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I am looking into using this for my dd next fall. She will be a senior and wants to study Greek history and mythology. She wants to major in English and has never read any of the ancient writings. I discovered Smarr ancient literature and was wondering if anyone has used this and what your experiences have been.

 

Thanks

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We used this for ds in 10th grade. The 7 major papers are all argument papers. Questions for each book are mainly comprehension questions and a few essay/discussion questions for each reading.

 

It was a good fit for that ds for that year. I loved that it was scheduled for me completely. The curriculum says it is a honors course and it did take some time to complete each day, but we just counted it as regular 10th grade english. I graded the papers and the vocab tests. My son would say he enjoyed the course.

 

The downside, that I see now, is there is no literary analyis. For a senior, you might want to require more in the way of studying the literature for even just a few books. A senior should be able to do more than just answer comprehension questions, IMO. That is the only downside I can see to using it. It is a rigorous course. There are also grammar/writing lessons that you could skip. They do not really offer writing instruction for the papers. For the papers, they give you a list of prompts, and the student is expected to know how to write an argument paper. But your dd probably already can construct an argument paper.

 

If you want little prep for you, this could be the program:001_smile:

HTH

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I added MFW's Ancient Literature supplement to our Ancient history this year for 9th grade. If I understand it right, the guides in it are Smarr guides.

 

IMHO, I wouldn't use these with a senior. Each lesson has a few vocabulary words and a few discussion questions. I don't feel that any of them are great questions. Each lesson also has a critical thinking question that can be used for a writing assignment. There's also a list of writing possibilities at the end of the book. The critical writing and rewriting lessons are in it as well. They seem very basic for someone who may already have a good handle on writing and rewriting.

 

As you can tell, I've not been impressed at all with them.

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I've used Smarr both on its own and with MFW's Ancient History & Lit guide.

 

Karen, I'm wondering if you've used the Smarr Guide To Critical Writing, Grammar, and Style? That's where the writing instructions are (both essay instruction and grammar instruction).

 

Amy, along the same lines, I'm wondering if you've used *all* of the MFW Lit Guide? There are the book guide portions, but the rest of the Lit Guide is also Smarr-based, with the VERY detailed instructions on writing an argumentative essay, and then the follow-up instructions for later essays. I like those because they have the student look at their *own* essay and see if they've, for instance, used subject pronouns, or whatever the lesson is on.

 

I am wishy-washy about Smarr, but I think he *does* teach writing and have appropriate essay topics. I haven't chosen to use Smarr for 4 years in a row, but I think it's a solid one-year course. I actually think that *most* high schoolers really need to check their comprehension in higher level literature, especially non-USA lit. It's not like the elementary books where a guide asks you, "Who was at the door?" It's more like, "Do you know what's going on here?" My kids never did comp. questions until high school, but then they did need some kind of check on that, maybe because none of them is a big reader, sadly enough :(

 

Smarr is *not* way into literature analysis, I'd agree with that. He is evaluating the literature more in terms of what it says, literally and figuratively, as well as the worldview it comes from and maybe your thoughts on that. I think there are some high school teachers who think a run through the basics of lit analysis (foreshadowing, plot, etc.) is not going to be all that useful in college or career, so a solid run-through once in jr. hi or above will be enough? (Or maybe I'm projecting my own thoughts on other authors!)

 

Julie

Edited by Julie in MN
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Karen, I'm wondering if you've used the Smarr Guide To Critical Writing, Grammar, and Style? That's where the writing instructions are (both essay instruction and grammar instruction).

 

Amy, along the same lines, I'm wondering if you've used *all* of the MFW Lit Guide? There are the book guide portions, but the rest of the Lit Guide is also Smarr-based, with the VERY detailed instructions on writing an argumentative essay, and then the follow-up instructions for later essays. I like those because they have the student look at their *own* essay and see if they've, for instance, used subject pronouns, or whatever the lesson is on.

 

 

Julie

 

I had dd read through the essay writing portion, and we've used the Epic of Gilgamesh guide along with the grammar/writing portions that referred to that essay. We are in the Odyssey now, and will do the Bulfinch's book later this year. I do plan on having her do the writing assignments, too.

 

Dd was able to attend a free writing and literature class the last 2 years (retired English teacher), so I feel that the writing portion has not been necessary for her. I wanted the guides really to help me as much or more than her. I knew I wouldn't have time to read every book she is reading this year.

 

If a student who's going to be a senior has already had good writing instruction, I think this would be more review than taking them to the next level. Does that make sense?

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I had dd read through the essay writing portion, and we've used the Epic of Gilgamesh guide along with the grammar/writing portions that referred to that essay. We are in the Odyssey now, and will do the Bulfinch's book later this year. I do plan on having her do the writing assignments, too.

 

Dd was able to attend a free writing and literature class the last 2 years (retired English teacher), so I feel that the writing portion has not been necessary for her. I wanted the guides really to help me as much or more than her. I knew I wouldn't have time to read every book she is reading this year.

 

If a student who's going to be a senior has already had good writing instruction, I think this would be more review than taking them to the next level. Does that make sense?

 

Your decisions make sense. Your first post came across like all you found in the Smarr Guide was a few questions and I just wanted to be sure you realized the whole guide was all part of the English lessons. And MFW uses a few other things with it, of course, since their guide is not the full Smarr year-long program that the other poster probably used.

 

And yes, being a senior makes a difference, but if the OP's child wants to do ancients this year, I wanted to clarify that at least a my house, a Smarr full program would give her a do-able and complete English credit - the writing would just end up looking more like a 12th grader's than a 9th grader's.

 

Yes, writing is core to my homeschool, because it's core to communication, but I haven't seen any program that has a magic solution to creating wonderful writers, either in my house or in the public and private schooled students I've worked with. I think it just takes writing and having feedback/discussion from a real reader. I guess I'm not a "writing program" person any more than I'm an "extensive literary analysis" person, so maybe I'm hopeless :tongue_smilie:

 

Julie

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Thanks for the information ladies. I am really looking more at her having exposure to the works and understanding them. I am not necessarily looking for her to write several heavy literary analysis papers. We will be finishing up the LToW in the fall and then move on to some type of rhetoric to finish out the fall and the spring. She has already had plenty of exposure to literary terms. I can always pull analysis type questions from Spark notes or Pink Monkey if we need to. I guess what I am looking for is something that will lay out a reading plan for us and help us to understand the works. Will the Smarr ancients do that for me?

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