Years ago, before I joined the Homeschool Review Crew, I had no clue as to the wonderful vendors we would be introduced to and able to use on our homeschooling journey. Memoria Press is one of those amazing vendors which we are always thankful for. Memoria Press has allowed us to easily study many subjects we would not otherwise have access to. They are what we now use for Latin, Greek, for Spelling and now for Classical Composition for my oldest daughter, Emmalee.
For this review, we were gifted their full set for Classical Composition: Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set. Additionally, they also included their Classical Composition Accelerated I Lesson Plans for us to use with the curriculum. This was perfect for Emmalee who always works at a faster pace than curriculum normally directs.
We received the lessons plans, four spiral bound workbooks and two DVD’s for this set. Each set has a Student Workbook and a Teacher Guide, along with a DVD of lessons that go with the workbooks. It is an entire curriculum for Composition which can be spread out or accelerated, as we used it so that your student can work through the entire set in a year. That’s one set per semester in order to make a full year.
Let’s talk about the Classical Composition Accelerated I Lesson Plans first. This booklet is only a few pages in length but very detailed. It sets the curriculum up for you into a 34 week span for lessons. You begin with Classical Composition I: Fable Set, working through this set until completion, then starting on the Classical Composition II: Narrative Set. This is set up as a Monday through Friday schedule, as Memoria Press prefers their curriculum follow that schedule most of the time. You can adapt it as needed and work on a Saturday or Sunday if you need to.
The Classical Composition Accelerated I Lesson Plans are not hard but they do cover a lot, making them more intense scheduling wise. Your student sometimes ends and begins a lesson in the same week. I haven’t found that the work was too challenging that this could not be done though.
The Classical Composition I: Fable Teacher Guide is extremely thorough. It guides you through the intentions of the curriculum right from the beginning, helping you, the Teacher, understand how the program is set up and guide you through the teaching process which is clearly laid out on the many pages filling this guide book. The Appendix covers words you may not recognize as well as a sentence description to help you better understand them. It also contains a few other pertinent pieces of information for use with the curriculum that we as educators should first understand.
The guide itself is easily followed and laid out clearly for our use, breaking each lesson down with explanations on how to use and teach the curriculum to the student. It offers a smaller image of the Student pages for you to view as you work through. Each lesson follows the same pattern, adjusting to what the student is doing in their own workbook for you to keep in line with them as they work through.
The DVD, of course, was designed to be used along with each lesson of the curriculum. This DVD features Brett Vaden, an instructor at Highlands Latin School and the Memoria Press Online Academy. Brett guides the student through each of the lessons, covering the subject matter professionally and making it easy for them to understand and follow along with their lessons. This makes it easier on us as homeschooling educators as well because there is a teacher covering the main part of the lesson for us.
The Student Book begins with the Teaching Guidelines and suggestions for the programs usage. This is followed by an Introduction To The Fable Stage, where Fable and the writing journey are quickly discussed. Next you will find a Definition Of Terms for your student to use as a guide and to help them better understand these terms as they pop up in their lessons.
Lesson 1 begins with an excerpt from The Ant and the Chrysalis. The student reads the excerpt and the lesson follows with a breakdown of the Plot, sentence variation and finally Outline of summary of what they have read.
The second part of the lesson begins with Paraphrasing, rewriting the Fable they read the first day, and more variations. These help the student break down what they are learning as they work through the program to really get a better understanding of the writing process. This format continues throughout the book as the student works through many great Fables in writing. The appendix of this workbook is the same as the teachers guide.
Classical Composition II is set up exactly as Classical Composition I: Fable Set. The Teacher’s Guide follows the exact same pattern. The appendix shares an Advanced Rubric you can check off as your student works through the program. This covers things like handwriting, content, tone, and so on. There is a description of words that are seen throughout the curriculum with examples. The DVD for the program is also the same as the first, with the same educator leading the lessons as you follow along. This shows unity and creates less confusion for your student.
The Student Book begins the same way with the Teacher’s Guidelines shared first, followed by a definition of the common terms used in the program. Next you will find an Introduction To The Narrative Stage which is very thorough in explanation.
Lesson 1 begins with a short Narrative of The Rose. The student then breaks this down into the Nine Components of Narrative Invention. Next they create an Outline based on the Narrative read. The second part of the lesson covers Variations of the Narrative and Paraphrases as well. There is plenty of room for writing within the pages of the workbook but a student can use notebook paper if necessary as well.
Lessons in the Narrative workbook are slightly longer than the lessons in the Fable workbook, requiring more writing on the students part as they learn to develop these composition skills with their writing. The program really gets the student thinking and breaking down what they’re reading.
How We Used It
The Classical Composition curriculum program is designed to be used with students in grades 4-12. The student workbook is designed for use with one student so you will need a copy per student using the program. It is a full composition curriculum designed for your student to use.
I honestly asked for this set for Emma. Emma is my most driven student. She absorbs everything placed in front of her and has been using Memoria Press for her lessons for a while now. While we don’t normally follow the suggested schedule, she was easily able to do so for this review. She found the program exciting and challenging. Now that the review period is over with, I’ll allow her to resume her usual work-through-the-program-as-quickly-as-she-likes way of learning. It works for her.
She especially loves programs that teach her while challenging her learning and this is one of those. She’s gleaned a lot of knowledge about writing in the past few weeks while we’ve used this program. It’s wonderful to see her love of learning and writing blossom thanks to such wonderful curriculum. She really thrives on all of the Memoria Press products we use in our learning.
Classical Composition II: Narrative Set is available for $85 as well. It’s intended for grades 5-12. It also includes the student workbook, teacher’s guide and the DVD for the set.
You can buy both sets together for a discounted price of $120 using a special coupon offered on the site.
The Classical Composition Accelerated I Lesson Plans are available as a download for $8 or $9 in print.
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