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Æthelthryth the Texan

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This is our first year with Lost Tools. The curriculum comes with a link to online instructional/support videos for each essay and its components.  

I watched the video you linked to and I don't get a sense for what the workshop offers.  Is there a write-up somewhere? 

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16 minutes ago, Doodlebug said:

This is our first year with Lost Tools. The curriculum comes with a link to online instructional/support videos for each essay and its components.  

I watched the video you linked to and I don't get a sense for what the workshop offers.  Is there a write-up somewhere? 

I just saw it mentioned on an old thread here as the IRL workshop being useful, but I can't see a sample so I wasn't sure how helpful it was. The thread was several years old (and my computer crashed before I could bookmark it and haven't found it again.)  It kills me that they don't have samples on things online! 

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30 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

I just saw it mentioned on an old thread here as the IRL workshop being useful, but I can't see a sample so I wasn't sure how helpful it was. The thread was several years old (and my computer crashed before I could bookmark it and haven't found it again.)  It kills me that they don't have samples on things online! 

 

Yep.  That's a hard one.  I know several families using it and was able to get a glimpse that way... 

I'm trying to imagine what I would choose to show as samples for this program, and I'm so glad that's not my job!  The program is heavy on thinking and gathering ideas.  Two thirds of our three week writing cycle is spent in thinking/gathering/organizing.  The least exciting portion of our writing cycle is the writing itself because it's already outlined and evident.  Process over product is our experience thus far, as newbies.  I hope that's at least a little helpful.  🙂

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This may be more input than you are looking for. Many apologies if it is. Maybe it will help someone else though. 

This is our first year with LTOW. Previously we have only done IEW. I have watched all the videos you can access with the curriculum. I am not familiar with the workshop you are mentioning. There is a LTOW Yahoo group. It's not terribly active.

From an idea gathering perspective, I like it. We are effectively using the ANI charts and developing a thesis.

From a pacing perspective, it seems super slow to me.  

From a finished product perspective, the finished papers to me are overly simplistic. This fits in with the pacing issue.

I don't feel like there is enough teacher scaffolding in this with certain topics.  It's nice that they use a similar example throughout (from Chronicles of Narnia) but sometimes I wish they would flesh out the process/end result more. The videos are very short and I got the impression it was super easy to produce some of the material (like who does this matter to, and why?). However, in the day to day, my kids are struggling with that at times, and I feel like I am guessing more than I would like.  We are not doing this as part of Classical Conversations so I am picking the literature we use to develop our ANIs and I don't have a support system to ask questions.  Sometimes just picking a story or book is a bit frustrating for me, because although I do read alouds, for awhile we were doing short stories, and not all of them worked well for this type of paper. We have done a mix of short stories, books, a story from the Bible, and now one regarding The Lord of the Rings (all three books).  I have no idea if that is good or bad. I feel a bit adrift to be honest. 

Overall it is not a total loss because I wanted them to learn how to write a thesis-driven paper. However, it does seem like we are taking steps back from the quality of writing they produced with SICC-B.  Hopefully when we are done with this (I can't see it taking us a whole year as they state), we can create a sort of hybrid approach between IEW and LTOW.  For now, I am focused on them understanding the elements, getting them in the proper order, etc. 

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1 hour ago, cintinative said:

This may be more input than you are looking for. Many apologies if it is. Maybe it will help someone else though. 

This is our first year with LTOW. Previously we have only done IEW. I have watched all the videos you can access with the curriculum. I am not familiar with the workshop you are mentioning. There is a LTOW Yahoo group. It's not terribly active.

From an idea gathering perspective, I like it. We are effectively using the ANI charts and developing a thesis.

From a pacing perspective, it seems super slow to me.  

From a finished product perspective, the finished papers to me are overly simplistic. This fits in with the pacing issue.

I don't feel like there is enough teacher scaffolding in this with certain topics.  It's nice that they use a similar example throughout (from Chronicles of Narnia) but sometimes I wish they would flesh out the process/end result more. The videos are very short and I got the impression it was super easy to produce some of the material (like who does this matter to, and why?). However, in the day to day, my kids are struggling with that at times, and I feel like I am guessing more than I would like.  We are not doing this as part of Classical Conversations so I am picking the literature we use to develop our ANIs and I don't have a support system to ask questions.  Sometimes just picking a story or book is a bit frustrating for me, because although I do read alouds, for awhile we were doing short stories, and not all of them worked well for this type of paper. We have done a mix of short stories, books, a story from the Bible, and now one regarding The Lord of the Rings (all three books).  I have no idea if that is good or bad. I feel a bit adrift to be honest. 

Overall it is not a total loss because I wanted them to learn how to write a thesis-driven paper. However, it does seem like we are taking steps back from the quality of writing they produced with SICC-B.  Hopefully when we are done with this (I can't see it taking us a whole year as they state), we can create a sort of hybrid approach between IEW and LTOW.  For now, I am focused on them understanding the elements, getting them in the proper order, etc. 

This is very helpful- thank you. Did you get the Handbook of Types? 

I'm in this weird place with oldest. She did two years of IEW and then moved to WTMA Rhetoric I last year. Did well. She's done a ton of BW classes on the side too. But the class with another provider I put her in this year, an advanced research writing class, was a total bomb so we withdrew her. She's a natural writer once we got her out of the public school GT/creative writing BS,  and always has high A's on writing assignments from any homeschool provider we've had with grades,  but her arguments could use more development imo. That's what caught my eye with LToW

I ordered A Workbook for Arguments and Horner's Rhetoric in the Classical Tradition, but I'm honestly not so sure how I will do at crafting weekly assignments for her. We tried They Say, I Say a few weeks ago and the templates really caused as struggle for her- many are awkward imo--  so that isn't the answer at this point. I am looking for something more Mom and Student friendly. The reason I outsourced writing in the first place is that I felt coming from the research writing background I have, I am much too harsh expectation wise on a teenager. I KNOW I am. I have no idea of how the spectrum of writing development works with kids and teens without a rubric, if that makes sense. So I really enjoyed using IEW with her and then outsourcing the writing aspect to WTMA until this year. She really flourished with IEW and then WTMA- I wish we'd have stuck with Rhetoric II. But it's done now, and  I have a whole rest of the school year to fill, so that's why I was looking at LToW. I looked at IEW SICC-C, but am really struggling with the $200 there, when I'm not sure what more it would do to advance her on the area of argument development. I liked the LToW ANI thing, but the only samples I could see were on Rainbow Resource, so it makes it hard. I also have no idea what I'm doing next year for her yet either, so there's that. That's why I was hoping the video would be great and maybe show me what I wanted to know, but I don't want to spend another $25 on top of it for something that's iffy. 

Edited by texasmom33
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43 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

This is very helpful- thank you. Did you get the Handbook of Types? 

 

No, I didn't even know about it! I just looked at it--I guess this might be helpful for coming up with source ideas. Otherwise, the other stuff is in the curriculum already. 

Totally random thoughts follow . . .

Okay, so here's one thing I forgot that bugs us. In IEW, each outline tier=one sentence. In LTOW, sometimes they combine the three ideas (for example D.1, 2, and 3 are one sentence, including the D) and sometimes they don't. It's inconsistent. My kids are really irritated by that. They don't understand when they are supposed to merge the ideas into one sentence versus not. Maybe they will explain this later? We just started on Essay 6 (out of 10??).

I don't think the ANI process is unique to LTOW. The questions they use to build the ANI are not, for sure. 

Have you looked at The Elegant Essay by IEW?  I do own it but haven't used it yet. My hope is to do it after we finish LTOW.  It does not have a video component, but it does cover various types of persuasive writing, but with less reliance on the checklists (which is what I was looking for after six years with IEW).  Honestly I only went for LTOW because I found the persuasive essay model pretty weak in IEW SICC-B and because my oldest needed to write thesis-driven papers for Wilson Hill this year (that's a whole other thread--very humbled by that so far).  

Did you see this sample lesson of LTOW?  https://www.circeinstitute.org/sites/default/files/resources/ltw_5th_tg_lesson_3.pdf

I did not watch all of this, but this is a youtube on the ANI process:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_ayzlEjheE

 

 

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So, I have a kid using LTOW through an online teacher.

Slow? Yes

Simplistic essays? Yes.

Formulaic? Yes.

I'm completely hands off other than a read through for big grammar mistakes right before she turns in the final draft and the occasional input on how to sort her ANI topics. I made the decision to trust the teacher & process this year. I'm not sure if we'll do next year (LTOW 2nd year) because I think it is more of the same and I'd like to move on to other essay types than just persuasive.

I like that it teaches to include a counter-argument in one paragraph and then refute it. I don't like that it takes forever to teach intro and conclusions. I think it is below high school level writing instruction at the speed it goes. (My opinion!)

I tried the Elegant Essay with my dd#1. It was a complete flop here. I cannot wrap my head around how to teach any Lesha Myers program and I hate how the teacher manual doesn't include what the student book has. More power to you if you can manage it. Plus, it really seemed geared to classroom teaching and difficult to do with just one kid.

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I'm teaching LTOW in my high school co-op this year and while I like the deep thinking it's asking the kids to do as far as the coming up with something to say part (the program calls this step invention), I do not like the program as a whole. I think it's because in general, I'm not a "checklist for writing" kind of teacher. In fact, that's why I dropped IEW. If I was not teaching it in co-op and had the parents by the book, I would have already switched to something else. As it is, for next semester, I'm very much changing how I approach the class, by taking the information provided in the program and teaching it the way I would (a more organic, brainstorming type process), and I'll be letting the kids be more free in their essay writing instead of so formatted. I'm also using various novels and short stories to apply the program, and I agree with a pp that some lend themselves more to the LTOW method than others, which is another added level of teaching difficulty. I really have an issue with the lack of information in the student workbook as well compared to my teacher's guide, so another adaptation I'm making is to provide more handouts and help to the kids via an outline that they can take notes on about what we discuss in class. If they forget, there is very little to nothing in their workbook to jog their memory. I think if you had someone or were someone who was really familiar with the program and could adapt it to your goals as a homeschool mom/teacher, then it is probably a great program. I'm hoping if I can invest the time over the break that I can get there.

However, the online class I'm teaching is the one where I'm slowly writing my own high school writing curriculum (nothing that will ever be published but for my own teaching method). I am enjoying that one much, much more. We've spent multiple lessons working through thesis writing, talking about what makes a good thesis versus a bad thesis, providing good supporting ideas for your thesis, how to address arguments to your thesis, etc. Right now I'm walking them step by step through writing a compare-contrast essay before we get out for Christmas break. I'm really loving the writing progression of that class and my homemade stuff more than LTOW.

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1 hour ago, RootAnn said:

I tried the Elegant Essay with my dd#1. It was a complete flop here. I cannot wrap my head around how to teach any Lesha Myers program and I hate how the teacher manual doesn't include what the student book has. More power to you if you can manage it. Plus, it really seemed geared to classroom teaching and difficult to do with just one kid.

 

ugh. Thanks for letting me know. I did think it looked less intuitive than other things I had used. 

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4 hours ago, cintinative said:

 

No, I didn't even know about it! I just looked at it--I guess this might be helpful for coming up with source ideas. Otherwise, the other stuff is in the curriculum already. 

Totally random thoughts follow . . .

Okay, so here's one thing I forgot that bugs us. In IEW, each outline tier=one sentence. In LTOW, sometimes they combine the three ideas (for example D.1, 2, and 3 are one sentence, including the D) and sometimes they don't. It's inconsistent. My kids are really irritated by that. They don't understand when they are supposed to merge the ideas into one sentence versus not. Maybe they will explain this later? We just started on Essay 6 (out of 10??).

I don't think the ANI process is unique to LTOW. The questions they use to build the ANI are not, for sure. 

Have you looked at The Elegant Essay by IEW?  I do own it but haven't used it yet. My hope is to do it after we finish LTOW.  It does not have a video component, but it does cover various types of persuasive writing, but with less reliance on the checklists (which is what I was looking for after six years with IEW).  Honestly I only went for LTOW because I found the persuasive essay model pretty weak in IEW SICC-B and because my oldest needed to write thesis-driven papers for Wilson Hill this year (that's a whole other thread--very humbled by that so far).  

Did you see this sample lesson of LTOW?  https://www.circeinstitute.org/sites/default/files/resources/ltw_5th_tg_lesson_3.pdf

I did not watch all of this, but this is a youtube on the ANI process:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_ayzlEjheE

 

 

Thanks for the sample link. I have Elegant Essay but after reading through it, there’s no way I’d try it with dd. I could see we would never be able to get it off the ground with the realistic time I have to teach and then poke and prod. It’s one I’ve considered sending back to IEW for their money back guarantee. 

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I wanted to come back and give input on this since we finished LTOW this year.

What I liked:  the ANI chart, the overall essay outline and the pieces involved

What I did not like:  there was just not a strong focus on transitions, improving the quality of writing/phrasing, etc.  We lost A LOT of ground this year because of doing LTOW.  In fact, looking back at our essays from last year coming out of SICC-B, I have some serious regrets about switching things out.

What I would do differently:  probably steal the ANI idea, maybe even the outline, but still use the stylistic techniques of IEW. 

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On 11/23/2018 at 3:07 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I ordered A Workbook for Arguments and Horner's Rhetoric in the Classical Tradition, but I'm honestly not so sure how I will do at crafting weekly assignments for her. We tried They Say, I Say a few weeks ago and the templates really caused as struggle for her- many are awkward imo--  so that isn't the answer at this point. I am looking for something more Mom and Student friendly.

 The reason I outsourced writing in the first place is that I felt coming from the research writing background I have, I am much too harsh expectation wise on a teenager. I KNOW I am. I have no idea of how the spectrum of writing development works with kids and teens without a rubric, if that makes sense. 

Yikes...They Say, I Say for a natural writer would be torture.  My dd HAD to take that course in college and it was the worst educational experience in her life.  She hated it and thought it was the dumbest approach ever.  She said for kids who have no idea how to write, it might be helpful.

I love Horner's, but it is not for what you describe.  I bought the same workbook, but haven't had a chance to go through it.  My 11th grader is a fabulous fiction writer, but she hates academic writing.  I am going to look through it for her as a possibility for next yr.

For what you are describing, I would recommend Patterns in College Writing.  https://www.amazon.com/Patterns-College-Writing-Rhetorical-Reader/dp/0312676840/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=SFVDSTKC5MJWS5SQV31P Amazon has a decent preview (I own the 12th edition which you should be able to get for just a few dollars.)  

In terms of expectations.....I am a harsh evaluator with my high school students.  I expect a lot.  I don't give grades, though.  We sit and mark and they rewrite and we sit and mark and they rewrite.....until I am satisfied that they have done their best.  My kids have always thanked me when they have gone on to college. 🙂

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57 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Yikes...They Say, I Say for a natural writer would be torture.  My dd HAD to take that course in college and it was the worst educational experience in her life.  She hated it and thought it was the dumbest approach ever.  She said for kids who have no idea how to write, it might be helpful.

I love Horner's, but it is not for what you describe.  I bought the same workbook, but haven't had a chance to go through it.  My 11th grader is a fabulous fiction writer, but she hates academic writing.  I am going to look through it for her as a possibility for next yr.

For what you are describing, I would recommend Patterns in College Writing.  https://www.amazon.com/Patterns-College-Writing-Rhetorical-Reader/dp/0312676840/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=SFVDSTKC5MJWS5SQV31P Amazon has a decent preview (I own the 12th edition which you should be able to get for just a few dollars.)  

In terms of expectations.....I am a harsh evaluator with my high school students.  I expect a lot.  I don't give grades, though.  We sit and mark and they rewrite and we sit and mark and they rewrite.....until I am satisfied that they have done their best.  My kids have always thanked me when they have gone on to college. 🙂

 

I would think that this is more important than the program. Good writing really requires feedback to grow. I did a ton of essay editing with my sister (who's a senior in high school) this year, and you could definitely tell the difference by the end of the year. 

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On 4/6/2019 at 12:26 PM, cintinative said:

I wanted to come back and give input on this since we finished LTOW this year.

What I liked:  the ANI chart, the overall essay outline and the pieces involved

What I did not like:  there was just not a strong focus on transitions, improving the quality of writing/phrasing, etc.  We lost A LOT of ground this year because of doing LTOW.  In fact, looking back at our essays from last year coming out of SICC-B, I have some serious regrets about switching things out.

What I would do differently:  probably steal the ANI idea, maybe even the outline, but still use the stylistic techniques of IEW. 

Thanks for the feedback! Been on an internet break so just now seeing your post. 

We actually tried it for a few weeks early this year and then I shelved it, along with They Say, I Say- that didn't fly either. 

I went to convention last month and bought our tried and true stuff. 🙂  We're now doing IEW's Advanced Communication series and I also bought BJU 12 Writing and Grammar for some simple open and go assignments to make sure we didn't miss anything covered in a typical high school class. 

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16 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

We're now doing IEW's Advanced Communication series and I also bought BJU 12 Writing and Grammar for some simple open and go assignments to make sure we didn't miss anything covered in a typical high school class. 

 

I would love to hear feedback on the Advanced Communication series once you are done. 

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I used LToW with one child. It went very well, but I found that its primary strength is in the invention stage. This wasn't clear to me just from looking at the curriculum itself, It wasn't until I listened to the CD (yes, I bought it in ancient times, long before the videos came out). The CD had a long segment about going to "the well of invention" and "doing an inventory" before writing in order to have concrete and well-thought out evidence and ideas before writing, The curriculum introduces some of these Common Topics of classical writing: Definition (Genus, Division), Comparison (Similarity, Difference, Degree), Relationship (Cause & Effect, Antecedent & Consequence, Contraries, Contradictions), Circumstances (Possible & Impossible, Past Fact & Future Fact), and Testimony (Authority, Testimonial, Statistics, Maxims, Law, Precedent (Example). [Note: this list is not from LToW. It is from Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student 4th ed. Edward P. J. Corbett]. Being able to precisely define your terms and clarify the nature of your argument, using comparisons, determining cause and effect, things that came before and things that came afterward, circumstances, and listing "proofs", quotes from authorities, testimonials, stats, quotes, law (natural or otherwise), and examples are vital to writing a solid essay. But because it doesn't include the mechanics or style necessary for a polished, beautiful essay, I would say that it would be an honest use of LToW to use it to teach the invention stage and then drop it to use other resources to teach the molding of the essay in terms of style (word choice, flow, transitions, order, grammar, etc.).

In terms of the Corbett book I mentioned above. It is not a curriculum and the language is solidly college level. However, the chapter " The Topics" (the common topics) has a fantastic explanation of each one. It would be illustrative reading for the parent/teacher to draw from when teaching the common topics of invention or could be useful for a very literate high school student to refer to. It also has a handy chart listing the common topics as well as other classical writing elements right inside its cover.

SWB's writing series, Writing with Skill, also teaches the common topics very well, but while LToW does it from a whole to parts approach, WWS does it from parts to whole. Some kids take to one approach better than the other. 

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1 minute ago, Kalmia said:

 But because it doesn't include the mechanics or style necessary for a polished, beautiful essay, I would say that it would be an honest use of LToW to use it to teach the invention stage and then drop it to use other resources to teach the molding of the essay in terms of style (word choice, flow, transitions, order, grammar, etc.).

 

Thank you for your entire post, but especially this. It confirms my thoughts, and my reflections in hindsight of our experience. 

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The online teacher DD#3 has for LTOW tries to get to a polished essay-- but her background is teaching IEW so she incorporates some of that. It has been fine for this kid, but I wouldn't use it (LTOW or this online class) with my others. 

DD ends up frustrated & confused by the LTOW sheets (like the evidence one) and doesn't use them for her essay. Overall, the curriculum moves way too slow.

Glad to hear you found something that works. 🙂

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On 11/23/2018 at 1:58 PM, cintinative said:

This may be more input than you are looking for. Many apologies if it is. Maybe it will help someone else though. 

This is our first year with LTOW. Previously we have only done IEW. I have watched all the videos you can access with the curriculum. I am not familiar with the workshop you are mentioning. There is a LTOW Yahoo group. It's not terribly active.

From an idea gathering perspective, I like it. We are effectively using the ANI charts and developing a thesis.

From a pacing perspective, it seems super slow to me.  

From a finished product perspective, the finished papers to me are overly simplistic. This fits in with the pacing issue.

I don't feel like there is enough teacher scaffolding in this with certain topics.  It's nice that they use a similar example throughout (from Chronicles of Narnia) but sometimes I wish they would flesh out the process/end result more. The videos are very short and I got the impression it was super easy to produce some of the material (like who does this matter to, and why?). However, in the day to day, my kids are struggling with that at times, and I feel like I am guessing more than I would like.  We are not doing this as part of Classical Conversations so I am picking the literature we use to develop our ANIs and I don't have a support system to ask questions.  Sometimes just picking a story or book is a bit frustrating for me, because although I do read alouds, for awhile we were doing short stories, and not all of them worked well for this type of paper. We have done a mix of short stories, books, a story from the Bible, and now one regarding The Lord of the Rings (all three books).  I have no idea if that is good or bad. I feel a bit adrift to be honest. 

Overall it is not a total loss because I wanted them to learn how to write a thesis-driven paper. However, it does seem like we are taking steps back from the quality of writing they produced with SICC-B.  Hopefully when we are done with this (I can't see it taking us a whole year as they state), we can create a sort of hybrid approach between IEW and LTOW.  For now, I am focused on them understanding the elements, getting them in the proper order, etc. 

This is exactly what my experience was with it.  My ds took the online class.  It was very helpful for teaching him how to gather/organize his ideas, but I couldn’t believe how poor the end result was with his actual essays.  It was a big step back.  He had used IEW for many years and I wish I had stuck with that.  But, I still like the method they used to generate an outline and that was very helpful to him.  We didn’t continue past level one, though, so perhaps there is more focus on the actual content of the essays and the quality of the writing as you move forward.  Also, if I had been using it at home, rather than through a class, I could have required more of his final product than just following the formula. Because that’s what the grade was based on — whether he’d followed the formula — not whether his paper made any sense.

 

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23 minutes ago, Mom0012 said:

This is exactly what my experience was with it.  My ds took the online class.  It was very helpful for teaching him how to gather/organize his ideas, but I couldn’t believe how poor the end result was with his actual essays.  It was a big step back.  He had used IEW for many years and I wish I had stuck with that.  But, I still like the method they used to generate an outline and that was very helpful to him.  We didn’t continue past level one, though, so perhaps there is more focus on the actual content of the essays and the quality of the writing as you move forward.  Also, if I had been using it at home, rather than through a class, I could have required more of his final product than just following the formula. Because that’s what the grade was based on — whether he’d followed the formula — not whether his paper made any sense.

 

 

I could have written this same post. We even expedited our progress through the program.  I actually have regrets now about doing LTOW. 

 

Edited by cintinative
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