Review: Classical Composition I Fable Set

For the latter part of our school year, Bear has been using a unique writing program derived from the lessons of the world’s greatest writers. Classical Composition I: Fable Set, by Memoria Press, presents traditional writing techniques, vocabulary lessons, improves handwriting, and enhances communication.

This Classical Composition curriculum was designed based on the lessons that were used in schools for nearly 1500 years and taught by great teachers and speakers like Cicero and Quintilian. This program uses the ancient Greek progymnasmata approach. This method taught students to speak with proficiency and prepared them to create literary works that appealed to vast audiences. Classical Composition I: Fable Set includes a Teacher Guide, Student Book, and Instructional DVDs. The entire course covers 20 of Aesop’s Fables.

The Teacher Guide begins with a detailed breakdown of all the instructional components. The lesson is structured to read the prevented fable aloud, repeat and learn any vocabulary words, and then narrate from memory. Next, you help your child work through several paraphrasing exercises to better understand the meaning of the fable. After that, you guide them through the plot structure by writing a summary of the story. A grade based rubric is also included that provides appropriate variables for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Each lesson includes a screenshot of the Student Book with a myriad of examples for the vocabulary words as well as sample answers for the rewrites and paraphrases. Within the appendix, located in the very back of the book, you can find figures of writing descriptions with detailed examples for each. There is also an essay about the progymnasmata teaching style which includes a bit of the history and how it is a being applied currently in an updated way.

The Student Book begins with the aforementioned breakdown of all the instructional components. I used this portion of the workbook to explain what the curriculum was about and answer any questions Bear head prior to beginning the lessons. Each lesson begins with a written version of the fable and has separated response sections for every part of the lesson. The response sections are lined similarly to college rule paper which didn’t work well for our son. He writes neat but still rather large, even in cursive so more room was needed for some answers. The appendix, located in the back of the book, includes the previously mentioned writing descriptions with examples and the essay.

The DVD set comes with four instructional discs, each housing five lessons. The main menu gives you the chance to pick which lesson you would like to go over. After you pick, each lesson has its own menu which includes the separate sections of it. From there you are able to decipher which portion of the lesson you would like to go over. The vocabulary words shown in the student and teacher books are provided on the screen for the student. The video lessons are approximately 30 minutes each. There are mentioned moments to pause the DVD so your child has the opportunity to fill in their answers. Upon return, the answers are displayed on the screen and explained. I like the idea of having the instructional DVD however, you do miss the opportunities for discussion with your child. Talking with Bear is one of my favorite things to do as his homeschool teacher. I also found that when we did it by ourselves it did not take them for 30 minutes as presented by the videos. Each portion of the lesson is broken down well but the instructional DVD didn’t work for us. However, I do think this would be good for students who have trouble reading or prefer video lessons.

The first DVD includes a course introduction which you can view, along with a sample lesson, via Vimeo.

As usual, Memoria Press has found a unique and updated way to use classical education to teach and perfect a new skill. With Classical Composition I: Fable Set Bear was able to learn and expound upon his writing and communication skills. We used this program twice a week and each lesson was completed within twenty minutes. I saw improvement while using this program and we look forward to continuing it when our next school year starts in July.

Be sure to CLICK HERE to read other reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew members. We each took various products and used them with our children. I have enjoyed all the reviews I’ve read thus far and I’m sure you will too.

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha K.

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