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    Classical Composition

    My son (6th grade) is currently doing a Fable/Narrative combo this year. He likes to write, but today he said it is annoying to be told exactly what to write. He longs to do creative writing (for school). He loves doing the variations, as he does like to play with words. He also likes to think of figures of description. But he very much dislikes working with the same narrative for two weeks.

    I don't know whether or not to continue with CC next year unless he will be able to be let loose a little (and I'm not even sure what, exactly, I mean by that statement). We were slated to do Chreia/Maxim and Refutation/Confirmation combo for 7th.

    Some options:
    *Perhaps doing this online with a class would be more interesting, because he could see other responses. But, which class?
    *doing the R&S writing assignments
    *letting him choose which narrative we do instead of working through the book (have a feeling he'd choose the shortest!)

    Any advice from seasoned CC users out there?

    #2
    I like to think of CC as the push ups and pull ups of writing. They are exercises that get us stronger so we can use our strength for good. Are you familiar with Tae Kwon Do? The students learn "basics" like punches and blocks and then put them together into specific "forms" or routines. They drill these lesson after lesson so it becomes second nature, muscle memory. Then they can take those skills and use then when sparring and the moves come naturally. That is what CC is like. It is learning the basics and the forms so the students can then use those skills to verbally spar later.
    CC is very formulamatic. That won't change (we are on Refutation/Confirmation). But they need to learn these drills and master then so they become second nature in more mature writing needed in high school and college.
    A couple of suggestions. It sounds like he is mastering the material well. You might consider doing a narrative a week rather than stretching it over two weeks so it is not so boring. The next level gets much harder. They get a change to be a bit more creative all while still fitting the formula (like having to think up analogies). Also, give him "creative" writing assignments in other classes like literature and history. The study guides have lots of suggestions for paragraphs and essays. In 7th grade (well, accelerated 7th) the literature books start adding lots of essay prompts. Writing is learned for a purpose. We don't learn composition just for composition class. Composition class is where we get the tools we need to write and where we still the basics and forms. Other classes are where we practice the sparring aspect of writing. So give him writing assignments in other classes. Remind him that drilling Latin forms and math facts is not "fun" but is needed to master the material. CC may not be "fun" writing, but it is used to master the skill of writing.
    Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
    DD, 26, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
    DS, 24, BS '18 mechanical engineering
    DS, 22, BS '20 Chemsitry, pursuing phd at Wash U
    (DDIL married #3 in 2020, MPOA grad, BA '20 philosophy, pusrsing phd at SLU)
    DS, 20, Physics major
    DD, 17, dyslexic, 11th grade customizednMP plus co-op
    DS, 13, future engineer/scientist/ world conquerer 8A
    DD, 7 , 1ST Future astronaut, robot building space artist

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      #3
      Thank you Momgineer for that great response!
      -Amy

      Nine babies, 6 graduated, 5 married, 17 grand babies 7 and under!
      2020/21 MP 3rd, 6th, 11th MPOA, College student. Starting 8th year using Memoria Press
      Director of Coop 412, a Classical Christian Coop using MP and based on Ephesians 4:12.

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        #4
        Momgineer,
        Me too.....thanks! That was fantastic!
        AMDG,
        Sarah
        2020-2021
        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
        DS, 17
        DD, 15
        DD, 13
        DD, 11
        DD, 9
        DD, 7
        +DS+
        DS, 2

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          #5
          Yes, thank you momgineer.

          I think, also, I am struggling to teach this correctly. He does not (in my opinion) have a solid grasp of outlining, and for outlining day, I handhold perhaps too much. It does not make sense (to me or to him) to tell a story backwards...I need to see some full blown examples of the narratives we are on told backwards. Thus, maybe taking it next year with the online academy would be the way to go.

          He likes to be creative with writing, and perhaps I just need to add fun writing for about 10 minutes a day or something. But honestly, although he likes to write, he doesn't want MORE work . I think he misses prompts such as, "One day, instead of the teacher, there was a monkey at her desk......." to finish. He loved that sort of thing at school.

          He loves any kind of enrichment activity with the literature guides which ask him to act out scenes. I thought we would skip those, and I explained they are for a class, but he loves to act each part! So, perhaps I need to think outside of the box and make my own enrichment prompts or tweak the ones there (starting King Arthur next week---excited!).

          We've had a good first year so far, with literature and geography being our favorite subjects. Looking forward to 7th.

          Comment


            #6
            Just want to chime in with another "Thank you" to momgineer. I love your analogy of CC to Tae Kwon Do. What you wrote sums up how I feel about learning Latin, but I hadn't really applied it to learning writing. That was a great insight/ review and makes me even more excited about the levels to come!

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              #7
              Lemonade,
              The outlining day is still a day where I am directly involved for the whole period with both my kids who are doing Narrative right now. My oldest, who is in eighth, does know how to make up her own outlines for essays, but can still have trouble figuring out someone else's thought structure. To me, that is a signal of how important the exercise is for them to do. As Momgineer said, through repeated effort, they will begin to do it more automatically. I would say to keep doing what you are doing for as long as he needs the help.

              As for telling it backward, I would not worry if there is a right way or a wrong way to do it. You are right though, that perhaps some out of the box thinking would help....such as if you encourage him to tell you other things backward, such as how you made dinner. For example:

              "See the beautiful chicken on the table? I pulled it out of the oven when it was golden brown. It had to roast for two hours. Just before I put it in the oven I drizzled olive oil on top. Before that I put the carrots and onions in the pan. To keep bacteria away, I had washed and dried the chicken thoroughly in cold water. I was able to do.this because I had removed the packaging. I thought of what a delicious dinner I was going to make as I pulled the cold chicken from the refrigerator."

              Any part of your day could become practice at it! And for us, silliness usually takes over whenever I take a school exercise and use it in "normal life." Hths!

              AMDG,
              Sarah
              2020-2021
              16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
              DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
              DS, 17
              DD, 15
              DD, 13
              DD, 11
              DD, 9
              DD, 7
              +DS+
              DS, 2

              Comment


                #8
                Wow, Sarah. Now I'm hungry. I'm going out for chicken at lunch today!

                Tanya

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                  #9
                  I love that Sarah, I will be using the chicken example today, I already used the Tae Kwon Do example last night as we happened to be doing late night school .
                  -Amy

                  Nine babies, 6 graduated, 5 married, 17 grand babies 7 and under!
                  2020/21 MP 3rd, 6th, 11th MPOA, College student. Starting 8th year using Memoria Press
                  Director of Coop 412, a Classical Christian Coop using MP and based on Ephesians 4:12.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Update

                    I thought I'd update for future seekers of information buried in old threads

                    I decided to stay the course with CC, except we do creative writing on Fridays. He loves it, and will write for 30 minutes and proudly share after he is done. The spark with writing has been revived. When I pulled him from ps, his teacher from a past year told me that whatever I do, please encourage his gift of creative writing. She saw promise there, and I have to agree with her.

                    Because We don't do well without a structure/plan, I ordered a creative writing book which has very manageable weekly writing lessons. That does mean I have to double up on two other days of CC; but that hasn't been a problem so far since CC is done in daily bites.

                    We are, however, still having trouble with outlining day! This is the most frustrating thing for me as I try to fit our thoughts into someone's outline. In the end, we usually just end up writing almost word for word what the teacher's guide suggests. This doesn't seem to me what we should be doing, but how else do you do it? If we were coming up with our own outline, it would seem easier.

                    Thank you all again for your past help, as it convinced me to stay the course. Any nuggets you could throw my way about outlining would be appreciated, too.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hello.

                      We are taking away the outline letters and numbers so that there are just blank lines there on the next reprint. If you ignore those points and sub-points, it will free you up to do your own outline without feeling required to come up with the same number of points and sub-points as the teacher guide gives you. This should allow the student more freedom. Then you would just use the teacher guide as a guide and let the student lead.

                      Tanya

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                        #12
                        Another pointer I might offer is to not think that you have to go "in order" through the outline. When we start, I usually ask them to identify what they think are all the major points: beginning, middle, and end; steps of a story (first this happened, then this, then this, etc); or intro material, problem, resolution, and conclusion. We talk about what the major things are, write them into the outline, and then take each main point seperately to do subpoints and details. Somehow, getting the big divisions down, helps set the tone and they identify the subpoints more easily.

                        Hths!
                        AMDG,
                        Sarah
                        2020-2021
                        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                        DS, 17
                        DD, 15
                        DD, 13
                        DD, 11
                        DD, 9
                        DD, 7
                        +DS+
                        DS, 2

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Take heart: outlining is an analysis skill. For some people, it comes naturally, for others it's a learned skill. I realized this with my own children. Personally, I remember the day in the 5th grade I was taught to outline. It was like the heavens opened and the light shined forth! I quite literally remember that day in vivid technicolor memory. I'm a natural analyst, needing only direction. That moment gave me an organization tool I needed to help me organize my steam of consciousness thoughts.

                          My oldest has the "gift", but my next two don't. They are smart kids, to be sure, just not able to "see" the steps that outlining takes. Sarah's notion of grouping in larger categories might help, then have him consider which steps happen within a group. Now my baby? He has the gift!

                          Another way to say this, using the idea of learning styles, is that some people are sequential thinkers and some are global thinkers. For outlining tasks, pick sequential thinkers for the win.


                          Jen
                          DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

                          DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

                          DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

                          DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

                          All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

                          Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

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                            #14
                            Thanks to each of you for your advice about outlining in CC. I think not having the pre-planned outline will actually help, but I won't know till we try it! We know "how" to turn a story into an outline, but as I said, following someone else's train of thought is difficult. Plus, usually outlining is done with non-fiction.

                            He is definitely a global thinker. He can retell (and add to) the narrative like nobody's business --without looking at an outline. Also, I've noticed he dislikes the lessons which are from the bible, and I think it is because those narratives are already familiar to him, and now he is tasked to write on it for two weeks. He has a better attitude with narratives that are a novelty (Guifa, for example).

                            Another "help" I recently created is a digital folder in OneNote with a page for each figure of description with examples and an image.
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                              #15
                              oh my goodness, those onenote pages are awesome. I would love for you to post that over in the "tech" board!
                              Michelle
                              Michelle

                              2017-2018
                              9th grade MPOA diploma program
                              7th grade MP materials (mostly 7A/8 track, a mix because we have grouped subjects with sibs in the past)
                              4th grade MP core (thinking about grading up to 4A this summer)
                              2nd grade MP core
                              3 year old who reminds us to play and snuggle
                              Veritas et Fides

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