Monday, July 8, 2013

Teaching the Classics (IEW) Review -TOS #hsreviews

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If you're a homeschool parent or a public school teacher, this curriculum is still for you!  I was given a chance to review Teaching the Classics from IEW(Institute for Excellence in Writing) and want to share with you how it can help any type of teacher do a better job of teaching their students about books(I don't think they even have to be a classic).

Teaching the Classics came to me in the mail containing a book(workbook) and a 4 DVD set.  The DVD's contain 6 sessions.  I must say that I had misgivings about doing the DVD series as I hate listening to people teach in a monotone, or without any dynamic to them.  This series is not like that!  He really knows what he's talking about and how to draw you in and keep you interested and learning through the whole program.  The great thing about this program is that you can work at your own pace to complete it.  You don't have to do a full session at once or you can do more than one session at once. It is totally up to you, the student in this program and the teacher in your home!  The program is written by Adam and Missy Andrews.  The entire course costs $89.00 and can be purchased from their website.

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I grew up loving to read and began reading the classics at an early age.  I remember being in the summer after 3rd grade and reading Jane Eyre.  I read it on my own just for the pleasure of reading!  I was shocked as I went through school that none of my English classes covered many of the classics and decided then and there that my children would learn them and love them!  Fast forward and I am now the proud mommy to 9 kids and we are in the beginning of our homeschool journey. I have children in second, first, and kindergarten this year and want to start them out reading right!

The best thing about Teaching the Classics is, as I mentioned before, that you don't have to only use it with the classics.  With my oldest only being 8 I'm not expecting her to start reading the great classics just yet.  So we're starting out with some classic children's books.  You can use this with the Little Golden Books, Beatrix Potter, or any other book you'd like!  That's what makes the program so unique and wonderful!

You will learn how to help your child dissect the story to get to the "bare bones" as well as figure out the conflict, resolution, and all the other parts that make the story. I have to say that diagramming a story was never something I loved. I loved to read the story but I really didn't have the time or patience to go back and dissect what I had just read!  Now, I have the knowledge of the right questions to ask to make sure my children understood the story and can diagram it without making them feel as bored as I did with these tasks!  That to me is worth much more than the cost of this program(yes I'm saying I would buy this program if it hadn't been available for me to review it).

This course can also be used by older students who may not have grasped the concepts already.  It teaches not only have to outline the key points of the story but what those key points actually mean. You don't just learn how to spot the conflict and resolution but what conflict and resolution are and how they add or detract from the story. I personally am in love with the list of Socratic questions to ask your child to help them better understand and learn from the story. I'm just not that wonderful at coming up with these meaningful questions on my own!

To recap: Teaching the Classics is a compilation of 4 DVDs and a workbook costing $89 to help you learn how to teach your children the classics using the Socratic approach.  You will be fully prepared to teach character, plot, conflict, resolution, theme, and all the other elements of literary analysis.

And last but not least my favorite part "Characters are the main link between the imaginary world and the author"  The best way to understand the author and what they wanted is to read the book and understand the characters.  Their strengths and weaknesses come through in how the author wrote them and we need to understand them to understand the world we've just entered by opening the book!  Yes I love to escape to new worlds through reading and I am hoping that with this course my children will as well through my teaching.

You can see what other TOS Crew members thought of Teaching the Classics as well as other IEW review products by visiting the Main Crew Blog page.

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