Teaching writing is one of those things that doesn’t come naturally for many moms – me included! Just because we can write doesn’t mean we necessarily know how to impart that knowledge to our children. Thankfully, the homeschool curriculum market has exploded with a plethora of writing programs for all types of learners (and teachers!).
After using quite a few different programs, there is one program that works perfectly for my daughter – the Writing & Rhetoric series from Classical Academic Press.
The Writing & Rhetoric Series
Classical Academic Press produces a wide range of curriculum. From their Latin & Greek courses to Logic and Debate and now their latest program, Well-Ordered Language, their programs are perfect for families who want to provide a classical education for their children (though you certainly don’t have to be a classical homeschooler to enjoy their products!). And their Writing & Rhetoric series does not disappoint.
With a planned 12 books in the series (there are currently six books), covering writing from 3rd-9th grades, the series focuses on the Progymnasmata – a step-by-step plan for mastering the arts of writing and rhetoric. Each book in the series focuses on a different aspect of the Progymnasmata – from fables to proverbs and beyond, children will take measured steps following classical principles.
Writing & Rhetoric: Fable student book – student’s write directly into the text/workbook
Fable: Book 1
The Writing & Rhetoric series begins with something that many young children are familiar with – fables. Instead of focusing on creativity and imagination, children use a variety of tales as models for their own writing. Many modern programs jump right into having students writing creatively without laying the firm foundation of skills first. Writing & Rhetoric: Fable takes the opposite approach, instead focusing on teaching the basic building blocks of writing before expecting kids to produce their own creative stories.
It’s a perfect introduction to writing for late elementary (3rd-4th grades). Students learn to work independently (with oversight from you, of course!) reading the story before narrating it aloud.
The curriculum includes a student book (with all reading and space for the writing exercises right in the book), a teacher’s guide (which is necessary for using the program – there are many extra teacher helps), and audio files of the fables read aloud by Dr. Perrin. There are 14 lessons which take about half a school year to complete (at one lesson a week) so you can easily complete books 1 & 2 in one school year.
Each lesson includes:
- Sentence Play
- Speak It
Writing & Rhetoric: Fable teacher’s guide (gray boxes are teacher helps & answers)
A Week with Writing & Rhetoric
I used Writing & Rhetoric with my daughter during her fourth-grade year. We worked on a lesson a week, dividing the material from each lesson over the week. We started each week by reading the lesson introduction and reading aloud the fable. After reading the story, TJ would narrate it back to me. Then we spent time talking about the reading (using the teacher’s edition to guide our discussion) – studying vocabulary, parts of speech, and other topics. The first day usually has just a little bit of writing.
TJ read aloud the fable the next day before we moved on to the ‘Writing Time’ section which includes copywork, dictation, and other writing exercises. Depending on the length of the assignments, we divided this up over 2-3 days before moving on to the longer writing assignments (there are 1-2 writing assignments per lesson) and finishing the week with the ‘Speak It’ section. In all, it took 20-30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week (for 14 weeks).
Writing & Rhetoric: Fable – learning to summarize
I love how Writing & Rhetoric: Fable teaches summarizing. Like many kids her age, she had no difficulties adding all the details to a story (which is also taught) but she needed help figuring out what was most important in the story. The lessons in this book taught her how to pull out the important details – a necessary step in learning to write.
I am impressed with this program (we’ve used two more books in the series since using this one) and look forward to trying more books in this series. It’s a great resource to have in your writing toolbox.
Writing & Rhetoric: Fable is available directly from Classical Academic Press.
~ Written by Tonia from The Sunny Patch.