Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric (Review)

Today I'm sharing our review of Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers from Silverdale Press LLC.  For this review, I received digital downloads of the Lesson Book (235 pages), the Reader (111 pages), the Workbook (202 pages) and the Answer Book (65 pages).   Unfortunately, I'm one of the few people who still has dial up internet, so downloading these big files was impossible for me.  I contacted the vendor and within one business day I had a USB drive in my possession.   Great customer service!!     
This is a full year (36 week) high school writing curriculum, and it includes a weekly 4-day a week schedule.   You can either have a mega printing day and get everything printed off at once, or weekly print off the sections of each download needed for that week.  I went with option 2.  Day 1, students read the lesson and answer review questions, Day 2 students will read a passage by a great writer (or rhetorician) and answer review questions, Day 3 students work on an activity  that works towards the final writing assignment, Day 4 students write a writing prompt based 500 word essay.   If you want a 5 day based schedule, then have your student write 250+/- words of the essay on Day 4 and the other 250+/- on Day 5.

During the year, students will read the writings of various great authors and rhetoricians such as John F. Kennedy, John Locke, William Wilberforce, Eleanor Roosevelt and Antonin Scalia to name just a few.  The authors are not in historical date order, so it gives the student another aspect of reading from different time frames, but not on a timeline.

Since we are in a weekly co-op, we stuck with the four day a week schedule.   The lesson portion is roughly 8 pages, so Olivia would spend 30-40 minutes reading and answering the corresponding questions in the workbook.  The Reader segments are relatively short, most being two to six pages on average, this typically took Olivia anywhere from 5-20 minutes, and then another 5-10 minutes for the review questions.   So, days 1 and 2 were 40 minutes or less (typically) then day 3-4 (or 5) were often longer just because Olivia really does put a lot of time and effort into her writing assignments.   On these heavy writing days I tried to make her other workload a little lighter.

I loved that this curriculum has her reading works of great leaders and thinkers, not just great writers.  No disrespect to writer's meant by that.  I think that as we finish the curriculum (next academic year) she'll really start to get into the people aspect.   Being a World War II fan, she really liked the section on Winston Churchill in Lesson 3.  I'm waiting for her to get to the section on Ronald Reagan, my favorite president, in Lesson 11.

This is a thorough and engaging curriculum that helps students learn to not only write persuasively, but to think through their topic.  The creators of this curriculum are homeschool family from the great state of Virginia, but more importantly they are experts in their respective fields (law, history and political science).    They know how to think through things, and how to help students learn to do the same.

To read more Review Crew opinions on this product or their Holiday Unit Studies, click here.


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