This information which I never heard of before was posted by Sonya on the Brillkids forum and wanted to save the instructions in my Writing Blog Category to reference it later on. Are you familiar with the Progymnasmata? It is a series of graded exercises that teach writing based on imitation of the best works available. One can use a curriculum but I don’t think it is necessary. You focus on one or two exercises each year of study. Your child would start out with Fables. You’d study a fable and then the child will rewrite it in his own words. We’ve done some basic exercises with these: 1. Cut the story down to 50 words. 2.Cut the story down to 25 words. 3.Retell in your own words. 4.Use the same plot but pick different characters. 5.Expand the story and give more detail. 6. Change point of view. Sometimes we’ll do all of these, sometimes one or two. The best writing is illustrated and placed into a binder. Here is the wikepedia intro on the progym:
We have used the progym for 6 years. I used curriculum at first but it’s not necessary. A little internet research will let you know all you need to know, at least for the first few years. Just pick the very best. I found the book – The Writers Workshop – a helpful book of exercises that uses the same practice of imitation. It was written for college students, but it’s an easy read and very basic.
The point of the Progym is that children really don’t have an idea of what to write yet, so you give them the model of the very best. As they accumulate a storehouse of words, sentences, and stories they will become original writers. The best writers read a lot. The progym is not enough by itself to create a good writer, but combined with a lot of reading (which you already do) it will give a framework to write his own material as he’s broken down and looked at the mechanics of really good stories and really good sentences.