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Fable stage comp - very slow start

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    Fable stage comp - very slow start

    We are new to homeschooling and to MP. Classical Comp - Fable stage is getting off to a very slow start with my 4th grader. We are using the DVD. In general, he has always been an A student, but very slow. As long as you give him plenty of time, he gets everything correct. (Hmm.... just like his Dad...) We are on the second week of Lesson 1. He seems to understand the concept, but I have to help him think about nearly every sentence. Also, his paraphrases are just slightly different than the examples, and not very creative. We can work on one paraphrase for two hours before it is complete. That being said, he was quite embarrassed at his first oral narration attempt, and now he enjoys "performing" them. So, just curious, is this normal? Do kids progress with the composition so that they can think of the writing on their own? He didn't have much composition of any sort in school prior to this. I am considering allowing him to take two days for each outline and paraphrase for the first few lessons. Is this a good idea or should I set a higher expectation? At this rate, we may not finish the prescribed 17 lessons before the end of the year.

    #2
    Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

    My two older kids are just NOT born writers. They would rather sit and work math problems all day long rather than write a sentence or *gasp* come up with adjectives or adverbs to add interest. This is painful for me, as I really like composition!

    First, there is nothing wrong with offering help and/or word banks to help stimulate his imagination when it comes to synonyms, adjectives and adverbs. Kids have to start somewhere and this helps expand vocabulary without causing frustration.

    Second, I don't require my kids do every one of the exercises - especially with regard to Variations. I whip out the whiteboard markers and we brainstorm synonyms. I write the word in question (for example, "dog") and underline it, writing synonyms beneath. If they're having trouble coming up with words, I start throwing out hints. "I'm thinking of a 'p' word...it describes a baby dog..." and they'll shout out the answer, which I write beneath "dog". Once they've come up with a few, we move on to the next word...until they can see each word with the synonyms below. Then, I ask them to write ONE sentence using a synonym from each category. And then we move on.

    Third, when it comes to outlining and paraphrashing, I do the same. I am writing their answers on the whiteboard and helping when the ideas don't come and/or when some things just don't sound quite right. For example, if the grammar or word order sounds a little wonky, I might pause before writing and ask if there might be another way to say that, giving hints or examples if the kids can't come up with something right off the bat.

    ***If you don't have a whiteboard on your wall or on an easel, write these down on scrap paper so that he can see and remember them. No fancy equipment required!***

    These are not my original ideas - I came here awhile back with much the same problem and both moms and MP staff helped me along. I used to think this was somehow cheating to help them out; however, I have watched their skills really blossom over time. My older two are never likely to be voted "Most Likely to Give Hemingway a Run for his Money" in high school; however, they are honing good, solid skills from me helping them along early on.

    I sincerely hope this helps! <3

    ETA: Almost forgot...I'm pretty sure MP would agree that if you don't get to every single, solitary lesson in Fable, you'll be fine. I think it's better to do the lessons well (even if you don't do every single item) than to rush through to get them all done.

    Also, when I talked about writing things down for the kids, we usually do composition just before lunch. We go through the lesson, either brainstorming synonyms/adjectives or working through paraphrase, etc., then the kids write down their answers (either copying their words I've written on the board or choosing their synonyms for Variations exercises) from the board while I go off to make lunch. This doesn't have to be you sitting over his shoulder as he labors over writing. My ds, in particular, is a s-l-o-w writer. Copying, especially before lunch, has helped to speed this up a bit. The faster he gets it done, the faster he gets his PB&J. Of course, since he's also a perfectionist, I have yet to see sloppy work - this works well for us, but may not work if you have a kiddo who's a little too invested in speed. *LOL!*
    Last edited by Mary; 08-24-2017, 12:55 PM.
    Mary

    DD14 - 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

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      #3
      Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

      Narrative was one of my oldest child's first MPOA classes. While she was working on the first lesson, I messaged the teacher to say that I didn't think she was ready for Narrative, and perhaps she should repeat Fable. He assured me she would be fine, and she was. The following year she took Chreia/Maxim. While she was working in the first lesson, I again messaged the teacher to say maybe she needed to repeat Narrative and was once again assured she would be fine, and she was. All this to say, hang in there. Once you have the first lesson under your belt, they get so much easier. Every year I look at the first lesson in the new book, and think there is no way she can do this. Early in the year, I have to help her a lot. As the year progresses, she does more on her own, until finally, she hardly needs my help.

      I'm working through Fable again this year with my younger two, and my plan is to take the first lesson very slowly - 3 or even 4 weeks if necessary. We might even take 3 weeks per lesson until Christmas and try to pick up the pace after that. If we don't get through all the lessons we are supposed to, I'm not worried. It will still be plenty, and Narrative is very similar to Fable and will provide additional practice.
      DD 10th
      DS 6th
      DD 5th

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        #4
        Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

        Thanks. That helps a lot. Part of it, I'm sure, is that I'm just coming up to speed myself. I and trained in scientific / research writing, but never had any instruction such as this. I can already see how beneficial it will be, though!

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          #5
          Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

          Thanks "Jenniferjb" ! It's encouraging to know that we are not alone in this, and that he will still benefit and be "on track" even if we don't get all the lessons done.

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

            The beginning of each CC level also gives me the shakes, but we do it and eventually get the hang of it. By year's end, it's easy. Especially after taking Abigail Johnson's Classical Composition overview session at the CLSA Teacher Training, I'm so excited about this writing program for my children! Every exercise has a purpose and is moving you forward toward more and more advanced writing as the years progress. By the time you get to Ref/Con, Common Topic, etc. you are doing very sophisticated writing!

            Hope you get the hang of Fable soon, but know it's worth it to press through.
            Festina lentē,
            Jessica P

            SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
            @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
            S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
            D · 8th
            D · 5th
            S · 2nd

            Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

              Nodding in agreement over here, too. Tough out those first awkward weeks, because it is worth it, and as others have said - by the end of the year, you will wonder why you ever thought it was hard. Until you open the next level...and go through the exact same process all over again!

              I have kids entering Book V...haven't cracked it yet, but am not worried. Each level has turned out to be so awesome - after several weeks!!!

              AMDG,
              Sarah
              2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
              DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
              DS, 16
              DD, 14
              DD, 12
              DD, 10
              DD, 7.5
              DD, 5.5
              +DS+
              DS, 18 months

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

                Hello! New to MP this year. Grades, 3, 4, 5. We are just coming up on the beginning of Fable for my 4th Grade for New Users. He is slow processor and writes very slowly. Should I have him dictate to me? Or is penning the composition (narration, variation, paraphrase, etc) part of the process? Also, my 3rd grader DD is keeping up with my 4th for most subjects. Should I continue her with All Things Fun and Fascinating, or move her to Fable with him? They can move slowly through together??

                Thanks!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

                  My middle guy is a s-l-o-w writer; however, it is good for him to write out those CC assignments. In cases like these, I think it might make sense to just cut out a bit that he doesn't have to do while still getting the "meat" of the lesson. For example, in the "Variations" portion, just have him write down one good sample sentence. But still have him do it himself.

                  When it comes to paraphrasing the stories, if he has trouble keeping the thoughts in his head (my ds speaks and thinks so eloquently but there is a definite lag between his brain and his hand!), you can have him dictate the story to you and you can write it down for him to copy. This will help him build confidence without completely frustrating him - and it's not "cheating" - those are his words.

                  As for your 3rd grader, if she's keeping up and it's not a source of consternation for your 4th grader, I don't see why she couldn't tag along and do Fable slowly along with him. <3
                  Mary

                  DD14 - 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

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

                    Hi All,

                    Just wanted to chime in here on CC.....so my son (9th grader) is currently taking Mrs. (Abigail) Johnson's HS Comp 2 class (Common Topic/Encomium/Invective).....and OH. MY. GOSH. Do we feel like we're in a college writing class? Yes! My son is seriously having to up his game. She is REALLY challenging these kids to (dare I say) PERFECTION. And it's awesome. But I share this to say......put the work in on the early stages.....and what will you see in the later stages? Well, you'll see a kid cranking out almost weekly essays that you almost can't recognize or read/comprehend. My son's writing is now to the point where I have to be at the top of my game to understand. LOL! And I don't think he's one of the top writers in this particular class, based on the essays Mrs. Johnson is sharing from the other kids. I'm completely overwhelmed with gratitude for this systematic Progym program and for MPOA Classical Comp teachers. I couldn't have offered my son anything as good (and I taught a high school rhetoric class last year.....using a different program because I didn't know enough about Classical Comp.)

                    You have shared good ideas and I hope I can experience some success with my younger (SN) son when we get to Fable. Language Processing is his greatest challenge. But I am hopeful.

                    Susan P in VA

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                      #11
                      Re: Fable stage comp - very slow start

                      After eavesdropping on all these answers, I feel the urge to take these classes myself. Is there another mom out there who just wishes she could take MP classes while her kids are taking theirs? Or am I the only geek?

                      The money I would pay to go back in time and give my K-8 self this education... My kids are nowhere near CC yet, but the books thy are reading, even in MP1, were not on my little public school’s radar at all. The complexity of my daughter’s current book, “Keep The Lights Burning, Abbie,” is about the skill level we would have gotten in 3rd grade. And she’s flying through it! Amazing, MP, just amazing.
                      Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
                      Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
                      Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
                      Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

                      “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
                      ~Pope St John Paul II

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