Note: For individual product support such as audio files, suggested schedules, and other resources, please see the Support tab on the page of that specific product.
Q: Do you ship internationally?
A: We are exploring more options for international shipping and distribution, as we want to continue to meet the needs of our customers outside the United States and overseas. In the meantime, we have several suggestions that may help you save on shipping costs.
For customers in Canada: We currently work with two distributors in Canada. Tree of Life School & Book Service is located in New Brunswick and Classical Education Books is located in British Columbia.
For customers worldwide: Book Depository carries a variety of our titles and ships free internationally.
You are also welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for custom shipping quotes. We carry a limited stock at our office but can acquire inventory from our fulfillment center and would be happy to assist you as best we can!
Q: I made an error on an order I just placed. What should I do?
A: Call our office as soon as possible at 717-730-0711, ext. 01, with your order number, and we can adjust the order for you over the phone. You may also email us at email@example.com. Please provide your order number and a phone number to contact you.
Q: Can I buy replacement discs?
A: Yes! We sell replacement CDs for $5.95 and DVDs for $7.95. Please contact us at 717-730-0711, ext. 01, to order a replacement disc.
Q: Do you have streaming or download options available for CDs or DVDs?
A: At this time, we do not have this option for all of our products. However, we hope to have this option available for our customers in spring 2017. Please check back!
Q: How can I return items?
A: We hope all of our customers will be satisfied with their orders, and we would be happy to provide you with product support and answer any questions you may have as you use our programs. If you would still like to return items from your order, we accept returns up to 60 days after the order is placed, as long as the items are still in new condition (no scuffs or marks on the cover, bent pages, creased corners, etc.) Please note: We do not accept returns of the flashcard games if the packaging has been opened.
Returns should be shipped to our fulfillment center:
Maple Logistics for CAP
60 Grumbacher Rd
York, PA 17406
Please be sure to pack your items securely and include a copy of your order paperwork.
Q: Do your curriculum programs work well for students with learning challenges?
Q: Where should I place my student?
A: We offer three Latin series: Song School Latin (1st–3rd grade), Latin for Children (3rd–7th grade), and Latin Alive! (7th grade and up). The first book of each series is designed to serve as an entry point for students with no previous Latin experience, enabling students of all ages to begin their Latin studies with a curriculum written and designed for their age level.
Q: Why learn Latin? Isn’t it a dead language?
A: Well, Latin isn’t dead after all. It lives on through those of us who speak English, as half of our English words are derived from Latin. For those who speak French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, or Portuguese (the five Romance languages), 90 percent of the vocabulary comes from Latin. These Romance languages are actually forms of Latin that have evolved over the centuries in various regions with some interaction from other local tongues. As you might guess, studying Latin is fantastic preparation for learning and becoming fluent in one or more Romance languages!
There are many other good reasons to study Latin:
- Studying Latin prepares students to master English. Students of Latin typically score the highest on tests on English vocabulary!
- Latin prepares students for several important professions that are steeped in Latin or English words derived from Latin. These include law, medicine, science, music, theology, philosophy, and literature.
- Latin enables students to have improved access to English literature prior to 1950, which is replete with references and citations in Latin. In addition, the history of art and architecture is filled with Latin, and monuments and art all over the world are frequently graced with Latin.
- Latin enables students to more fully understand and appreciate the Roman Empire, which has had profound and continuing effects on Western civilization.
- Latin enables students to enjoy some of the most influential literature the world—in the original language. Learning Latin well enough to read original Latin works is an attainable skill and imparts great satisfaction and enjoyment.
- The study of Latin is an ongoing practice in linguistic puzzle-solving that generally helps students to become close and careful readers and writers. Many believe it also generally hones the mental faculties. When one well-known cancer researcher, Dr. Charles Zubrod, was asked what had best prepared him for a life of medical research, he responded: “Studying Latin and Greek as a child.”
As you can see, studying Latin is a way of doing advance study in several subject areas simultaneously. This is why we regard it as a master subject—like a tool, it enables one to master other things, other subjects. It is no wonder that it has been a required subject in schools for centuries.
Q: But I don't know Latin myself. How can I teach it?
A: Many homeschool parents have asked themselves the same question and have found that with the user-friendly programs we’ve designed, it’s not so hard after all. Each of the books in our series (Song School Latin, Latin for Children, and Latin Alive!) includes teaching DVDs with lessons that correspond to the weekly chapter in the student book and feature clear grammatical explanations. We also offer an Ask the Magister (teacher) resource where parents and students can submit questions to our authors/teachers.
For more information on teaching Latin, we invite you to check out Ed Snapshot’s blog post, “How Can I Teach Latin When I Don’t Know It Myself?”
Q: Do you use classical or ecclesiastical pronunciation? What is the difference?
A. We have provided both pronunciation options in Song School Latin and Latin for Children, although we recommend using classical pronunciation. Classical pronunciation attempts to follow the way the Romans spoke Latin (an older dialect) and is the most widely used in academic settings. If your student goes on to study Latin in high school or college, he or she will only encounter classical pronunciation. Ecclesiastical pronunciation follows the way Latin pronunciation evolved within the Christian Church during the Middle Ages, particularly within the Roman Catholic Church, and is used in all choral Latin music.
There are a few differences in pronunciation. The letter “v” makes the sound of a “w” in classical pronunciation but retains a normal “v” sound in ecclesiastical. We recommend choosing one pronunciation to use daily, but exposure to the other can be very useful as well. Our DVDs and Chant CDs for Song School Latin and Latin for Children feature both pronunciations; Latin Alive! is taught exclusively in the classical pronunciation.
Q: What is a chant CD?
A: Chant CDs, included with our Song School Latin and Latin for Children DVD sets, are audio CDs that contain a Latin teacher and his/her students pronouncing and rhythmically repeating each grammar chart and vocabulary word in the student book, first saying the Latin word, and then the English equivalent. A chant CD is an incredible tool to use for fun memorization. Take it anywhere you go!
Q: Why should children as young as 1st grade study Latin?
A: Children are widely recognized as being able to learn language faster and better than adults. This undoubtedly has to do with the way the human brain develops—the brain acquires language best and most quickly during childhood. Children can memorize vocabulary quickly, especially with repetition and all the more so when it is set to songs and chants. Children can also readily master the rudiments of grammar when it is taught clearly, incrementally, and combined with generous reading. Our Song School Latin curriculum (1st–3rd grade) is designed as a light introduction to Latin for young learners, while our Latin for Children series (3rd/4th grade and up) teaches students 720 words and the rudiments of grammar that will launch them into the mastery of Latin, English, and other languages they choose to study.
Q: Can I purchase additional student editions without the CD for my other students/children?
A: Unfortunately, no. Because we print such large quantities of the student edition with the CD included, we would actually have to charge more for a version without a CD if we did a small print run.
Q: How much time should I spend on Latin per week at this level?
A: We recommend spending 2 days a week per chapter, approximately 20–25 minutes each day. Younger students may need a third day to ensure mastery of skills. A detailed suggested schedule can be found here.
Q: Can older students use/profit from Latin for Children?
A: Absolutely. Often older students find the incremental, logical, and memory-oriented approach of Latin for Children to be “right up their alley,” so to speak. This is true even more frequently when:
- The teacher isn’t as familiar with the language (e.g., a homeschool parent without any previous training in Latin)
- When the student either struggles with or is intimidated by learning a new language.
- When the student simply doesn’t want to move at the faster pace of most high school Latin programs.
- When the student prefers a memory-oriented approach to the more inductive, reading-oriented approach of most secondary-level curricula.
Q: Can younger students use Latin for Children?
A: We have had a few instances of second graders using Latin for Children, but generally we do not recommend using it in full with younger students, as the grammar concepts can be very difficult to learn at their age. Song School Latin is a wonderful and fun resource for the K/1st–2nd grade range. However, for families who prefer to use just one curriculum program, there are many great ways of incorporating younger students and siblings into Latin studies. They are fantastic oral learners and can pick up the vocabulary chants with great ease. They will love watching the DVDs and listening to the Chant CDs with their older siblings. Moms tell us regularly about their three-year-olds joining in!
Q: Can my child receive language credit for completing Latin for Children?
A: Academic credit is usually a concern for students in grades 9–12, as colleges only evaluate high school transcripts. However, transferring a student into a school (or from one school to another) in any grade can also raise concerns about credit. Latin for Children (LFC) will generally satisfy foreign language requirements for any student in grades 3–8. In some cases, LFC may even satisfy high school requirements. We consider each book (typically completed over the course of a year) to be one half of a high school language credit. Students who complete two LFC books in a year could count their work as one full high school credit.
For a complete high school level credit of Latin, we recommend teachers and parents consider using the Latin Alive! curriculum.
Q: Do I need the Answer Key if I buy the Primer?
A: The short answer is yes, as the answers do not appear in the student book. If you are not confident enough to be able to correct exercises and papers quickly and accurately on your own, we highly recommend purchasing the Answer Key. If you are willing and able to spend time learning alongside your students and consulting the Primer, you may not need the Answer Key.
Q: How and when should we use the History Readers?
A: It would certainly be overwhelming for teachers to fit all thirty-two stories in alongside weekly lessons, grammar practice, and quizzes.* It would be wise to look through the stories in advance and decide which ones you will incorporate in the classroom. Some grammar lessons might warrant more practice than others, and an added story to translate would be helpful. Review chapters are often a good time to vary lesson plans by adding a story that would review all the recent grammar topics. You might also speak with your history teacher to see which stories would best enhance the history lessons planned for the year.
If you choose not to use all thirty-two stories in class, it does not mean that the remaining ones are “wasted.” Consider offering them to the ambitious students who are always the first to finish. Extra stories also can provide a great opportunity for extra-credit assignments. Perhaps students can later share their translations with their fellow classmates. However you decide to incorporate the readers into your lesson plans, keep in mind that the more regularly you use them, the more beneficial they will be. Exercising your mind is in many ways like exercising your muscles. The more you exercise, the more you improve, and the easier the routine becomes.
*Note: We recommend that students studying their first year of Latin with LFC wait to begin the History Reader until about halfway through the year, in order to gain some initial exposure to Latin grammar.
Q: Can I use the History Readers if my student has not used LFC?
A: The History Readers were initially designed as a supplement to the Latin for Children series.* As such, each reader incorporates the grammar and much of the vocabulary taught in the correlating chapters of the Primer with which it is paired. However, the readers were also designed to be flexible enough to be used by students of any Latin program. The table of contents lists the grammar assumed for each story, so parents and teachers will know which stories are most appropriate for their students. Each story has its own glossary and set of notes to guide readers through their translation. While these individual glossaries do assume some familiarity with the LFC lessons, there is a comprehensive glossary in the back of each reader that lists every word used, enabling students who have not used LFC to have immediate access to all the vocabulary they will need for the readers.
These stories were written by an experienced Latin teacher who uses LFC in her classroom, and many of the readings have been translated by her students to ensure that they are at an appropriate level. There is one caveat, however: These stories were not designed for easy reading, but rather to challenge the Latin skills acquired by the students. Students should not be expected to sit down with a History Reader and read it as though they were reading Charlotte’s Web or another English book. Students will need to take some time to analyze and translate each sentence. Latin is like a linguistic jigsaw puzzle. Each piece must be looked at carefully to see how it best fits within the puzzle. Sometimes it might take a couple of tries to see how the pieces fit. Once finished, however, you should end with a wonderful picture of history and a greater appreciation for the skills your Latin studies have developed.
*Note: We recommend that students studying their first year of Latin with LFC wait to begin the History Reader until about halfway through the year, in order to gain some initial exposure to Latin grammar.
Q: Does the Activity Book follow the LFC series?
A: Yes. The Activity Books follow chapter by chapter with the LFC Primers, reviewing each week’s vocabulary and grammar with crosswords, mazes, and classroom games.
Note: Unlike the History Readers, the Activity Books are not well suited to be used with another curriculum.
Q: I'm moving from another curriculum to LFC. What book should I start with?
A: Generally, if you’ve completed at least one book from another curriculum you may be able to start with our Latin for Children Primer B. However, we recommend that you review that our LFC Primer A for 4 to 6 weeks to ensure a smooth transition.
Q: What curriculum do you recommend for students who have completed LFC?
A: Our Latin Alive! series is a three-year curriculum for middle school and high school students and a wonderful next step for Latin for Children graduates. If you choose to look into another program, we recommend a reading-based program such as the Oxford Latin series, Ecce Romani series, or the Cambridge Latin series.
Q: Where do I start if I have used Memoria Press’ Latina Christiana or Prima Latina?
A: Because of the different approach in Latin for Children, we suggest starting with Primer A. This will serve as a review for your student as well as an opportunity for them to adjust to the pedagogy of the Latin for Children series.
If your student has gone through Prima Latina, Latin for Children Primer A is still a great place to jump in. Prima Latina is a lighter introduction to Latin, which will benefit your student as they are introduced to more of the grammar and vocabulary in the Latin for Children series.
Q: How does Latin for Children compare with Memoria Press' Latina Christiana?
A: Latina Christiana is a competing product that we esteem greatly. The series has strong text, but offers a different aim and approach. Our comparison and contrast is described below.
- Unlike LC, LFC has the grammar instructions right in the student book, taught at the student’s level, which we believe provides the following advantages:
a.) It encourages the student to read and re-read the explanations, which encourages them to better learn and take ownership over the grammar concepts for themselves. This is not as as likely when the grammar instructions are in the margins of the teacher’s manual.
b.) It makes extensive teacher’s guide–type materials unnecessary.
c.) It makes classical school parents (who wouldn’t normally have a teacher’s guide) better able to help their children with their homework in a conventional school environment.
- LFC is creative, engaging, and beautifully designed.
- LFC is the only published series that offers a complete Latin grammar progression from beginning to end and is authored by a qualified teacher.
- LFC is better integrated with a Veritas–style, chronological history program. In fact, our corresponding History Readers help students to drill and review both their history facts and their Latin translation skills at the same time.
- The vocabulary of LFC has been carefully researched using frequency lists. We believe that if students are going to invest this level of effort into memorizing Latin words, this vocabulary ought to all be, as much as possible, among the most important words in the language.
- LFC better integrates with an English grammar class, especially if they are using Shurley Grammar.
|Latina Christiana||Latin For Children|
|Volumes||2 (not including Prima Latina)||3 (Primers A, B, and C)|
|Vocabulary||400 words||720 words|
|Reference||Derivatives; basic charts||Derivatives for every Latin word; extensive reference charts|
|Pronunciation||Ecclesiastical only||Both classical and ecclesiastical pronunciation options|
Q: Can my student receive high school credit for Latin Alive?
A: Yes! We consider each book in the Latin Alive! series to be the equivalent of one full high school credit.
Q: My students have completed LFC Primers A and B. Can they jump into Latin Alive?
A. We typically recommend that younger students follow one of two tracks, depending on their academic level:
- Complete all three Primers (Levels A–C), then jump straight to Latin Alive! Book 2.
- Complete Latin for Children Primers A and B, then move into Latin Alive! Book 1.
Q: How independent is Latin Alive?
A: Latin Alive! can be as independent as you’d like it to be. The DVDs are excellent resources for instruction and teaching, while the Teacher’s Edition has both the answers to the exercises in the student book and supplemental teaching points that you can share with students. We have a variety of customers who use the Teacher’s Edition either frequently alongside their student(s) or just to double check their student’s answers.
Q: I think I found an error in my book. How can I check?
A: No matter how many sets of expert eyes we have on a project, editing a foreign language book is a complicated process. If you think you found an error, or are using an older edition, we have complete errata sheets for Latin Alive! Book 1 and Book 2 available on the respective product pages, under the Support tab. These PDFs list the edits we have made for recent reprints for both the Student and Teacher’s Editions.
Q: How does Latin Alive compare with Henle Latin?
A: We hold the Henle Latin curriculum in high regard. The series is a strong upper-school Latin curriculum, but differs in some ways from the aim and approach of our Latin Alive series. For an in-depth, chapter-by-chapter comparison, please see our PDF spreadsheet.
For a teacher’s perspective on switching from Henle to Latin Alive, you may find this blog post helpful.
Q: We want to switch from Henle Year 1 to Latin Alive. Where should we start?
A: Our Latin Alive! authors generally recommend that students who have completed Henle Year 1 begin with Latin Alive! Book 2, as long as they feel confident with 1st/2nd declensions and 1st/2nd conjugations. Book 2 will start with a brief review of Book 1. Before making a decision, we encourage you to review the samples we have online for Books 1 and 2, which include the full table of contents.
Q: When should my student take the National Latin Exam?
A: Latin Alive! generally prepares for the National Latin Exam (NLE) at each level (for instance, Latin Alive! Book 1 would help prepare students for the NLE Level 1). The NLE website provides a syllabus for material each exam will cover; we recommend working through the student book and also supplementing with additional resources to ensure solid preparation for all skills that will be on the exam.
Q: How does the Reader fit into the series?
A: The Latin Alive! Reader is designed to serve as Book 4 in this series, particularly for students who are seeking more in-depth translation work. We recommend that students use it after they have Books 1–3, though it can also be used alongside Book 3.
Q: Do you sell the chant CDs separately?
A: We do not currently have this option available on our website, but if you call our office, we would be happy to accommodate you.
Q: Do I need to pay for Headventure Land?
A: Headventure Land has several features that are free and accessible to anyone. We have recently developed full zones for Song School Latin 1, Latin for Children A, and Latin for Children B, which contain additional puzzles, games, and activities corresponding to each chapter and are accessible by purchasing the subscription. The subscription costs $19.95 and will last one calendar year from the date of activation. For just $1.66 per month, your student will have access to excellent material that will complement their Latin lessons and help make practicing their skills fun and enjoyable!
Q: Do I have to provide an email address?
A: Yes. A unique email address is required for each student. This is the only way to create separate logins for multiple subscriptions and enables each student to track individual progress and scores. A parent’s email address can be used for one student. Additional students will require different email addresses.
Q: How do I add a second subscription later at the discount rate?
A: Currently we can only process additional Headventure Land subscriptions manually. Please call our office at 866-730-0711.
Q: How do I renew my Headventure Land account?
A: Currently we can only process Headventure Land renewals manually. Please call our office at 866-730-0711.
Q: Can I activate my Headventure Land account at any time?
A: Yes. Once you have purchased a subscription, you will be automatically directed to a web page to fill out a form for the activation. If you choose to complete this form at a later time, it can be found through your dashboard—accessible by hovering over the person emblem at the top right of your screen.
Q: I have multiple student accounts. How do I access them individually?
A: If you are signed in to the Classical Academic Press website, hover over the person emblem at the top right and click “Dashboard.” Then click “Subscriptions” in the drop-down menu. If a Headventure Land account is associated with your email address, it will be found here.
To switch between accounts and sign in under another student’s subscription, sign out by hovering over the person emblem at the top right of the page. Then hover over the person emblem once more and select “Sign In.” This will allow you to enter your other student’s email and password. Once logged in, follow the instructions above to access the subscription.
Q: Why teach Spanish in elementary school?
A: Students in upper elementary are considered to be in the grammar stage of the trivium, the model of a K–12 classical education. Students in the grammar stage are excellent at memorization and love to learn new things, and therefore are extremely gifted at learning a new language.
Q: What makes Spanish for Children different from other curriculum?
A: The Spanish for Children books are primarily grammar textbooks, with students learning to use the vocabulary they memorize mainly as a function of learning sentence structure. Most Spanish curricula have a vocabulary-first approach, in which students are asked to memorize vocabulary and then given examples of how it is used, with a minimum of explanation. Students then practice repeating sentences and phrases using formulas given by the book. This is a much more “conversational” or “immersion” approach, and students learn grammar little by little as they go along, mostly by deducing it from examples or brief explanations.
Our goal with the Spanish for Children series is to teach students “why.” We focus on the rules that govern the language and spend a large amount of time comparing Spanish and English grammar. In many ways, the series doesn’t teach just Spanish—it teaches how to go about learning a language in general. This is different from the “scenario-focused” approach of many other textbooks, where students learn vocabulary that relates to specific subjects and then learn to discuss those subjects. While students using Spanish for Children do memorize vocabulary each week, using groups of related words to talk about various subjects and scenarios is “the icing on the cake”— the “cake” being an understanding of the patterns of the Spanish language, and knowing which words belong where and why.
Q: Can a student study Spanish and Latin at the same time?
A: Because we offer several language courses for the same age range, we often have parents and teachers asking if it is wise to study two simultaneously. This is a very personal decision, and the answer is different for each family, depending on many factors. We do certainly have families that study both languages, and they have chosen to make that one of their most important priorities, especially in terms of the time they devote to it. We applaud and support this, and they are doing well! For some families and students though, just choosing one language is a better choice, and families can choose the language they study based on their priorities, interest, and even location.
Learning multiple languages at the same time can cause some confusion between them, but on the other hand, this is your child’s best time to learn! It is your decision, and we support both choices. Studying any language at the elementary level is a fantastic decision!
Q: What dialect does your program teach?
A: Spanish for Children teaches the Mexican/Central and South American pronunciation.
Q: Is there a DVD set for Song School Greek?
A: We do not have a DVD set for Song School Greek yet, due to our full production schedule, but we hope to add this piece in the future. Since learning Greek is much different from learning Spanish or Latin, we did create a DVD for parents/teachers (in the back of the Song School Greek Teacher’s Edition). This DVD features the pronunciation and a breakdown of the root words to help you teach your student(s).
Q: Is there a Modern Greek option?
A: Song School Greek primarily teaches Koine pronunciation. However, the Song School Greek Teacher’s Edition includes notes on Modern Greek pronunciation, and the Song School Greek CD includes tracks for the modern pronunciation. Greek for Children (both Primer A and future books in this series) and the Greek Alphabet Code Cracker teach Koine pronunciation exclusively.
Q: What is the recommended sequence for CAP’s logic books?
A: Currently, Classical Academic Press has four logic texts available for students in 7th grade and up. Each is unique and focuses on a particular skill. Determining the sequence of logic texts can be tailored to your student.
We view logic as both an art form and a scientific method. If your student has not yet had any logic experience, we recommend first starting with the art form, which is covered in The Art of Argument. This text focuses on the inductive side of logic, helping students to identify both good and bad reasoning. (To read more about The Art of Argument, please click here.)
The natural question that follows this text is: “OK, now I know what not to write in an essay or say in a speech. How do I then construct a good argument without using a fallacy incorrectly?” This is where the sequence can be altered, based on the desired outcome of your student’s logic study.
The first option is to provide a formal study of logic by moving into The Discovery of Deduction, which focuses on the deductive portion of logic, or the scientific and formulaic side. (To read more about The Discovery of Deduction, please click here.) By completing both The Art of Argument and The Discovery of Deduction texts in this order, students are then ready to put logic “back together” in terms of both an art and a science as they begin their foray into rhetoric with The Argument Builder.
The Argument Builder is considered a pre-rhetoric text and assumes the student has an understanding of and foundation in logic. It enables the student to build compelling, persuasive arguments on his or her own. (To read more about The Argument Builder, please click here.)
The second option is to move from The Art of Argument directly into The Argument Builder. This sequence provides a study of argumentation, with the students first studying poor or fragmented arguments in The Art of Argument, and then crafting their own persuasive essays in The Argument Builder. This is in contrast to The Discovery of Deduction, in which students learn formal forms of arguments, and instead focuses on studying the larger picture of good arguing. This second option is recommended for students who need to strengthen their writing skills and works well as a stepping stool into rhetoric.
Q: Where does Everyday Debate and Discussion fall in this sequence?
A: Everyday Debate and Discussion is designed to serve either as a bridge for students in 8th grade and above who are moving from logic to rhetoric, or as an upper-level logic or rhetoric/companion text. While previous study of logic is not a prerequisite—the Teacher’s Edition includes a “crash course” in logic to reference as needed—students who have completed our logic textbooks, particularly The Art of Argument, will find they progress more quickly and smoothly through Everyday Debate.
Q: What if my students have already completed The Fallacy Detective and/or The Thinking Toolbox?
A: For students who have already received an introduction to logic through one or both of these programs, we recommend starting with The Discovery of Deduction or The Argument Builder, depending on which sequence you choose to follow (see above question). However, it is beneficial to note that The Art of Argument, our introductory logic text, is considered a full logic course and may still be appropriate if your student needs a deeper review of the basics.
Q: Art of "Argument"?! Why would I want to teach my kids to argue?
A: By “argument,” we do not mean an emotional quarrel or a petty squabble, which may be the first thing that comes to the mind of many when they hear the word. By “argument” we mean a reasoned case for or against a point of view that includes reasons for or against it… and we do think that there is a very important art to this particular practice of persuasion. The Art of Argument is an attempt to introduce students to this art. Note that The Art of Argument is only the first introduction to this art, and that its primary focus is on sharpening their critical thinking skills when evaluating the arguments of others.
Q: What is formal logic?
A: Formal logic is the study of the types reasoning processes that depend primarily on the form or structure of the argument to determine its validity. Formal logic is like math in this regard; if you add two to two, you should always get the answer 4. Similarly, if you posit that, “All men are mortal,” and that, “Socrates is a man,” the conclusion, that “Socrates is a mortal,” should be something of a no-brainer. Formal logic is thus like math in that it is primarily about understanding these sorts of black-and-white, no shades of grey, binary system, and types of reasoning. Also like math, formal logic generally tends to deal with deductive reasoning.
Q: What is informal logic?
A: Informal logic is the study of everyday types of reasoning. It’s the logic of the give-and-take, shades of grey that is the real-world marketplace of ideas. It also, by extension, tends to give more focus to inductive reasoning, the scientific method, and to the boundary areas where logic tends to segue into rhetoric.
Q: How do you recommend assessing students using the Argument Builder text?
A: We would recommend that people using Argument Builder do the exercises at the end of the chapter and also do the big debate at the end of the book. You could evaluate students on their completion of the exercises. These could also be homework grades. You will also notice that every couple of chapters, there are cumulative review exercises. You could use these cumulative review exercises as tests and the debate on uniforms at the end as a test. If you would like some more assignments to grade along the way, consider having students write a persuasive essay at the end of every two chapters using all of the common topics discussed thus far. Some educators have also assigned students to write persuasive essays using the common topics on subjects such as friendship, the Loch Ness Monster, and gun control.
Q: What exactly are the Progymnasmata?
A. The progymnasmata are an ancient method for teaching composition that are effective, delightful, and have never grown old. Only four “progym” handbooks survived the ancient world. The most influential was by Aphthonius, a teacher of rhetoric from the Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire. His handbook forms the backbone of the Writing & Rhetoric series. Progymnasmata means “preliminary exercises” or, in other words, the exercises that help prepare students for rhetoric—persuasive writing and speaking. The beauty of these exercises is that they gradually increase in difficulty from simple storytelling (Fable) to inspiring essays in argumentation (Thesis). They’re like stepping stones across the difficult waters of writing, and they cover all the modes of discourse along the way: narration, description, exposition, and argumentation.
Q: How do the Progymnasmata apply to contemporary students? (Video)
A. Paul Kortepeter, author of the best-selling Writing & Rhetoric series, explains why this ancient system works for the contemporary student.
Q: Why Writing & Rhetoric? (Video)
A. Author Paul Kortepeter explains why he felt compelled to write this series.
Q: Why Rhetoric? (Video)
A. Author Paul Kortepeter explains why the study of rhetoric is essential for students.
Q: Why does Writing & Rhetoric work? (Video)
A. Author Paul Kortepeter explains why this series works so well for today’s students.
Q: Who is Writing & Rhetoric for? (Video)
A. Author Paul Kortepeter explains which students will benefit from this series.
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.
Q: When will the rest of the series be available?
A: The Writing & Rhetoric series is currently on a continual release. Classical Academic Press has committed to release a year’s worth of curriculum until the series is complete.
Q: What sets the Writing & Rhetoric series apart from other curricula?
A: The following are key features of our series.
- Writing & Rhetoric emphasizes whole, interesting stories and excellent literature.
- 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.
- Students are able to move smoothly from one book to the next—the progression is layered, graduated, and incremental.
- 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.
- 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).
- Students are critically engaged through a complete story at the levels of word, sentence, and analogy, while simultaneously being engaged in creativity.
- 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.
Q: Is there a historical cycle within the Writing & Rhetoric series?
A: We currently have the following defined historical timeline.
- Fable and Narrative I: Greek and early Roman times
- Narrative II: Late Roman Empire
- Chreia & Proverb: Middle Ages
- Refutation & Confirmation: experience of Colonial America
- Commonplace: late colonial America, the American Revolution, and the Federalist period
- Encomium & Vituperation: Civil War era and the period of westward expansion that took place in nineteenth-century American history
The purpose of this progression is to provide rich content that helps timeline-based schools or homeschoolers integrate history with the language arts. As one discipline reinforces the other, students will retain a powerful impression of the periods of history they study.
Q: Are there placement tests available for Writing & Rhetoric?
A: Currently we do not provide placement tests. We encourage parents to download and print the sample chapters of the textbooks to assist in determining placement.
Q: What is the difference between the Writing & Rhetoric: Thesis books and a senior thesis (typically completed as a senior)?
A: While we use the word “thesis” in the titles of Writing & Rhetoric Books 10 and 11 (forthcoming), the topic will be covered as a general introduction to the idea of writing a thesis. Writing & Rhetoric: Thesis will offer an introduction to the idea; an in-depth senior thesis course taken during the student’s final year of high school would be a more sophisticated and developed study, intended to follow at least a year of training in formal rhetoric. W&R: Thesis is a seed; a senior thesis is a tree. W&R: Thesis introduces the idea of a thesis and how it works; a senior thesis would be an actual, real-world application of the idea in the field of scholarship.
*Note: This series is in progress, with Books 9 and 10 publishing this year.
W&R: Thesis will introduce students to the basics of a thesis in 7th–9th grade and will be a culminating study of the series (although Book 12: Mock Trial will technically be the last book). W&R Thesis will incorporate the preceding skills learned throughout the series and will essentially show students how to put forth a proposition or thesis, which they will then argue for using the skills of the progym. These two books will generally introduce the concept of developing a thesis in any given situation and serve as an introduction to the idea of writing a thesis. The W&R thesis might involve a student writing a two-page argument involving a position or thesis (thesis in Greek means to “put forward”). W&R Thesis is therefore really a “thesis” with a very small “t,” while a senior thesis is a large project and paper.
Q: What is the Extra Practice & Assessments PDF?
A: The PDF is an optional companion piece, intended for students who would benefit from extra practice beyond the exercises already included in the student edition. The PDF includes the following components for each chapter: additional practice sheets, fable sentences to analyze, a quiz, and an additional Lesson to Enjoy featuring either a fable or a poem (whichever the corresponding lesson in the student text did not.)
Q: What is the recommended grade level for Well-Ordered Language?
A: This series is recommended for students in 3rd or 4th grade and will consist of 4 levels total, taking students up to 6th or 7th grade. Older students may also benefit from working through the series.
Q: When will the rest of the books be available?
A: Well-Ordered Language will consist of 4 levels total (2 one-semester books per level). We will continue to publish 1 level per year until the series is complete: Book 2A releasing spring 2017 and 2B releasing fall 2017; Book 3A releasing spring 2018 and 3B releasing fall 2018; and Book 4A releasing spring 2019 and 4B releasing fall 2019. Each level is piloted by 14 Hillsdale Barney Charter Schools and several homeschool co-ops one year ahead of public release.
Q: My student has used other grammar curricula. Can we start partway through WOL?
A: Though we do recommend starting this program from the beginning, if your student is very comfortable with the eight parts of speech and their functions, you should be able to move directly into Level 2A. We recommend reviewing the table of contents and having your student work through some of the exercises provided in the free online sample to determine if moving ahead will be the best fit. To ease transitions between curricula, we also suggest allowing extra time to help students grow comfortable with the choral analysis/marking system of WOL. The first few chapters of WOL 2A offer review in this area, or you could also consider using the WOL 1A and 1B student editions for an in-depth review of the grammar the student has already learned. Your student may breeze through the first books, or you may find that WOL covers some concepts more deeply and comprehensively and that your student benefits from working through these chapters at a slower pace.
Q: How does Well-Ordered Language compare with other grammar curricula?
A: Our Well-Ordered Language series features several unique elements that combine to help cultivate a child’s natural wonder and enjoyment of language.
- Marking: This precursor to diagramming involves learning and labeling the parts of the sentence in a way that will reinforce grammatical understanding and help students see how their analysis of the sentence connects to the grammatical definitions they learn. By first learning the marking process, students are better prepared to begin diagramming in Level 2. In addition, through the approach of WOL students can not only identify what the role of each word is but also explain why it functions as it does and how it relates to other words.
- Narrative: Each chapter of the student edition contains a running narrative that follows the adventures of the characters on the front cover. This narrative component enables students to engage with the story and see examples of grammar being used in “real text.”
- Literature: Similarly, samples taken from classic children’s literature and poetry show how grammar has been used effectively over the years in all types of writing. Because WOL students understand grammar as simple and clear, they are better prepared to apply that understanding to their own writing, the reading of complex texts—such as poetry, scripture, and novels—and the study of both ancient and modern foreign languages, such as Latin or Spanish.
Q: Can I start with the New Testament books?
A: Yes! You can start with God’s Great Covenant: New Testament 1 without working through the Old Testament texts. We recommend starting the New Testament books in grades 4–6.
Q: Is there a Timeline and Map Set for the New Testament books?
A: A New Testament Timeline and Map Set is currently in production. Please check back in 2017 for more information on its availability!
Q: What is the theological view from which the God’s Great Covenant Series is written?
A: The books are written from a covenantal, reformed perspective, but with a non-dogmatic tone.