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Why is Classical Writing reputed to be so difficult?


abrightmom
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SWB recommends it for a Mom with a lot of confidence in teaching writing. Over the past couple of years I've read threads where it's discussed as being really hard and Moms drop out because of feeling overwhelmed!! I've looked at the website and the samples for Aesop over and over again and I'm not seeing why it is so challenging....

 

Can someone elaborate on this for me? At what point does CW become overwhelming and why? Maybe it's the later levels?? I think it looks wonderful but I am NOT a confident, experienced writing teacher. I am definitely teacher training in a heavy way right now....:001_smile: There must be more than meets the eye in terms of its challenge to teach.

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We are only in Aesop A, and hopefully more experienced people will chime in here, but it's my understanding that the Aesop levels are not considered to be that difficult. It's been our experience that Aesop is very simple to implement, and very intuitive. We've been enjoying it very much.

 

However, I've read on these boards that Homer and the upper levels become increasingly difficult to implement. I haven't had experience with these yet, though.

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I don't have trouble implementing so much now that I know how the program works. I hate having to manipulate and figure out all the books. I wish there was a way to put it in fewer books. The older levels - Maximus and above just have two books and I like that a lot.

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I think that it's partly because when CW first came out it didn't have the workbooks and other helps that it does now--it was just a core program. As such, it assumed a lot of knowledge and skill on the part of the teacher, and that could be overwhelming at times. Also, the commitment it requested was 2 hours per day from the earliest level. This sounded like a great deal unless you broke it down into all the different skills it was teaching.

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Aesop is pretty easy to implement. Homer is much more difficult because there is a lot of information to cover in each lesson. However, the second time through was much easier than the first! We didn't use Diogenes, but I've heard that it's much easier to teach than Homer.

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:bigear: because I plan on starting CW Aesop A next schoolyear.

 

I have both Aesop and Homer here, Homer for me, and I'm not seeing the problem. However.....I have to adapt it to Dutch for my dd.....and that is going to be difficult/a lot of work :tongue_smilie:, you Americans are sooo lucky :D.

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:iagree: Aesop is not supposed to be very difficult. Homer is the one that everyone (even CW fans) complains about. The ones who continue on say that the levels above Homer (so far at least) seem to be a whole lot easier (to implement).

 

I'm hoping they completely re-vamp/re-write Homer during the next 12 months so I can buy the easier-to-use version for Fall of 2012. (But I'm not holding my breath because there is no plan for that - that I know of.) :D

 

I figure if I figured out SWR, I can figure out Homer, right? *gulp*

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You got me. *shrug* I've taught Aesop, Homer and OB. I can't recall it overwhelming me. When it came we just jumped in feet first; within a few weeks we'd fallen into a comfortable weekly rhythm. For the most part we just open the workbook and do what comes next.

 

For what it's worth, we rarely take as long as the time estimations to finish the work.

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We started Aesop and I had Homer in my hands trying to digest it. The problem with Aesop was not the planning (for me it was simple), but my ds is such a slow writer that it took FOREVER for him to complete. We spent way too much time on writing. We took a break from WWE to try Aesop and WWE was so much simpler for him. When we stopped CW and went back to WWE he was much happier. (He is a reluctant writer and I had to massage him into writing with WWE... CW was starting to turn him back into that "writing hater" I knew all too well. Not good!)

 

Homer, to me was very confusing. It teaches a lot, but it's difficult to get a grasp on how it all fits together. I personally felt like I could teach those things using simpler material. Our grammar program works well for us and again WWE was working well for writing. As I think about the middle grades the thought of trying to figure out CW is overwhelming. I'm sure once I got it down it would be fine, but it just wasn't worth the time and effort to me. I listened to SWB's writing workshops on mp3 and immediately felt like I could do it! Simple.

 

For both my children and I WTM style writing fits us much better! That's just us though! Many people love CW!

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Whew.....okay......so if I'm interested in CW and I use it but Homer stumps me (which it likely will based on who I am) what do I use for writing in that season if jumping back into CW with Diogenes is sensible? I think I have to try it....

 

Also, I have Writing Tales which seems to be the same writing approach as Aesop. If I use that in lieu of Aesop will I be able to get my feet wet without buying CW?

 

What is a good age to begin CW Aesop OR WT? I do like the systematic skill building approach of WWE as well and would like to use both approaches....

Edited by abrightmom
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Whew.....okay......so if I'm interested in CW and I use it but Homer stumps me (which it likely will based on who I am) what do I use for writing in that season if jumping back into CW with Diogenes is sensible? I think I have to try it....

 

Also, I have Writing Tales which seems to be the same writing approach as Aesop. If I use that in lieu of Aesop will I be able to get my feet without buying CW?

 

What is a good age to begin CW Aesop OR WT? I do like the systematic skill building approach of WWE as well and would like to use both approaches....

Have you looked at Write Shop? My friend has completed all the Beta tests and they love it. Gentle approach, but still structured and conclusive, with great, tangible, useable output is probably my best at a glance estimation.

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I did Aesop for one semester with my 3rd grader and I wouldn't say that it was overwhelming or time consuming, it just wasn't teaching anything. I could not for the life of me figure out how outlining and then re-writing a fable was going to teach how to properly write sentences, much less paragraphs. I guess it was supposed to happen by having the child imitate good writing, but it was not carrying over into other assignments. My daughter would outline the fable perfectly with a three level outline and then re-write it following that outline, but outside that class she couldn't cohesively string three written sentences together on one single topic. I looked ahead in the Aesop book and it looked like we would continue to do the same thing for the rest of the year, so we stopped using it.

 

We had great success with the writing assignments in R&S - my daughter can now not only string together three cohesive sentences on one topic, she even has a topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph. Apparently that was the goal I had in mind at the beginning of the year, so I am satisfied. :001_smile:

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I think a lot of people miss the overall point of CW and it can be pretty hard to teach or hard to see the point of unless you see it as an overall approach. I find the upper levels easier to teach but that's because it took me a while to understand the approach. Now I am quite comfortable and teach the lower levels without the workbooks.

 

Heather

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I personally felt like I could teach those things using simpler material.

 

I had Aesop. I also had an article written by the author on the progymnasmata. Honestly, I felt the article was as valuable as Aesop and used it as an outline for our writing for awhile. Never did bother with Aesop.

 

I should note it was an older version.

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I personally don't understand the SWB comments on CW. I am a math/science type person, and I've taught both the Aesop and Homer levels using just the core books. CW actually makes more sense to me than other writing programs that I look at.

 

The most common complaints I've seen for Homer are:

 

Time commitment: The real difference between Aesop and Homer is the amount of time required. For us, Homer really does require an hour block 4 days a week to stay on their schedule; however, there are only 20 weeks of lessons for each year so it can be spread out if needed.

Physical organization of the core: It's not set up to work through from front to back. For analysis, there are sections for each of the four days, and there is separate section for the imitation portion. I just put a post it flag in each section and moved them back as we worked.

Determining the "right" answer: Dividing scenes or determining essential vs. accidental components is subjective. For both, we discussed any differences of opinion. If she could make a good case for why she marked it the way she did, I let it stand.

It's too tedious: Most often seen in relation to Theon's components. People complain about going through every question of the chart for the model. Honestly, we only did this two or three times. Once DD understood how to look at a scene and pick out the portions that related to setting, character, etc., she didn't need to go through every question for every scene.

 

My Homer advice: take some time to understand how the core is set up, set aside a sufficient amount of time for the lessons, and don't stress about doing it "perfectly". It really is an excellent program. I've seen a huge improvement in my oldest DD's writing over the last two year. HTH

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I did Aesop for one semester with my 3rd grader and I wouldn't say that it was overwhelming or time consuming, it just wasn't teaching anything. I could not for the life of me figure out how outlining and then re-writing a fable was going to teach how to properly write sentences, much less paragraphs. I guess it was supposed to happen by having the child imitate good writing, but it was not carrying over into other assignments. My daughter would outline the fable perfectly with a three level outline and then re-write it following that outline, but outside that class she couldn't cohesively string three written sentences together on one single topic. I looked ahead in the Aesop book and it looked like we would continue to do the same thing for the rest of the year, so we stopped using it.

 

We had great success with the writing assignments in R&S - my daughter can now not only string together three cohesive sentences on one topic, she even has a topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph. Apparently that was the goal I had in mind at the beginning of the year, so I am satisfied. :001_smile:

 

Well, this is interesting. FWIW, I intend to use R&S English including the composition portions while doing something "else" for writing as well. I figure that the R&S gives us that traditional writing approach while we learn more about writing from another approach (i.e. CW or IEW or ??)

 

I think a lot of people miss the overall point of CW and it can be pretty hard to teach or hard to see the point of unless you see it as an overall approach. I find the upper levels easier to teach but that's because it took me a while to understand the approach. Now I am quite comfortable and teach the lower levels without the workbooks.

 

Heather

 

Heather,

 

Can you summarize "the overall point of CW" for me? I am honestly trying to understand all of the approaches to teaching writing. Writing is my focus in self ed/teacher training for the next year or two. I need some way to understand the differences between the varying approaches; a compare and contrast list. :001_smile: Perhaps you can comment on Clear Creek's experience with it and how she felt that it wasn't teaching her kiddo how to write...

 

Heather, When do you begin CW with your kids? Do you use Writing Tales first?

 

I personally don't understand the SWB comments on CW. I am a math/science type person, and I've taught both the Aesop and Homer levels using just the core books. CW actually makes more sense to me than other writing programs that I look at.

 

My Homer advice: take some time to understand how the core is set up, set aside a sufficient amount of time for the lessons, and don't stress about doing it "perfectly". It really is an excellent program. I've seen a huge improvement in my oldest DD's writing over the last two year. HTH

 

Thanks for sharing this!!

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I personally don't understand the SWB comments on CW. I am a math/science type person, and I've taught both the Aesop and Homer levels using just the core books. CW actually makes more sense to me than other writing programs that I look at.

 

I will be buying CW Aesop for my son soon, to use in the fall. The CW approach makes more sense to me because it seems to follow pretty closely the approach I am familiar with (I went to school in Greece for the most part) and the book sources used are also pretty much the same. I was actually thrilled that I would be able to follow a similar model using the same sources with my son as I used, only, in English :). CW won me over from the start and it is a program I am determined to make work for us.

Edited by Guest
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Whew.....okay......so if I'm interested in CW and I use it but Homer stumps me (which it likely will based on who I am) what do I use for writing in that season if jumping back into CW with Diogenes is sensible? I think I have to try it....

 

Also, I have Writing Tales which seems to be the same writing approach as Aesop. If I use that in lieu of Aesop will I be able to get my feet wet without buying CW?

 

What is a good age to begin CW Aesop OR WT? I do like the systematic skill building approach of WWE as well and would like to use both approaches....

 

My daughter loved Writing Tales. It's an excellent program that I would not hesitate to use especially since you already have it! :)

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Whew.....okay......so if I'm interested in CW and I use it but Homer stumps me (which it likely will based on who I am) what do I use for writing in that season if jumping back into CW with Diogenes is sensible? I think I have to try it....

 

Also, I have Writing Tales which seems to be the same writing approach as Aesop. If I use that in lieu of Aesop will I be able to get my feet wet without buying CW?

 

What is a good age to begin CW Aesop OR WT? I do like the systematic skill building approach of WWE as well and would like to use both approaches....

 

My daughter is in 3rd grade and started WT a couple of months ago. She had already done WWE 1, 2 and 3/4's of 3. WT 1 has been a refreshing change and a piece of cake for her. She loved WWE 1 and 2, but level 3 started getting frustrating for us both and I felt we needed a change of pace.

 

On the WT's website, it is recommended to begin WT 1 in 3rd or 4th grade and WT 2 in 4th or 5th grade. Then, you would be ready for CW Homer if that's the path you want to take.

 

Lisa

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My 4th grader did WT1 this year. She's my "allergic to a pencil" child and it really was nice to see her do so well with it. We're planning WT2 in the fall (5th grade) & CW Homer the following year.

 

IMO, my 2nd grader (drama queen, creative writer) could probably do WT1 next year (but won't because of our already-crazy schedule).

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Would it be redundant to do Writing Tales 1 & 2 and then Aesop? I was thinking of doing on of the CW Primers this summer, then WT 1 in the fall. :bigear:

 

CW Primer Spring just arrived today and it is lovely :001_wub:. If only I could use WWE and CW Primer simultaneously...

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Would it be redundant to do Writing Tales 1 & 2 and then Aesop? I was thinking of doing on of the CW Primers this summer, then WT 1 in the fall. :bigear:

 

Amy from WT suggests moving from WT2 into Homer on the WT website under their FAQ's. I was hoping that Amy would be able to have WT3 out before we get there in the fall of 2012 but she said it definitely would not be happening. So in 2012, I'll be jumping over to CW's Homer. *Deep Breath*

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Amy from WT suggests moving from WT2 into Homer on the WT website under their FAQ's. I was hoping that Amy would be able to have WT3 out before we get there in the fall of 2012 but she said it definitely would not be happening. So in 2012, I'll be jumping over to CW's Homer. *Deep Breath*

 

That would put us in Homer in 4th grade and that's a little scary for me!;)

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