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    Classical Composition--Question about order

    Does Classical Composition need to be done in the order set up in the cores? (beginning with fable, then narrative, and so on) I was looking ahead at the samples of the later levels just out of curiosity, and I thought I'd ask because I don't remember it coming up before. Can a student jump in beyond Fable without having done Fable? It's hard to find a lot of good information on the progymnasmata outside of Memoria Press articles and materials. Thanks!
    2019-20
    DS--9, 3M/4M
    DD--7, mix of 1 and 2
    DD--5, MP K
    DS--3
    DS--1

    #2
    Each level builds on the knowledge gained in previous levels so they do have to be done in order. If a family comes to MP in middle school, they’ll often use the Fable/Narrative PDF lesson plan which covers both levels in one year. I’ve also heard of some high schoolers being able to go straight to Narrative, but it seems to depend on their background, age, etc.
    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    2021-2022
    DS18: Almost done!
    DS17: MP, MPOA
    DS15: MP, MPOA
    DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
    DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
    DD9: SC3
    DD6: MPK

    Comment


      #3
      jen1134 Thanks! I was pleased to see that the later levels looked more interesting, but we’ll just have to wait, I guess Have you found them helpful (as an adult) as you’ve followed along with your children? What exactly makes CC stand out for improving thinking compared to other writing programs? I know that orderly thinking is usually given as one of the “fruits” of the program. What else have you and others noticed about the results of learning with CC?
      2019-20
      DS--9, 3M/4M
      DD--7, mix of 1 and 2
      DD--5, MP K
      DS--3
      DS--1

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
        jen1134 Thanks! I was pleased to see that the later levels looked more interesting, but we’ll just have to wait, I guess Have you found them helpful (as an adult) as you’ve followed along with your children? What exactly makes CC stand out for improving thinking compared to other writing programs? I know that orderly thinking is usually given as one of the “fruits” of the program. What else have you and others noticed about the results of learning with CC?
        Haha! Yes, the more interesting things (for us parents) are the things that must come later in the order of learning. Martin Cothran and Andrew Pudewa talked about this one year at Sodalitas. They said that it’s actually part of the reason kids are struggling in today’s education system. We teach them to think algebraically before they have mastered basic arithmetic; we ask them to write original thoughts before they have enough maturity and experience to develop those thoughts and the skills needed to share them.

        When we first switched to MP, I was going to skip CC. It looked bone-dry and *I* couldn’t even understand the terms they were using! We eventually decided to switch and I’m so glad we did. We had been using CAP’s Writing & Rhetoric but several people said it felt like their kids we’re doing more fill-in-the-blank work with it than actual writing.

        What I like about CC:

        The exercises in each lesson directly build upon each other. The exercise you do at the beginning of a lesson is actually integrated into, or in some way informing the development of, your final draft for that same lesson.

        Each level is preparing you for future levels. You learn (and hopefully master) the three most important plot elements in the Fable stage, imitating and varying how they’re presented in the original Fable. Then in Narrative, you learn the remaining six plot elements and again work with them but this time in the context of longer narratives (*much* longer by the end of the level!).

        Chreia/Maxim is where it all comes together: with their mastery of the nine plot elements, they’re ready to write their own original narratives in support of a wise saying/proverb. At that level, they also learn how to support their point through examples, analogies, and the testimony of others.

        Ref/Con builds further, but that is where I hand them over to MPOA so I can focus on my little people who still need a lot of mom-time

        An interesting note: I was talking to a friend at church today and she told me they had planned to skip CC. Then recently, her husband (a doctor of philosophy) was looking through one of the books she had on hand and he was amazed at the level of thinking involved in it. They’re now looking at using CC.

        My oldest two are in Encomium/Invective right now (part of HS Comp II in MPOA). They know how to make an argument, they know how to think through the various parts of it, and they know that they know it. And in the words of Cheryl Lowe, that’s where true delight comes from.They’re taking HS Comp III next year and I know that even my son who is going into a trade will be able to hold his own in considering the arguments of others — even if those others have been to college.
        Jennifer
        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

        2021-2022
        DS18: Almost done!
        DS17: MP, MPOA
        DS15: MP, MPOA
        DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
        DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
        DD9: SC3
        DD6: MPK

        Comment


          #5
          jen1134


          You do a really nice job of explaining! I have to also say that I saw a video blog post of yours about a month ago, which I still think about from time to time. Thank you!

          That's great that for your oldest two you've found that they've really learned what you expected them to! That true delight is what we're aiming for. I have to believe that it can also be found in the journey (but not every day, of course!) and not only later on. How do you think what they've learned in CC will impact them beyond trade school or college? Is this where the "ordering of their thinking" comes in? It's helpful to imagine how the skills will show up in our kids' lives, personal and professional. I know there are many ways to approach writing, and if we are going to use this one that sounds more time-consuming, more challenging, just MORE all around, it needs to be worth the trade-offs I have to make to get it to happen.

          I was initially excited about starting CC when I bought Fable last year because I read the intro in the beginning and liked the typical MP look of it. I opened it up and tried to do the first lesson just on my own for the enjoyment of learning it, and I felt the old feelings of schooly writing assignments rushing back. I realize that my child could have a completely different experience and probably will, but I also felt a little disappointed/uninspired. I do plan to use it anyway, but if it doesn't work out for us, I wondered if that meant the whole CC program would necessarily not be a fit. It is really good to know that you had a similar first impression but persevered with success!
          2019-20
          DS--9, 3M/4M
          DD--7, mix of 1 and 2
          DD--5, MP K
          DS--3
          DS--1

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
            jen1134

            You do a really nice job of explaining! I have to also say that I saw a video blog post of yours about a month ago, which I still think about from time to time. Thank you!

            That's great that for your oldest two you've found that they've really learned what you expected them to! That true delight is what we're aiming for. I have to believe that it can also be found in the journey (but not every day, of course!) and not only later on. How do you think what they've learned in CC will impact them beyond trade school or college? Is this where the "ordering of their thinking" comes in? It's helpful to imagine how the skills will show up in our kids' lives, personal and professional. I know there are many ways to approach writing, and if we are going to use this one that sounds more time-consuming, more challenging, just MORE all around, it needs to be worth the trade-offs I have to make to get it to happen.

            I was initially excited about starting CC when I bought Fable last year because I read the intro in the beginning and liked the typical MP look of it. I opened it up and tried to do the first lesson just on my own for the enjoyment of learning it, and I felt the old feelings of schooly writing assignments rushing back. I realize that my child could have a completely different experience and probably will, but I also felt a little disappointed/uninspired. I do plan to use it anyway, but if it doesn't work out for us, I wondered if that meant the whole CC program would necessarily not be a fit. It is really good to know that you had a similar first impression but persevered with success!

            Yes, you can find delight in the journey, not just later on! It's like bringing your kids on a hike: about 5 minutes into it, they start saying they're tired, they want you to hold their water bottle, they want to be carried, they have to go to the bathroom. Then you hit one of the small, scenic lookouts and they forget all their complaints as they point out the amazing things they can see. As you continue your hike, they start saying all the same things as before — until the next lookout. This pattern continues until you finally reach the top of the trail and they can suddenly see the full panorama below. Suddenly, they say that hike was the most amazing thing they ever did and they can't wait to try another one. You know they'll follow the same pattern on the next hike, but you also know what the final outcome will be; and so do they.

            I shared this thread with my oldest sons, ages 16 and 15, and asked them to share their thoughts.

            16 year old:

            Classical Comp. is NOT easy in the least. But there are a few reasons for that: 1) It’s teaching comp in a different way than all other comp curriculums I’ve seen. 2) It’s building on itself so that the student has a solid base and knows what they’re talking about so that when they get to the higher comp it’s smooth sailing. Fable was a pain in the neck, slow, boring and it seemed to have absolutely no meaning in the least. Then we got to Chrea/Maxim and that was difficult and didn’t seem like it was worth my time to bother with. But once I got past those two I got to Ref/Con and had a blast. And the only reason why was because I knew what I was doing because the last two books had gotten me ready for it, training my mind to think in the proper way. School isn’t supposed to be fun, not in the least, but as you progress through it you start to have an appreciation for it and then start to have fun with it. The assignments are time consuming, but it’s doing two things: it’s teaching the student to ignore the clock and focus and it’s teaching the student the value of their time. When you spend 3-6 hours on a comp paper there is a sense of accomplishment when you get it back with a good grade. If you get a bad grade then you know that you still put in the time and just need to keep working on your skills; otherwise the student just shrugs it off because they know they spent as little time as possible on it. I’m planning to go into the trades, auto/diesel/heavy truck mechanics specifically. Classical Comp may seem like just about the farthest thing from what I’m going to need with that profession, but, in fact, I’m gonna need it. The processes that you learn from Classical Comp rewire your brain to think more clearly and thoroughly. When you plan to run your own business, it's important to be able to write everything in a clear, strong and cohesive way.

            Of course there's the problem that I had myself of, “What’s the point of this, it’s not fun!” The only answer is, keep plowing through. It’s going to be rough, tough and probably a few tears, I had that, I cried to my mom that it was too hard and to find something else that was easier. My mom obviously said no and had me finish it, but now getting through the sweat and tears, it was all worth it. School is hard, it’s the nature of it. I hated school and it’s work load, but if it isn’t hard and a challenge, you're not going to learn anything. When I was in 3rd-4th grade we tried Montessori style schooling, it’s more hands on and fun. From where I’m at now, looking at that from junior year in high school, that was the worst idea in the world. I learned nothing. I learned more in one comp class then I did in that whole time trying to do Montessori. Another thing, a kid isn’t going to appreciate what they're learning if it’s not hard. I’m talking from experience. If it’s not hard but easy and too fun, I shrug my shoulders and say to heck with this and go do something else because I don’t feel like I’m learning everything.

            I hated my work load and the work I was doing and how hard it was up until the beginning of this school year. I had slacked off and done the minimal I could. I kept up with comp because I loved that, being that I was doing Ref/Con which was my happy place. But the rest I didn’t like much. Well in all reality, there was absolutely nothing my mom could do to change my mind. She couldn’t make me do the work, and she couldn’t make me like it either. My slacking off came to bite me when I finally figured out what I wanted to do and saw that I was behind in school and would have to wait another year to graduate. I immediately turned things around and switched to a double pace with school to get back on track. All my grades shot way up, better than anything either me or my mom had seen in the past. I had an end goal and knew where I wanted to go. That’ll be harder for the younger grades, but keep up with the hard work whether the kids like it or not, they’ll thank you in the end for it. If they want to slack off, you do the best you can, but they are the only ones who can do the work. They’ve got to make up their minds. Eventually they will realize that slacking off and not taking up the burden of school is not realistic and get into gear. That could take a week, or a few years, all you have to do is be ready for them and just keep putting the work in front of them, and they’ll eventually pick it up and do it with a will. I probably repeated myself, but hopefully you get my point. I’m talking from experience: trying to make it mostly fun is asking for trouble, hard work forms a strong character, and a skilled mind.

            15 year old:

            Fable/Narrative was annoying. It seemed simple, dull and pointless. Until I realized that simple was not the same as easy. Our old composition course was just another subject to get done [CAP'S Writing & Rhetoric]. I wrote a few sentences on a black line and then I went back to playing. That changed when we switched to MP’s Composition.

            That blue-spiraled text became an enemy. Now I was being asked questions that required answers. What where the nine narrative components? How do you paraphrase without copying someone else? What does changing the perspective do? Fable/Narrative forced me to think and I hated it. My mind went as blank as the lines in front of me.

            Through a lot of effort, I got through those first two stages and I started Chreia/Maxim with a sense of dread. The year started, we sat down to write, and I opened my new book. I quickly flipped through the pages and realized: this was completely different.

            Before, I had analyzed stories, written about stories, paraphrased stories, and as I looked at this new book, I suddenly understood. Now I could move my focus to defending those stories. This was a revelation.

            It wasn’t long before I realized that like the former stages, these books were no simple task either. But now I could see how they built on one another. Now, from a perspective of almost five years of MP’s composition completed, I can look back on the effort it took. But I can also see what it was worth. Aragorn was right when he said: “All that is gold does not glitter.



            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            2021-2022
            DS18: Almost done!
            DS17: MP, MPOA
            DS15: MP, MPOA
            DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
            DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
            DD9: SC3
            DD6: MPK

            Comment


              #7
              Please thank them for sharing their perspectives, Jen! I really enjoyed reading their thoughts. I've rarely been able to get the opinions of older students, and this is wonderful. Their level of maturity is impressive. Thank you!

              I really like your hiking analogy as well. That is a clear way to see how the struggles are a realistic and rather unpredictable part of the journey. I think we can expect and look forward to good things while taking the difficulties in stride if we are sure the beautiful views are coming!
              2019-20
              DS--9, 3M/4M
              DD--7, mix of 1 and 2
              DD--5, MP K
              DS--3
              DS--1

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you, Jen, for sharing your and your students’ perspectives. I switched my 4th grader mid year to CC after doing CAP’s Fable last year and part of their Narrative this year, anticipating a (almost complete) switch to a full MP core next year. We were happy with CAP and the questions we discussed were engaging, and I was really agonizing over whether to switch or not, since visually and format wise CC looked horribly dull in comparison (no analysis questions, plus the comparative starkness). I decided to give it a go, figuring we’d lose nothing in doing Fable this year. I can’t say we’re loving it, but my son is enjoying doing the variations with me (less so the re-writing his paraphrase, but I am appreciating the revision process).

                Glad to get a perspective from further down the road—very encouraging! I emailed myself the thread for future reference/to show it to my mathy/engineering 2nd grader when he inevitably throws a fit about intro to como next year!

                Comment


                  #9
                  I can attest to the hiking analogy! We're driving home from a 4-day hiking trip, and both of my kids panted and moaned every 15 seconds, asking when we'd be "there." As they stumbled over rocks and roots and managed a 14% grade after 4.5miles, they finally finished with an incredible sense of accomplishment. I thought for sure they'd veto any future hikes, but both asked for an "even longer" hike the next day, with the same complaints minutes into the endeavor. The youngest was so bummed we weren't going on a final hike today. My husband and I rolled our eyes. We've been camping and hiking since my youngest was 7 months old, and the complaints and "I can't do it's" never cease, but they get back on the metaphorical horse and put one foot in front of the other. Thanks for the reminder to use our own experience as motivation in the classroom!

                  I loved reading those kid perspectives!
                  Mama to 2

                  Spring start MP1
                  Summer start 5A

                  Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
                  SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

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