Writing & Rhetoric for homeschool from Classical Academic Press is a writing and speaking skills course that builds over multiple years.
About Writing & Rhetoric for Homeschool Writing
The Writing & Rhetoric for homeschool series from Classical Academic Press is based on the ‘Progymnasmata’ a technique for teaching writing and speaking skills that has its roots in ancient cultures
While it could certainly be confusing to try and figure out how to apply that ancient methodology today, Classical Academic Press has done the hard work for homeschoolers by taking those ideas and techniques and creating the Writing & Rhetoric series, a 12-book series that will teach students to write and speak persuasively.
The Writing & Rhetoric series method employs fluent reading, careful listening, models for imitation, and progressive steps. It assumes that students learn best by reading excellent, whole-story examples of literature and by growing their skills through imitation. Each exercise is intended to impart a skill (or tool) that can be employed in all kinds of writing and speaking. The exercises are arranged from simple to more complex. What’s more, the exercises are cumulative, meaning that later exercises incorporate the skills acquired in preceding exercises.
The program is meant to begin in 3rd or 4th grade and span over 6 years, each book encompassing one semester of work.
Reviews of Writing & Rhetoric for Homeschool Writing
Book 1 Fable: This book teaches students the practice of close reading and comprehension, summarizing a story aloud and in writing, and amplification of a story through description and dialogue. Students learn how to identify different kinds of stories; determine the beginning, middle, and end of stories; recognize point of view; and see analogous situations, among other essential tools.
Book 2 Narrative I: Uses parable, myth, and other tales to continue the recovery of the proven method of teaching writing, using various forms of narrative to teach beginning writers the craft of writing well.
Book 3 Narrative II: This book exposes students to new genres of story, including historical narrative and legend. It includes a variety of culturally important examples. All of the skills practiced in Narrative I are extended and new skill sets are introduced, including identifying the difference between fact and opinion and learning to ask the five W’s of a historical narrative: who, what, when, where, why.
Book 4 Chreia & Proverb: This book employs all the skills of the preceding books in the series and teaches students how to write a six-paragraph essay on the basis of a saying or an action. The thinking and exercises occur within the framework of the stories in this book, which include wonderful historical figures such as King Arthur, King Alfred, Lady Godiva, King Canute, Omar Khayyam, and more. The six-paragraph essay using the five Ws (who, what, when, where, why) is arranged this way:
- Praise the author of the proverb or saying used in your chreia
- Restate the saying in your own words
- Explain why this is useful
- Contrast your example with another person in history
- Compare your example with another similar example in history
- Epilogue—conclude your essay
Book 5 Refutation & Confirmation: A refutation is a short essay that attacks certain parts of a narrative. In this book, students will learn to identify and refute, or criticize, parts of a narrative that are unbelievable, improbable, unclear, or improper. A confirmation is a short essay that defends certain parts of a narrative. When students see parts of a narrative that are believable, probable, clear, or proper, they will confirm them. After learning to identify the parts of a story that can be attacked or defended, students will practice writing refutations or confirmations using sound arguments to explain their opinions.
Book 6 Commonplace: Continues the development of the art of persuasive writing and oration. Students will learn to create six-paragraph essays that are arguments against the common vices of people and arguments in favor of common virtues. For example, cowardice and boasting are criticized while courage and humility are commended.
Book 7 Encomium & Vituperation: This book continues the development of the art of persuasive writing and oration. In addition to guiding students through the writing of their own essays of praise and criticism, this book also leads your students step by step through a research project about a fascinating person. While students are learning about a remarkable life, they will also be learning how to learn. This research is achievable and the natural next step as students gain the skills of reading a variety of texts on a research subject, taking notes, creating an essay from these notes, and citing their sources.
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