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Review of Classical Writing Curriculum

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We have been using Classical Writing for over a year now and am finally getting around to writing a review.  I didn’t receive anything for this review.  I simply decided to use the program because I liked the skills it taught.

I used Classical Writing Aesop A with my visual-spatial 4th grader who is now in 5th grade and just finishing up this book.  When he started Aesop he was able to craft a story, but paid little attention to things like periods, capitals, and when a sentence was supposed to begin and end.   The book comes with 18 weeks of lessons and we started it at the end of 3rd grade.  We didn’t do it every day, but we did tend to work on it for at least a couple times per week for about 30 minutes each time.  I wasn’t sure if this kind of program would work for my son.  It had him create flashcards where we drilled things like when to use a capital, parts of speech, and the different types of sentences.  Let’s just say that this curriculum has really improved his writing.  He is able to rewrite narratives and include more capitals and punctuation in his writing.  I am very pleased with the progress he has made.  Next week he starts Aesop B.

I also used Classical Writing Aesop Homer for Older Beginners with my older son.  He has language arts strengths and has gone through most of Jump In and Writing with Skill 1.  I started him on Classical Writing for Older Beginners at the beginning of 6th grade and by the end of 6th grade we had only finished about half of the book!  We spent quite a bit of time on it and included the Harvey’s Grammar that was incorporated into the curriculum.  Doing it as written with all the components was a huge time hog.  To do one weekly lesson from start to finish could easily take my son about 6-7 hours.   As we are getting further into the book I’m learning more about what to cut and what to have my son do.  I was having him do every single thing.  We dropped Harvey’s Grammar and went back to doing Rod and Staff grammar orally since my son has better retention with Rod and Staff grammar.

I can’t say that my oldest son is a fan of Classical Writing, but I’m a fan when I look at what it is teaching my son and what he is learning.  It is helping him make words dance.  My part-time job often requires me to rewrite technical information in my own words.  Classical Writing Homer has helped my son learn how to do this well and to write with flexibility.  The last lesson required him to rewrite a narrative in his own words, but he had to write it in reverse chronological order.  It was a great exercise that stretched his writing skills.

I’m planning to continue with the series for now.  It seems to be a good fit for us.  I must also mention that my kids are not reluctant writers so they didn’t have any issues with the amount of writing required.

If you do purchase Classical Writing be sure to get the student workbooks.  It made the program so much easier to use and understand.  The teacher’s book is helpful for some of the assignments.  It doesn’t have answers for everything and it doesn’t have a guide to grade the weekly papers, but I am comfortable going over my children’s work and guiding their writing.

Spelling, handwriting (copywork), and vocabulary elements in the curriculum can be used in place of other curriculum for those subjects.

Pros

  1.  It teaches concepts that help writing skills grow and develop.
  2. Requires lots of writing (also a con!)
  3. It works!

Cons

  1.  Jumping around in the different books can get confusing.
  2. It isn’t cheap.
  3. It is time consuming for the kid and for the parent.
  4. Requires lots of writing (also a pro!)

Here is a sample of part of one day’s assignment for Classical Writing for Older Beginners.

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This is a sample of most of a day’s assignment for Classical Writing Aesop A:

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If you have used it, I’d love to hear how it has worked for you.

 

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