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Abeka writing---what's the problem?

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Hi---have been a lurker for years, and have made a few posts on the old board!

I am wanting to try the WTM suggestions of Abeka grammar/WS, but I do not understand one thing---what is wrong with the writing in Abeka?? I have both Abeka W&G III and all the WS---and I just don't see what the HUGE difference is :confused: Abeka seems to be more clear-cut and stuctured to me, whereas WS includes much more creative writing and topics---not so easy for my non-creative writing kids. If we don't use WS and just use the Abeka writing (along with LL and Notgrass), will my kids not be ready for university writing like WTM says?? Honestly, just reading through WS makes my head spin :glare:---the method for writing in Abeka just makes sense to me and the curriculum guide has it all laid out soo nicely............:tongue_smilie:

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ABeka writing is not taught in the classical style (modeling). Seeing that we are on a classical discussion board, I'm guessing that's why most don't care for it. I don't care for WS either, but there are other wonderful writing programs out there that teach by modeling from another source.

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We've used Abeka all along, and the grammar portion is fine. I've heard SWB say that Abeka's writing is terrible. I would agree wholeheartedly---for the early grades. Abeka tends to give a lot of creative writing assignments in the early grades. The instructions are very poor, and I believe that in those early years, many students are not creative writers, plus they're young, so they have no idea what to say! I almost always skipped Abeka's early writing assignments.


In the Grammar & Composition series, G&C I-IV, which runs from 7th-10th grades, it does get better. However, here are a few of my observations:


In G&C I-III, Abeka teaches writing the research paper. I think most of their instructions are decent, progressing step-by-step, but here are a few of the things I don't like about the presentation:


1. In G&C I and II, Abeka prefers that the kids start writing thesis statements and doing their research with that in mind. I find that many kids are not ready yet to state an opinion about what they've learned---at least, both of my girls tended towards regular project or research reports rather than a particular, expanded thesis.


2. I don't think G&C I-III give the students nearly enough time for the reading and research portion of the topic. They tend to assign about 6-8 weeks for the research paper, and in the first week the student is supposed to have picked out their topic and usually by the end of the second week the student is to start taking notes on the topic. I can't write that way! I need to read first, then I need time to think and mull over my opinion on the topic---what do I think about this particular topic? What point can I prove with this information? Then I can buckle down, write a thesis statement, and start actual research.


All the while Abeka has the kids doing the research paper, they're still working on grammar assignments! I really don't like this this because it seems way too distracting and at times overwhelming for the kids. My feeling is---drop the grammar portion for a while and allow your children to do solid reading and research. Abeka's lesson plans, although they state they're written for homeschoolers, don't seem to me, anyway, to have been written by homeschoolers! The best class I had in high school---advanced composition and research in my senior year---was led by a wonderful woman who took the time to carefully lead us through every step of the process. We didn't do grammar exercises while doing those research papers.


With those caveats, I would say that, overall, in the G&C series, Abeka's writing instructions are fine, but I would recommend that, if possible, you build in extra time for the research paper or else drop the grammar assignments and focus on helping your kids write a really good paper.


Now, in G&C IV, I think the instructions for the book review and the author research report are good, and I had my daughter do those. Overall, though, I would prefer if Abeka just dropped the grammar exercises during those longer writing assignments. To be honest, though, for this past year I've relied mostly on Cindy Marsch's online writing tutorials rather than Abeka's writing assignments. I just pick and choose the assignments from Abeka that seem to make the most sense to me.


Hope this helps!

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WOW Michelle! Thanks so much for such a detailed, helpful explanation! So my next question is----would it be too much to add in WS if we choose to use the comp portion of Abeka? Going by your signature, it doesn't look like you have added an additional writing program to Abeka G&C?

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to like creative writing more, anyway. We actually have added in other writing programs over time.


When they were in 5th and 3rd grade (or maybe it was 6th and 4th?---I forget!) we did Classical Writing-Aesop, which was excellent. We also did portions of CW-Homer and CW-Diogenes. Then, I began to be concerned about the publishing schedule of the Classical Writing series----i.e., if the authors would be finished writing the series in time for my girls to get all that they needed out of that. This is not to fault the authors at all---they're busy homeschooling moms, too!


What I did this past year, therefore, was sign the girls up for three of Cindy Marsch's progymnasmata tutorials: one session in the beginning level of the progymnasmata, and two sessions for the intermediate level. That has helped quite a bit. We're also doing Omnibus II now, and I have them either do an evaluation (test) through Omnibus, or else I have them write one of the Summa essays. Omnibus also has progymnasmata assignments, too, but I'm not sure if they give enough "prep work" for the students to go into that level of assignments. However, if my kids were enrolled at Veritas Academy (Omnibus is published by Veritas Press) perhaps they would be getting all the writing preparation they need for those assignments there.


So, we've kind of done a hodge-podge of things. All in all, they're both basically pretty good writers, but tend to want to write only what they want to write (typical kids). However, now they're finally able to turn out a 2-3 page paper in a few days. Still not quite up to speed, but much better than they used to be.


Does that help? If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask!

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