Finding a writing program for my twelve year old is one of the biggest challenges I face in our homeschool. I had heard great things about Memoria Press and I was excited to review their Classical Composition I: Fable Set. This set includes a teachers manual, instructional DVD, and a consumable student book. The book has twenty lessons, each featuring a different fable, and we were completing a lesson over the course of two weeks. Depending on your child you could move faster or slower than we did.
For each lesson my son would watch the video instruction and then complete a series of eight assignments. During the instruction the fable was read aloud and they discussed the vocabulary and various components of the fable. Those assignments included looking for examples of the three plot components of recognition, reversal, and suffering. Then they would look into variations using synonyms to vary sentences from the fable associated with that lesson. Then they summarize the fable by creating an outline. I loved that in the instructional video they went step by step through the outline for the first lesson to show them how to create an outline and give them a good example moving forward.
Next, they are asked to do a written narration of the fable. They include a scoring guide for the written narration if you choose to score those. Depending on your child you may also want to start with a verbal narration and then do the written narration.
Then they move into a set of two paraphrases. The first paraphrase they are asked to use three different figures of description. For example in lesson 2 they are asked to use anemographia, dendrographia, and ethopoeia in the first paraphrase. Depending on the lesson they are asked to write the second paraphrase either by reduction, leaving out all extra details, or by starting at a place other than the beginning of the story.
Next the student completes the Variations Part 2 component. This is again using synonyms to vary sentences from the fable. This helps them work on using creativity but still keep the meaning of the original sentence.
Finally, the students finish the lesson with a final draft of one of their two paraphrases. They take the paraphrase that they wrote and find any mistakes or omissions. Then they write a final draft of that paraphrase. This is the culmination of what they have learned in the lesson and helps prepare them to write other papers in the future.
I loved the video instruction for this course. By having it on video it took the pressure off of me as the writing instructor and allowed my son to do some of this independently. I still worked closely with him since writing is a struggle for him. The instruction was easy to follow and included examples to show the student what was expected. Since it was broken into the various components it was easy to watch just the instruction we needed for that day.
This is a very thorough and classical education style writing program. It is well written and easily implemented. That said, my son did not like the program. He found it to be too repetitive and a little overwhelming. He struggles with writing and while this program would probably help improve his writing, it was a struggle to get him to complete the lessons because he disliked the repetition of narrating, multiple paraphrases, and a final draft of the same story. While it was not the right fit for my son, the technique is sound educationally and would benefit many students who want to improve their writing.
If you are looking for a classical style writing program that is well presented and easy to implement then I recommend the Classical Composition I: Fable Set. If your family like ours is used to a more relaxed ‘Charlotte Mason’ approach to writing, this will be very different and may be a little overwhelming to your student. Memoria Press has many wonderful products and our Crew has reviewed a variety of them so click the link below to read more reviews.
When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.
This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.