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Writing and Rhetoric 5

Think of the progymnasmata as a step-by-step apprenticeship in the art of writing and rhetoric. In Writing & Rhetoric Year 5, students build on the sturdy foundation they have developed through the progym exercises in the Writing & Rhetoric series. In this course, students continue honing the art of persuasive writing and speaking with Book 9: Description & Impersonation and Book 10: Thesis Part 1.

In the first semester of Year 5, students encounter description, which emphasizes the use of vivid language to describe people, nature, and processes. They also study impersonation, which introduces the modes of persuasion as a means of imitating the writing style and outlook of four famous individuals: journalist Nellie Bly, writer Henry Williamson, athlete Jesse Owens, and statesman Winston Churchill.

In the second semester, students begin a formal study of the thesis essay, which is the culmination of the progymnasmata as it deploys every skill that came before to make the strongest case for an idea. In preparation for the final thesis essay, the class enjoys two weeks of readings and Socratic dialog considering the question “What is Beauty?”

Throughout this course, students will strengthen and refine their skills in reading and annotation, discussion, composition, and delivery. Specific areas of focus include the modes of persuasion (pathos, ethos, and logos) and the use of various rhetorical devices.

High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in English composition.

Placement: Please read about our new process in our 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 with 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 their essays.
  • In addition to a strong command of grammar and syntax, students entering Writing & Rhetoric Year 5 should have experience using various rhetorical devices including contrary, synonym, hyperbole, metaphor, simile, periphrasis, anacolutha, and parallelism, with a mature vocabulary comprehension that is reflected in their writing style. Students writing at this level are comfortable using rubrics to provide peer feedback, to self-assess and to revise their own work.
  • This course is geared toward rising 8th–9th graders. Rising 7th graders who have completed the previous level of Writing & Rhetoric are welcome, though in many cases 7th-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 9th 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 5

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.

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.

**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.

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.

Quarter 1

Writing & Rhetoric Book 9: Description & Impersonation

  1. Description

Quarter 2

Writing & Rhetoric Book 9: Description & Impersonation

  1. Impersonation

Quarter 3

Writing & Rhetoric Book 10: Thesis Part 1

  1. Gathering and developing tools for thesis essays

Quarter 4

Writing & Rhetoric Book 10: Thesis Part 1

  1. Composing thesis essays

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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