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Writing & Rhetoric


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I am looking for a new writing curriculum for next year.


A little background: My oldest will be in 7th grade. He is a natural creative writer with fantastic ideas and uses a variety of simple, compound, and complex sentences. He is okay with writing essays and reports, but the quality is not as high as his creative writing. My youngest will be in 5th. He struggles with writing a decent paragraph with a topic sentence, details, and a closing sentence. His sentences are very simple and he thinks "My dog is amazing" is a great topic sentence. He needs specific instruction. In the past we have used IEW. Although they did well with it, they both hated it and felt forced with their writing. We have also used BJU, but wasn't a good fit either.


I just saw Writing and Rhetoric and am intrigued. Does this program seem like a good fit for my boys who enjoy writing their own way, yet need specific instruction?


My thoughts were to start my 5th grader on book 1 to build a good foundation. As for my 7th grader, I have no idea where to start him. Book 4: Chreia and Proverb?


Any thoughts with the curriculum itself?

Where should I begin a 7th grader?

About how many books to do in a year? 2 or possibly 3 with my 7th grader?



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I might be able to help a little because I have a 5th grader and a 7th grader and we just started using Writing and Rhetoric. You might get better info from someone who also has experience with IEW, though.


I get the impression IEW is much more structured and does a more traditional type of writing instruction. (Not sure if I am correct on that?) I'm pretty sure I heard that they have a list of "banned words" and I have never been a big fan of that method, personally.


I just started homeschooling in January and have only been using Writing and Rhetoric for maybe a month. Before that, my kids were in a classical christian school. 


So far we like Writing and Rhetoric. The author is very engaging and not dry, which is always helpful.


I started my 5th grader in Book 4: Chreia & Proverb and my 7th grader in Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation. I chose these levels mostly based on what I knew they had already learned in school and what I knew the rest of their class would be doing for the rest of this year (although their school does not use Writing and Rhetoric). 


We all enjoy reading the books. Book 7 has a decent amount of reading involved, mainly in the form of passages from historical writings that the students then use to do their own writing. This is not a terrible thing except that my 7th grader has a pretty heavy reading load already right now, so we are going a little slower in the composition book than I might like. But I think we will be able to pick up the pace soon (some of this is me just figuring out the homeschooling thing). 


Book 4 might be a little too easy for your 7th grader, but it is great for my 5th grader. It definitely has a creative flair, at least so far. If your 7th grader doesn't have experience with writing chreias and proverbs, it might be a good place to start and you might be able to fly through it and do 3 books in a year (at least that 1st year). Each book is meant to be 1 semester. 


They do often say in the teacher's manual that you don't need to do every single exercise if you don't think your student needs it. Or you can easily change some things to do orally instead.  


I hope that helps! I'm looking forward to what others have to say.




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Thank you. Do you think it is necessary to buy the teacher manual?

I asked the same question (on this forum) and based on the answer I did buy them. I do think they are helpful and I think I would buy them again, but I don't think they are absolutely necessary. I find having the answers (or sample answers) very helpful. They also include sample paragraphs which help give my son a better idea of what they are looking for in the assignment. And I almost forgot about the dictation, but that is not a large part of the program as far as I can tell so far (and you could just use something else).

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