7th Grade Language Arts ($153)
Coming From: Classical Composition II: Narrative and Novel Studies
Going To: Classical Composition IV or V and 8th Grade Literature
Rather than choosing a curriculum that integrates all facets of language arts (grammar, vocabulary, composition, and literature) into one book, I chose to use a program that separates these components. I wanted the flexibility to work in different areas at different levels. For 7th grade, we are studying composition and literature.
Composition can be taught in several styles and, as I alluded to in yesterday's post, I have chosen to teach Classical style composition. This is the instructional process that created many of the great writers and philosophers of Western Civilization and it allows the student to focus on the process of composing a document rather than focusing on the writing as a means of assessing their learning of something else, as is the case in many modern writing assignments. Memoria Press (MP) begins instruction in Classical Composition in Grade 4. Because we came to MP late, this is a subject where we are playing catch up. Last year we combined the 4th and 5th grade levels into 6th grade composition and my hope is that this year we are able to combine the 6th and 7th grade levels into 7th grade composition.
As I grade each of Emma's compositions, I grade both on the assigned steps of the classical composition process and on grammar and mechanics. We also touch on some aspects of grammar, especially parts of speech, as part of the MP Latin curriculum. I only bought the teacher manual and student workbook in this program, which saves quite a bit of money over a set that includes the instructional DVDs.
For literature, I chose to go with more Memoria Press materials. I was hopeful that choosing from the available literature selections would reduce my prep time. That hasn't panned out for me, as I'm still pre-reading all the books and doing quite a lot of enrichment to add depth to the study guides. There's nothing *wrong* with the guides or anything that makes them unusable as is, I just prefer to make connections into other subject areas as we read, where the guides are written to be self contained. One thing the guides do very well is incorporate vocabulary building activities.
I chose to select four books from the literature guide list, rather than the 7th grade kit, because we've already read and studied two of the books in the 7th grade kit. I chose to plan for The Bronze Bow, King Arthur, The Hobbit, and Twenty-One Balloons. I already had copies of the novels for King Arthur and The Hobbit, so there's another spot I save some money. If you are pre-reading or studying along with your student(s), it is not necessary to get the teacher guide unless you desperately want to have prefab tests. If you're planning on assigning and letting your student(s) work independently, you'll definitely want the guides!
Bought new, what I needed for one year of language arts would run us $153. I managed to spend about half that by buying used teacher manuals and novels on the Facebook swap group for Memoria Press or on eBay. I always buy my consumable student materials brand new, just so that I know that they will arrive clean and usable. Beware! I consistently find Memoria Press items for sale on eBay or Amazon for more than they cost new from the publisher!