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Writing and Rhetoric 4

Students taking this course continue in the trajectory of the Writing & Rhetoric series using Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation and Book 8: Comparison. 

During the first semester, students learn how to craft essays praising a virtue (an encomium) and blaming a vice (vituperation). They focus on the following skills: discerning the main idea; utilizing hyperbole and thesis; incorporating background and supportive detail, biography, and autobiography; noting the good and poor qualities present in a person or event; contrasting virtuous behavior and vice, and crafting effective conclusions that encourage readers either to emulate virtue or eschew vice.

After completing the first semester, students spend approximately six weeks focusing on a research paper unit. Students will learn the seven steps to writing their own research paper: selecting a topic, getting an overview of the topic, outlining the paper, rounding up sources, taking notes, organizing note cards and completing an outline, and writing the paper while avoiding plagiarism.

In the second semester, building on existing skills, students develop the art of comparison. They learn how to craft a comparative composition that sets two persons, events, ideas, texts, or objects side by side for assessment. In learning this art of comparison, students also study elements of critical analysis, assessment, and judgment.

After completion of this course, students are well on their way to becoming master writers and effective orators. For a closer look at the texts used in this course, please follow these links and click “Look Inside”: Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation and Book 8: Comparison.

Placement: Please read about our new process in the Student Parent Handbook.

  • This course is designed for students who have built a strong foundation in writing and are familiar with the progymnasmata (the “preliminary exercises” on which the Writing & Rhetoric_ _series is based). Students who have successfully completed the previous books in the Writing & Rhetoric series will be ideally prepared for this course. Incoming students should be familiar with elements of the persuasive essay (narrative, descriptive, and expository). Students should feel comfortable discussing ideas and making connections to the text, outside reading, and life. Students will be expected to write a 6-paragraph essay in a week and will refine the skill of annotation to become more discerning readers.
  • Students should be comfortable typing essays, although neatly handwritten short assignments are acceptable.
  • Students in this course should have a strong command of grammar and a basic understanding of syntax before enrolling.
  • This course is aimed at rising 7th–8th graders. Rising 6th graders who have completed the previous level of Writing & Rhetoric are welcome, though in many cases 6th-grade students require additional support from a parent in conjunction with the course.
  • If your student is new to the Writing & Rhetoric series and/or beyond 8th grade, we ask that you contact us for a placement recommendation. For further information on the Writing & Rhetoric series, please see the Classical Academic Press FAQ page.
Image of text book for Writing and Rhetoric 4

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

Optional Resources:

These audio files allow students to engage their sense of hearing and their listening intelligence as Greg Lowe delivers the readings aloud in a thoughtful manner.
Commonplace Journal (This can be a spiral-bound notebook, bound journal, or loose-leaf notebook.)

Mr. Belfry Optional Course Texts:

Charlotte Odum received a classical education at St. John’s College, earning a bachelor's degree in liberal arts. She then pursued graduate studies in classical political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Wanting to share the benefits of classical education, she taught writing, rhetoric, and grammar at a classical public charter school for fourteen years, as well as a broad spectrum of English and social science courses for three years at a technical and career college. Between high school and college, she worked in a pediatric facility, where she developed a deep love and appreciation for children with challenges and disabilities. Although initially inclined towards a career in health care, her passion for classical learning redirected her path towards teaching and study. She takes pleasure in the natural beauty of her adopted state of North Carolina and enjoys cooking, drawing badly, and connecting with family and friends. [email protected]

Christian Herring holds a B.S in History from Western Carolina University, an M.Div from Hood Theological Seminary, and a Th.M in Church History from Liberty University. He has been teaching in a variety of settings from churches to prisons to a hybrid-model Classical Christian school, since 2005. He loves sharing his passion for history, the Bible, and great literature. His teaching philosophy revolves around reading great books, having great discussions, and writing great papers. It is his conviction that education is an essential part of discipleship, no matter what the specific subject matter is, therefore the Christian worldview brings itself to bear on all areas of study. Furthermore, all areas of study contribute to forming us into wise, virtuous, and godly human beings. Christian and his wife and four children call central North Carolina home. Mr. Herring typically enjoys a cup of hot tea during class.  [email protected]

Julie Boudreaux has been a teacher at a brick-and-mortar classical school for three years. She has taught Creative Writing, Geography, American Literature, and Modern History and Literature. She also assists in her school's yearly Shakespeare production. Her journey with classical education began in middle school and she has been captivated by its truth and beauty ever since. She received her Bachelor's degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. At Scholé Academy, she offers tutoring services, summer programs, and humanities instruction. Julie is dedicated to cultivating joy for learning in her students. [email protected]

Kirsten Fortier holds a BA in Education from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. The bulk of her experience comes from 18+ years of classically homeschooling four sons K-12 who are now successfully living and working out on their own. She has taught in various settings including at home, in co-ops, in brick-and-mortar schools, and online. She enjoyed a short stint as the Director of Curriculum and Assistant Head of School at a small classical Christian school that closed permanently during “COVID.” She now looks forward to a part-time career teaching restfully at Scholé Academy. Her passion for classical education in Writing & Rhetoric is on its focus with mastery learning and creative expression within a structured, time-tested model. In her free time, she enjoys visiting her children and grandchildren, hiking, camping, living history, and researching family genealogy. She and her husband live in Michigan with their three active dogs, one old cat, a handful of chatty chickens and silly ducks, and two busy hives of honeybees. [email protected]

Quarter 1

Writing and Rhetoric: Book 7

  1. Weeks 1-6 Gathering tools for encomia and vituperation writing
  2. Weeks 7-8 Writing encomia and vituperations 

Quarter 2

Writing and Rhetoric: Book 7

  1. Weeks 1-8 Writing encomia and vituperations 

Quarter 3

Writing and Rhetoric: Book 8

  1. Weeks 1-8 Planning and writing a research paper
    1. (Some teachers use fewer weeks for the research paper)
  2. Weeks 5-8 Gathering tools for comparison writing

Quarter 4

Writing and Rhetoric: Book 8

  1. Weeks 1-8 Writing comparisons

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.


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