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    CM-ing the Progym: The Series {Apparently} Continues

    July 22, 2014 by Brandy Vencel

    I told you that I’d let you know when I had finally made a decision. I had kept the graphic up in the sidebar until I knew for sure what I intended to do. Most of you know what I’m talking about: I needed to decide what I was doing for my oldest’s upcoming seventh grade year. Lost Tools of Writing? Or Classical Composition’s Chreia/Maxim?

    I’d like to say that I made this decision after doing a ton of research, but that’s not really how it played out. In fact, I’d say that I just chose my default option.

    This is about the best way I think I can manage my school budget, my time, my energy, and my various children.

    As I pondered this year, I knew that my oldest is ready for LTW. I’m sure he is. That’s never been a question in my mind; he’s a natural writer.

    But I have this problem: I have other children. Okay, maybe it’s not fair to call it a problem, but the reality is that I’m not sure I can commit to LTW while simultaneously committing to the education of my other three children, who are still in the fairly high-maintenance stage when it comes to academics.

    The truth is: I need to teach O-Age-Five to read this year. It just needs to be done. In the meantime, the girls still require a lot of reading aloud. I don’t want to buy an expensive writing curriculum, and then ditch it because I don’t really have the time to learn to use it.

    Aye, there’s the rub: LTW seems like a huge learning curve to me. Classical Composition has been very easy for me to read through, understand, and then adapt to make it more CM. It hasn’t take a lot of time, energy, or brain power. I’ve been able to teach it fairly intuitively. LTW doesn’t seem intuitive to me. It seems like something I’d need to learn to do.

    It isn’t that I’m not willing, but rather where I think my priorities ought to lie this coming year. I guess you could say it is about doing my duty to all of my children. If I only had one child, I’d jump on LTW now. It’d be good for him. But in light of all four children, Classical Composition seems like a better route.

    I’m not saying that this is goodbye to the LTW idea forever. It’s just that it’s goodbye for now.

    We’ll kick off the year with our regular progym exercises. I’ll read through the Chreia/Maxim Teacher Guide and do what I always do: do a few of the lessons myself. This is great, because I can always use some writing improvement, and also I find that first embodying the lesson is the quickest way for me to know how to teach it.

    After that, I’ll figure out how to CM this progym stage. Then I’ll come back here and share what I’m doing. It’ll be fun and, now that I’ve made a decision, I’m starting to look forward to this coming year of writing.

    So all of this is really to say that I’ve made my choice. Have you? I know some of you were trying to make the same decision.

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  • Reply Emily April 14, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Did you ever continue and use more of the Classical Composition series (beyond fable and narrative)? If not, could you explain a bit about what made you step off the CC train? Thank you!

    • Reply Mollie October 11, 2023 at 7:47 pm

      I’m also wondering about this- the beyond Fable and Narrative part!

      • Reply Brandy Vencel October 12, 2023 at 10:39 am

        Oh wow! I don’t know how I missed Emily’s question so many years ago!

        At some point, I got my hand on Kennedy’s Progym book and just started teaching straight from the original sources. We actually hosted a class on the progym this summer for moms wanting to learn to teach from the ancient handbooks. With that said, the main teacher of our summer class most definitely said that the Classical Composition series is the one curriculum out there that gets pretty close to what was actually done within the tradition, so the fact that I stopped using it shouldn’t be taken as a comment on it. 🙂

        • Reply Melissa May 11, 2024 at 8:31 am

          So did you do progym exercises along with using The Lively Art of Writing? I was following those posts and was planning to use the same strategy for my son: On Writing Well —>Lively Art. I don’t recall you mentioning that you added in the progym exercises from Kennedy’s book. I need to go look again.

          • Brandy Vencel May 14, 2024 at 9:01 am

            I did progym separate from books on writing such as Lively Art. I did come up with progym type exercises that they use when doing written narrations.

  • Reply Malgomaj June 24, 2015 at 8:01 am

    This series has been so helpful to me, not at least this last part about teaching all kids in the family, not just the oldest. Thanks!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Malgomaj. 🙂

  • Reply Cameron March 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Sorry, I realize you have answered most of my questions in earlier posts.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      No worries! Was there anything left you wanted me to answer? 🙂

  • Reply Cameron March 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I was wondering if you completed the earlier books in this writing series? Are you just beginning with the level 3 or have you done the first 2 levels with your son? I will have a year 7 student next year and was curious how you prepared your year 7 student for this course. Also, how are you liking this writing curriculum and, if you are familiar with it, could you compare it with IEW curriculum? Thanks so much!

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