Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.  Emily Bronte

All About Writing & Rhetoric

The most commonly asked question about ROCK Academy is the Language Arts curriculum, Writing & Rhetoric, published by Classical Academic Press. This program is so new, all levels of the curriculum haven't not even been published yet, but we have found it so successful with ROCK students that we are simply trusting it for the future!

We have personal stories from ROCK families of how Writing & Rhetoric (W&R) has been a curriculum that families can use with struggling writers as well as reaching students who love to write and challenging them to write more interesting essays.

Writing & Rhetoric does not provide placement tests in helping to decide which level to start your child in, so please use these links and resources to best decide which class to place your child - NOT based on age or grade, but rather on ability! We structure the ROCK morning in such a way that all Language Arts classes are during the same hour so that children can go to the most appropriate class for writing, and then can be with their "grade" for Science and History. Our goal is that children will not dread writing, but rather find it to be a way they might not have imagined to express themselves.

Here is an answer from the CAP website:

Q: Where do I place my student in the Writing & Rhetoric series?

A: Placement in Writing & Rhetoric has to do with the student’s current experience in writing. We first suggest looking through the Table of Contents found in each of the Writing & Rhetoric samples available on our website. Reading through both these and the sample lessons will help you determine a good starting level for your student.

If you have a student in 4th–7th grade and are considering Writing & Rhetoric, the initial identifier of placement is to evaluate whether your student can acknowledge the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) in an essay or is comfortable writing six-paragraph essays. If not, we recommend looking at Book 3: Narrative II. Starting here will provide review from the first two books in the series, as well as more age-appropriate material with longer stories and more thoughtful questions in the lessons.

If your student is confidently working through the two skills mentioned above, we would then suggest looking through Book 5: Refutation and Confirmation. In this book, students begin to support a cause or refute it. This is the beginning mark of persuasive writing (pre-thesis work) and helps them to begin research for an idea they will support in an essay.


Click HERE to a special podcast with author, Paul Kortepeter, that addresses this subject in more detail (along with other important notes on the Writing & Rhetoric series. Thank you to Jennifer Dow and Asley Woleben from The Classical Homeschool Podcast for sharing this!






If your child is entering 3rd or 4th grade at ROCK Academy and using W&R for the first time at Level A, using Book 1: Fable, your student should be able to write a complete, logical sentence with a capital letter and end mark. The process of holding a pencil and writing should be fairly easy for your child.

Helpful things to understand Writing & Rhetoric:

HERE is a document which gives a description of what each book covers. Read through the chart to determine if your child is at this level or not.

Also from the CAP website:

Q: What sets the Writing & Rhetoric series apart from other curricula?

A: The following are key features of our series.

  1. Writing & Rhetoric emphasizes whole, interesting stories and excellent literature.
  2. The series carries an underlying priority in experience for the student. Ultimately, students are being taught to enjoy and think about writing. Language and writing are delightful and should be talked about likewise.
  3. Students are able to move smoothly from one book to the next—the progression is layered, graduated, and incremental.
  4. Writing & Rhetoric emphasizes imitation but leaves plenty of room for student imagination. We want to provide a writing pathway while also encouraging the student to approach and explore writing using his or her own creativity.
  5. Writing & Rhetoric is very simple to execute. It is an “open-and-go” text and gives teachers the option of how fast students will move through the program (by using one or two books per year).
  6. Students are critically engaged through a complete story at the levels of word, sentence, and analogy, while simultaneously being engaged in creativity.
  7. Writing and Rhetoric has a rhetorical component in which students use oral presentation and elocution as part of the process of learning to write well. They are taught to hear what they have written, to become their own editor, and to keep in mind that their writing is for an audience. They learn early to write with a target in mind.

HERE is a link to a video of the author Paul Kortepeter, explaining Why Does Writing & Rhetoric Work?

Do I Need to Buy the Teacher Guide?

Yes. Just do it. You won't regret it. Remember, you are your child's 1st teacher and the ROCK Academy tutor is merely getting you ready for the week - you will need to be able to guide and teach your child at home during the other 4 days of the week.

HERE is a link to the Classical Academic Press website and FAQ’s for these and more questions about Writing & Rhetoric.