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Older beginners: Classical composition vs. classical writing and diagramming, etc.

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    Older beginners: Classical composition vs. classical writing and diagramming, etc.

    Hi, just for context I'll explain a bit.

    We've been trying to implement a classical education for some time. I tried for years with teaching the trivium. With several little ones, my own crumby education, my own sin, confusion, and serveral big life changes I just couldn't organize everything. I was so discouraged and pulled in so many directions.

    I read through the Latin centered curriculum (thank you Honey)a loved the simplicity. We love how organized and laid out memoria press is and how, if anyone inquires with a critical eye I can point them to the curriculum catalogue (inc. Their Latin and Greek), the books they read... and typically they're shocked.

    ​​ In LCC he recommended classical writing first, I read reviews, appreciated the primer series for my littles, loved the idea of Harvey's for grammer (TTT recommends delaying formal grammar until they're older so we are weak here), and how it does diagramming... everything from the ground up for "older beginners". So I bought two for my older two thinking we'd start from there and fill in any gaps. Seemed all around good and all encompassing. Perfect.

    Except for one thing.

    It depends heavily on the teacher's (that's me folks!) Knowledge of these things (gulp!), More than I expected. Also, there isn't anything that lays out a correct answer (or something of the sort). I've always loved learning with my children, and thought maybe I could manage it but... It's a slow go. Think it's so full of potential and a wonderful curriculum. But I have other responsibilities. My Husband's a full-time ministry student, our home, 8 children, ones an infant, ones a beautiful and lively 5 yr old with downs, a 3 year old with type one diabetes (hello 24/7 monitoring, long stressful interruptions and sudden borderline emergencies), and of the 8, six are 8 and under. I love love being a wife, mother, and homemaker. But I hate having to make my older two wait until I can figure out if what we circled are actually nouns and what kind and we're is the key to check them!?

    I love how the Latin dvds teach it without the risk of my lack leaving something out. The C dvds are really appealing.

    I explained it all to my Husband and he prefers to stick mainly with memoria press curriculum anyway. So gracious. I hated the idea of spending more money.

    But, does CC do diagramming? What gaps will there be if we switch assuming that my older two need to be brought up to speed. Does anyone know of a good comparison between the two? I'm thinking we will continue with the Harvey's grammar portion, they are doing phonetic zoo from the beginning, they read well above their 'level' and comprehension of even adult weighty books is great (thank you Lord for the puritans and my Husband's love of theology and books). We started them in basic Greek and latina Christiana to help the build confidence and a foundation before first form.

    We are aiming to do LCC for older beginners on memoria press curriculum with some stuff from Kevin Swanson for the most part.

    Oh, goodness! God bless you for writing such a concise, eloquent post with 8 adorable children vying for your attention. I'm not sure I could have done that once upon a time with only three littles hanging around!

    I will take a stab at this on only half a cup of coffee just so you have an answer to hold you until the Real Mothers Who Know have a minute to chime in.

    First, in the MP curriculum, students will get a lot of practice diagramming sentences in their Latin lessons. The English Grammar Recitation (EGR) series will tackle all of the grammar and punctuation (and that program really does it well!) and you will have a teacher guide for both - no more guessing. MP Latin and EGR give a *solid* foundation in English grammar.
    The Classical Composition writing series focuses on, well, writing. There is no sentence diagramming or grammar in that program - it assumes a child has either taken or is taking concurrently requisite grammar classes. There are DVDs that go with it; however, we have not used them (yet).

    Now, a few questions before I blather on:

    1. How old are your two oldest children?
    2. I am not familiar with LCC. I have seen the book, but assumed it was something similar to The Well Trained Mind. Is it a full curriculum?
    3. When you say you plan to do LCC for beginners with MP, will you be using full cores? If not, do you know what you'll be choosing to use? That would be super helpful in guiding you well.


    DD15 - 9th core + CLRC Ancient Greek I & Latin IV + VideoText math
    DS12 - 7th core + Novare Earth Science + CLRC HS Latin I + VideoText math
    DD8 - SC level 2


      I forgot to respond. I'm so sorry!! Thank you for replying!!

      At the time of the post 15 and 13.

      ​we aren't using the cores, great stuff but I think I'd die of overwhelm. It's all great, don't get me wrong, but, It's alot. ( I mentioned we have 8 children I think- one has downs syndrome and the other type 1 diabetes. Many are young. it's wonderful but I am learning I can be a massive dreamer and need to be more realistic).

      I think there is an added challenge given the girls are older and not quite were I'd like them to be in some key areas.

      LCC has been very helpful because it has a portion for older begginers. we've been trying to figure this classical thing out for a while. it made alot of sense when he clarified the distinctions between more of a neoclassical vs classical, it seems to cull out fluff more. I needed that. I still feel like we haven't figured it out yet!

      The Harvey's grammar has some diagramming we are working through them, I was happy to realise that!

      We are using memoria press classical composition, Latin, logic, soon Greek (once they finish the one they're already doing), and book selections. I am trying to ease us into a heavier but culled out work load. My Husband suggested we look at omnibus, from what I can tell, it looks like it could be a great choice. And we switched from rod and staff math to math u see, I'm making sure those gaps are filled in, and love the dvd instruction.

      Does that sound like a good line up?


        If you do Omnibus- be sure you read it first to check that the theology and topics are in line with your family’s beliefs. If so, I would highly suggest using the Veritas Press Self-Paced Primary and Secondary options. It will free you up considerably. Alternatively, look into an online class by VP or Wilson Hill, if it is in your budget.

        VP Omni is a full load for English, History, and Theology so unless your kids still need targeted practice consider dropping everything you can. Most kids drop those skill subjects by high school and any issues are addressed through their own writing. They will have plenty of opportunity to practice writing in Omni. My experience (and my older 2 tell me) has been writing instruction is more meaningful and lasting when it is tied to a subject the child is learning about rather than a separate subject.

        So your line up might be:

        Best of luck finding what works for your family.
        Last edited by Enigma; 04-04-2020, 09:04 PM.
        The Homeschool Grads:
        J- 6/96
        S- 11/98

        Still Homeschooling:
        G- 4/04
        D- 5/05
        F- 7/08 (my only girl)

        Future Homeschooler:
        M- 9/16



          We have looked at the Omnibus, and before I criticize it, I do want to say that it is a beautiful book, and I feel it would be a great resource for teachers. But for students, it is overwhelming and covers so much material that there is no way you have time to stop and think about it, to delve deeply in a way that is truly classical. And the content is all over the map as far as difficulty goes: Narnia is read alongside the Oresteia and Plutarch's Lives in 7th grade. Grammar school students can study Narnia easily, so why put it in middle school? And Plutarch and the Oresteia are too difficult for 7th grade. Finally, the format of the course is to rush through reading the original text, read an essay about the text, then answer questions about the essayist's analysis of the text. So you aren't really getting an examination of the text itself, but the worldview the the essayist is putting forth. That said, many students have successfully navigated the Omnibus, and I try not to be rigid in our suggestions or recommendations. So if you really want to use it, my suggestion would be to slow it down, choose the age-appropriate things to read from it, and give them the time they deserve. Or, if you want a course your students can pretty much do independently, consider the MP Iliad and Odyssey year. We have lesson plans laid out for your students, instructional dvds, and study guides that will help them to master the important content. The only prerequisites would be a knowledge of Greek mythology and a reading of The Trojan War by Olivia Coolidge. D'Aulaires' Greek Myths and The Trojan War will give them the background they need to tackle Homer's difficult prose.

          I think that Harvey's Grammar alongside your Latin is just fine.