, I've read (not just here, but other places too) many posts similar to yours. I'm glad I didn't get it.

 

WHY do they make this stuff so complicated??????????? I think many of the classical companies are guilty of this-so high and mighty. (Classical Writing comes to mind, and others.) Hello, I'm a busy mom, just make it EASY for me to use!

 

:iagree:And that's why I love WTM and Peacehill Press so much. They make is easy for real moms like me. Those writing audios especially make me feel like I can do a good job teaching my dc to write.

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You're scaring me! I am seriously considering getting LTOW, but now I'm not so sure. I really want to compare it with IEW and SWB writing instruction. I would really like to know more about how LTOW works, but I can't seem to find a good explanation anywhere.

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There is a poster here who is successfully using LTOW. She and I have spoken via PM. I'll give you a bump and hopefully she will see it and post to you. If not, I'll alert her via PM.

 

To the OP: Do you have the DVDs or the CDs? I've listened to my friend's LToW CDs and wondered if the DVDs would be more helpful. THe DVDs weren't available when she bought it. She will be starting LToW this year some time.

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Hey, I saw the post and offered to help via pm.

 

Btw, after listening to SWB's writing lectures, I realized LTW I fits perfectly with her suggestion for one science and one history persuasive paper per week since that is what LTW I covers. Also, IEW's Window to the World and Excellence in Literature (sample papers are close to SWB's suggestions) would cover the weekly lit paper.

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Hi Jessica,

 

I'm in my 2nd year of using LTOW with my co-op classes. I wish we could just sit and talk about it over coffee, and I know I could make you love this program. :)

 

First, it helps to look at the pattern of lessons. Each time your students write an essay, they learn a new skill in each of the canons. Throughout the year you will rotate through each canon and teach a new skill. These new skills will be applied to an essay. When you start through the canons again, you will begin a new essay.

 

Essay #1

Teach new Invention skill

Teach new Arrangement skill

Teach new Elocution skill

Write essay

 

Essay # 2

Repeat above sequence

Write new essay

 

For reinforcement and understanding, I have an oral review lesson each week:

What are the three canons of writing? "Invention, Arrangement, Elocution"

What do they each convey? "Invention=Thinking Process, Arrangement=structure, Elocution=the words we use, and the way we say things."

How do we work through the writing process? (have them explain the different steps and the tools they use in each step)

 

The teaching of each canon has its own pattern.

Invention: You've already conquered the ANI. The next step is the 5 topics. Students learn to ask themselves 5 questions about the issue. Asking these questions enables the student to expand the ANI exponentially. After learning the 5 topics, each new Invention lesson explores one of those topics in depth. (Definition, Comparison, Relationship, Circumstances, Authority)

 

Arrangement Your student will start by learning the basic outline of the essay. For each new essay, a new component will be added to the outline resulting in an effective persuasive outline which the student can effectively use for all persuasive writing.

 

Elocution For each essay, your student will examine the words and phrases used in writing. Each new Elocution skill will teach your student to use words more effectively. They will explore parallelism, verbs, subjects, and literary devices such as similes, metaphors, and hyperbole.

 

I understand your confusion, but after I was able to recognize the pattern, I was able to understand where we were going with each lesson. I find it is most helpful to look at the Student Worksheets first. When I can see what the student needs to fill out, I am better able to understand the Module Guide. In fact, I don't even use the Module Guide at all anymore, and I held it with a tight grip at first.

 

Please let me clarify this program for you. Let me answer your questions. I'm not one of the experts on the LTOW board. I'm just another mom who has tried to teach writing for years. The reason I latched on to LTOW is the fact that my students were not THINKING before they wrote. I was tired of well phrased, well structured FLUFF. LTOW helps me to teach my students how to address an issue in depth. The more I use it, the more I like it, but it was scary at first.

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Leanna - Thank you so much for writing that up. That has really helped me. I'm not using the program yet but listened to the CDs and looked through the materials. Hopefully soon I'll look through the materials, this time w/ the CDs (I listened while in the car and therefore couldn't look at the pages) and hopefully it will fall into place. If not, I'll PM you! Thank you so much for helping us. What you posted as to your reason for latching onto LToW is exactly why I was drawn to it.

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We're using it this year for the first time, and I know exactly how you feel!

 

However, I love the program overall and I am determined to see it through. I believe the problem lies not with any incoherence in the ideas, but in the lack of a step-by-step schedule (there IS a schedule, but it is a bit confusing), a loose, teacher-driven style, and the need to switch between several different resources to pull together a lesson.

 

Honestly, I spent the first full two weeks I had the program trying to puzzle out how it worked and writing down a schedule that made sense to me day by day. And I worked hard on it each day! Still, I scramble each time I sit down with my son to do it justice. Some days I feel like a babbling idiot, and some days we have great discussions. I can tell he is getting some great tools, but he is a bit confused as well.

 

After we have gone through the program I am going to play the discs again for myself and have my son listen in. I think that we will make great strides this year using LToW, but it is my most difficult subject to teach and I wish someone would take this great program in hand and rework it so it would be easier to use!

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The folks at Circe are working on a revision based on feedback from homeschooling mothers and teachers. Until then, you might find it helpful to reorder the teacher's notebook. I put tabs in a 3 binder for Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, etc. Then, I made a complete copy of the student notebook. Finally, I put the modules for each lesson behind that tab along with the appropriate forms. So, for Lesson 2, you will have the following:

 

1. Teacher instructions for Invention Module 2: Using Questions to Discover Information

2. Invention Exercise Form B: Introduction to the Five Topics

3. Instructions to Arrangement Module 2: Introductory Persuasive Arrangement - Sorting

4. Arrangement Worksheet 2A: Guide to Sorting

5. Instructions to Arrangment Module 3: Introductory Persuasive Essay - Outline

6. Arrangment Worksheet 2B: Introductory Persuasive Essay

7. Arrangement Template 2: Introductory Persuasive Arrangment

8. Instructions to Elocution Module 2: Scheme 1 - Parallelism

9. Elocution Worksheet 7: Scheme 1 - Parallelism

 

Setting up your teacher's notebook in this way will make your life easier. Teach the lesson and take out your copy of the appropriate template or worksheet. Also, this set-up helped me understand the 3-week teaching cycle; i.e. first week - teach a new form of invention, second week - teach a new way of arranging the invention information, third week - teach a new form of elocution, write the essay and apply that elocution to the essay.

 

Also, if selecting an issue is a sticking point, keep in mind that it can be anything. For example, Should Anne Shirley forgive Gilbert Blythe? or Should Elizabeth Bennett expect a proposal from Mr. Darcy? or Should Johnny Tremaine go to work at the print shop? From simple issues like those, our student explored the characters and themes of the book in ways I could not imagine. She usually read no more than one half of the book. Choosing an issue at the end of the book works, but your student will have a different perspective because they know the outcome. We did it both ways.

 

Oh yes, the most powerful issue of the year -- Should Mr. Mole leave home to live with Mr. Rat? From that issue, came exploration of the meaning of home, what it means to leave home, character and the power of character, etc.

 

If you have other questions, please feel free to pm me.

Edited by 1Togo
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Setting up your teacher's notebook in this way will make your life easier. Teach the lesson and take out your copy of the appropriate template or worksheet. Also, this set-up helped me understand the 3-week teaching cycle; i.e. first week - teach a new form of invention, second week - teach a new way of arranging the invention information, third week - teach a new form of elocution, write the essay and apply that elocution to the essay.

 

 

 

I can see how setting up the teacher's notebook this way would be helpful, but I would not want my students setting up their notebooks this way. I have them set up notebooks with 4 dividers: Invention, Arrangement, Elocution, Completed Writing Assignments. At the start of the year, they give me the contents of the notebooks and I distribute the necessary pages as needed. I want them to go through the 3 canons each time and use the appropriate section of the notebook to support the writing process. If they had their notebooks set up the way you described, I know they would forget to apply old skills, especially in Elocution.

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I also do not set up the student notebook this way. I was writing about the teacher's notebook only and was not suggesting to set up the student notebook this way. However, we do not set up the student notebook as you suggest. We kept everything together for each paper. This worked well on many levels; i.e. review, tracking, etc. The invention work was eventually a packet that I copied and kept on hand (always kept several paper clipped on the shelf). As regards the elocution concepts, I teach a Writer's Notebook that includes elocution ideas from many sources. The Writer's Notebook becomes the student's grammar and style handbook.

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For moms who wonder about using LTW, it is worth the effort. There is no other writing curriculum that teaches LTW concepts based on what I have seen. This year I am using ideas from WTM and SWB's writing lectures, and I like SWB's high school writing suggestions; i.e. 1 one-page persuasive history paper, 1 one-page persuasive science paper and 1 one-page lit paper per week. However, I know that my student (and many others) will do a better job with the high school suggestions if they do some work with essays and lit papers prior to 9th grade. For many years, SWB suggested Writing Strands or even R&S writing exercises to teach writing concepts other than outlining a source and writing from the outline, which is similar to the work in the first two IEW units except IEW uses a kwo instead of a sentence outline. Since she's working on the middle school curriculum, I am assuming that SWB will suggest replacing WS & R&S with Writing with Skill, and I look forward to puchasing it. However, we have used several writing methods throughout the years, and I have learned from each one. In fact, the classes we took with Bravewriter made understanding LTW possible even though the two approaches are completely different.

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Julie is wonderful. She teaches from a different perspective than classical educators, but she also turns out great writers. After our work with Julie, I could use any writing curriculum. We used IEW for several years and did very well with it, but only because we worked with Julie. The same is true with our LTW work and now the ideas from SWB that we are using. If you can help a student take a raw freewrite and turn it into a coherent and clear piece of writing, then curriculum with any type of lesson is a snap. Btw, since you are working with Bravewiter, I would not jump into LTW.

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These are pretty much my concerns with the program. It's wonderful on some days...but some days I get a little bogged down in trying to discover what I'm supposed to be assigning for practice, when should she start a new essay or just add to the last essay, how long should I give her to do an ANI, etc. It seems needlessly complicated, but the material is worth it. Also extremely frustrating: getting to the end of a module on exordia and being told to show them some examples. If only I'd known from the beginning that I was supposed to be looking for examples of these things...but wait, where? Things like that. I hate surprises. Examples should be included.

 

I'm also going to have dd listen to the discs when we are all done. Hopefully it will all click better for her at that point. Also, we're doing this in 7th grade so I think we have lots of time for improvement/practice (for both of us) before we get to high school and/or Level 2.

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We're using it this year for the first time, and I know exactly how you feel!

 

However, I love the program overall and I am determined to see it through. I believe the problem lies not with any incoherence in the ideas, but in the lack of a step-by-step schedule (there IS a schedule, but it is a bit confusing), a loose, teacher-driven style, and the need to switch between several different resources to pull together a lesson.

 

Honestly, I spent the first full two weeks I had the program trying to puzzle out how it worked and writing down a schedule that made sense to me day by day. And I worked hard on it each day! Still, I scramble each time I sit down with my son to do it justice. Some days I feel like a babbling idiot, and some days we have great discussions. I can tell he is getting some great tools, but he is a bit confused as well.

 

After we have gone through the program I am going to play the discs again for myself and have my son listen in. I think that we will make great strides this year using LToW, but it is my most difficult subject to teach and I wish someone would take this great program in hand and rework it so it would be easier to use!

 

 

I could quote this word for word!! This is one of the best writing programs out there in almost every way but it is far more confusing than any other I have used. It is expensive but I would buy another edition for my third child if it was laid out better!

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Yes, I agree about the examples, and I have mentioned this to Andrew and Camille several times. They are working on it. LTW II has no examples, so it's even more difficult. Until last year, Andrew was covering a lot of bases. The team is growing, and he has motivated apprenctices trying to improve LTW.

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Thank you ALL! Thank you to those of you who understand and can currently sympathize with my struggle. Also, thank you to those of you who see the way through this and have offered such wonderful help. You are all outstanding.

 

I'm wondering if a few of you might be interested in an idea. My husband and I have a conference line we use for our business. Would you all be interested in a conference call where the 2 or 3 of you that understand what you are doing would be willing to talk to the 2 or 3 of us that are still stumbling through? A conference call would still leave everyone private but give us the chance to pow-wow this and, as Togo said, talking on the phone about this would be much easier than PM's or message boards.

 

Any chance I could beg both sides of us to be willing to arrange your schedules for this? I'll provide the line and phone numbers and be the contact for trying to find the best time possible.

 

Thoughts????

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Thank you ALL! Thank you to those of you who understand and can currently sympathize with my struggle. Also, thank you to those of you who see the way through this and have offered such wonderful help. You are all outstanding.

 

I'm wondering if a few of you might be interested in an idea. My husband and I have a conference line we use for our business. Would you all be interested in a conference call where the 2 or 3 of you that understand what you are doing would be willing to talk to the 2 or 3 of us that are still stumbling through? A conference call would still leave everyone private but give us the chance to pow-wow this and, as Togo said, talking on the phone about this would be much easier than PM's or message boards.

 

Any chance I could beg both sides of us to be willing to arrange your schedules for this? I'll provide the line and phone numbers and be the contact for trying to find the best time possible.

 

Thoughts????

 

I would be interested! PM me when you get more responses.

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I would be interested. I'm not actually using it but with enough notice, I can read through it again, work through some of it myself so I can ask worthwhile questions. I'd like to think through the notebook organization strategies that have been posted.

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  • 3 months later...
Thank you ALL! Thank you to those of you who understand and can currently sympathize with my struggle. Also, thank you to those of you who see the way through this and have offered such wonderful help. You are all outstanding.

 

I'm wondering if a few of you might be interested in an idea. My husband and I have a conference line we use for our business. Would you all be interested in a conference call where the 2 or 3 of you that understand what you are doing would be willing to talk to the 2 or 3 of us that are still stumbling through? A conference call would still leave everyone private but give us the chance to pow-wow this and, as Togo said, talking on the phone about this would be much easier than PM's or message boards.

 

Any chance I could beg both sides of us to be willing to arrange your schedules for this? I'll provide the line and phone numbers and be the contact for trying to find the best time possible.

 

Thoughts????

 

 

Did y'all ever end up having the conf. call? Did you gather even more fabulous info that you are just desperate to post here? Have you gotten the hang of LTOW?

:)

 

Thank you to those who took the time to post such detailed posts. They are EXTREMELY helpful!!

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