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WWS vs Classical Writing?

RobinL in Canada

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Thank you to those who responded to my question further down re WWS. I bought CW Diogenes to use next year with my son who will be 13/gr 8 next academic year and is advanced in writing, but after looking it over today, I felt rather overwhelmed by the formality and dryness of it all. Has anyone used it with success? Is it truly helpful to learn how to write about maxims or in praise of a virtue? When I taught my older sons, I used IEW and my own adaptations of it, and they have done extremely well in writing, all attending school for grade 12 and a couple already gone on to university. Perhaps they could not write exactly in the style presented in CW, but I'm wondering how much of a drawback that is in the modern/ postmodern world ; )


Meanwhile, I've also looked at some of the online sample of WWS and I'm still scratching my head over whether or not my youngest son really needs what that covers. He already does an excellent job at summarizing and writing from source texts (for history and geography), though I've never explicitly taught him such things as "chronological writing. What I *really* wish is that the next level of WWS were available now, as I think that ls where he'd fit best.


If anyone could offer a comparison of WWS and CW, or any experience in switching from one to the other, I would appreciate it. Thanks.


In case this helps, here's an excerpt from something he wrote today:


Crowning a 650 metre hill, Krak des Chevlaiers, a towering fortress, is considered to be one of the greatest medieval castles in the world. Christians at that time erected a series of castles to strengthen their grip on lands in and around Jerusalem. One of these strongholds, Krak des Chevaliers defends the Homs Pass. Nicknamed the 'fortress of knights,' this stronghold housed thousands of Crusaders. Because of its mountainous location and tenacious fortifications, Krak. des C. proved to be nearly invulnerable to attack. ... Although it was just one castle, Krak des C. was massive, and communication from one side of the castle to another required the use of carrier pigeons. This technique, which was borrowed from the Arabs, was very useful. ...

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Thanks for the link! I happen to have Corbett on my shelves but haven't read through it; that will be a summer reading project.


I'm now leaning away from CW and toward WWS, though I think I will just pick and choose what I think my son needs to learn from it rather than do it all. We have used IEW, my own focus on imitation of literary examples, and Kilgallon, so my son already has a pretty good grasp of writing for his age.

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If you haven't heard SWB's lecture on middle grade writing, that might be a good resource for beefing up WWS. There are supposed to be new mp3's coming out from the recent conference.


Since he is 13, you could, for example, move more quickly into 3-4 level outlines and work towards rewriting from his outlines, which I don't think is covered in WWS1.

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