Learning Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric with Silverdale Press {Review}

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric

I have found an amazing homeschool writing curriculum and I wasn't even looking for one.  We already have a great composition program that we have been using in our homeschool but I'm always interested in learning about other products out there (aka "curriculum junkie").  The Homeschool Review Crew was given an opportunity to review Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers by Silverdale Press LLC and I said, "Yes, please!"

The program is a 36-week high school language arts program.  Students are taught persuasive writing while reading and responding to amazing written works by famous historical figures like Augustine, Patrick Henry, Jane Austen, and John F. Kennedy, just to name a few.  As stated on the first page of the Lesson Book, "Our goal is to turn students into great writers.  We believe that students become great writers by practicing the three habits of writing.  Writers write. Writers read. Writers think.  These three habits form the foundation of our curriculum."

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric is intended to be worked on for four days a week.  Each day's lesson is already planned out and the plans are so easy to follow.  The program is composed of four downloadable books - the Lesson Book, Reader, Workbook, and an Answer Key.

The Lesson Book

This book contains all of the instruction for the course.  Parents do not have to teach the material.  The student can complete this part of the work independently.  Each lesson teaches a new concept and begins with a brief introduction and overview as well as a schedule of what will be covered in the week.  

Next the student reads the complete lesson and then reads "Profiles in Rhetoric" which introduces the student to a famous writer by giving them some history of the individual and why they wrote the way they did.

These lessons are beyond just a basic composition course.  They teach the art of communication by making your ideas known and understood by others.  Just take a look at the lesson included:

  1. Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric
  2. The Habits of Great Writers
  3. Introduction to Invention
  4. The Subject
  5. Sources
  6. Taking Notes
  7. Interlude for Research and Taking Notes
  8. Interlude for Research and Taking Notes (continued)
  9. Stasis Theory
  10. The Claim
  11. Inartistic Appeals
  12. Logical Appeals and Deductive Reasoning
  13. Logical Appeals and Inductive Reasoning
  14. Emotional Appeals, Part 1
  15. Emotional Appeals, part 2
  16. Ethical Appeals
  17. Introduction to Arrangement
  18. The Introduction
  19. Statement of Facts
  20. Confirmation
  21. Refutation
  22. The Conclusion
  23. Interlude for Writing
  24. Interlude for Writing (continued)
  25. Introduction to Style
  26. Correctness in Words and Sentences
  27. Correctness in Punctuation
  28. Clarity in Characters and Actions
  29. Clarity and Zapping Clutter
  30. Ornamentation
  31. Propriety
  32. Your Audience Is You
  33. What Real Writer Do
  34. Moving Past Rejection
  35. Pitching Your Work
  36. Following Up and Fostering Habits for Life


The Reader consists of an actual writing or excerpt of a writing from the author reviewed in the Profiles of Rhetoric in the Lesson Book.  There is one reading for each lesson.  This is just good reading material for everyone.  Some of them include "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech by Winston Churchill (Lesson 3), "The Federalist Papers" by Alexander Hamilton, "Fishes of the Middle West" by Rachel Carson, as well as speeches by Martin Luther King Jr and Abraham Lincoln.


The Workbook contains pages that correspond with each lesson.  The daily workbook pages to be competed are only about a page to a page and a half.  They serve as a review of the lesson material learned as well as a probe to get the student thinking about how to apply the lesson in their own writing.  On the fourth day of each week, the workbook page includes a writing prompt related to the Reader selection for that lesson and an assignment to complete a 500 word essay based on this prompt.  Again, "writers write" so I love that there is a weekly assignment to exercise those newly learned writing skills.

Answer Key

This can be used by the parent in grading the workbook pages or the student can use it to check their own work.

While the Lesson Book does teach all of the instruction and students can use the answer key to grade their workbook pages, parents are needed to give feedback on the 500 word essay each week.  Even if the parents are not great writers, they can use the rubric in the Answer Key to help them with feedback.  However, I find it much more helpful to have already read the material myself so that I can be more knowledgeable when giving feedback to my son.

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric is an impressive program because of the focus is on teaching the skill of persuasion in writing.  This is a skill that will help students for the rest of their lives regardless of the career path they may take.  The program is easy to use and exposes students to some great literature in the process.

From the Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric website you can download a sample of the first lesson or purchase the program for download for $119.99.

The only thing I didn't really like is that the materials are all digital.  While some people may just read most of the program online, I prefer to use printed material so my children can read, highlight, make notes, etc. and there are a lot of pages to print.  The Lesson Book is 235 pages, the Workbook is 202 pages, the Reader is 111 pages, and the Answer Key is 65 pages.  It might not seem like a big deal to print all of that but it never fails that when I have a lot of printing to do my printer always seems to run out of ink or starts having some weird problem. This time it left black streaks on all of the pages and I ended up having to reprint a lot of pages.  While my printer was acting up, I did think that it would be nice to have the option to just pay a little more money to be able to buy the material already printed.  However, I do appreciate the online option for those that like to read online and I like that there isn't a lot of colored pictures in the material so that helps to save for printing costs.  

Silverdale Press
If you are interested in reading about what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this product or other products from Silverdale Press LLC, please click on the banner below:

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

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