For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Silverdale Press - TOS Crew Review

This is my first year homechooling a high schooler. It has not gone quite has planned and one of the subject that I am still working on with my 9th grader is writing. As a boy he did not like writing in the elementary levels and I did not push it until about 5th grade. Now with the high school years upon us, writing has become a must. So, when the chance to review a writing curriculum came up, I took the opportunity to try it out.

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers is a writing program put out by Silverdale Press LLC, a company dedicated to providing high quality education to homeschooling families, especially for the middle and high school years. Founded by a couple with high credentials (a Ph.D and a lawyer), their goal is to cultivate knowledge and sharpen skills in students.

I was immediately attracted by the fact that they were classical and using the framework of classical rhetoric to teach students persuasive writing, given that our homeschool bent has been classical. I was not disappointed.

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric is a full high school 36-week curriculum, designed to be used 4-days a week. One of the main emphasis of the curriculum, as is of classical education, is the imitation of great writers. In each chapter of the curriculum the students read a great writer, analyses his writing and then is led to learn from it. Also, at the beginning of the curriculum, the students are encouraged to make a list of 10 books to read over the course of the program to widen their exposure to good writing as well as their knowledge base so as to have content to engage and write about. My son got actually excited bout picking up the books.

The curriculum comes with a textbook, a reader, which contains all the reading selections, a workbook, and an answer book for the teacher. I like that the curriculum can be done by the student independently. It is done workbook style, but the questions are both factual as well as thought provoking. I like how it forces the students to truly understand what they read as well as see how the writing itself contributes to the power and effectiveness of what was written. It is very cleaver. My son is not a quick thinker (he likes to take his time) and I had to really push him to look at the text more carefully instead of the surface.

Another important aspect of the curriculum is the practice. The student is asked to write a 500 words essay with a given prompt at the end of each chapter. The idea is that you learn best by not only exposure and study of good writing but by constant practice.

As soon as we got the curriculum we dived into it. I printed the workbook and made sure my son had the textbook and reader on his computer. My son had trouble with completing the essays, but I encouraged him to push through and keep working on them. Some topics inspired him better than others.

I personally like the selections that they put together in the reader. It includes:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Jane Austen
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • JFK
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Augustine
The way the curriculum teaches writing is somewhat different than traditional curriculum. It takes the student on a journey to discovering what makes good persuasive writing good. As mentioned earlier one of the means is through imitation and study or great writings, the other mean is through a careful, systematic teaching of what constitutes or makes good writing. They take the student through an understanding of how one can have a good topic, how to arrange one's arguments, what good arguments are and how to be ready to defend one's position.

I really like that the last few chapters cover style, punctuation, and the aesthetic of good writing.

I am looking forward to finishing this curriculum with my son. It really looks promising to me. Bonus is that my son does not mind it at all except for the essay every week.

Makes sure to check the other crew members' review as some got to try out their study guides.

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}

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