The Bard & Poets program provides twenty-eight weekly lessons in composition, literary analysis, vocabulary development, grammar, usage, and mechanics. This first level follows the Narrative stage of the progymnasmata, and focuses on sentence and paragraph construction skills. Poetry lessons are designed to foster delight as well as identify basic forms and literary devices. Lessons, likewise, include grammar practice (including extensive sentence diagramming) and vocabulary exercises. The Student Book provides instruction directly to the student. It is assumed, however, that the course is being taught by the parent rather than the student working independently. Weekly lessons are laid out in a step-by-step fashion. Background information on poets and authors as well as their works is provided. The student is expected to compile aCommonplace Book where prose and poetry selections are copied. It also becomes a collection place for any literary tidbits or thoughts that surface while completing the lessons. In contrast, the Writer’s Journal is the place where the student records vocabulary lessons, works on diagramming sentences, lists literary devices when studied, and completes writing assignments. Instructions for setting up the Writer’s Journal and Commonplace Book are included in the appendices of the Student Book. Other appendices include grammar terms and definitions, narrative elements, and a bibliography. 501 pgs, pb.
Required Books & Resources: Bards & Poets Level I Teaching Helps, Sentence Sense, Flashcards (can make your own or use pdf from website), index card box and dividers, and two composition books.
Recommended Literature: Poetry Anthology (Favorite Poems Old & New) and lots of excellent reading selections (i.e. Books, Books, Books).
Recommended Resources: Book of Centuries Historical Timeline Notebook, Quizlet (online flashcard review set), Key to Harvey’s Practical English Grammar (suggested for answers to extra exercises; all answers to lesson exercises are included in Teaching Helps), Dictionary (print), Thesaurus, and Rhyming Dictionary.
Twenty-eight grammar and composition lessons. Every lesson includes:
Poetry & Prose—literary analysis: reading and comprehending the basic elements of a story or poem, including characters, setting, plot, story sequence, literary context, poetic rhyme & meter (scansion)
Language Logic—grammar and word usage: grammar lessons applied to sentences from the narrative or poetry selection and coordinated with Harvey’s Revised Grammar, vocabulary study, sentence diagramming, and dictation
Eloquent Expression—style development: building copia (abundant and ready supply) of words and construction, paraphrasing, figures of speech, figures of description
Classical Composition—imitation of a worthy literary model: outlining and retelling a narrative, summarizing, and employing the writing sequence (plan, write, revise)
Commonplace Book—a time-honored practice for writers of all ages: collecting and copying worthy literary selections
Is the Cottage Press series a Charlotte Mason language arts program? Well, yes it is! Is it a classical writing program based on the progymnasmata? Well, yes it is! If these two ideas seem mildly out of sync to you, then consider that some of the language arts methods attributed to Charlotte Mason are thoroughly classical in their origin (i.e. narration/retelling, copywork, dictation). Likewise, consider that the classical teaching methods based on the progymnasmata involve quality literature, teacher-student interaction, and composition mentoring. It’s easy to see that these two, seemingly different methodologies are actually quite compatible – at least in the area of language arts. It’s also easy to see that combining the two provides a strongly academic, teacher-student interactive approach to language arts. Lessons are detailed, well-organized, well-prepared and ready-to-go. All courses are based on the presupposition that the student is reading lots of quality, classic and classical literature. Courses in the early elementary grades incorporate more Charlotte Mason techniques and methodologies (including picture study) while the upper elementary, middle school, and high school courses are increasingly rigorous and follow the progymnasmata series of writing exercises. All levels include instructive student books and teacher materials with answers; both with gorgeous cover art. Both required and suggested resources are listed for every course.
These materials offer complete coverage of both writing and grammar.