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Hi all,

 

I would appreciate it if you would share with me some of your experiences, both good and bad with the program - online or curriculum.

 

We are considering the LToW during our High School years.  I have heard that it's hard to teach from a number thread searches.  However there are claims that the latest edition is easier.   Can someone describe a bit more what a typical day looks like for you?  How much work/prep time is required of you, the teacher?  Can this be done somewhat independently?

 

I'm just trying to gauge how difficult this would be for my wife while teaching our two younger dds who require more of her time.  It's a real balancing act for her. That is why ease of use is important and student independence is also a consideration. 

 

As an alternative I've heard great things about the online courses.  I'd enjoy hearing more about what a class is like such as Classical Rhetoric: Lost Tools of Writing, Level One.  What is the interaction with the instructor and other classmates like, if any?  What is the level of difficulty/challenge, including time demands?  Which teachers have you had?

 

Thanks,

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:bigear: Following this thread as I'm in the same boat with DS heading into 9th.  I like the LTOW approach but not sure I have the skills to teach it.  I posted a link to Coram Deo Tutorials LTOW classes on your other thread but I just found a video sample of the class that might be helpful for you. 

 

Yes, I did see their classes as well as the Circe Institute. My wife is hoping to find a more affordable option.  But if she can't teach we still may go with one of these online classes.  The Corum Deo tutorials course time unfortunately conflicts with another online course for the Fall.

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Well, I bought the previous version years ago, but I commented on here about how difficult it was to use. (This was before the revisions.) The authors commented on my post here, messaged me here and then looked up my email address from their records--my email is not tied to my user name here--apparently from my first name only, and emailed me. It creeped me out. It still does. I think they are weird.

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I have not gone through the whole program yet, but this is my second year teaching it. I had a 6th and an 8th grader when we started half way through the year last year and decided to go over the material we covered last year again this year for the sake of the younger one. I have the fourth edition and would definitely recommend getting the newest version. I love LTOW, but the old Teacher Manual definitely could be made more user friendly, which I believe they did with the new edition.

As far as prep for me goes, it usually takes me about half an hour to 45 minutes once a week to prepare, watching the video and taking notes. I spend 30 to 45 minutes once a week presenting the new lesson to my kids. After the lesson, during the week my kids are pretty independent with the assignments. They complete an essay about every three weeks which is the way the program is designed. I like that they can pick topics from our literature or history studies.

There is plenty of support for questions on the LTOW yahoo group. I know several of the Circe online teachers post there and answer questions regularly.

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Well, I bought the previous version years ago, but I commented on here about how difficult it was to use. (This was before the revisions.) The authors commented on my post here, messaged me here and then looked up my email address from their records--my email is not tied to my user name here--apparently from my first name only, and emailed me. It creeped me out. It still does. I think they are weird.

 

Interesting, do you recall which version you were using at the time?  They have just done a major update which is the 5th edition now.   

 

Thanks,

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I have not gone through the whole program yet, but this is my second year teaching it. I had a 6th and an 8th grader when we started half way through the year last year and decided to go over the material we covered last year again this year for the sake of the younger one. I have the fourth edition and would definitely recommend getting the newest version. I love LTOW, but the old Teacher Manual definitely could be made more user friendly, which I believe they did with the new edition.

As far as prep for me goes, it usually takes me about half an hour to 45 minutes once a week to prepare, watching the video and taking notes. I spend 30 to 45 minutes once a week presenting the new lesson to my kids. After the lesson, during the week my kids are pretty independent with the assignments. They complete an essay about every three weeks which is the way the program is designed. I like that they can pick topics from our literature or history studies.

There is plenty of support for questions on the LTOW yahoo group. I know several of the Circe online teachers post there and answer questions regularly.

 

Julzar,

 

Thank you.  This is very helpful.  My wife is encouraged to know they have revised their curriculum in part at least to try to make it easier to teach. I will relay this information to her regarding prep time.  But that doesn't sound too bad.  I'll also check the LToW Yahoo Group.

 

She is also wondering what additional materials are required to use for the program?  For example, the samples reference certain works of literature such as Narnia.  Is their a select list of classical books one needs to aquire?

 

Thanks again,

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In the 4th edition Teacher Manual they use a thesis from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to write an essay as an example that is used throughout the book assuming that most people will be familiar with it. This essay is used throughout the year to teach and add all the new concepts learned as an example in class. For the new essays the kids write, they can use whatever literature or history they are currently studying. It is a nice way to integrate. No specific literature is necessary.

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"She is also wondering what additional materials are required to use for the program?  For example, the samples reference certain works of literature such as Narnia.  Is their a select list of classical books one needs to acquire?"

 

 

You could go to the Classical Conversations website and view their list of literature books for either Challenge A, Challenge B, or Challenge I.  Currently, CC is using LToW with all three years (corresponding generally with 7th, 8th, and 9th grade), using the literature mentioned in their catalog as source texts for applying LToW. 

 

I would agree with the idea that LToW requires a 'ramp-up' to really understanding the program.  However, I have been very pleased with the results in writing skills my ds has acquired over these past 18 months using LToW as part of his CC Challenge classes.  Knowing that CC is now advertising the newest 5th edition, I am thinking that it has got to be better organized for use by the teacher/parent than my 4th edition copy.  Thankfully, I have had access to CC tutors and a recent CC practicum modeling how to use these materials for us at home, but certainly a parent can purchase and view the lengthy DVDs that come with the full LToW package on their own.

 

The Narnia example given by LToW is describing the issue of whether or not Edmund should have followed the White Witch.  You can pick any issue you would like with a given book, but if you happened to choose the above issue, you would need to then set up an ANI chart (week 1).  This is basically a list of Affirmative reasons why Edmund should have followed the White Witch, the Negative reasons why he should NOT have followed the White Witch, and a list of Interesting aspects surrounding this issue.  Week 2 would then be sorting and organizing an outline after choosing to go with the affirmative or negative.  Then week 3 would be actually writing your persuasive essay, centered around your thesis, reasons and 'proofs'.  Then you would go on to the next literature text on your list and do it all over again. 

 

What we enjoy is hearing each student in the class working with a different issue and subsequent thesis.  It's an added learning experience to use LToW in a small group with everyone using the same literature book at the same time, but you certainly don't have to use it this way.

 

Blessings,

Brenda

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Brenda,

 

All of this detail really helps to fill in the blanks for us.  You really painted a nice picture of what a normal schedule looks like for you and your family.  So thank you for taking the time to do so.  It is much appreciated.

 

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My DD is taking the LToW Level 1 with Circe this year.  I have been very impressed with the teacher.  My DD struggles in writing and the teacher's enthusiasm is very evident.  The online session is very lively and my daughter enjoys the interaction with the other students.  The assignment comments are all via Canvas.  In my daughter's case I love that they do corrections on their assignments until they are complete to the teacher's satisfaction. :nopity:  

 

I don't know what additions or changes the 5th edition will bring.  In the online class the student chooses what book to use for the assignments, although they need to be classical literature or Newbury award winners, not more recent fiction like Hunger Games, or Harry Potter.

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My DD is taking the LToW Level 1 with Circe this year. I have been very impressed with the teacher. My DD struggles in writing and the teacher's enthusiasm is very evident. The online session is very lively and my daughter enjoys the interaction with the other students. The assignment comments are all via Canvas. In my daughter's case I love that they do corrections on their assignments until they are complete to the teacher's satisfaction. :nopity:

 

I don't know what additions or changes the 5th edition will bring. In the online class the student chooses what book to use for the assignments, although they need to be classical literature or Newbury award winners, not more recent fiction like Hunger Games, or Harry Potter.

Melissa, our daughters may be together? Mine is in LTOW 1 with Renee Mathis. Wonderful class!!

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Hi all,
 
I would appreciate it if you would share with me some of your experiences, both good and bad with the program - online or curriculum.
 
We are considering the LToW during our High School years.  I have heard that it's hard to teach from a number thread searches.  However there are claims that the latest edition is easier.   Can someone describe a bit more what a typical day looks like for you?  How much work/prep time is required of you, the teacher?  Can this be done somewhat independently?
 
I'm just trying to gauge how difficult this would be for my wife while teaching our two younger dds who require more of her time.  It's a real balancing act for her. That is why ease of use is important and student independence is also a consideration. 
 
As an alternative I've heard great things about the online courses.  I'd enjoy hearing more about what a class is like such as Classical Rhetoric: Lost Tools of Writing, Level One.  What is the interaction with the instructor and other classmates like, if any?  What is the level of difficulty/challenge, including time demands?  Which teachers have you had?
 
Thanks,

 

 

 

 

Derek, after all of your help with math, I am so happy to finally help you back.  DD is enrolled in the Circe Academy LTOW 1 class with Renee Mathis.  It is a wonderful class and Renee is a great teacher.  Before I enrolled her, I taught LTOW from the latest edition of the DVDs and teacher guide.  I never saw the earlier version but, in my opinion, once you get over the learning curve it is very easy to teach.  I would definitely recommend the DVDs.  I could not have taught from the Teacher's Guide alone.  Circe tutors also host teacher workshops around the country that teach the scope and sequence as well as methodology.  Just look on the Circe website for dates/locations.  

 

Regarding workload, my daughter works about 2-3 hours per week on LTOW in addition to the 1hr per week class.  When I was teaching, it took me about an hour a week of prep and the time for correcting/evaluating the writing.  

 

Someone once told me that LTOW is not a writing program, but a thinking program.  I wholeheartedly agree.  My daughter is a natural writer but LTOW has helped her so much with the thought and organization of her arguments.  She's grown tremendously in this class.  

 

I enjoyed teaching it but my daughter's writing is very personal for her and my critiques, albeit gentle, were causing a strain on our relationship.  She now loves the energy of the class and the outside evaluation of her writing.  Let me know if I can help any further.  Good luck!

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Derek, after all of your help with math, I am so happy to finally help you back.  DD is enrolled in the Circe Academy LTOW 1 class with Renee Mathis.  It is a wonderful class and Renee is a great teacher.  Before I enrolled her, I taught LTOW from the latest edition of the DVDs and teacher guide.  I never saw the earlier version but, in my opinion, once you get over the learning curve it is very easy to teach.  I would definitely recommend the DVDs.  I could not have taught from the Teacher's Guide alone.  Circe tutors also host teacher workshops around the country that teach the scope and sequence as well as methodology.  Just look on the Circe website for dates/locations.  

 

Regarding workload, my daughter works about 2-3 hours per week on LTOW in addition to the 1hr per week class.  When I was teaching, it took me about an hour a week of prep and the time for correcting/evaluating the writing.  

 

Someone once told me that LTOW is not a writing program, but a thinking program.  I wholeheartedly agree.  My daughter is a natural writer but LTOW has helped her so much with the thought and organization of her arguments.  She's grown tremendously in this class.  

 

I enjoyed teaching it but my daughter's writing is very personal for her and my critiques, albeit gentle, were causing a strain on our relationship.  She now loves the energy of the class and the outside evaluation of her writing.  Let me know if I can help any further.  Good luck!

 

 

Thanks, Happyhome.  It sounds like LToW is working very well for you  and your DD.  I'm glad we can help each other out here.  I must admit that when I first heard the term 'Hive' it sounded a little weird to me, like the Borg ship from the old Star Trek or something else SciFi. :D   But 'the collective' works so well it's amazing.  Most of the stuff I know regarding these topics I've learned from someone else or through personal experiences, many times both.  So it only seems natural to pass it along.  I guess it goes back to the old 'two heads are better than one' proverb.   ;)

 

Last question (at least for now anyway).   If my wife teaches LToW 1 next year and then we wanted DS to take a class would we roll into the LToW 2 class after completion?  Is that what you did?  I noticed you mentioned your DD responds better to the feedback in their classroom environment.

 

Thanks again,

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Oh yes! The Hive has saved me countless hours of sleep, protected me from at least half a dozen panic attacks and prevented at least one nervous breakdown ðŸ˜ðŸ˜

 

Regarding placement, 1 and 2 cover different types of essays. LTOW 1 is largely focused on the Persuasive Essay. The goal of Level 1 is to teach the canons (invention, arrangement, elocution) until they become second nature. They use the Persuasive Essay to do that. At first, the instruction feels formulaic and limiting. My daughter hated that part. However, once the skills are firmly in place, they let the reigns out and give your writer more freedom. That's when you really see the best of this program.

 

LTOW 2 covers the Deliberative and Judicial Essays, Narratives, and Comparison Essays. I haven't taught Level 2 so I can't speak to it but if the quality is anything like Level 1, I think it will be great.

 

We only got through Level 1 Lesson 4 last summer before it became obvious that she would benefit more from a class so she started the class in Level 1. I would imagine that if you feel your Ds has a solid grasp on Persuasive Essays after your wife teaches, then yes, move to Level 2. If not, there are kids who take each level more than once to hone skills. Your Ds will choose his topic for every essay. Topics are generated from great literature that your child is reading. So although the instruction stays the same, the level of writing gets more advanced depending on the literature topic he chooses, kwim? My daughter will move on to LTOW 2 next year but I will continue to assign persuasive essays in her other subjects. Based on the skills she's learned, she can crank out a pretty good Persuasive Essay on just about anything now.

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I am currently using The Lively Art of Writing to teach essays to DD.  It is going very well, and I wouldn't be interested in repeating another version of these lessons in order to take DD's writing to a higher level.  Would DD be reasonably able to jump in to a higher level of LToW after what we are currently doing?  If so, would if benefit her? 

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Derek, is there somewhere where you wife can see better samples? Do you know someone who has the curriculum that would allow her to spend time with it and see what she thinks? 

 

I owned the third edition and we did not complete the program. My thoughts were that the instruction was overly sophisticated and complex in proportion to the actual writing results which we found to be simplistic and formulaic.

 

While I have edited out of respect for the very positive experiences expressed here that I should have read first, I still maintain that the Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe sample persuasive essay and the dogs and horses sample comparison essays were not samples of writing or thinking that I would want my high school student to emulate, even if they are just a starting point for the student.

 

That said, our dissatisfaction could be totally due to the edition and the irksome natures of teacher and student. We don't like busy work and "forethought" questions like "Have you ever talked to an object that isn't human?' make us snicker.
 

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Hi Lisa.  Thanks for sharing your experience.  They actually offer a downloadable sample which my wife reviewed.  She is pretty happy overall with the style and approach I think.  It's mainly just the user friendliness of the program that was her original concern.  But this has at least been addressed in part with the latest edition (5th).  We'll probably give it a go and then reevaluate after the first course where to go from there.

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Hi Lisa.  Thanks for sharing your experience.  They actually offer a downloadable sample which my wife reviewed.  She is pretty happy overall with the style and approach I think.  It's mainly just the user friendliness of the program that was her original concern.  But this has at least been addressed in part with the latest edition (5th).  We'll probably give it a go and then reevaluate after the first course where to go from there.

 

That's good to hear. Please keep us updated on what she thinks about it. 

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 At first, the instruction feels formulaic and limiting. My daughter hated that part. However, once the skills are firmly in place, they let the reigns out and give your writer more freedom. 

 

My son is doing the online LTOW class with Circe this year.  After the first 8 weeks he hated the class, for exactly the reasons happyhome says, he felt the class was too easy, and the writing was too restricted and boring.  I read through the material and told him to stick it out, because it would get better and it did. He still doesn't love the class, but he is learning, especially how to pick a topic and organize his essays, and I can see improvement in his writing.

 

So I understand where the people who haven't liked the program are coming from, because the class starts out very slowly (too slowly IMO). My son is in 10th grade and did IEW Level C last year.  In retrospect he could have handled a more difficult writing class this year, but he is doing lots of writing in other subjects and he is applying the things he is learning in LTOW in other classes.

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Derek, is there somewhere where you wife can see better samples? Do you know someone who has the curriculum that would allow her to spend time with it and see what she thinks?

 

I owned the third edition and we did not complete the program. My thoughts were that the instruction was overly sophisticated and complex in proportion to the actual writing results which we found to be simplistic and formulaic.

 

While I have edited out of respect for the very positive experiences expressed here that I should have read first, I still maintain that the Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe sample persuasive essay and the dogs and horses sample comparison essays were not samples of writing or thinking that I would want my high school student to emulate, even if they are just a starting point for the student.

 

That said, our dissatisfaction could be totally due to the edition and the irksome natures of teacher and student. We don't like busy work and "forethought" questions like "Have you ever talked to an object that isn't human?' make us snicker.

 

Oh Lisa, no need to edit on my behalf. As my thread history will show, we tried almost every writing program out there before we found LTOW. LTOW is a fit for us but I think I probably have to give a bit of our background to qualify my review and put it in context for others reading.

 

Dd was homeschooled starting halfway through 5th grade. Prior to that, her writing training was in public school through the Columbia Teacher's College program. At that time, I found that she could write most types of writing: narrative, personal memoir, nonfiction, 5 paragraph essay, small report, persuasive and comparative essays. However, while she understood the structure and basic mechanics, her organization was lacking. From what her teachers told me, the expectation of Columbia TC is that they learn what to write first and the how later. It's hard to explain her writing from that time. She wrote these wonderfully constructed paragraphs that simply didn't flow together. Her word choice was varied and interesting but she contradicted her points. She mastered complicated sentence structures but she didn't know where to put them for maximum effect.

 

So, when we started homeschooling, we were looking for something very specific. I felt like all the mechanical pieces where there. She just had so much to say and she needed help organizing it logically. At first, I used her old writing pieces and worked through them with her, teaching her how to reorganize, strengthen and cut where needed. Once I took that as far as I could, I started doing research. Corbett's book and Ruth's epic writing thread lead me to LTOW as a solid program to teach invention and arrangement.

 

For a natural writer, who doesn't struggle with mechanics, this was a good fit. That said, we don't follow formulas and LTOW's "Edmund should not have followed the white witch for three reasons...." didn't last long around here. I liken it to IEW (we tried that tooðŸ˜). Great tools to have as a writer but we don't add -ly words to every paragraph. We are using/customizing the invention/arrangement tools to fill a specific need and I have seen a lot of growth. Her Circe teacher is also terrific and allows her to move beyond the formulas with confidence. Now, where will we go from here to create the elusive high school English credit? Ummm, I have no idea. But that's another thread.

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Thanks, Lisa.  I will be interested to see how LToW employs these styles into their writing program.  The deliberative essay does not sound all that different from the persuasive essay, but the judicial essay seems very specific in purpose.  The topic definitely sounds right up my ds's alley!  :)

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I am currently using The Lively Art of Writing to teach essays to DD.  It is going very well, and I wouldn't be interested in repeating another version of these lessons in order to take DD's writing to a higher level.  Would DD be reasonably able to jump in to a higher level of LToW after what we are currently doing?  If so, would if benefit her? 

 

:bigear:

 

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I am currently using The Lively Art of Writing to teach essays to DD.  It is going very well, and I wouldn't be interested in repeating another version of these lessons in order to take DD's writing to a higher level.  Would DD be reasonably able to jump in to a higher level of LToW after what we are currently doing?  If so, would if benefit her? 

 

Hi Karen,

 

That's a very interesting question.  As it turns out we will also be using The Lively Art if Writing this year since ds13 has finished WWS.  It looks like you are were/are using WWS as well!  From my understanding LToW is meant to be done in sequence starting with Level 1.  In their FAQ there is a somewhat similar question asked and answered here:

 

Can my student(s) begin with Level 2? They are pretty advanced writers.
We don't recommend this usually. Students should begin with Level 1 because the curriculum builds on itself, one skill or idea at a time. In this it is like any program that develops a student's artistic abilities (or even a math class).  -- https://www.circeinstitute.org/lost-tools-writing/frequently-asked-questions

 

Level 2's description elaborates on this a bit more:

 

In Level Two, however, you'll refine your study of classical Rhetoric by studying the Deliberative Essay (in Part One) and the Judicial Essay (Part Two), each of which are refinements on the Persuasive Essay taught in Level One. So just as the elements of Level One build upon one another, so Level Two builds upon Level One. 
 
Through the eight lessons/essay in Level Two, your students will work within the framework of the three Canons, but each will be aimed at the new kinds of essay. This familiarity will empower you as a teacher and will provide confidence for your students.  -- https://www.circeinstitute.org/lost-tools-writing/level-two
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:bigear:

 

 

Hi Gillian,

 

I noticed you are using Brave Writer currently with your DC.  I actually started a separate Brave Writer thread discussing some of these questions including integrating it with LToW.  1togo has done just that with her children.  You can read about her experiences using both programs and how they can compliment each other here: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/541323-brave-writer-supplemental-or-complete-program/

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Yes, we completed WWS I this past fall; I didn't realize it was supposed to be in conjunction with Lively Art of Writing.  But DD is finding the Lively Art of Writing manageable, although I would not call DD an advanced writer. 

 

I guess LToW is out if I can't start at a higher level than one, although I understand the publisher's point there.  It does seem like a lovely curriculum from what I can tell, so that's a shame.  SO I guess I will be in search of another curriculum to bring DD to a higher level.  Any suggestions?  Hmmm....this may be worth a post on the general ed board.....

 

Hi Karen,

 

That's a very interesting question.  As it turns out we will also be using The Lively Art if Writing this year since ds13 has finished WWS.  It looks like you are were/are using WWS as well!  From my understanding LToW is meant to be done in sequence starting with Level 1.  In their FAQ there is a somewhat similar question asked and answered here:

 

Can my student(s) begin with Level 2? They are pretty advanced writers.
We don't recommend this usually. Students should begin with Level 1 because the curriculum builds on itself, one skill or idea at a time. In this it is like any program that develops a student's artistic abilities (or even a math class).  -- https://www.circeinstitute.org/lost-tools-writing/frequently-asked-questions

 

Level 2's description elaborates on this a bit more:

 

In Level Two, however, you'll refine your study of classical Rhetoric by studying the Deliberative Essay (in Part One) and the Judicial Essay (Part Two), each of which are refinements on the Persuasive Essay taught in Level One. So just as the elements of Level One build upon one another, so Level Two builds upon Level One. 
 
Through the eight lessons/essay in Level Two, your students will work within the framework of the three Canons, but each will be aimed at the new kinds of essay. This familiarity will empower you as a teacher and will provide confidence for your students.  -- https://www.circeinstitute.org/lost-tools-writing/level-two

 

 

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Yes, we completed WWS I this past fall; I didn't realize it was supposed to be in conjunction with Lively Art of Writing.  But DD is finding the Lively Art of Writing manageable, although I would not call DD an advanced writer. 

 

I guess LToW is out if I can't start at a higher level than one, although I understand the publisher's point there.  It does seem like a lovely curriculum from what I can tell, so that's a shame.  SO I guess I will be in search of another curriculum to bring DD to a higher level.  Any suggestions?  Hmmm....this may be worth a post on the general ed board.....

 

Karen,

 

DS13 has gone through WWS I & II.  I don't think Lively Art of Writing is supposed to be done with it.  We've just heard good things about it and so wanted to use it following WWS II.

 

From what I've seen of LToW, the program can be tailored to their level.  Part of that deals with the pacing along with literary choices.  In our case we'll see how it goes and if somewhat easy we'll work through Level 1 faster.  I'm not sure though that it would be too easy after WWS II and Lively Art of Writing.  I look at these as 'complimentary' focusing on different areas of writing, adding more tools to the writer's toolbox.  Many folks use these and other well know writing programs together (synchronously or asynchronously).  If you haven't already seen it and are interested take a look at Ruth's review of the major writing programs here:  http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/348864-my-evaluation-of-numerous-writing-curricula/

 

I've also started several related threads recently discussing a number of writing programs.  There are a lot of good choices.  Here are some recent discussions:

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/542164-high-school-writing-program-options/

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/541323-brave-writer-supplemental-or-complete-program/

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/542485-is-there-an-all-in-one-9th-grade-english-curriculum/

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Oh, I had forgotten all about Ruth's writing thread!  I'll have to go back and pore over that, now that some of this has come to the forefront for me.

Karen,

 

DS13 has gone through WWS I & II.  I don't think Lively Art of Writing is supposed to be done with it.  We've just heard good things about it and so wanted to use it following WWS II.

 

From what I've seen of LToW, the program can be tailored to their level.  Part of that deals with the pacing along with literary choices.  In our case we'll see how it goes and if somewhat easy we'll work through Level 1 faster.  I'm not sure though that it would be too easy after WWS II and Lively Art of Writing.  I look at these as 'complimentary' focusing on different areas of writing, adding more tools to the writer's toolbox.  Many folks use these and other well know writing programs together (synchronously or asynchronously).  If you haven't already seen it and are interested take a look at Ruth's review of the major writing programs here:  http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/348864-my-evaluation-of-numerous-writing-curricula/

 

I've also started several related threads recently discussing a number of writing programs.  There are a lot of good choices.  Here are some recent discussions:

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/542164-high-school-writing-program-options/

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/541323-brave-writer-supplemental-or-complete-program/

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/542485-is-there-an-all-in-one-9th-grade-english-curriculum/

 

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For a natural writer, who doesn't struggle with mechanics, this was a good fit. That said, we don't follow formulas and LTOW's "Edmund should not have followed the white witch for three reasons...." didn't last long around here. I liken it to IEW (we tried that tooðŸ˜). Great tools to have as a writer but we don't add -ly words to every paragraph. We are using/customizing the invention/arrangement tools to fill a specific need and I have seen a lot of growth. Her Circe teacher is also terrific and allows her to move beyond the formulas with confidence. Now, where will we go from here to create the elusive high school English credit? Ummm, I have no idea. But that's another thread.

 

Hi Lisa,

 

I thought you were planning on doing LTOW2 next year?  If so would you consider that as covering the majority of your high school English credit?  It seems like LTOW covers composition and literature.  Is that your finding?  Or do you feel you need separate Comp and Lit courses with possibly some additional grammar thrown in as well?

 

Thanks,

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Hi Lisa,

 

I thought you were planning on doing LTOW2 next year? If so would you consider that as covering the majority of your high school English credit? It seems like LTOW covers composition and literature. Is that your finding? Or do you feel you need separate Comp and Lit courses with possibly some additional grammar thrown in as well?

 

Thanks,

Hi Derek,

 

See, this is why I call this particular credit elusive. Our situation is tricky. I could teach English in its entirety but her writing is very personal for her and it is better for us if it is outsourced and critiqued by an outside party. She's currently enrolled in LTOW2 next year but we were flirting with the idea of Blue Tent at that time. I liked the quality of the work expected at Blue Tent and I had a long and very helpful email conversation with one of the instructors. It was also nice to have "one stop shopping" for that credit. However, dd has read most of the books, she's done with formal grammar after completing Rod & Staff 8 and she's doing Windows to the World now. They say she can substitute books on their list but I feel like the rest of it would be busy work for her.

 

So, we've decided to stay with LTOW2 and couple it with our Ancients study and the corresponding WTM reading list. That, along with Vocabulary From Classical Roots and Great Courses lectures, will be our integrated history/English credit next year.

 

LTOW definitely fills the comp side of the credit and the program allows you to choose your own writing topics so, as long as your literature list is strong and you add in enough discussion, I think it is a full English credit. Keep in mind, LTOW doesn't assign reading. It is assumed that you are already reading/ discussing great works of literature. The program is designed to teach you how to write based on those books.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks all.  I'm reviving this thread as we head into the final stretch of our decision for the Fall.  I'm just curious if anyone else has experiences with the newer curriculum which is supposed be a significant revision and improvement?  We are still leaning toward it.  

 

Currently, ds13 is going through Lively Art of Writing which he actually enjoys.  That's a first for him since writing has never been something he has liked.  I'm hoping LToW won't prove to be to much drudgery work for him or bore him too much.  I'm trying to keep that little spark alive in him which I haven't seen before.  The big question in my mind is will LToW be like a big wet blanket even if teaching wonderful skills?  I know that varies per child.  But upon reflection he was not very fond of WWS.  Though I think it did help his writing skills. While I don't expect him to love writing I'm just hoping he doesn't have to dislike it as much in the coming year. 

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Thanks all. I'm reviving this thread as we head into the final stretch of our decision for the Fall. I'm just curious if anyone else has experiences with the newer curriculum which is supposed be a significant revision and improvement? We are still leaning toward it.

 

Currently, ds13 is going through Lively Art of Writing which he actually enjoys. That's a first for him since writing has never been something he has liked. I'm hoping LToW won't prove to be to much drudgery work for him or bore him too much. I'm trying to keep that little spark alive in him which I haven't seen before. The big question in my mind is will LToW be like a big wet blanket even if teaching wonderful skills? I know that varies per child. But upon reflection he was not very fond of WWS. Though I think it did help his writing skills. While I don't expect him to love writing I'm just hoping he doesn't have to dislike it as much in the coming year.

Derek, if it's any consolation, my LTOW girl loathed WWS. She's a pretty easy going kid and a great writer. WWS was the only time she refused to do anything I n our entire homeschool career. I think the "wet blanket" thing depends largely on how it's taught. I don't have the newest version but if your wife watches the videos, listens to some of Andrew Kern's talks and gets a real feel for what LTOW is, she can help your son see the forest through the trees. For my daughter, that big picture changed everything. That said, it starts slow so your wife may want to adjust the scope and pace to hold your son's interest. Have you joined the Yahoo group? Andrew is on there frequently as are the Circe Academy instructors. It is a treasure trove of help and support. There are some recent threads on there that were so thought provoking, I printed them and had my kids read them.

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Derek, if it's any consolation, my LTOW girl loathed WWS. She's a pretty easy going kid and a great writer. WWS was the only time she refused to do anything I n our entire homeschool career. I think the "wet blanket" thing depends largely on how it's taught. I don't have the newest version but if your wife watches the videos, listens to some of Andrew Kern's talks and gets a real feel for what LTOW is, she can help your son see the forest through the trees. For my daughter, that big picture changed everything. That said, it starts slow so your wife may want to adjust the scope and pace to hold your son's interest. Have you joined the Yahoo group? Andrew is on there frequently as are the Circe Academy instructors. It is a treasure trove of help and support. There are some recent threads on there that were so thought provoking, I printed them and had my kids read them.

 

Thanks, Lisa.  I know some really like WWS.  So it had us wondering if it was just him, maybe not a good fit perhaps?  Regardless, it has been nice to see a glimmer of light where there was mostly disdain before.  I'm assuming from your description that your dd likes writing more with LToW now, at least to an extent?  

 

I have joined the Yahoo group.  Yet neither of us have listened to any of the Andrew Kern talks.  Where is the best place to find those?

 

ETA:  I just found some here https://www.circeinstitute.org/audio.  Are these what you are referring to?

 

Thanks,

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Those are the ones. WTM Academy is also doing a set of online summer workshops and Andrew is one of the speakers. I'm planning to attend those too.

 

To answer your question, my daughter has always loved writing. She just hated writing with a formula/rules/boundaries. I followed some advice on these boards from long ago and chose the most palatable boundaries for this writer. She doesn't love the structure of academic writing but LTOW, because of its outstanding invention teaching, has taught her that academic writing can be "creative" too. LTOW with NaNoWriMo and One Year Adventure Novel as her reward seems to be doing the trick.

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  • 1 month later...

I would still love to hear from anyone who could compare LToW Level One 4th vs. 5th edition.  It looks like Classical Conversations is using the newest 5th edition this upcoming year and I don't know if I need to buy it or just use our 4th edition.

 

Thanks,

Brenda

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Brenda,

 

I've heard from several folks that it's a significant improvement over the earlier edition when it comes to being more teacher friendly.  Since CC will be using the latest edition at our church this Fall, most, if not all, of the families will be use that edition.  We plan to purchase the latest one since we've heard good things about its more user friendly nature.

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Great, Derek!  Good to hear from you and glad to know you've decided to go with this curriculum. 

 

I love how LToW has helped my son's writing improve, but am in complete agreement about the benefit of the proposed changes for ease of use for both students and teachers.  I now need to decide if it is worth purchasing this curriculum again when I have one dc going into Challenge I and the other into Challenge B (having used LToW for either one or two years already at this point).  Hmm....

 

Anyway, thanks for the quick feedback and I will keep pondering my next move!  :)

 

Brenda

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Garga, 

 

I am no expert, but I think LToW would be totally suitable for a 9th grader.  In fact, CC tutors modified the program for 7th graders to make it work for them, as I believe this resource is best intended for high schoolers!  So I'd say, "Go for it!"

 

Brenda

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Any feedback on other Circe LTW teachers? Camille Goldston, Leah Lutz?

 

Leah Lutz is a fantastic teacher, truly a "born teacher," from what I've seen in her parent workshops and student writing workshops.  She clearly genuinely enjoys the students and is interested in meeting each one where s/he is and bringing the student along.

 

One of the things I appreciated most in the last student writing workshop my children attended (and I & other parents observed) was that Leah gives the students time to THINK before answering. Most people, including many, many teachers, simply cannot tolerate silence and will fill it in themselves. They'll ask a question. If students do not immediately respond, the teacher will start talking, giving the answer or trying to "guide" the students to an answer, usually the one the teacher wants.  Leah will ask a question and wait. At first it seems like a long time, as if students know the game.... don't say anything long enough and the teacher will just give the answer. But, Leah told the students at the beginning that the questions she'd ask would take some thinking and that she was completely fine waiting for the students to think before answering. And, sure enough, she was able to do it! She'd ask a question and wait. A couple tentative hands would go up, and then a few more. As students saw her call on others and listen to and acknowledge their responses, participation blossomed. Even my very introverted children wanted to put their ideas out there!  Students found that she wasn't looking for one, particular, "right" answer. I don't know that I've seen many, if any, other teachers be able to create such a positive, interactive environment for discussion before. It was truly impressive.

 

I think Leah's approach to teaching groups of students is also completely reflective of LToW's overall philosophy, with its emphasis on thinking and looking at an idea/issue from all different points of view BEFORE putting pencil to paper. The LToW student, it seems, thinks through a bunch of ideas, looking at the points that support and points that contradict each idea.  In the process, he sorts out what point he wants to make, his theme, in his essay. THEN, he starts actually writing the essay.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
I am more than happy to help you Derek too, since you also helped me with maths in the past. We completed the entire program, Version 5, in 4 weeks total. This is the review I wrote for another forum:

 


We bought the new version (5) of Lost Tools of Writing when they came out in February and my plan was to take the entire year to do it, once grade 9 NAPLAN had finished. Anyway, LToW only took 4 weeks to complete! That's doing one hour per day, 4-5 days per week. I'm pretty sure we did most it the right way, though we kept the same essay throughout. It is kind of like IEW, where you add things to your essay, but with a lot more thinking behind the reasons why we write in such a way. That was the best part of it. The verbal discussions and exploratory exercises were also fun and enriching. 


 


But, it is very homeschooler unfriendly, ugh! I was trying to read out what the teacher manual says to my son, while having to constantly edit out "your students" and replace it was "you". The TM speaks mostly to a class teacher, and there's no way you could memorise everything overnight and regurgitate it to your child. You really have to do the exercises and writing before you know what it's trying to teach, if you KWIM. The videos weren't much help: they just repeated what was in the TM and had too much fluff in them. 


 


I also couldn't work out why we did the 5 Topics in the beginning, and then redid them throughout, with no indication of where you're supposed to put the info into the essay, and if we were not supposed to, what is the point of doing them again? So, for the next few weeks my ds will practice what he's learnt with new essays, but I'll get him to do the 5 Topics before the ANI, so he can add more info to use as ideas for his essay, before he starts the actual essay. Hope I'm making sense. 


 


My tip: choose a really meaningful, meaty topic for your child's essay, because not only do they learn to write but also explore important ideas. We read Romeo and Juliet a few weeks ago and I chose the essay topic: 'Should Romeo Have Sought Juliet' and ds was more than happy to choose "he should not have sought Juliet". This was ideal for an almost 15 year old, as we explored issues such as being controlled by passions and hormones: we had some great discussions. It was perfect  wink.gif


 


If I had a girl I might choose some sort of comparison between Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice and Juliet from R&J, maybe: 'whether Juliet should have been more like Elizabeth.'  


 


 


It would be suitable for grades 7-12, even adults will benefit, but I just WISH they'd make a homeschooler friendly version.

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I am more than happy to help you Derek too, since you also helped me with maths in the past. We completed the entire program, Version 5, in 4 weeks total. This is the review I wrote for another forum:

 

We bought the new version (5) of Lost Tools of Writing when they came out in February and my plan was to take the entire year to do it, once grade 9 NAPLAN had finished. Anyway, LToW only took 4 weeks to complete! That's doing one hour per day, 4-5 days per week. I'm pretty sure we did most it the right way, though we kept the same essay throughout. It is kind of like IEW, where you add things to your essay, but with a lot more thinking behind the reasons why we write in such a way. That was the best part of it. The verbal discussions and exploratory exercises were also fun and enriching. 

 

But, it is very homeschooler unfriendly, ugh! I was trying to read out what the teacher manual says to my son, while having to constantly edit out "your students" and replace it was "you". The TM speaks mostly to a class teacher, and there's no way you could memorise everything overnight and regurgitate it to your child. You really have to do the exercises and writing before you know what it's trying to teach, if you KWIM. The videos weren't much help: they just repeated what was in the TM and had too much fluff in them. 

 

I also couldn't work out why we did the 5 Topics in the beginning, and then redid them throughout, with no indication of where you're supposed to put the info into the essay, and if we were not supposed to, what is the point of doing them again? So, for the next few weeks my ds will practice what he's learnt with new essays, but I'll get him to do the 5 Topics before the ANI, so he can add more info to use as ideas for his essay, before he starts the actual essay. Hope I'm making sense. 

 

My tip: choose a really meaningful, meaty topic for your child's essay, because not only do they learn to write but also explore important ideas. We read Romeo and Juliet a few weeks ago and I chose the essay topic: 'Should Romeo Have Sought Juliet' and ds was more than happy to choose "he should not have sought Juliet". This was ideal for an almost 15 year old, as we explored issues such as being controlled by passions and hormones: we had some great discussions. It was perfect  wink.gif

 

If I had a girl I might choose some sort of comparison between Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice and Juliet from R&J, maybe: 'whether Juliet should have been more like Elizabeth.'  

 

 

It would be suitable for grades 7-12, even adults will benefit, but I just WISH they'd make a homeschooler friendly version.

 

 

That's a super helpful review.  I bought a used copy of an earlier edition a couple of years ago, and found it unwieldy and unusable. I've looked more than once at it since this new, improved edition came out, because it is touted as being so much easier to use. But your review addresses my exact concerns, so thanks for posting it.

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