When I think of Classical Christian Education I think of Memoria Press so I choose the Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set to review with my daughter. For many years our family has strived for a Christian Classical Education for our children and finding the right Christian Classical Curriculum for our family has been essential to us. That is why I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review these two products. Our 15-year-old daughter expressed excitement upon receiving these products. These courses are recommended for grades 4-12, and I think these recommendations are perfect. Of course, the older the student, the more in-depth they will go and the higher the expectations will be.
The one thing I love about Memoria Press is the variety and quality of products they offer. This company has been a favorite of our family since we began homeschooling. So it seemed a natural progression to try their Classical Composition courses. Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set and we have enjoyed them so far. The sets we received included both Teachers guides, both student workbooks, both sets of DVDs and a lesson plan booklet that covers both courses in a 34-week layout.
I love how the lesson plan booklet lays out everything in detail for each day, plus includes a checkbox for each day so I could mark off things as we completed them. The lesson plan book also means if something happened and I was not around, our daughter could grab the lesson books and know exactly what to do.
We were so excited upon receiving these materials we just jumped right without utilizing the DVDs. With the assistance of the teacher guide, we were able to figure out exactly what needed to be done, especially with the help of the Lesson Plan booklet. We started off by reading the Teaching Guidelines at the beginning of both the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Workbook. These clearly lay out the requirements, expectations, and layout of the assignments. From the fables themselves to variations, outlines, narrations, paraphrases and even writing a final draft is described in detail.
The Teacher’s Guide also includes an advanced rubric for grading the student’s work. There are even optional grammar requirements. I found this extremely useful since we could utilize those requirements to help cover grammar instead of needing additional material. There is also an introduction to the Fable Stage that describes imitation and suggestions for starting the writing journey.
As we began the actual lessons, our daughter expressed some distaste for reading out loud, but she is my introverted child. So I really was not surprised by this. As we moved through the exercises together, she really seemed to enjoy the lessons. From writing down synonyms to writing outlines, variations, and paraphrases, she enjoyed all the activities. She even enjoyed writing the final drafts.
The lessons on the DVDs are very well done and enjoyable to watch. The information is presented in a way that is easy to follow along with what is being taught. When the videos should be paused for the students to complete assignments, they are told to do so. Brent Vaden, the instructor on the DVDs, has the perfect voice for these DVDs. He speaks clearly and is easy to understand. Although I decided to watch the DVDs with our daughter and participate with her in the lessons, I feel she definitely could have completed the assignments on her own – especially with the help of the DVDs.
The lessons in both sets are designed to be spread out over 5 days a week for a two-week period. This ensures there is time for doing variations (where the student changes the words from the original fable), does an outline, does a narration, and writes a final draft using paraphrases which genuinely fit the original story.
In Classical Composition II: Narrative, the layout of the materials reflects similarities to the Fables course. The student watches the DVDs, does a reading, variations, paraphrases, outlines, additional variations and then writes a final draft. Again the final draft is created on a separate sheet of paper. Brett Vaden provides the instruction for the DVDs, and he does an excellent job of teaching. the
All the work is done by the student in the consumable workbooks except for writing the final drafts, so this is a grab-and-go curriculum other than having the ability to watch the DVDs. My daughter and I both are glad we decided to review these products. If you would like to read additional reviews of Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set or of other products from Memoria Press, click here or on the graphic below.
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