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Language Lessons for Grammar Students Fable & Song Review by Lisa Maynard

Student Book and Teaching Helps
Kathy Weitz
Cottage Press
PO Box 603
Round Hill, VA 20142

Of all the styles of education we have tried over the years, we tend to gravitate towards the classical style. Language Lessons for Grammar Students, Fable and Song embraces classical methodology that has been taught for over a thousand years. The Grammar and composition lessons are structured around the fable stage of the progymnasmata. The world progymnasmata is Greek for preliminary exercises and were taught in ancient Greece and Rome to educate boys in the art of speech writing.

 Each of the twenty-five lessons in this course cover a different Aesop fable, classic children poem, or parable of Jesus. To use this program, you need the student manual, which is a beautiful full-sized soft backed book, a smaller soft backed book containing teaching helps, a copy of Aesop's fables the recommended version being one illustrated by Milo Winter, and a copy of A Child's Garden of Verses, By Robert Louis Stevenson. You can purchase these books or download them from a link provided. You also need a one-inch binder, two composition books, a copy of the printable flashcards from the cottage press website, or cards to make your own, and a print dictionary. The program also recommends using a systematic phonics and spelling program to be used alongside this to make a complete language arts program.

I have been using this program with my nine-year-old for the last month or so. I mentioned that the program contains twenty-eight lessons. The program is flexible enough so that the child can work through a lesson in one week or move at a slower pace. Since my son is younger than the recommended age we took this at a slightly slower pace, working through a lesson about every two weeks. The lessons are divided into five sections. This makes it easy to complete in a week as you can just complete one section per day. However, there is a practice and review section which actually gives you six sections if you divide it evenly. The sections are Copybook, Prose & Poetry, Language Logic, Eloquent Expression, Classical Composition, and Dictation.

The teaching helps book goes step by step through each lesson giving clear instructions and help to the teacher. It gives instruction on sentence diagramming, different parts of speech, prose and poetry, and even dictionary skills. The student workbook also goes through each of the lessons with worksheets and questions with spaces for the student to enter the answer. It also gives instruction for the student to use their writers journal or copy-work notebook during each lesson.

Although this program may be a little confusing at first to those who have never followed a classical education, all of the information needed to be successful is there. The instructions are thorough and well-written, and the teaching helps book includes examples. Since the student notebook is consumable you would need to make sure that you had one for each student. However, the teaching helps book is non-consumable. At the end of the program the child would have a completed workbook, a writer’s notebook, and a copy-work book to look back on and see his progress.

My son really likes this program. He loves poems and Aesop's fables so it's a great fit for us. It's not a program that a child works through on their own. So if you are looking for a hands off program this would definitely not be the one for you. I do feel that you would want to wait to work on this program until your child can read and write well and confidently. It is recommended for fourth grade and up. I have been using it successfully with my 9-year-old however, he reads at a high school level and is used to this style of literature.

We have never used anything by Cottage Press before but I have been very impressed and will likely look at using their curriculum in the future.

-Product review by Lisa Maynard, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2018