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    Help with the transition into Chreia/Maxim, please

    Where are my Chreia/Maxim experts?

    Background --- my current sixth grader has been with Classical Comp for writing from the very beginning, doing quite well with Fable and Narrative in the past few years. She seems to have hit a wall with Composition this year as they've entered Chreia/Maxim. (who am I kidding? The entire 6th grade curriculum seems like the Wall of China for me this year, causing me to buy copious amounts of wine)

    When the school year started, the instructor reminded us that there's a different focus in C/M, different than what they're used to in Fable/Narrative, and that she expects there to be a learning curve.

    Are there any veteran moms that can offer any helpful suggestions?
    Plans for 2019-20

    DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
    DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
    DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
    DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
    DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
    DS6 - 5 - MP K

    [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

    #2
    Re: Help with the transition into Chreia/Maxim, please

    Hi Dianna! First thing I want to do is to ask you to elaborate a bit more as to your area of struggle...big picture of the level? specific sections of the lessons? Add a bit more as to what you are needing...
    But preemptively, I searched through the archives of the Forum to find what I have shared in black print below. This is a smooshing together of several responses Brett Vaiden provided back when Jessica and I were brand new to this level too. I will let his expertise speak first, and then if you have additional questions, hit us with them. *hugs*


    From Brett Vaiden, former MP teacher and the instructor on many of the CC DVD's:

    The Chreia-Maxim Stage will feel different, and therefore difficult, because, first, it is the first time they encounter an 'essay' format, i.e., introduction paragraph, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In all, there are eight paragraphs that the student will write per lesson. In the final draft, the student writes all eight paragraphs together as a complete essay--and I suggest having the student write it in a separate notebook to be saved, or if you prefer, on a computer.

    Second, this stage feels difficult, because it is the inverse of what students have been doing in the Fable and Narrative Stage: instead of having the student read a story and draw out its narrative components (e.g., agent, action, place, etc.), they have to invent narrative components and put them together to make a story. In other words, whereas the Fable and Narrative Stages required students to understand a narrative and analyze its parts, Chreia-Maxim requires them to take an idea (i.e., the 'recognition', which is the saying given at the very beginning of the lesson) and to make narratives out of it. This will be a challenge. However, students can do it. To help them, it is important for you to understand what each paragraph in the essay is about.

    The Introduction at the beginning of the book (pp.8-11 in the most current version) provides an example of each paragraph and it explains them. Suffice it to say that, besides the first, second, and last paragraphs, the body paragraphs each present a particular kind of narrative: Cause presents a narrative about a person who obeys or applies the saying; Converse is about a person who disobeys the saying; Analogy presents a narrative about a person or thing whose actions bring about results that are somehow like the action and results of the saying (e.g., A pianist who spends long hours preparing will do well in her recital just like an army that prepares for war will successfully enter battle); Example is about a well known person from history or fiction literature whose actions demonstrate the truth of the saying; Testimony is not a narrative per se, but a quote from a respected authority that either supports or paraphrases the saying.

    Thanks Brett! Follow up question then...and forgive me if this is covered in the TG too, but what are your suggestions for sourcing ideas for the paragraphs? Who to use as an example, for example.
    AMDG,
    Sarah


    Hi Sarah, good question. You are addressing the issue of "invention," which is one of the five pillars of composition, along with arrangement, elocution, memory, and delivery. Invention is tough, because it means coming up with one's own ideas, and, in this case, coming up with a narrative with setting, characters, plot, etc. Memoria Press is partially addressing this by including IEW's "All Things Fun and Fascinating" in our curriculum as a preparation for Classical Composition, because it does a great job training a student how to think about inventing stories. But for your situation and others' who are in the midst of Chreia-Maxim, I suggest you draw stories from anywhere and everywhere, including what happen in your home, what your students are reading in literature and Scripture, what happened at church, what they are watching on TV, etc. Stories can be found everywhere. The key is to have a firm grasp of the saying. In lesson 1, the saying is, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." Go over this saying with the students, defining the words used, paraphrasing it, and then ask something like, "What is this saying teaching us?" or "If people listen to this wise saying, how will that affect how they live?" or, more specifically, "If people want to live at peace with other countries, what should they do?" The answer is, "The saying teaches us that if people want to live at peace with other nations, they should build up their defenses and have a strong military," or something like that.

    Once you and the student have a good grasp of what the saying is teaching people to do, i.e., the "truth" of the saying, then you can better discern how to invent or find narratives that illustrate this truth.

    For the testimonies, I recommend a few sources to go to first:
    1) The Bible. The Holy Scriptures address a vast number of topics, and often I find that if I think about the Chreia/Maxim I'm working on and where its topic shows up in the Bible, I come up with a passage or quote. If I don't remember the reference, using a concordance or Bible search engine helps. I especially recommend going to the Book of Proverbs.
    2) Literature. Think about the stories your student is reading. Does the topic of the Chreia show up in a character's speech?
    3) Internet Search Engines. One that is popular and has a large collection is "Brainy Quote." Going there, I just entered the word "war," which relates to lesson 1, and the third quote in the list was, "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." Although this isn't exactly the same idea expressed in the Chreia (i.e., "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual ways of preserving peace") it is close, and in the paragraph for Testimony my goal would be to relate the two sayings. For example: Consider the words of Sun Tzu, who said, "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." One of the best ways to neutralize threats to our country is to become so strong that our enemies will not dare to attack.
    [Note: one limitation of Brainy Quote is that it only provides quotes by historical people, not characters from literature.]

    I hope that helps!
    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


      #3
      Re: Help with the transition into Chreia/Maxim, please

      First, Sarah, thank you for that fantastic bit from Mr. Vaiden!

      Second, Dianna, you are SO not alone! I honestly thought that dd 12 was struggling with CC last year because of health issues and because, let's face it, she'd rather eat glass than write anything. I let it go and figured we could brush up on it again and move on to the next level this year. HA! Right. Not going to happen.
      I'm sitting in my living room right now, address labels in hand, pasting over the 7th grade Refutation assignments and writing in the Chreia/Maxim assignments because this girl is going to need the whole year to get this down. Actually, I'M going to need the whole year (and a case of bourbon) to get this down. *weary laugh*

      I'm glad to know that, at least in this specific case, I'm not an idiot for thinking this is hard.
      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


        #4
        Re: Help with the transition into Chreia/Maxim, please

        Originally posted by OrthodoxHandmaiden View Post
        First, Sarah, thank you for that fantastic bit from Mr. Vaiden!

        Second, Dianna, you are SO not alone! I honestly thought that dd 12 was struggling with CC last year because of health issues and because, let's face it, she'd rather eat glass than write anything. I let it go and figured we could brush up on it again and move on to the next level this year. HA! Right. Not going to happen.
        I'm sitting in my living room right now, address labels in hand, pasting over the 7th grade Refutation assignments and writing in the Chreia/Maxim assignments because this girl is going to need the whole year to get this down. Actually, I'M going to need the whole year (and a case of bourbon) to get this down. *weary laugh*

        I'm glad to know that, at least in this specific case, I'm not an idiot for thinking this is hard.
        Thanks, Sarah! <3 I'll dive in deeper today when I get home to see what her problem is this week. (oh, the angst of pre-teen years! I feel like the soundtrack to our days is "Gloom, Despair, and Agony" -- wonder if I can find that Hee Haw song on Amazon?) On the surface, it's a wailing 'I just don't understaaaaaaand this!" Which, let's be honest. At the end of the day, that is seriously the last thing I want to hear, or am mentally equipped to deal with.

        I actually HAVE the DVDs, and offered to let R watch them, to clear up any confusion while I tackled one of the 70 million other things on my plate. That went over like a lead balloon. That's another facet of our struggles this year --- we're dealing with some maturity/responsibility growing pains. (and that's another forum post coming)

        Mary, I'm always glad to know that I'm not the only person bailing water out of a dinghy with a hole in the hull. R LOVED writing the past two years (with a different teacher), so this "ugh, writing is so awful' mentality is puzzling.
        Plans for 2019-20

        DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
        DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
        DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
        DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
        DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
        DS6 - 5 - MP K

        [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Help with the transition into Chreia/Maxim, please

          Just wanted to chime in and agree that we are really struggling with Chreia/Maxim as well! I am watching the DVDs myself in order to better teach her, but I feel like I am missing something and not really understanding the big picture. (Sarah, your post was very helpful!) I myself am a confident writer and my dd writes constantly for fun, so our struggles are a little different. I'm just having trouble understanding the purpose of each paragraph as they relate to each specific Chreia. Some of the paragraphs my dd comes up with are insightful, IMO, but totally different from the examples. Its hard to know how much wiggle room to allow with how we interpret the main objectives within each paragraph.
          I would love to have some more thorough teacher training about the progymnasmata so that I feel more confident of where we are going and how all the parts fit together. I always feel like the more I understand the why's behind what we are doing, the better able I am to explain it to my kids in a way they can understand. Does anyone have resources to recommend for that?
          2018/2019
          Dd 12: MP 7A and First Form Greek
          Ds 10: MP 5M
          Ds 5: MP K

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Help with the transition into Chreia/Maxim, please

            I really want to encourage you guys to keep "toughing it out" with the lessons. There is only so much that you can be told ahead of time of the "how" and the "why." Then comes the point where you just have to get in there and get your hands dirty with it.

            My husband just had a ton of work that needed to be done on his car - leaky radiator needed to be replaced, and his rear brakes, rotors, and a caliper needed replacing. He works in a facility where the guys do all their own work on their cars because they have "skills." They told him what he needed to do to do it all himself, and told him to YouTube it too. After all that advice, he decided to give it a try. Took a long time. Was a lot of figuring things out as he went - with some tough moments of frustration thrown in. But at the end of the day, he did it all himself. The guys could have told him how all day and all night, but nothing was going to really teach him until he actually DID IT himself. Now, none of us will ever take a car in for brake pads again because it is super easy to do - all because he went through the work to learn it.

            This program is sort of like that. Nothing is going to make as much sense as sticking with it and doing it. One of the biggest differences I realized with this program is that it is not just learning the steps of topic sentence, three to four supporting sentences, concluding sentence. You really have to think your way through each of the paragraphs - which neither your child NOR YOU are used to.

            Try really hard to sit with your child to do the lessons and walk them through the thinking process. You will both struggle, especially at first. But that is why you spend a whole year on a single level. It's not like math - where you learn a new topic, struggle with it, practice it, feel comfortable with it, and then repeat with another new concept. No, it's different. Everything you are going to learn is given to you at the beginning of the year - and then you have the whole year to spend trying to get good at each paragraph. This takes time, and it is worth the time it takes. These early essays may be terrible, or they may closely resemble the examples given because you just don't "get it" yet. That's ok. Keep trying to think your way through it. The light bulbs will eventually go on, and then you wonder why you ever struggled with it at all. (Well, close to that sensation anyway). And when you come at this the next time around with your next child, you will be such a better teacher of it.

            AMDG,
            Sarah
            Last edited by KF2000; 10-08-2017, 02:26 PM.
            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


              #7
              Re: Help with the transition into Chreia/Maxim, please

              Originally posted by Angela View Post
              ...
              Its hard to know how much wiggle room to allow with how we interpret the main objectives within each paragraph.
              This! I would LOVE a breakout at Sodalitas to focus on this level, since it does seem to be such a transition from Fable/Narrative and because writing is so...subjective. Of course, by next year, I'll want a breakout on Refutation! MP Staff: Can we please have one breakout per level? That's not a huge ask, right? *dissolves into fits laughter, can't wait to see their reactions when they come to work tomorrow.*

              This is a good reminder to use the DVDs. I'm wracking my brain trying to remember if the Chreia/Maxim DVD came with the 7M core...I don't remember seeing it; however, I may find it hidden among the kids' Horrible Histories DVDs. I had the Fable + Narrative DVDs but didn't watch them because I found teaching those to be rather intuitive. I feel like a fish out of water trying to deal with Chreia and, now that I have nothing else to blame for dd's issues, I realize that it is really out of even my own comfort zone. Thank you, Dianna, for being humble enough to share your struggles. I honestly thought I was the only one and that you all were sailing along with no problems.

              Sarah, thank you for your words of wisdom. You're right - we'll get the hang of this with a little practice. <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


                #8
                Re: Help with the transition into Chreia/Maxim, please

                We are starting Chreia/Maxim this week. Sarah - thank you, thank you, thank you for posting these words from Brett, and your encouragement! It came at just the right time. I've been feeling very intimidated about starting.

                Thank you as well, Dianna and Mary, for posting your thoughts. It's helpful to know others are starting the journey alongside us.

                I'll post an update after we dive in. I feel much better about it after reading these threads. Brake pads or progymnasmata - we can do this!
                DD 12 - MP6A

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