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frogger

Curriculum that focuses on studying essays?

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Not writing them but reading other people's essays and studying them. 

I don't know that I need a curriculum. I probably just need a bunch of essays and pick ones to annotate and teach some skills through and just discuss but thought I would see if others had found anything interesting. 

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What type of essays do you want?  When my dc were seniors they used The Norton Sampler: Short Essays for Composition.  They'd read, we'd discuss, then they'd write their own essays.  We used the 6th edition, but there are newer ones.

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Writing with a Thesis is sort of structured this way. It has a section on narrative essays (for example) that explains what they are, then offers some topic ideas for the student, then has 4-6 essays for the student to study. It sounds like you are looking for just essays, but I'll throw this suggestion in just in case you want to check it out.

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15 hours ago, klmama said:

What type of essays do you want?  When my dc were seniors they used The Norton Sampler: Short Essays for Composition.  They'd read, we'd discuss, then they'd write their own essays.  We used the 6th edition, but there are newer ones.

 

In short, social sciences (especially economics) or those based off literature.

 

Rambling thoughts for anyone interested below.

Honestly, I'm brainstorming. She actually is a good creative writer. She has learned a lot of sentence structure and grammar with her creative writing but completely shuts down with essays and hates any curriculum with formulaic writing, which is most of them. 

So I'm not sure. I think I'd be able to help her with social sciences or economics the easiest as a teacher but her love is literature but not literary analysis. She thinks about literature but not with curriculum. She knows literary terms and has good vocabulary so it's possible that if she read well written and interesting essays she would appreciate them and might be tempted to agree or disagree in writing which we could then expand into an essay while addressing the logic of her argument. 

Trying to teach essay writing backwards, in other words, from standard primary/secondary school curriculum. I thought studying well written essays and seeing how they make you think or if they supported their point would be a better direction for us. Also, starting with something to say (from some of her reading) then expanding it to be logical and well written rather than working from the structure and trying to attach information to it might be work better for her.

Edited by frogger

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The Norton Sampler is a collection of mostly personal narrative essays.  We used it because we had already spent a lot of time on formal essays and literary analysis, but not enough on personal essays.  Both later told me it was very useful prep for their freshman English courses at college, which required a lot of personal essays.  

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I understand you're looking for a curriculum to use at home, but maybe you'd be interested in this or it will help someone else: a class that does exactly this is Roy Speed's Logical Communication, and the follow-up course, Essay Writing and Appreciation. (Mr. Speed is known here on the forum for his Shakespeare classes, but he offers year-long writing classes online now too. He also teaches writing to corporate professionals.) My son is taking it this year and the difference in his ability from last fall to now is astounding. I thought he might be too old or too far along, as an 11th grader, to benefit from it much, but that is not the case at all. DS is unlearning lots of bad habits and "skills" that he learned in previous writing classes from other providers. DS has asked to be in Mr. Speed's class again next year instead of knocking out his college English credits through DE - that's how much he believes in Mr. Speed's process and enjoys the class sessions with him.

A quote from Mr. Speed:

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I'm accustomed to accommodating a range of ages in my courses: the content, in my view, is sophisticated enough to engage college students; my challenge is to make it all accessible/understandable to youngsters.

 

An excerpt of the Logical Communication course description: 

Quote

Traditional approaches to writing are often wrongheaded — students, for instance, are routinely asked to write essays before they've actually read any. Students in this course, by contrast, read closely and analyze dozens of essays by outstanding writers — and then begin to write their own. In addition to enhancing students' appreciation of the essay form, the aim here is twofold: 1) Students learn to write clear, correct English prose. 2) They learn to control in their writing the logical flow of their ideas.

 

From the course description for Essay Writing and Appreciation:

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It's no accident that this course is called Essay Writing & Appreciation: our students read some of the finest essays ever written. In the process, they come to a profound appreciation of what can be accomplished in this versatile form.

An understanding of the form and what it can achieve is essential to the purpose of the course, which is to equip students to express their thoughts and insights in writing. In so doing, the course prepares our students to participate in the real world of essays — discussions conducted by leaders in whatever fields our students may pursue.

 

Edited by TarynB
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TarynB- That actually sounds very interesting and he would probably do a much better job than I would.  It's too bad the class is scheduled so that there would be one morning and one afternoon class for her as she wouldn't be able to attend the IT class she is taking next year.  She can choose the AM or PM schedule but he has class at both times but it is very much the type of thing I'm looking for, thank you.

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On 4/27/2019 at 4:36 PM, frogger said:

TarynB- That actually sounds very interesting and he would probably do a much better job than I would.  It's too bad the class is scheduled so that there would be one morning and one afternoon class for her as she wouldn't be able to attend the IT class she is taking next year.  She can choose the AM or PM schedule but he has class at both times but it is very much the type of thing I'm looking for, thank you.

I understand. You might want to email Mr. Speed and ask about it. Maybe your daughter could attend the live class once per week, whichever fit her schedule better, and then watch the recording for the other class session that week. After seeing what DS has experienced this year, I think that would be worth asking about.

Edited by TarynB
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I'll second The Norton Sampler. It includes questions and writing exercises. Most of the essays are professional and some are classics or by famous essayists, but some are student essays (that won contests, but still, student essays) and some are annotated so the student can see specific things pointed out in them.

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Would the Norton Sampler 8th edition suffice or is the 9th edition significantly better? 

Appreciate your feedback   Thanks 🙂

 

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See if you can find a table of contents for each and compare them.  Sometimes for new editions they just add new material, but sometimes they take things out.  FWIW, we liked the 6th edition just fine, and it was cheap!

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When I compared them, the changes were pretty minor overall. I'd get the old one. If I remember, it's significantly cheaper.

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