Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

A couple weeks ago there was a thread on the Well Trained Mind homeschool board asking which curriculum you would most like to have show up on your doorstep but either couldn't/shouldn't presently afford.  I don't usually play "if this jello were a ruby I would buy...." with strangers, but that day I was in the mood, so I put Classical Writing: Homer as my wished for item.

 Composition is one of the subjects I agonize over.  We actually did Classical Writing: Aesop (well, the first half, anyway).  It was okay but at the time I thought it was a little dull.  Then we did Writing Tales II, which was similar but much more fun.  Katie is going to be doing Writing Tales I next year, and I'd have kept it for Travis if the author had gone any further with the program, but as far as I know she didn't.  Since then Travis has been using IEW writing lessons, mostly because that is what our homeschool group uses for the group writing lessons.  He has done pretty well with IEW.  The very clearly laid out requirements are perfect for a boy who wants to do the job and no more.  After about a year and a half, however, his writing, though more varied than it was, is still clunky and awkward.  He puts in the required prepositional openers, adverbs, adjectives, etc. without much regard for sense or sound, and I don't know whether he doesn't notice how his sentences read or notices and just doesn't care.  I've read that Classical Writing puts some focus on rearranging words within sentences to see how what works best.  IEW did a little of that too, but not enough.  So I've been interested in Classical Writing, but not being sure that it will do what I want, plus the business of already owning IEW, plus having Tapestry of Grace's writing component, which I like and use some lessons from, I haven't felt that it was a justifiable expense.  But I've still thought it would be neat to be able to try it.
  So..... imagine my surprise and delight when I got a message from another mom on the WTM board saying that she had an extra copy of Classical Writing's Instructor's Guide to the Student Workbook for Older Beginners, and would I like it, free?  This is the version of Homer that scoots the student through in one year instead of two, which is just what I wanted, so I told her "Yes, please!" and today my book arrived in the mail!
Wasn't that lovely of her?  Isn't it pretty?  Now I can give it a thorough look through and decide if it will be helpful.  If so, I'll be able to explain to Ed with proper conviction why I need to buy the Core book and Student Workbook, and if not I can stop thinking that if I only had Homer, Travis's writing would be brilliant!

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