Writing and Rhetoric review

Writing & Rhetoric Review

So your child has finally grown up and you know he’s ready for composition writing. What do you do next?

Well…you hire a writing tutor.

I get it. That isn’t’ feasible for most of us, so using a writing curriculum is your next best option.

This is the second blog post in the series called How To Teach Your Child To Write. Read the first post about teaching writing here and about our favorite grammar curriculum here.

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Homeschool Writing Curriculum Review

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What is the Writing & Rhetoric Curriculum?

The goal of the Writing & Rhetoric series is “to prepare students for rhetoric, which is the art of writing well and speaking persuasively

The goal of the Writing & Rhetoric series is “to prepare students for rhetoric, which is the art of writing well and speaking persuasively”.

Writing & Rhetoric: Fable, p. x

The Writing & Rhetoric Curriculum by Classical Academic Press is based off of the progymnasmata.

What is the Progymnasmata?

The progymnasmata are an ancient method for teaching composition. Progymnasmata means “preliminary exercises” or, in other words, the exercises that help prepare students for rhetoric—persuasive writing and speaking.

The progymnasmata are an ancient method for teaching composition. Progymnasmata means “preliminary exercises” or, in other words, the exercises that help prepare students for rhetoric—persuasive writing and speaking.

The beauty of these exercises is that they gradually increase in difficulty from simple storytelling (Fable) to inspiring essays in argumentation (Thesis). They’re like stepping stones across the difficult waters of writing, and they cover all the modes of discourse along the way: narration, description, exposition, and argumentation.

What does Writing & Rhetoric consist of?

The Writing & Rhetoric series consists of twelve books.  There are two books per year, but as homeschoolers feel free to finish it early on and just move on to the next book.

The Writing & Rhetoric series consists of twelve books. There are two books per year, but as homeschoolers feel free to finish it early on and just move on to the next book.

The Student Workbook & Teacher’s Guide

The teacher’s guide for each book is exactly like the student workbook, but also includes: suggested answers, notes on the purpose of each lesson, dictation sentences, examples of responses for writing assignments, occasional extra teaching notes, and a rubric for classroom use.

See below for image examples.

Suggested Answers
Suggested Answers
Notes on the purpose of each lesson
Notes on the purpose of each lesson
Dictation sentences that you read aloud to your child
Dictation sentences

Examples of responses for writing assignments
Examples of responses for writing assignments

 rubric for classroom use.
rubric for classroom use

Some parents like to purchase the teaching guide, some don’t. It’s a matter of personal preference.

I like to purchase the teacher’s guide.

Titles of all of the books, brief descriptions, and the publisher’s suggested grade levels are as follows:

  • Book 1: Fable – introduces narrative skills (grades 3-4)
  • Book 2: Narrative I – narrations with descriptive elements (grades 3-4)
  • Book 3: Narrative II – narrations with descriptive elements (grades 4-5)
  • Book 4: Chreia & Proverb – expository essays with narrative, descriptive, and persuasive elements (grades 4-5)
  • Book 5: Refutation & Confirmation – persuasive essays with narrative, descriptive, and persuasive elements (grades 5-6)
  • Book 6: Commonplace – more-advanced persuasive essays with narrative, descriptive, and persuasive elements (grades 5-6)
  • Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation – praise and criticism used within persuasive essays (grades 6-7)
  • Book 8: Comparison – use of comparison within essays (grades 6-7)
  • Book 9: Description & Impersonation – descriptive essays using characterizations of people and modeling writing (impersonation) after the styles of famous writers (grades 7-8)
  • Book 10: Thesis Part 1 – persuasive essays developed to support a thesis (grades 7-8)
  • Book 11: Thesis Part 2 – persuasive essays developed to support a thesis (grades 8-9)
  • Book 12: Declamation: Attack and Defend a Law – persuasive essays or speeches bringing all of the elements of the progymnasmata to bear upon judicial matters(grades 8-9) (Not yet available)

While the publisher’s intent is that a child begin this series in third or fourth grade, older students should also begin with the first book

Writing & Rhetoric Book 1 Fable – Sample Pages

As you can see above, in Book 1 Fables, there are 14 lessons.

Above you'll see a typical teaching week in Writing & Rhetoric

Above you’ll see a typical teaching week in W&R. I didn’t follow the above guide for scheduling because I felt like my children were capable of completing more.

Do what is good for your child. If they’re older you can do more. If they’re young you can follow the above guidelines.

Above is a welcome message to students.

Above is a welcome message to your child.

Let’s go through a lesson together! Writing & Rhetoric Book 1 Fable – Lesson 1

First, I read aloud introduction the section above.

Next, I have my child read aloud the fable, The Lion and the Mouse.

Next, my child read aloud the fable, The Lion and the Mouse.

Next is the Narration part, which I love, as well as the Talk About It which consists of questions you ask your child.

Next is Narration which I love, as well as the Talk About It which consists of questions you ask your child. The teacher’s guide (below) has sample answers to guide you along.

Next, is the Go Deeper section where your child answers comprehension questions. I allow my child to do this independently and then I check it later on.

Next is the Copywork and Dictation section which is pretty self explanatory.

Next is the Copywork and Dictation section which is self explanatory.

Next is the Sentence Play section.

Next, is the Rewrite.

I will ask my child to make corrections with a pen afterwards.

I ask my child to make corrections with a pen afterwards.

Finally is the Speak It portion where the children can either read their stories to eachother or record themsleves.
obviously some kids will need more space….

Finally is the Speak It section where your child can either read their stories to each other or record themselves.

Pros & Cons about Writing & Rhetoric

Pros

  • Simple, easy, straightforward
  • Little to no preparation for you, mama – Open & Go!
  • Emphasizes whole, interesting stories and excellent literature

Cons

  • With that being said, this curriculum isn’t designed for independent study and the material does need to be presented by a parent.
  • As with most writing programs, Writing & Rhetoric covers a great deal of language arts, but you still need to supplement with another resource for grammar. 
  • Not as much writing practice as I would like. IEW has more writing practice than Writing & Rhetoric.

Why Writing & Rhetoric works for us

Child working on Writing and Rhetoric.

Simply put, it gets the job done. Done is good.

Also, my kids and I enjoy this curriculum.

FAQs about Writing & Rhetoric

Which book should we start with?

This will be based on your child’s current experience in writing. First, look through the table of contents included in each of the free Writing & Rhetoric samples (found on the individual product pages). Review both the table of contents and the sample lessons to determine a good starting level for your child.

However, if they’ve never had writing instruction, I recommend starting with the first book.

Does the Writing & Rhetoric series integrate any other subjects?

Yes. There is an integration of history. For example, Book 1 Fables focuses on Greek and early Roman times.

The last thing you need to know about Writing & Rhetoric

The Writing & Rhetoric series carries an underlying priority in experience for the child. Ultimately, children are being taught to enjoy and think about writing. Language and writing are delightful and should be talked about likewise.

Helpful Links

This blog post is the 2nd in a series called How To Teach Your Child To Write. Read the first post about teaching writing here and about our favorite grammar curriculum here.

Purchase Wrtiting & Rhetoric here or from Amazon here.

New to homeschooling? Read the Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families and watch my Muslim Homeschooling Videos!

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