My daughter is learning to be a writer and we wanted writing curriculum that teaches students how to write well, so we tried the high school level Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers program from Silverdale Press LLC for this product review with The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew.
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[ctt template=”4″ link=”0fTSC” via=”yes” ]We tried the Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers program from Silverdale Press LLC for this review.[/ctt]
Product Review of Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric by Silverdale Press LLC
This is a digital program that comes with the Reader, a Lesson Book, a Workbook, and an Answer Book. All of these are digital products. When I received my four part program as mentioned, it came in the form of four separate PDFs that I was able to download to both my desktop (where I like to use it) and the iPad, where my daughter, Mercedes, likes to use it.
What do they mean by rhetoric? (this definition was given in their lesson book) The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques (Oxford English Dictionary).
Why do we need rhetoric? (from the lesson book) Rhetoric influences others. In everyday life, you will need to influence others. From convincing a college to admit you to
convincing your boss to pay you more money, there will be many times in your life that you need to persuade others. Rhetoric gives you the ability to persuade others to agree with you.
Rhetoric helps you be successful in life – (another portion from the lesson book – there is so much great material to learn from in this program, but I just had to share this) Someone who is skilled at persuasive writing will always have an advantage over someone who is not, regardless of the field. Whether you want to be a scientist or attorney, car salesman or coffee shop owner, being able to write persuasively will help you succeed. You will not only be able to convince others of your ideas and plans, but you will be able to resist when someone is trying to convince you to do something that is not in your best interest.
It is a high school level curriculum full credit course with 36 weeks of lessons. I like that it is scheduled for four days per week, rather than five as we do a homeschool co-op once a week and I tend to choose curriculum that is geared for that. And at 111 pages in the reader, and 235 pages in the lesson book, there is plenty to read and do lessons from. It covers many historical people and interesting facts about them. Some of the people covered are Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Antonin Scalia, The Fowler Brothers, and there are so many more.
Dr. Jill Hummer, Ph.D., is a homeschool mom of four by day; by night (and also by day and online) she teaches as an associate professor in history and political science at Wilson College. So she really understands what us homeschooling parents need and knows what a high school history program would require. She is also the author of the book First Ladies and American Women: In Politics and at Home (University Press of Kansas, 2017). She has written persuasively for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor, The Hill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, and Detroit News. Her writing has
also appeared in the magazine Practical Homeschooling and the journals White House Studies and the Journal of Political Science Education. She has spoken at presidential libraries and homeschool conferences. She has a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia.
Joshua E. Hummer, Esq. (Jill's husband) owns his own law practice, where he writes persuasively every day. His practice centers on representing local and national businesses and non-profits in civil issues. He serves on the board of directors of many philanthropic organizations, including the Child-Safe Center, NW Works, and the Winchester/Frederick County Triad. He also serves on the Seventh District Disciplinary Committee of the Virginia State Bar. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he participated in Moot Court and served on the editorial board for the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology. He studied computer science and speech at BJU, where he debated competitively, winning best speaker for the Novice Division in the NEDA annual debate championship. Josh was homeschooled from the sixth grade through high school. So yeah, he understands what it is like to be homeschooled, and understands the homeschool parent part, plus has so much wisdom and experience to share.
How We Used It
The lesson book has this nice little snippet that says that I as the Parent do not need to do any instruction, except for on the essays to give feedback on the student's written work.
If parents need to submit grades for state requirements, they provide a point guide and give parents instruction for reviewing and grading the student's work. I am not required to do any of that here in Wisconsin, so I let her do this program on her own, except the feedback on the essays. I do like to read it to teach myself because there is so much valuable information, but I am not doing the homework.
Mercedes would get out the iPad and look at the Lesson to see what was expected of her and what needed to be done. The lesson book is very descriptive. It tells what the expected learning outcome should be for the lesson and what should be done on days 1,2,3, and 4 for the week. But not only that! The 235 page lesson book is a textbook! It teaches lessons.
I think we get into a mindset that lesson books are more like a lesson planner and just tell us what is to be done for the week, but do not overlook it here! There is so much to learn from. I as a blog writer have learned so much about persuasive writing from reading parts of this lesson book.
The lesson book would refer her to do something in her workbook.
Often the workbook would have writing prompts or ask questions about what was learned or get her to brainstorm.
Often, the lesson book would refer to a famous person's speech in the reader. She would pull up the reader and read that and an essay would usually be based on that topic.
The answer book was very helpful to me as a homeschool parent who has not been “taught” to teach. It gives guidance and encouraged me to use encouraging words, especially when giving constructive criticism. That lesson is so important and can carry over to all of my homeschooling for the next 16 or more years (my youngest is not yet two years old).
We worked through five lessons during the short time of this review, but in looking over the rest of the material for the entire year it looks like we will get to learn about reading sources effectively, learn note taking, how to organize notes, make appeals, incorrect punctuation, moving past rejection, and so much more.
I think it was good, but the topics to write essays about are not as interesting to me because I am more interested in fiction and fantasy writing. This would be a really cool program if it was fantasy or fiction based.
I did like the first parts of the lessons (from the lesson book) where they would teach you something.
I think this is an amazing program that is very well thought out and caters to me as a homeschool parent and to my homeschool child. I like that they not only was Mercedes learning writing techniques, but she was also learning about how persuasive writing and rhetoric applies to her daily life and can help her become a great speaker, as well as a great writer. I also love all the history she learned while doing this program, it's like I am getting Language Arts and History in one package.
I am kind of old-fashioned and prefer to have consummable workbooks for my children to work from than to have it be in digital form, so I personally like to take it to a local printing business and have them print the 202 pages in the workbook for me and bind them. A homeschool parent could have their child answer questions in their mind or in a paper notebook and write the essays on the computer to not go through all that expense or paper though.
It would be nice to see this offered in print as well as PDF formats in the future and to be able to purchase the four different parts of the program in the format you want if a parent just wanted one or two of the four components to be digital, for example.
I know the price may seem high to some families, but when you remember that this is a full-credit high school course with everything you need included and the fact that you could use it for more than one child in your home, plus the importance of having your child learn to be persuasive in life and help others to come to his/her side of an argument or decision, the value of this program truly does outweigh the cost.
How To Find Them:
- Website: https://www.silverdalepress.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SilverdalePress/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/silverdalepress
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/silverdalepress/
The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew has a great team of homeschool parents using and reviewing other products from Silverdale Press LLC, including this one and The White House Holidays Unit Studies so click the banner below to see all the reviews:
Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to sharing more great curriculum reviews throughout the coming year.
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