Sunday, June 9, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum Picks: A More Classical Approach


If you read the last post about my review of the year, you saw that I had a little crisis of faith with my Tapestry of Grace. I have been a loyal Tapestry user, and recommender for a couple of years now. I'm so thankful that Father helped me to see I can do it, because I'm so happy to be sticking with it!

All this digging into the nuts and bolts of Tapestry and being more convinced about it's rightness for us led me down the path of becoming more curious about exactly what classical education is. It's something I hear a lot, and is applied to a good deal of programs out there right now. I realized though, that I didn't actually understand fully what it meant.  Does it mean you study history chronologically in a cycle?  Does it mean you study Latin?  Does it mean you read the great works of literature? Is it all those things? 

I decided if I am aiming for a "classical" education for my kids, I better understand it.  I started watching the Tapestry teaching training videos.  Totally worth the money. I started researching, finding articles, reading about different approaches, different tracts in classical education.  Classical schools, classical degree programs at universities, classical writing, languages, literature, logic, rhetoric. I think I have a pretty good grasp on what it is and is not now.  I am very convinced this is what I want for my kids.  (I've always been a little old school, and felt I really should have been born into a Jane Austen novel, rather than the 1970's).  

So, I figured I better make a road map of where we're headed, and how we're going to get there.  If we want to achieve a classical education, we need more than just Tapestry. Classical education is history, it is great works of literature, it usually is Latin.  But it's also learning how to think, critique, analyze, and how to communicate all of that, both verbally and in writing.  

I'm not really crazy about the writing supplement Tapestry offers. It's a little too un-structured for me.  So after hours and hours of research and agonizing and praying, I *think* we are going to start with Classical Writing next year.  We'll do the 2nd grade Primer with both Luke and Kiryn next year, and the following year, start with Aesop A.  I really struggled with this decision.  Classical Writing is a full language arts program.  It includes grammar, some spelling, vocabulary, literary analysis, reading comprehension, and more.  I love this about it.  My hesitation, though, is that it is an intense curriculum, very rigorous, and is not scripted.  Aside from Tapestry, it will be my first un-scripted program.  Which means I will have to actually learn all about writing through their program, and then teach it to my kids. Intimidating?  Yes.  In the end, the benefits of the fully integrated approach to writing, reading, and grammar won out over the other options that were strictly focused on writing exclusively.  There aren't very many options of full curriculums in the most classical sense for writing.  If you want to do a program based on the progymnasmata (Greek for beginning exercises), you basically can choose between Classical Composition and Classical Writing.  Classical Writing won out for us. 

Now for Latin.  I had a big internal debate with myself about when to start Latin.  We also want the kids to study Hindi formally for a few years, and that is a priority right now.  We finally decided that the point of learning Latin is to be able to read the writings of the greats of Ancient Rome.  So there's no need to be able to do that until at least high school.  The writings would not be understandable before that.  So we'll start formal Hindi next year, and put off Latin till most likely 8th grade. I *think* we'll use Latin in the Christian Trivium.  (Of course, all this is subject to change).  

I'd also like them to learn Greek well at some point, so they can read the New Testament in it's original language.  We'll see. I'm thinking between Hindi and Latin, maybe 6-7-8th grades?  

So, all that to say: here is what we will be doing in the Preedy Academy next year: 

-Veritas Bible: Judges to Kings
-Math-U-See: Beta and Gamma
-Classical Writing: Primer
-All About Spelling 3 & 4 hopefully
-Elemental Science: Chemistry
-Memoria Press 2nd grade Literature pack
-Tapestry of Grace Year 3: Lower Grammar
-Hindi
-New American Cursive 2: Quotes from Founding Fathers versions
-McGuffey Reader 2
-Artistic Pursuits 2 (we'll try again) : ) 

If you have come across another progymnasmata based writing program, please let me know! I would love to know if there's more than the two I mentioned out there! I couldn't find any other ones online...


6 comments:

  1. Just came across Writing Tales which claims to be progym http://writing-tales.com/

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  2. Yes, Shannon! I know! Writing Tales looks awesome... the problem I found is it's only for the Fable (first ) level, and it doesn't seem they have any plans to write more levels for some reason... I wish they did! Everyone says it's great. But I have also read reviews that said it was so good, it was really hard to switch to CW or CC, and they wished they'd just started with them to begin with. : )

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  3. I always really enjoy your curriculum reviews and homeschooling posts. Very helpful to me!
    Jessica (we met a few times in W.F.)

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  4. I know your post is a few months old, but Classical Academic Press has just put out a new progym writing curriculum called Writing & Rhetoric Book 1: Fable Program and then there is a book for Narrative. The recommended grades are 3rd/4th.
    I'm a pastors wife in the states and was just cruising blogs from families using TOG. I noticed we use a lot of the same stuff. I especially like how you notebook for Tapestry.
    Prayers go up for you. Hope you have a good day.

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  5. I know your post is a few months old, but Classical Academic Press has just put out a new progym writing curriculum called Writing & Rhetoric Book 1: Fable Program and then there is a book for Narrative. The recommended grades are 3rd/4th.
    I'm a pastors wife in the states and was just cruising blogs from families using TOG. I noticed we use a lot of the same stuff. I especially like how you notebook for Tapestry.
    Prayers go up for you. Hope you have a good day.

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  6. Hi Melisa! Nice to meet you! :) Thanks for your comment! Yes, I just learned of the CAP progym writing program a few weeks ago. I wrote them and they said they plan to release one level per year, so those starting this year won't have any gaps. I downloaded the sample, and it looks like a lot of fun, in keeping with their programs! It is strictly a writing program though, so now after having used Classical Writing, I have loved it's full language arts approach. I love the kids learning writing style, as well as vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar and more out of their literature they are analyzing each week. It's been a fantastic program that we feel confident stickign with through high school. I so appreciate you letting me know about the CAP one though! I love their programs and always look at their site when it's planning time to see if there's anything we can use! I'd love to be in touch with you personally, feel free to email me at psalm96@me.com. Blessings!

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