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LLFLOTR and IEW Medieval History based Writing Lessons

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My ds will be using Beautiful Feet's Middle Ages study next year for his 8th grade year. There is some writing, research and vocabulary involved. Would it be too much to add Language Lessons from Lord of the Rings or IEW's Medieval History for writing? I haven't seen either in person, so I'm not sure what is included. I'm assuming IEW would just be writing. I think LLFLOTR includes writing with literary analysis and vocabulary (?). Would doing one of these with BF be too much? What if we left out BF's writing? How much writing is included with LLFLOTR? My ds hasn't done any literary analysis at all, and he hasn't even read LOTR yet, so I think doing LLFLOTR would be great. But I love the look and step-by-step approach of IEW's lessons. He definitely needs work with writing, but maybe literary analysis can wait. Hmmm.... What do you think?

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re: literary analysis

The Literary Analysis of LLftLotR is VERY gentle, at an introductory level. It is very informal and written into the notes for each chapter, making it easy for students to learn literary analysis terms, and to see how themes are at work throughout the books. Several of the additional units go a bit more into detail on literary analysis, by analyzing excerpts from Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Tolkien's poetry. Again, at a very gentle introductory level that is easy for students to grasp.



re: writing

There is no writing instruction in the program. The writing assignments in LLftLotR are not literary analysis; I personally would consider them to be "optional exercises". The assignments are more of the general topic type of writing -- along the lines of, "The character of Sam shows great loyalty to his master Frodo. Write a short paper describing what loyalty is."


What research is included in LLftLotR has to do with whatever research the student would put in for doing one of the writing assignments, or if the student was interested in doing one of the projects in the additional units.


My guess is that you will end up wanting to stick with your IEW Medieval Writing, and perhaps once in awhile substitute a writing assignment of interest from LLftLotR, or from the BF history. I certainly would NOT try to do ALL the assignments from ALL 3 programs -- pick and choose the best/most interesting ones for variety.



re: vocabulary

Yes, you cover something like 600 vocabulary words, through fill-in-the-blank worksheets and quizzes. Only takes about 10-15 minutes a week, I would guess.



re: the literature

LLftLotR covers the 3 books of the LotR trilogy (Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King), and the program has 12 units of additional supplemental material. There is also the option of reading additional works mentioned in the program -- however, only the 3 books of Tolkien's trilogy are required; including the additional works would make the program a "beefier" literature credit.


Three of the twelve additional units of the year-long study analyze excerpts of other works, which you could choose to read in their entirety or not (both do fit in time-wise with your Medieval studies):

- Beowulf

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- poetry by JRR Tolkien


In addition, two of the twelve additional units give helpful background information on several other works (The Iliad; The Odyssey; various King Arthur works) and if DS is interested, you could also cover one or more of them, although you would want a lit. guide to cover those works in depth. And finally, mentioned just in passing in LLftLotR, but either or both would fit in well with the program, are Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth. Again, if DS was interested in including those, you would want to get a lit. guide to cover those works in depth.



re: what the program looks like

The supporting material for each chapter of each of the 3 LotR books is laid out the same:

1. 1-2 pages of fill-in-the-blank comprehension questions (written as a summary of the chapter, with blanks left for key names, words, etc.).

2. 1-2 pages of fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice vocabulary quizzes (there are also vocabulary tests every 4 chapters or so)

3. 1-2 pages of chapter notes; this is the "meat" of the study, where themes and literary elements in the book are discussed, suggestions of what to look for in future chapters, as well as influences on the author, background details, comparisons to other works of literature, etc.

4. 4-10 discussion questions; this is where you get into discussing themes

5. If you follow one of the guide's schedules, about every 2-3 weeks you will find a suggestion for a writing assignment in the chapter notes.

6. Unit studies; there are 12 of these. If you follow one of the guide's schedules, you'll read one of these (about 6-10 pages) once every 3 weeks; these have 4-6 discussion questions at the end of the unit, and usually a writing assignment idea as well.


The program is scheduled for reading 2 chapters per week, with each chapter having the above material to cover, so the program takes about 4 hours per week, including reading 2 chapters per week from the books. (It will be closer to 5 hours a week if you also do many of the writing assignments.)


The program is designed so that a student can do it solo, but you could also do it together and/or with several different aged students all together -- your 13yo, for example.



The best help is to be able to SEE what is in the program, so here are links to samples and other helps:


Table of contents

Lesson plans

List of Literary Terms Covered



One last thought -- especially if your DS is really enjoying LLftLotR, and is interested in reading some of the other works of literature mentioned in the program -- or he really wants to spend extra time on the additional units -- it is okay to take longer than a year to do LLftLotR! Take another semester, and extend it into 9th grade! The program is designed for grades 7-10, so there is NO problem in being able to count it towards some of the Literature credit for 9th grade.


BEST of luck! And ENJOY your literature journey through Middle Earth! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Wow! Thanks so much, Lori! I would like to do it with my 13yo as well, so we may do what I've noticed many do and skip all the comprehension questions and written work. We will probably just read and discuss it all together. That way I can use IEW and BF for writing. If I do it that way, can I get by with just the TM? It would be awfully expensive for the whole set if we aren't going to be doing it all.

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...can I get by with just the TM? It would be awfully expensive for the whole set if we aren't going to be doing it all.




My understanding is that the 2nd edition (which is what is now being sold), does NOT allow you to go with just the TM -- I believe the TM for the 2nd edition is JUST answers, none of the chapter notes or additional units (which are the "meat" of the program). However, if you can find an original edition TM for sale somewhere, yes, you can just use that and not get the student book, as the two are identical, with the TM having all the answers filled in.


One other thought: if you are not going to have your students write in the student book, you could go ahead and buy the 2nd edition set (1 student and 1 teacher book), use them, and then resell for about 75% of new, since they will be in good shape with no writing... Think of it as an investment. ;)


BEST of luck, whatever you decide! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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