Memoria Press has blown the dust off of the writing curriculum used in the best schools for over 1,500 years and put it in an easy-to-teach format that will revolutionize your homeschool curriculum. Presented clearly and systematically in a structured curriculum, the Classical Composition I: Fable Set will give you a clear road map to writing excellence. This set includes the Student Book, Teacher Guide, and DVDs.
There are twenty lessons in the Classical Composition I: Fable Set. Each lesson begins by reading aloud one of Aesop’s Fables. After the first reading of the fable, the Teacher Guide lists difficult word, ask students to define these words to help them better understand the fable. After the second reading of the fable, students are asked to identify three plot components – recognition, reversal, and suffering. The Teacher Guide provides examples for each fable. At the end of Section 1, students retell the fable in their own words while staying faithful to the original in regard to characters, place, and time.
The variations exercise trains students to paraphrase at two basic levels: words and sentences. Words are paraphrased by thinking of synonyms. Each exercise asks the student to vary three or four words from a given sentence, which comes from the fable. After the words have been varied, students will move to the level of sentence. Each exercise asks students to substitute the selected words with their synonyms.
Students will discover the plot structure of the fable by summarizing it in the form of an outline. This exercise is best completed with the DVD to help the student understand the format of a fable outline. The DVD thoroughly teaches each lesson, tells students what to do and when to do it, and gives sample answers. Then with the aid of their outline, students retell the fable orally.
In the paraphrase 1 exercises, the whole fable will be rewritten to be like the original, yet varied with anemographia (a vivid description of wind), dendrographia (a vivid description of a tree), and ethopoeia (a description and portrayal of a character). The paraphrase 2 exercise asks the student to paraphrase the fable by inverting its sequence of events. The student must work from effects to causes, which is a deductive exercise. Paraphrase 2 was quite a challenge for my sixth grader, she had never been asked to paraphrase anything by inverting its sequence of events.
The second round of variations provides a break from paraphrasing. Then students complete their final draft on a separate piece of paper. The teacher helps the student with correcting – the final tasks in every good piece of composition. After students have finished marking their first draft with these corrections, they will write and proofread the final draft alone.
As students move on, the stages will become more and more difficult, but that also means they will become a better writer. Remind students to take their time and follow the example of the tortoise: “Slow but steady wins the race.”
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