Writing & Rhetoric Year 5

Term: Yearlong 2018–19, September 4–May 24
Target Grade Levels: Grades 8–9; 7th graders welcome (see placement details below)
Instructor: Mrs. Schinstock
Schedule: M/W 2:00 p.m. EST, 60–75 min.
Price: $595.00

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. 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.

Syllabus: Download the 2018–19 course syllabus here.


  • 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 on average one essay a week and 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 WR5 should have an understanding of 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 with self-assessment and revising their own work according to rubrics and the like.
  • 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.
  • Scholé Academy administers placement assessments in order to get to know each student and find the best learning environment for him or her, as we seek to educate our students well and wisely. Students should print and complete the WR5 Placement Assignment to confirm proper placement in this course. Please note that registration is not finalized until the student has submitted a placement exam and received confirmation of proper placement from Mrs. Schinstock. Download the WR5 placement assignment instructions here.

For further information on the Writing & Rhetoric series, please see the Classical Academic Press FAQ page.

*Required Texts:

*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.

Optional Resources:
Writing & Rhetoric Book 9: Description & Impersonation Audio Files

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.

BWheadshot_BIOSchinstockJ squareJoanne Schinstock earned a BA in journalism from Creighton University and a master in humanities from the University of Dallas. After studying a year abroad focusing on Italian language and culture in Florence, Italy, she began her teaching career as a middle school classroom instructor in language arts. While working at The Highlands School (Irving, Texas), she was the co-chair of the English department and a middle- and upper-school English instructor, teaching classes that included advanced placement language and composition and journalism. The Dallas Catholic Diocese recognized Joanne as a Work of Heart Award recipient, honoring outstanding teachers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Joanne also obtained an adjunct professor of humanities position at Brookhaven College in the School of Arts and Sciences (Farmers Branch, Texas). 

From classroom teaching, her interests in the profession expanded to work in curriculum writing and professional development as a consultant for primary and secondary schools in North America and Manila, Philippines. Subsequently, she worked as a language arts instructor and curriculum coordinator for a 6th–12th grade all-girls charter school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her duties included work with the Tennessee Charter School Association as an advocate for students, parents, and community members engaging in advocacy for disadvantaged students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Joanne took a reprieve from teaching after seven years to give time to her children and husband. She and her husband, Brad, currently reside in Oklahoma with their children. They find joy in forging their family culture in homeschooling in the classical Christian tradition, participating in their church community, and delighting in weekend family outings. Joanne began teaching Writing & Rhetoric at Scholé Academy in 2016.

“Mrs. Schinstock excels at providing my girls with very specific and constructive feedback on their written assignments. She strikes a good balance between challenging and encouraging students.” —Brandi C., Scholé Academy Parent

“She is fantastic in leading the kids to a truly contemplative, classical approach to writing. . . She was also excellent in communicating expectations, goals, and rubrics, as well as giving timely feedback on assignments. . . We love Mrs Schinstock!” —Scholé Academy Parent

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending 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 an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps 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.
To download Zoom:

  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  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.

Please Note: This recording is a sample of Writing & Rhetoric Year 3 with Mrs. Joanne Schinstock.

from Classical Academic Press

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