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Hakg

Don't like how W&R teaches outlining, stay or leave?

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DS12 is using narrative 2 and has just arrived at outlining.  I was surprised to find W&R jump right into 3 level outlining.  I don't think DS needs a ton of instruction in outlining, but I would have preferred to see outlining start with one level and then move forward progressively.  He is able to do the 3 level outline, but with some frustration.  There is just not enough instruction, but I don't want to stop and pick up a separate outlining instruction book as I don't think its necessary.  I'd rather find a curriculum that teaches outlining better.

 

I have not read good reviews about the next level (chreia) and am wondering if we should leave W&R and try something else like WWS? or should we hang in there and muddle through narrative 2, then Chreia.  I don't actually own Chreia.

 

DS has not had any trouble using W&R (in fact finds the books easy) which makes sense as he started using them at a later age.  Also, DS is average in writing, doesn't love it, doesn't hate it.

 

I'm just wondering if the instruction in the rest of the W&R books is lacking like we have found with outlining in narrative 2?

 

 

Edited by Hakg

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I found myself continuing to be frustrated by the lack of adequate instruction. I felt a lot of things were just, "do this, it should look like this," which left me increasingly dissatisfied. I left mid-Chreia, which was basically just that level of imitative non-instruction and then do the same thing over and over. Disappointing to me. That said, I didn't regret finishing level 2--there is some good in it as I recall. 

 

The books beyond Chreia might be great-I didn't spend the money to find out. WWS was a poor fit here, fwiw--too much tedious "trees," not enough forest for my taste. However, I know it fits some and it's nothing if not thorough in instruction--quite the opposite of Writing and Rhetoric in that respect. 

Edited by sbgrace

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Thanks sbgrace.  I have WWS here so I might have a good look at that.  I looked at the Chreia samples online and wasn't impressed.

Do you mind me asking what you moved to?  We have tried IEW and DS absolutely abhors that program even though I wish he would give it another try.

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Have you tried essentials in writing? That might be worth taking a look at. I haven't used it but know a couple of moms who swear it is the best.

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This discussion is exactly what I've been looking for!

I asked on the other board about anyone who has done many levels of this.  I was hoping to see how it panned out in the upper ones.

 

Following intently!

 

Pam

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We just finished Narrative II. While the outlining was a bit of a jump, my son had already done some basic outlining in CLE Language Arts so we muddled through. I was recently at a conference and looked through the next levels of W&R and decided to skip Chreia. I also listened to a podcast featuring Paul Kortpeter. Someone asked what levels are most important if someone is coming in late to the series. He suggested books 5, 7, 9 and 10. At the conference, I looked at those books and really liked the look of them. My son is going into 7th grade and may go to high school for 9th, so my plan is to do those books with him for 7th and 8th grade. 

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We just finished Narrative II. While the outlining was a bit of a jump, my son had already done some basic outlining in CLE Language Arts so we muddled through. I was recently at a conference and looked through the next levels of W&R and decided to skip Chreia. I also listened to a podcast featuring Paul Kortpeter. Someone asked what levels are most important if someone is coming in late to the series. He suggested books 5, 7, 9 and 10. At the conference, I looked at those books and really liked the look of them. My son is going into 7th grade and may go to high school for 9th, so my plan is to do those books with him for 7th and 8th grade. 

 

I've wondered if it would be okay to skip Chreia altogether and whether it would create a gap with the program, because the lessons seem to build on one another.

 

I'd be curious to hear from those who have used further levels.

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This discussion is exactly what I've been looking for!

I asked on the other board about anyone who has done many levels of this.  I was hoping to see how it panned out in the upper ones.

 

Following intently!

 

Pam

 

I am, too! And I just downloaded the podcast mentioned above (a search turned up the Classical Homeschool Podcast #14) and am hoping listening to this will also give me more insight into the upper levels of the program.

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I am, too! And I just downloaded the podcast mentioned above (a search turned up the Classical Homeschool Podcast #14) and am hoping listening to this will also give me more insight into the upper levels of the program.

 

Thanks will go have a search for that podcast.  Though it would be good to hear from others who have used the program all the way through (or at least to the upper levels that are available).  I'd be keen to also hear if people stick with the program or veer off and use something else.

 

Anyone keen to give their opinions?

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Here is the podcast if anyone is interested.  The first part tends to discuss the progym.  He (Paul Kortepeter) discusses whether is it advisable to miss books, or skip around with them, at around 33 mins.  He makes the point that the books are sequential, but said (somewhat reluctantly) that they can be used out of sequence if the teacher is 'acquainted enough with what is going on'.   My understanding (from what he says) is that it's probably best not to skip books unless necessary.

 

http://theclassicalhomeschool.com/14-interview-with-paul-kortepeter/

 

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I agree there is an assumption that the teacher teach more than what's explicitly shown in teacher book. We did a separate outlining unit for a few weeks, then got back to the text. It is a bit of a burden to pull extra things in, but I still like the program enough, and my son likes it enough (this is everything) that we persist.

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Yes that's the thing: my son quite likes the program too, and that is very important, but running into the outlining instruction issue has me concerned about the level of instruction in future books.  I need decent instruction because I'm not confident with teaching writing.

 

However, if the lack of instruction is only with the outlining lessons, then I would be happy to continue on with the program.  Can I ask what extra outlining unit you used for a few weeks?

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Yes that's the thing: my son quite likes the program too, and that is very important, but running into the outlining instruction issue has me concerned about the level of instruction in future books. I need decent instruction because I'm not confident with teaching writing.

 

However, if the lack of instruction is only with the outlining lessons, then I would be happy to continue on with the program. Can I ask what extra outlining unit you used for a few weeks?

http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/022872
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My daughter had learned outlining in Rod & Staff before the outlining showed up in Writing & Rhetoric, so the short lesson on outlining and the expectation that the student was ready for 3-level outlining was not a problem for her.

 

The series expects that the student is getting a thorough study of grammar elsewhere, so there is an expectation that the student is familiar with the concepts and can work with them in the context of their own writing. The student is expected to be able to proofread their own writing in the later books for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors; and the rules for all of those things are not covered in the books, just the proofreading marks. The series really does expect that there is a parent (or teacher) actively involved in the lessons each week, and that the parent/teacher will adjust the lesson according to the student that they are teaching. It is not meant to be a self-teaching curriculum.

 

I have said it before, and I will say it again....this curriculum is best used at the upper level of the given age range. The expectations of the student are raised rather highly from book to book, and it will overwhelm younger students pretty quickly if they are put in to one of the higher-level books before they are ready. One good gauge is whether they can fully participate in the discussion at the beginning of the lesson, because their writing each week is based on being able to critically think about the piece of writing and make comparisons to other ideas/people/events on their own. They also jump right in to writing a 6-paragraph essay pretty early in the series, which can burn out a young child who isn't ready for that amount.

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My daughter had learned outlining in Rod & Staff before the outlining showed up in Writing & Rhetoric, so the short lesson on outlining and the expectation that the student was ready for 3-level outlining was not a problem for her.

 

The series expects that the student is getting a thorough study of grammar elsewhere, so there is an expectation that the student is familiar with the concepts and can work with them in the context of their own writing. The student is expected to be able to proofread their own writing in the later books for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors; and the rules for all of those things are not covered in the books, just the proofreading marks. The series really does expect that there is a parent (or teacher) actively involved in the lessons each week, and that the parent/teacher will adjust the lesson according to the student that they are teaching. It is not meant to be a self-teaching curriculum.

 

I have said it before, and I will say it again....this curriculum is best used at the upper level of the given age range. The expectations of the student are raised rather highly from book to book, and it will overwhelm younger students pretty quickly if they are put in to one of the higher-level books before they are ready. One good gauge is whether they can fully participate in the discussion at the beginning of the lesson, because their writing each week is based on being able to critically think about the piece of writing and make comparisons to other ideas/people/events on their own. They also jump right in to writing a 6-paragraph essay pretty early in the series, which can burn out a young child who isn't ready for that amount.

This has been true for my DS - my plan for 7th is to be through book 6. It is the perfect place for him. He does advanced grammar, he is an excellent speller, he reads challenging books, he writes beautiful creative pieces, but academic writing is where we need to focus. This program keeps his interest, keeps him thinking, doesn't pander, and has enough variety so as to neither overwhelm or become boring. There is also a different underlying focus, you can tell, than simply reaching rhetorical milestones. It cultivates beauty, virtue, wisdom, and truth along the way. Edited by Targhee
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This has been true for my DS - my plan for 7th is to be through book 6. It is the perfect place for him. He does advanced grammar, he is an excellent speller, he reads challenging books, he writes beautiful creative pieces, but academic writing is where we need to focus. This program keeps his interest, keeps him thinking, doesn't pander, and has enough variety so as to neither overwhelm or become boring. There is also a different underlying focus, you can tell, than simply reaching rhetorical milestones. It cultivates beauty, virtue, wisdom, and truth along the way.

You probably already said (sorry for losing track :001_smile:) , but what will you use after W&R?

 

Pam

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You probably already said (sorry for losing track :001_smile:) , but what will you use after W&R?

 

Pam

We plan to use it all the way through. I'm not sure I'll need anything after the last book - only application of the skills to writing and speech. If however DS needs something different for 8th we may use LTOW (which I used with my 8th grader this last year). You never know - puberty, growth, life circumstances, may just have us looking elsewhere. But at this point W&R scope and sequence looks great and the methods/approach are reaching my kid!

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We have done through Narrative 2 midway. We took last year off and did IEW in a co-op. I too was frustrated by the lack of instruction for the outlining. We ended up doing some sample outlining on our own with me doing direct instruction. It helped. I kinda felt kinda shaky after that about W&R because the instruction up to that point was good and the lack of explicit outlining teaching kinda came out of no where. I think if I had prepared better I would have looked ahead and realized I needed to be ready to teach outlining.

 

Now that I think about it, ClearCreek is right. It does expect that you are going through a thorough grammar program, many of which teach outlining. We were using MCT at the time, which did not teach outlining among other things.

 

Our year in IEW was a hit and a miss in many ways. One of the hits is their explicit teaching and repetition of keyword outlines. It makes a 3 level outline much easier to learn. My older son is begging to do W&R again. We will skip Chreia and do book 5&6 for 7th. My younger son will start Fable this year as a 5th grader. Looking at what book 5&6 teach, and remembering books 1-3, I agree with a previous poster that this series is best at the higher grade that CAP rcommends. I would wait until at least 4th grade, unless your child is really advanced not just in writing, but also in their reasoning. I think my 5th grader is going to get a lot more out of books 1&2 than his brother did in 3rd grade.

 

 

ETA: my advice is to stick with W&R and add in some explicit outline instruction. Skip Chreia if it doesn't resonate with you. You could even use something else to approach writing from a different angle for a semester and then come back to W&R.

Edited by specialkmom

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My daughter had learned outlining in Rod & Staff before the outlining showed up in Writing & Rhetoric, so the short lesson on outlining and the expectation that the student was ready for 3-level outlining was not a problem for her.

 

The series expects that the student is getting a thorough study of grammar elsewhere, so there is an expectation that the student is familiar with the concepts and can work with them in the context of their own writing. The student is expected to be able to proofread their own writing in the later books for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors; and the rules for all of those things are not covered in the books, just the proofreading marks. The series really does expect that there is a parent (or teacher) actively involved in the lessons each week, and that the parent/teacher will adjust the lesson according to the student that they are teaching. It is not meant to be a self-teaching curriculum.

 

I have said it before, and I will say it again....this curriculum is best used at the upper level of the given age range. The expectations of the student are raised rather highly from book to book, and it will overwhelm younger students pretty quickly if they are put in to one of the higher-level books before they are ready. One good gauge is whether they can fully participate in the discussion at the beginning of the lesson, because their writing each week is based on being able to critically think about the piece of writing and make comparisons to other ideas/people/events on their own. They also jump right in to writing a 6-paragraph essay pretty early in the series, which can burn out a young child who isn't ready for that amount.

 

Thanks Clear Creek.  Good to know about using the books at the upper end of the age range.  Though I'm a little concerned about your grammar comment.  We are using Fix It by IEW and I'm not sure I would call it 'thorough'. DS likes it because he HATES grammar and Fix It makes it bearable and likeable for him.

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This has been true for my DS - my plan for 7th is to be through book 6. It is the perfect place for him. He does advanced grammar, he is an excellent speller, he reads challenging books, he writes beautiful creative pieces, but academic writing is where we need to focus. This program keeps his interest, keeps him thinking, doesn't pander, and has enough variety so as to neither overwhelm or become boring. There is also a different underlying focus, you can tell, than simply reaching rhetorical milestones. It cultivates beauty, virtue, wisdom, and truth along the way.

 

This is good to hear.  After listening to the podcast I felt that I had a better understanding of where W&R was going.

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We have done through Narrative 2 midway. We took last year off and did IEW in a co-op. I too was frustrated by the lack of instruction for the outlining. We ended up doing some sample outlining on our own with me doing direct instruction. It helped. I kinda felt kinda shaky after that about W&R because the instruction up to that point was good and the lack of explicit outlining teaching kinda came out of no where. I think if I had prepared better I would have looked ahead and realized I needed to be ready to teach outlining.

 

Now that I think about it, ClearCreek is right. It does expect that you are going through a thorough grammar program, many of which teach outlining. We were using MCT at the time, which did not teach outlining among other things.

 

Our year in IEW was a hit and a miss in many ways. One of the hits is their explicit teaching and repetition of keyword outlines. It makes a 3 level outline much easier to learn. My older son is begging to do W&R again. We will skip Chreia and do book 5&6 for 7th. My younger son will start Fable this year as a 5th grader. Looking at what book 5&6 teach, and remembering books 1-3, I agree with a previous poster that this series is best at the higher grade that CAP rcommends. I would wait until at least 4th grade, unless your child is really advanced not just in writing, but also in their reasoning. I think my 5th grader is going to get a lot more out of books 1&2 than his brother did in 3rd grade.

 

 

ETA: my advice is to stick with W&R and add in some explicit outline instruction. Skip Chreia if it doesn't resonate with you. You could even use something else to approach writing from a different angle for a semester and then come back to W&R.

 

Yes thats how I feel about the lack of instruction re: outlining.  Which is why I was concerned about instruction in the future books.  My son did key word outlining in IEW for a while too, which he hated. He didn't like the instruction broken down so much.  I am thinking of sticking with W&R solely because DS enjoys it and using the Remedia book mentioned above.

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WWS has some good instruction on outlining, and they have a very generous sample on their website. Maybe check out how they are teaching outlining to see if that would be a good fit as a supplemental lesson on just this. We haven't reached the outlining part yet, but we are overall pleased with the series. We use MCT too, which has some writing instruction, but I love CAP too much to let it go. I definitely agree with the deep reflection on good, true and beautiful, which in my opinion, is the higher goal of writing that homeschooling and classical education allow.

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My daughter had learned outlining in Rod & Staff before the outlining showed up in Writing & Rhetoric, so the short lesson on outlining and the expectation that the student was ready for 3-level outlining was not a problem for her.

 

The series expects that the student is getting a thorough study of grammar elsewhere, so there is an expectation that the student is familiar with the concepts and can work with them in the context of their own writing. The student is expected to be able to proofread their own writing in the later books for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors; and the rules for all of those things are not covered in the books, just the proofreading marks. The series really does expect that there is a parent (or teacher) actively involved in the lessons each week, and that the parent/teacher will adjust the lesson according to the student that they are teaching. It is not meant to be a self-teaching curriculum.

 

I have said it before, and I will say it again....this curriculum is best used at the upper level of the given age range. The expectations of the student are raised rather highly from book to book, and it will overwhelm younger students pretty quickly if they are put in to one of the higher-level books before they are ready. One good gauge is whether they can fully participate in the discussion at the beginning of the lesson, because their writing each week is based on being able to critically think about the piece of writing and make comparisons to other ideas/people/events on their own. They also jump right in to writing a 6-paragraph essay pretty early in the series, which can burn out a young child who isn't ready for that amount.

This is just what I needed to hear. I have book 1 and feel like my daughter could easily do it but I didn't want to start it since she is younger than the expected age for fear things would ramp up to quickly.

 

Is there another grammar program besides rod and Staff that teaches outlining and those types of writing basics that we don't necessarily get in the WWE/FLL combo?

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I taught Narrative II and Chreia at a co-op this last year, so I'll share my thoughts.

 

1) You absolutley need to be using these books on the higher end of the grade level that it's suggested for. I believe you could even use it past that grade level. For example, my oldest, who was in 7th grade last year, was in my Narrative II/Chreia class at co-op. While she could have done Narrative II earlier, I felt that Chreia was perfect for her age. I can't imagine handing Chreia over to my 4th grader and expecting her to write a 6 paragraph essay. Not to mention that Chreia expects kids to have some base knowledge of figures from literature and history to do the compare/contrast part of the essay that younger kids might not have.

 

2) As for outlining in Narrative II, I never required them to fill in the outline on their own. We always did that part in class and talked about it. What I did as the teacher was really hammer home what an outline is for when it comes to writing. You need to have an idea of where your story/narrative is heading BEFORE you sit down to write, so even if you don't do a super detailed outline like the ones in the Narrative II examples, you do need to outline your story in some fashion. The final assignment in the Narrative II book is to write your own story. I had all of the kids turn in an outline of what was going to happen in their story and we talked a lot about the parts of a fictional story using the book, The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever (It's for 2-4 grade, but the information is really good and easily adaptable) So, yes, I brought in extra teaching, because I tend to do that for pretty much any curriculum I'm using. To me the ability to outline the stories in the book was not the important part. It was the ability to outline your story before you start writing so you know where you are going and what actions/events are going to get you there. Not that those things are set in stone, but at least you have an idea instead of just sitting down to write with no forethought whatsoever. 

 

3) My thoughts on Chreia are that it's too much of one thing. That being said, I feel that Chreia is what helped my students the most on actually learning to write non-fiction. I hammered paragraph construction (topic sentence with supporting points) and smooth transitions between paragraphs. By the end of that book, their writing had improved 100% compared to the first Chreia they wrote. I think we were all burned out on writing 6 paragraph essays following a set format though. My suggestion would be to purchase Chreia with the intention that once your child has solid paragraph construction down and the ability to find and use supporting points from a source to expand on their topic sentence, then feel free to stop and move on to the next book because there is nothing new taught or assigned in Chreia except writing chreias.

 

All of the above being said, I fully plan to continue on with Writing and Rhetoric in the future.

 

Hope these thoughts help.

Edited by Chelli
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Thanks Clear Creek.  Good to know about using the books at the upper end of the age range.  Though I'm a little concerned about your grammar comment.  We are using Fix It by IEW and I'm not sure I would call it 'thorough'. DS likes it because he HATES grammar and Fix It makes it bearable and likeable for him.

 

 

This is just what I needed to hear. I have book 1 and feel like my daughter could easily do it but I didn't want to start it since she is younger than the expected age for fear things would ramp up to quickly.

 

Is there another grammar program besides rod and Staff that teaches outlining and those types of writing basics that we don't necessarily get in the WWE/FLL combo?

 

I use Rod & Staff English through elementary school with my kids, so I don't have enough experience with another program to recommend one. W&R book 5 is where students are first taught to revise their writing, so I would say that a student would need to have studied (or be studying) the equivalent to R&S English 5 by that point. If they have not learned things like appositives and passive voice before they encounter them in this book, the lessons will be that much harder...doable, but harder. A thorough explanation of each term is given, along with exercises to practice using it, but the student is expected to have grasped the concept after that point.

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I use Rod & Staff English through elementary school with my kids, so I don't have enough experience with another program to recommend one. W&R book 5 is where students are first taught to revise their writing, so I would say that a student would need to have studied (or be studying) the equivalent to R&S English 5 by that point. If they have not learned things like appositives and passive voice before they encounter them in this book, the lessons will be that much harder...doable, but harder. A thorough explanation of each term is given, along with exercises to practice using it, but the student is expected to have grasped the concept after that point.

This is helpful, thank you! I don't want to derail the thread but I have gone back and forth about Rod and Staff. I have never seen it IRL so I haven't been sure if my kids would take to it. Some people swear by it and others say it was too monotonous. I am fine with work not being a party as I feel it sets a false precitence when work is always "fun" but I don't want them to dislike their study of English. How did your student/students do with it?

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I just wanted to chime in and mention that I also pair Rod and Staff English with Writing and Rhetoric. Actually we have been using Climbing to Good English for the younger grades and then Rod and Staff for upper elementary (the fourth and sixth grade books). I find Rod and Staff to be a complementary resource for Writing and Rhetoric. I just use what we need from each, and we do a lot of it orally so we don't go overboard on written work.

Edited by Ms.Ivy
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I just wanted to chime in and mention that I also pair Rod and Staff English with Writing and Rhetoric. Actually we have been using Climbing to Good English for the younger grades and then Rod and Staff for upper elementary (the fourth and sixth grade books). I find Rod and Staff to be a complementary resource for Writing and Rhetoric. I just use what we need from each, and we do a lot of it orally so we don't go overboard on written work.

This is great, thank you for sharing this!

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I got the Scholè Academy catalog in the mail yesterday and it actually lists an additional, higher grade level for the classes associated with the books (e.g. Fable and Narrative I class are listed for 3rd-5th grade, Narrative II and Chreia are listed as 4th-6th grade, etc). So I think there's affirmation that the books are appropriately used at the higher age range.

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WWS has some good instruction on outlining, and they have a very generous sample on their website. Maybe check out how they are teaching outlining to see if that would be a good fit as a supplemental lesson on just this. We haven't reached the outlining part yet, but we are overall pleased with the series. We use MCT too, which has some writing instruction, but I love CAP too much to let it go. I definitely agree with the deep reflection on good, true and beautiful, which in my opinion, is the higher goal of writing that homeschooling and classical education allow.

 

Thanks thats a good idea - I have WWS1-2 here so I will have a better look at how they approach outlining.  

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I use Rod & Staff English through elementary school with my kids, so I don't have enough experience with another program to recommend one. W&R book 5 is where students are first taught to revise their writing, so I would say that a student would need to have studied (or be studying) the equivalent to R&S English 5 by that point. If they have not learned things like appositives and passive voice before they encounter them in this book, the lessons will be that much harder...doable, but harder. A thorough explanation of each term is given, along with exercises to practice using it, but the student is expected to have grasped the concept after that point.

 

Thank you! Good to know.

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I taught Narrative II and Chreia at a co-op this last year, so I'll share my thoughts.

 

1) You absolutley need to be using these books on the higher end of the grade level that it's suggested for. I believe you could even use it past that grade level. For example, my oldest, who was in 7th grade last year, was in my Narrative II/Chreia class at co-op. While she could have done Narrative II earlier, I felt that Chreia was perfect for her age. I can't imagine handing Chreia over to my 4th grader and expecting her to write a 6 paragraph essay. Not to mention that Chreia expects kids to have some base knowledge of figures from literature and history to do the compare/contrast part of the essay that younger kids might not have.

 

2) As for outlining in Narrative II, I never required them to fill in the outline on their own. We always did that part in class and talked about it. What I did as the teacher was really hammer home what an outline is for when it comes to writing. You need to have an idea of where your story/narrative is heading BEFORE you sit down to write, so even if you don't do a super detailed outline like the ones in the Narrative II examples, you do need to outline your story in some fashion. The final assignment in the Narrative II book is to write your own story. I had all of the kids turn in an outline of what was going to happen in their story and we talked a lot about the parts of a fictional story using the book, The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever (It's for 2-4 grade, but the information is really good and easily adaptable) So, yes, I brought in extra teaching, because I tend to do that for pretty much any curriculum I'm using. To me the ability to outline the stories in the book was not the important part. It was the ability to outline your story before you start writing so you know where you are going and what actions/events are going to get you there. Not that those things are set in stone, but at least you have an idea instead of just sitting down to write with no forethought whatsoever. 

 

3) My thoughts on Chreia are that it's too much of one thing. That being said, I feel that Chreia is what helped my students the most on actually learning to write non-fiction. I hammered paragraph construction (topic sentence with supporting points) and smooth transitions between paragraphs. By the end of that book, their writing had improved 100% compared to the first Chreia they wrote. I think we were all burned out on writing 6 paragraph essays following a set format though. My suggestion would be to purchase Chreia with the intention that once your child has solid paragraph construction down and the ability to find and use supporting points from a source to expand on their topic sentence, then feel free to stop and move on to the next book because there is nothing new taught or assigned in Chreia except writing chreias.

 

All of the above being said, I fully plan to continue on with Writing and Rhetoric in the future.

 

Hope these thoughts help.

 

Thanks so much for this advice Chelli.  It helps me to better understand what I need to focus on before moving on in W&R. It sounds like it might be a good idea to pause and focus on outlining and understand that well enough before moving on.  I have just purchased Chreia after reading your comments, because I am starting to feel it would be a bad idea to skip any of the books.  

Do you use the Most Wonderful Writing Lessons to supplement other parts of W&R also, or only the outlining section?

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The guidance in this and other threads made me decide to stick with one book/year, using CAP in the spring term and focusing on foundational skills in the fall.

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This is helpful, thank you! I don't want to derail the thread but I have gone back and forth about Rod and Staff. I have never seen it IRL so I haven't been sure if my kids would take to it. Some people swear by it and others say it was too monotonous. I am fine with work not being a party as I feel it sets a false precitence when work is always "fun" but I don't want them to dislike their study of English. How did your student/students do with it?

 

Of my three children, my whole-to-parts/right-brain learner is the only one that it was not a good fit for. She still learned (some) of the material, but it was torture trying to get through it. In 6th grade I switched her to Grammar Revolution and in 7th grade she used G.U.M. For 8th grade I am not doing formal grammar with her; she has had enough exposure to grammar concepts that we are going to focus on improving it in context from now on.

 

I use the Rod & Staff English books orally, for the most part. Diagramming is done on a white board, and my kids do any worksheets that accompany the lesson. In elementary grades the lessons took no more than 15 minutes, including written work, and in middle school they could be done in under 30 minutes. My kids have never done the lessons on their own; we always go through them together.

 

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Thanks thats a good idea - I have WWS1-2 here so I will have a better look at how they approach outlining.  

I know they start with one level outlining with lots of practice and then later build to two level outlining and so on.  It may be you are seeking a more incremental approach.

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I haven't gone past narrative 2, but I teach outlining with nonfiction with history and science.

I really dislike doing formal outlines of fiction and don't see the point; yes, fiction has a structure and is organized, but I don't think kids need to outline their own or other people's stories with Roman numerals and capital letters.

So I skipped the outlining.

 

I think I am going to continue with Chreia for a child that isn't ready for WWS, but I am more excited about Refutation. I do plan to get to WWS eventually as I do really like it, but maybe we'll be able to just pick through any concepts missed in level 1 and go right to level 2 at that point.

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I also don't see the point of outlining fiction.  We are going to try Chreia too and if that bombs then we may go to WWS.  I say may loosely though because I don't want to be turned off W&R because of Chreia (the negative reviews are all I have to go on right now), so I will need to be mindful of that.   

 

DS did start WWS a year or so ago and found it too stifling (again with breaking things down too much like IEW), whereas with W&R he actually enjoys the exercises.

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I am not sure what the negative reviews for Chreia say, but I can tell you why I liked it and why I recommend trying it.

 

- It is definitely the first book in the series that is intended for a logic-stage student. The student learns the difference between literal and figurative language, and they are expected to be able to say in their own words what the figurative language or saying actually means.

 

- It has the student writing a variety of types of paragraphs every week...compare, contrast, praise, definition, persuasive, and closing. It might seem to get repetetive after a while since each lesson requires those same paragraph types, but by the end of the book the student will be able to write a paragraph of each of these types really, really well.

 

- It really makes the student think. The Talk About It section each week is full of "why" questions, so the student gets lots of practice formulating an opinion and supporting it. The compare and contrast paragraphs require the student to think of an example from literature or history as a comparison or contrast to the individual the chreia is about, so they begin to make connections between people and critically compare their actions and the results.

 

The book says it is for 4th-5th grades, but I would imagine most 4th graders and some 5th graders would struggle with these skills. I used it with my middle child at the beginning of 6th grade, and it was the perfect timing for her. I am on track with my youngest to use it at that same point.

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I am not sure what the negative reviews for Chreia say, but I can tell you why I liked it and why I recommend trying it.

 

- It is definitely the first book in the series that is intended for a logic-stage student. The student learns the difference between literal and figurative language, and they are expected to be able to say in their own words what the figurative language or saying actually means.

 

- It has the student writing a variety of types of paragraphs every week...compare, contrast, praise, definition, persuasive, and closing. It might seem to get repetetive after a while since each lesson requires those same paragraph types, but by the end of the book the student will be able to write a paragraph of each of these types really, really well.

 

- It really makes the student think. The Talk About It section each week is full of "why" questions, so the student gets lots of practice formulating an opinion and supporting it. The compare and contrast paragraphs require the student to think of an example from literature or history as a comparison or contrast to the individual the chreia is about, so they begin to make connections between people and critically compare their actions and the results.

 

The book says it is for 4th-5th grades, but I would imagine most 4th graders and some 5th graders would struggle with these skills. I used it with my middle child at the beginning of 6th grade, and it was the perfect timing for her. I am on track with my youngest to use it at that same point.

Thanks for pointing out all these pros.  Now we have something to weigh against some of the cons to see how it might balance out for us.

 

Pam

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I also don't see the point of outlining fiction. We are going to try Chreia too and if that bombs then we may go to WWS. I say may loosely though because I don't want to be turned off W&R because of Chreia (the negative reviews are all I have to go on right now), so I will need to be mindful of that.

 

DS did start WWS a year or so ago and found it too stifling (again with breaking things down too much like IEW), whereas with W&R he actually enjoys the exercises.

WWS, which we used, seems to be aimed towards a different end point than W&R. My DD didn't like the "stifling" approach (honestly, I think its just a learning style difference) and it made the program less useful for her but even if it had been more compatible I love the aims of W&R so much I would prefer it.

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I'm liking this discussion. We Fable and Narrative 1 last school year (4th grade) and we really liked it. Is it just Chreia that people aren't loving? 

I don't consider myself a great writing, let alone a teacher of writing, but felt that the guidance was enough for me. We will do Narrative 2 for the first half of 5th grade and I would have done Chreia for the 2nd half but I wonder if I should either plan to at least try it and maybe just go slowly, or put it off until 6th grade. 

We went through Treasured Conversations in 4th grade too and so we have some outlining experience. I wonder if that's enough to give us a decent handling on outlining for Chreia??

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I am not sure what the negative reviews for Chreia say, but I can tell you why I liked it and why I recommend trying it.

 

- It is definitely the first book in the series that is intended for a logic-stage student. The student learns the difference between literal and figurative language, and they are expected to be able to say in their own words what the figurative language or saying actually means.

 

- It has the student writing a variety of types of paragraphs every week...compare, contrast, praise, definition, persuasive, and closing. It might seem to get repetetive after a while since each lesson requires those same paragraph types, but by the end of the book the student will be able to write a paragraph of each of these types really, really well.

 

- It really makes the student think. The Talk About It section each week is full of "why" questions, so the student gets lots of practice formulating an opinion and supporting it. The compare and contrast paragraphs require the student to think of an example from literature or history as a comparison or contrast to the individual the chreia is about, so they begin to make connections between people and critically compare their actions and the results.

 

The book says it is for 4th-5th grades, but I would imagine most 4th graders and some 5th graders would struggle with these skills. I used it with my middle child at the beginning of 6th grade, and it was the perfect timing for her. I am on track with my youngest to use it at that same point.

 

Thanks for your advice throughout this thread Clear Creek.  It has been immensely helpful in deciding whether we keep going with W&R or ditch it.  For now, I think we will keep going.  I look forward to receiving Chreia so I can have a look through it myself.

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WWS, which we used, seems to be aimed towards a different end point than W&R. My DD didn't like the "stifling" approach (honestly, I think its just a learning style difference) and it made the program less useful for her but even if it had been more compatible I love the aims of W&R so much I would prefer it.

 

Its funny, I originally came here with concerns about W&R's lack of instruction for outlining, however after looking through a couple of other writing programs that give too much instruction, and break the process down way too much, for this child W&R is continuing to look like the most suitable writing instruction.  I also have a better understanding of the premise behind the program thanks to the podcast recommended above, and I like what I have seen/heard.

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I'm liking this discussion. We Fable and Narrative 1 last school year (4th grade) and we really liked it. Is it just Chreia that people aren't loving? 

I don't consider myself a great writing, let alone a teacher of writing, but felt that the guidance was enough for me. We will do Narrative 2 for the first half of 5th grade and I would have done Chreia for the 2nd half but I wonder if I should either plan to at least try it and maybe just go slowly, or put it off until 6th grade. 

We went through Treasured Conversations in 4th grade too and so we have some outlining experience. I wonder if that's enough to give us a decent handling on outlining for Chreia??

 

Well, just to give you an idea, this is how it went for my little man...

 

He worked through WWE, W&R, and WWS 1 as follows:

 

K: WWE 1 (1st half)

1st: WWE 1 (2nd half), WWE 2 (1st half)

2nd: WWE 2 (2nd half), WWE 3 (1st half)

3rd: WWE 3 (2nd half), WWE 4 (1st half)

4th: WWE 4 (2nd half), W&R Books 1 & 2

5th: W&R Books 3 & most of 4

6th: WWS 1 

7th: Reviewed and Finished W&R Book 4, W&R Books 5 & 6

8th (next year):  W&R Books 7 & 8

 

In hindsight, I never should have left W&R to go back to our original plan of WWS. W&R was just supposed to be a filler until he was ready for WWS. However, WWS was mostly a waste of time. And he *hated* it. He didn't like WWE either, but we both agree that it was beneficial and necessary, especially before W&R. W&R he loves! I should have postponed the rest of W&R Book 4 until the following year (beginning of 6th grade)—picking up where he'd left off—and then continued the W&R series. 

 

All that said, I'd recommend giving Chreia a try for the 2nd half of 5th. What you don't complete, just pick it back up in 6th.

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Its funny, I originally came here with concerns about W&R's lack of instruction for outlining, however after looking through a couple of other writing programs that give too much instruction, and break the process down way too much, for this child W&R is continuing to look like the most suitable writing instruction.  I also have a better understanding of the premise behind the program thanks to the podcast recommended above, and I like what I have seen/heard.

 

You may find it interesting to know that my little man actually prefers the outlining instruction in W&R versus all the other outlining instruction he's received from WWE, R&S, and WWS 1. Perhaps it was a readiness thing, but W&R is what actually wrapped his head around outlining. Now, he has never liked outlining in general and still strongly dislikes it, but W&R has made all the difference in his understanding and ability to do it.

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Well, just to give you an idea, this is how it went for my little man...

 

He worked through WWE, W&R, and WWS 1 as follows:

 

K: WWE 1 (1st half)

1st: WWE 1 (2nd half), WWE 2 (1st half)

2nd: WWE 2 (2nd half), WWE 3 (1st half)

3rd: WWE 3 (2nd half), WWE 4 (1st half)

4th: WWE 4 (2nd half), W&R Books 1 & 2

5th: W&R Books 3 & most of 4

6th: WWS 1

7th: Reviewed and Finished W&R Book 4, W&R Books 5 & 6

8th (next year): W&R Books 7 & 8

 

In hindsight, I never should have left W&R to go back to our original plan of WWS. W&R was just supposed to be a filler until he was ready for WWS. However, WWS was mostly a waste of time. And he *hated* it. He didn't like WWE either, but we both agree that it was beneficial and necessary, especially before W&R. W&R he loves! I should have postponed the rest of W&R Book 4 until the following year (beginning of 6th grade)—picking up where he'd left off—and then continued the W&R series.

 

All that said, I'd recommend giving Chreia a try for the 2nd half of 5th. What you don't complete, just pick it back up in 6th.

This is so perfect. Thank you.

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On 6/20/2017 at 11:23 AM, Chelli said:

I taught Narrative II and Chreia at a co-op this last year, so I'll share my thoughts.

 

1) You absolutley need to be using these books on the higher end of the grade level that it's suggested for. I believe you could even use it past that grade level. For example, my oldest, who was in 7th grade last year, was in my Narrative II/Chreia class at co-op. While she could have done Narrative II earlier, I felt that Chreia was perfect for her age. I can't imagine handing Chreia over to my 4th grader and expecting her to write a 6 paragraph essay. Not to mention that Chreia expects kids to have some base knowledge of figures from literature and history to do the compare/contrast part of the essay that younger kids might not have.

 

2) As for outlining in Narrative II, I never required them to fill in the outline on their own. We always did that part in class and talked about it. What I did as the teacher was really hammer home what an outline is for when it comes to writing. You need to have an idea of where your story/narrative is heading BEFORE you sit down to write, so even if you don't do a super detailed outline like the ones in the Narrative II examples, you do need to outline your story in some fashion. The final assignment in the Narrative II book is to write your own story. I had all of the kids turn in an outline of what was going to happen in their story and we talked a lot about the parts of a fictional story using the book, The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever (It's for 2-4 grade, but the information is really good and easily adaptable) So, yes, I brought in extra teaching, because I tend to do that for pretty much any curriculum I'm using. To me the ability to outline the stories in the book was not the important part. It was the ability to outline your story before you start writing so you know where you are going and what actions/events are going to get you there. Not that those things are set in stone, but at least you have an idea instead of just sitting down to write with no forethought whatsoever. 

 

3) My thoughts on Chreia are that it's too much of one thing. That being said, I feel that Chreia is what helped my students the most on actually learning to write non-fiction. I hammered paragraph construction (topic sentence with supporting points) and smooth transitions between paragraphs. By the end of that book, their writing had improved 100% compared to the first Chreia they wrote. I think we were all burned out on writing 6 paragraph essays following a set format though. My suggestion would be to purchase Chreia with the intention that once your child has solid paragraph construction down and the ability to find and use supporting points from a source to expand on their topic sentence, then feel free to stop and move on to the next book because there is nothing new taught or assigned in Chreia except writing chreias.

 

All of the above being said, I fully plan to continue on with Writing and Rhetoric in the future.

 

Hope these thoughts help.

 

Are you still doing W&R?

Can you write an update review?

 

Pam

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