I am still thinking about writing programs. Some folks from the LTW mentor list have taken time to email privately, giving me tremendous help toward understanding progym-- what it is, what it is not, how it compares with other things.
I'm getting sort of geeked up about progym. I do not like writing programs as a general rule, so this is different for me. (LTW was the first exception. I still like it a lot. I just wonder if something beforehand mightn't be amiss.) I think Charlotte's audience must have already known about teaching composition, so she didn't give a lot of details... the way she didn't say much about math... I don't know. I did a search through Volumes 3 and 6 to confirm that I wasn't missing anything... either I don't get it, or she didn't go much beyond narration, copywork and dictation. I may not understand what she meant by those terms. Or maybe as a teacher I get in the way. Or maybe life holds too many distractions for my kids. I don't know. I have one that is a natural writer and still struggles with argument and form. I can't teach that without a practical map. As a writer, I was poorly educated, and I can't find a practical map for middle/high school level composition in the CM Volumes. If I am missing it, someone please point it out. (I already know about the writing handbooks recommended at AO. I have all of them. They didn't help as much as I would have liked. It is possible I did not use them properly.)
Beneath the thrill of possibly finding the 'answer', quotes like these keep me cautious:
men... can read and write, think perversely, and follow an argument,
though they are unable to detect a fallacy...why do so many... seem
incapable of generous impulse, of reasoned patriotism, of seeing
beyond the circle of their own interests...? These are the marks of
educated persons... Why then are not
these persons educated, and what have we given them in lieu of
education?” (CM Vol. 6)
What is education? What is knowledge?
"Knowledge... is passed, like the light of a torch, from mind to mind, and the flame can be kindled at original minds only. Thought, we know, breeds thought; it is as vital thought touches our minds that our ideas are vitalized, and out of our ideas comes our conduct of life." (CM Vol. 6)
It is about more than discipline, more than form.
"...let us be careful that our disciplinary devices, and our mechanical devices to secure and tabulate the substance of knowledge, do not come between the children and that which is the soul of the book, the living thought it contains." (CM Vol. 3)
Oh, criminy. I wish someone would just tell me what to do.