So your child is older now 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.
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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”.Writing & Rhetoric: Fable, p. x
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 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 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.
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 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 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, my child read aloud the fable, The Lion and the Mouse.
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 self explanatory.
Next is the Sentence Play section.
Next, is the Rewrite.
I ask my child to make corrections with a pen afterwards.
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
- Simple, easy, straightforward
- Little to no preparation for you, mama – Open & Go!
- Emphasizes whole, interesting stories and excellent literature
- 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
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.