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Writing and Rhetoric Questions

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Hello all.


I have two questions regarding two of my children and beginning Writing and Rhetoric. I would love to hear thoughts from experienced users. 


1) My 9 year old is a great writer and enjoys journaling, creating comics and short stories, etc. They have completed Cottage Press primers and are familiar with copywork, narration and dictation. I was starting them in Book 3 (skipping Fable and Narration 1) but feedback from others indicate I should start them at Fable. I am wondering if I should continue with Book 3 or if we'll have any potential problems in the future. 


2) My 7 year old has not been through Cottage Press, but is familiar with copywork and beginning to get a groove with narrations. They wanted to begin Book 1 (Fable) but I'm not sure if they're too young and I should wait. We are in lesson one and they thoroughly enjoy it, though I'm not sure if I should have them do Cottage Press first and circle back in a couple years. Has anyone done Book 1 with a 7 year old? 



Thank you. 

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Hi, and welcome to the WTM forums!

I did books 1-3 family style with kids who were 7 & 9 when we started, and it was great.  We did many of the exercises together orally, and it was fun to riff off one another's sentences during the sentence play activities.  The written pieces they produced were of good quality and showed their different personalities. It was also nice for me to be running a single writing program with a single teaching time that covered both kids.

Book 4 teaches essays which was something I wanted to wait on, so we stopped there, but that would be my main caution for your 9yo starting in book 3: the first three books are gentle and very easy to include youngers in.  From book 4 the difficulty starts to ramp up.  It may be just what you want, or you may find that you need to slide across to a different curriculum for a while if the book level and your kid's level don't remain the same. 

Best wishes as your school year starts to hit its stride ❤️


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My now 11 year old natural writer is in the middle of book 4 and it's still easy for her. We do all the exercises orally except the actual amplifications, summaries, and outlines. We've only been using it for the past 2 years, but so far I really like it.

There's a lot of review built in, so your 9 year old will get the main idea of Books 1 and 2 from going through Book 3.

I would say that if your 7 year old wants to try it, go ahead and see what happens. If they get overwhelmed you can always stop and pick it up again when they're older.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm using Book 1 with my 7 year old (almost 8). She's technically in 2nd grade, but a fairly advanced reader. Her writing though is very average I'd say (sometimes I catch myself saying behind, but it just seems that way compared to her language and reading skills I think).

She is doing great with it. Much better than the more "creative writing" program I tried last year. Re-reading The Well Trained Mind and SWB thoughts on the expectations for original composition and creative expression in the grammar stage was very comforting. I think it really works for her in that it gives her a nice starting point, and then lets her be just a little creative. She has also really liked the activities where you take the same sentence and change up certain words to make a sentence that is the same but different. 

I did kind of change up the recommended schedule a little to spread the writing parts and discussion parts a bit more evenly. 

Even so, I let her dictate some of the answers to me and I write, and on some of the longer written passages, we take turns with her writing 2 sentences and then dictating two sentences. 

We're going a little slower - we've finished week 6 of school and are in the middle of lesson 5, so we may not totally finish Book 2 by the end of the year but I'm okay with that. 

All that to say I would think if your 7 yo is a pretty proficient reader with good comprehension and decent narration skills, she (he??) would be fine. I can't really speak to Level 3 or the difficultly there.

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