Monday, July 28, 2008


I posted about our writing activities last week and mentioned there were some further things I had in mind for future writing activities. Those things I had in mind were things like discussing elements of a the example peice of writing, substituting parts of speech, rewriting the example in different ways...Well, it turns out there's already a method for what I was getting at. It's called classical writing or the progymnasmata. It seems to be an approach where a child learns how to write (and ultimately learns rhetoric) by imitating and reworking examples of great writing.

Now granted, nothing I prduced would be as systematic or well thought out as the progymnasmata so I'm quite happy to substitute my fumbling for someone else's well-thought out program. I've found two excellent resources. The first is Classical Writing. It's rather expensive but I think I may be able to get it used. It's not only a rigorous program but also deals with spelling and grammar. Another excellent resource (and free!) is this page which outlines a two year schedule for covering the fable and narrative portions of the progymnasmata.

Yes, I know. None of that is very unschooly. Catherine wants to write however and she's involved in this process of hunting down a method that she enjoys that will also help her learn the craft. Moving away from wholey original writing into more imitation might be a bit of a relief anyway. Searching for something to say when you've only got 10 years of life experience under you're belt is rather difficult from what I remember. Might be easier to help her develop the skills so that when she does have something original to say, she has the tools to do it effectively.

But of course, this is all me talking as if we'll actually stick with this and I'm not exactly known for my consistency. We'll see.


Anonymous said...

On the contrary, I think that as long as it's in keeping with your daughter's desires, wishes and needs you are most decidedly keeping with the unschooling philosophy of facilitating what your child wishes to learn versus forcing your ideas of a "must have" education down your child's throat.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to figure out how to pronounce progymnasmata let alone click thru to see what it is... You've got me wanting to do happy clappy hands as I say it.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, I see that this site quickly starts calling it "progym". Well, progym it is! LOL

Anonymous said...

Of course, I have no philosopy of education. I kept waiting for my daughter to want to write, but she never did. So, now I'm cramming it down her throat. Same with geometry >:)

Not reeaalllly.

I'm exaggerating :)


Dawn said...

I'm increasingly finding that math and writing are my two non-negotiables. Luckily my daughter likes writing and doesn't hate math (geometry she loves). It's my son that will present the challenge methinks.