Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Review of Classical Composition I: Fable Set from Memoria Press

There are so many different ways out there to teach your students writing that it can be hard to figure out what product to use.  I want Little Miss to be a good writer, but I need to find a product that moves at her pace, builds a solid foundation, and will set her up for future writing courses.  This is why I was interested to see what the Classical Composition I: Fable Set from Memoria Press was all about when we got the chance to review it recently.
Classical Composition I: Fable Set, A Glimpse of Normal
Memoria Press is a family-run publishing company that was started back in 1994.  They produce simple classical Christian education materials for home schools and private schools.  Since 1994 this company has grown a lot and they offer various subjects of study for preschool through twelfth grade.  They even offer an online academy for grades 3-12.  They are definitely a resource that I check when I am searching for curriculum in our school because they offer curriculum for so many classes
The Classical Composition I: Fable Set is designed to be used by students in grades 4-12.  It includes a set of 4 instructional DVDs, a Student Book, and a Teacher's Guide.  The student workbook is consumable so if you are working through this with more than one student you will need a workbook for each student.  The student workbook has 20 lessons that are divided into parts so that this course can be completed in a full school year.  Each lesson begins with reading one of Aesop's Fables which is followed by learning vocabulary from the fable.  Then students study the concepts of recognition, reversal, and suffering in each story by listing examples of each concept.  Next students look at a different variation of the story by taking a sentence from the story and coming up with synonyms for the bold words in the sentence and rewriting the sentence using the synonyms.  Then students create an outline of the story and practice re-telling the story in their own words using their outlines.  Next students paraphrase the story using specific literary concepts that are taught and defined.  Then students use "Reduction" to rewrite the story (telling the story from the end to beginning).  The students then practice more variations and finally write a final draft where they pick one of their paraphrased writing to edit and polish to turn in.  Each of the lessons that we worked on took us about 1.5 weeks to complete working on a little bit each day.  The method this composition set uses teaches students to analyze a story and then interpret it in order to retell it to others while using both their imagination and the reader's imagination.  They learn all about narrative writing and what it means to use recognition to describe the fables.  It all sounds really complicated, but don't worry because Memoria Press has you covered on this composition set.  Not only is the teacher's guide extremely detailed so that you can easily open it and teach the lesson to your students, but the instructional DVDs entirely cover each lesson so that you can turn it on to the right lesson and let it teach. 
The instructional DVD.
The teacher's guide.
When we first received this set, we started by putting in the instructional DVD and watching the introduction.  This introduction was a great way to find out the what and why of this program.  It explained in detail the process this curriculum uses and the methods behind it.  This helped Little Miss understand more of what was required of her with this one and it helped me know what I should expect from her for her work. Next up we started watching lesson one.  Brett Vaden, the speaker on the DVDs, is very clear, concise, and easy to understand.  He does speak slowly on the DVD, but it is intentional so that he can be understood by all.  The videos do move at just the right pace and are easy to pause in the right places so your student can work.  Little Miss was eager to get started and after we read the story again (he also read it on the DVD), I went over the vocabulary words with her.  I had her write the definition right near the word she was defining in the fable so that she could be reminded what the word meant each time she referenced the fable.  Then we worked through recognition, reversal, and suffering and finding examples of these in the story.  At first, parts of these concepts were tricky for Little Miss to figure them out, but the more we discussed them, watched what the DVD said about them, and worked on them in the lessons, the better she understood them.  Then came her favorite part, the variations.  This is where she got to think of synonyms for words and rewrite the sentences using these synonyms.  This taught her to look for different ways to say things when writing and to look for more powerful words that convey thoughts better.  She liked being able to work on variations twice in each lesson.  I think she could have spent an entire day working on variations.  Up next Little Miss learned about creating an outline of the story.  We haven't worked much on outlines with her yet so this was a fairly new concept to her.  She did well picking out the major points of the story to be the main points of the outline and then the minor points to be supporting points to the outline.  Then came learning literary terms and putting them into use.  These literary terms were new concepts and they took a little bit of practice to get right, but that is okay because it kept her building her skills.  Next she worked on reduction which is telling the story from the end to the beginning.  Little Miss liked doing this and she was very good at writing out the story in reverse order.  Last was a final draft where she could pick which paraphrase of the fable that she wanted to polish up and submit to me for grading.  It was easy to grade because this curriculum gives you a rubric to follow for grading.   Little Miss continued working through the lessons like this.  So far she has completed a few lessons and is working on lesson 5.  She likes being able to be creative with parts of the curriculum and she is having fun reading and learning Aesop's Fables.
Variations were Little Miss' favorite part of the assignments.
I do like the Classical Composition I: Fable Set for Little Miss.  It is a good, solid writing curriculum.  It is teaching her a foundation for writing that she can build on for years to come.  There were parts that were hard for Little Miss, but the more she worked on them, the better she understood them.  While this curriculum says it is for grades 4-12, I think it would have been a little too hard for Little Miss last fall when she started 4th grade, but I think it will be better suited for her this fall when she is in 5th grade.  I think this because it is more in depth than other programs we have used and it requires deeper level thinking with all the literary terms, outlines, and in-depth concepts.  I do like this curriculum and think it is very good, but recommend it for higher grades.
You can learn more about Classical Composition I: Fable Set we received here.  You can learn about all the products Memoria Press has to offer on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.  Click the banner below to read the review of my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew because Memoria Press was generous enough to allow us to review several different products.  I know I will be checking out the reviews to learn more about the other products The Crew received.
New American Cursive & Traditional Logic {Memoria Press Reviews}

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment, it means the world to me!