This series provides twenty-eight weekly lessons in composition, literary analysis, vocabulary development, grammar, usage, and mechanics. This first level reviews the Fable and Narrative stages of the progymnasmata, and focuses on the Anecdote (Chreia) and Proverb (Maxim) stages. This level emphasizes sentence and paragraph construction skills and a variety of composition types including poetry. 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 a Commonplace 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, sentence diagrams, lists of studies literary devices, 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. 375 pgs, pb.
Required Books and Resources: Poetics & Progym I Teaching Helps, Sentence Sense, and three composition books.
Required Literature: Odyssey of Homer (Lattimore or Fitzgerald), The Odyssey: A Christian Guide to the Classics - a commentary on Homer’s Odyssey by Leland Ryken, and Committed to Memory (ed. John Hollander).
Recommended Literature: Bulfinch’s Age of Fable.
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 elements of a story or poem, including genre, characters, setting, plot, sequence, rhetorical situation, literary context, poetic form & meter (scansion)
Language Logic—grammar and word usage: grammar lessons, vocabulary study, parsing the parts of speech, and sentence diagramming
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, working with chronology, 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
Cottage Press provides a classical approach to language arts that utilizes many favorite Charlotte Mason techniques such as retelling (narration), copywork, and dictation. The aim of the Cottage Press Language Arts courses is to develop excellent writers who are writing from a wealth of wisdom and strength of character. The teaching methodology traces back through Western Civilization to the traditional methods established by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The writing instruction follows the progymnasmata (a comprehensive series of writing exercises), while the grammar instruction is based on Harvey’s Revised Grammar (sometimes called A Practical Grammar of the English Language, Revised Edition, 1898) and includes diagramming. In this series for upper students, the focus is on the skills from which flow expository and persuasive essays as well as poetry, grammar, vocabulary, word usage, and punctuation. It’s assumed the student completing this course is simultaneously reading a large quantity of quality literature; particularly the classic works found in the Great Books. It is also assumed that these lessons are being completed in the context of a Christian home, where the student is reading the Bible and is being trained in Christian doctrine and practice.
Lessons follow a pattern and include Prose & Poetry (literary observation and analysis), Language Logic (word usage & grammar), Eloquent Expressions (developing writing style), Classical Composition (retell a fable or parable), and Reflection & Review. Lessons are designed to meet the needs and abilities of an advancing writer (8th grade and up).
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. Lessons include literary, composition, and grammar instruction as well as detailed instructions for student assignments and review. Background information on poets and authors as well as their works is also provided. The student is expected to compile a Commonplace 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 and works on sentence diagrams, 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 other bibliography. The Teaching Helps book is just as the name implies; detailed helps and answers for each of the lesson steps.
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.