Thursday, June 21, 2018

Persuasive Writing for High School - A Homeschool Curriculum Review

Creating a love for writing for children can be challenging and finding a good writing curriculum can be even more challenging especially for a teen. Did I mention a strong-willed teen? Fortunately, she likes to write, however, she enjoys free writing not so much structured writing.  I was both happy and nervous about reviewing Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers by Silverdale Press LLC. I was happy because she would have a solid writing curriculum that would teach her some writing structure and I was nervous because I didn't want this to change her love for writing in a negative way and because in the past most writing curriculum we tried was very parent-prep intensive. I didn't know what to expect going into this but what I did know was that making sure my high school student learn to write well required me to choose a curriculum that teaches that, so here we are.

Silverdale Press LLC

Was founded by homeschooling parents Joshua and Jill Hummer.  They are homeschooling four children and together have a strong background in history and law.

What we Received 

We received a digital download for 4 books.  
  • Lesson Book (235 Pages)
  • Workbook (consumable, 202 pages)
  • Reader (111 pages)
  • Answer Key (68 pages)
This is everything you will need to successfully complete a 36-week homeschool year.

About the Curriculum and How we Used it

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers is a digital product.  You can either print everything out at once, print as needed, or don't print at all and just use a spiral or notebook paper.  We did options 2 and 3 depending on the assignment.   I will explain more of that in a bit.  This is a full 36-week language arts curriculum for kids in grades 9-12 (ages 14-18) and can be used for a high school credit in language arts.  Your child will learn to write persuasively by practicing the habits of great writers.

Writers write
Writers read
Writers think 

Your child will also learn how to research and take notes, organize an outline, write an essay and so much more.  They will be reading classic writings from people like Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Sayers, Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many more.  They will write an essay each week based on a provided prompt and at the end of the curriculum, they have the opportunity to submit their writing for publication.  I thought that was so cool.

Example of one of the essay writing prompts

About the Books

  • Lesson Book - Gives you an overview of the curriculum along with how it is intended to be used.  There are tips from the authors, the lesson outcomes, and weekly schedules.  
  • Workbook - has review questions for each lesson and reading assignments, writing prompts, etc.
  • Reader - this is where you can find all the classical writings or a link to the excerpts by great writers and rhetoricians. 
  • Answer Key - has the answers to the review questions and a writing rubric for grading the essays.

How we used it

Everything is all organized for you!  At first, my daughter just recorded all her answers and the essay in a composition book, but that became a pain so we changed it up. We printed out the workbook and lesson book pages weekly and the reader my daughter just read from the computer.  We stored the lesson book pages in a 3-ring binder along with the workbook pages behind it.  They were separated by a divider. I did the same for the answer key read the answers from the computer, but I did print off the rubric.  I would suggest having it lamented so that it last longer and you can use an expo marker for the comments page.  I did all the printing on Sunday evening so that my daughter was prepared for the week without having to wait on me.  
My daughter followed the schedule as it was written.
  • Day 1 She read the lesson and answered the review questions.
  • Day 2 She read a passage and answered review questions.
  • Day 3 She worked on her activity that builds toward the final writing lesson which is due towards the end of the curriculum.
  • Day 4 She wrote her 500-word essay
The authors give you a choice to do a 5-day school week which splits the essay up to 250 words on day 4 and the other 250 words on day 5.  We stuck to the 4 day week unless the writing prompt was a more difficult one.  Day 1 and 2 were the easiest and shortest taking about 20 - 30 minutes to complete and days 3 and 4 were here longest days it took about 30 minutes to an hour to complete and it could be shorter or longer depending on how much detail she put into her essay.
My goal was to grade the work at the end of each day, however, that did not happen so I just did my grading at the end of the week.

As mom/teacher there is no teaching instruction for us it is all in Lesson book.  Our only job is to encourage along the way and grade the essay providing positive feedback.  

Our Final Thoughts

I really like this homeschool high school language arts/writing curriculum.  In fact, I may join my daughter and work through it as well to better my writing skills.  The authors really put a lot of thought into how they put this together and was sure to cover everything for the parent and child.  It is very different than other writing curricula that are out there, in a good way.  I would definitely recommend this for other homeschool kids.  It is challenging and makes the kid use their critical thinking, which I love.  I appreciate how it has broadened my daughter's writing skills and the thought she puts into her writing.  I would recommend it for 10th grade and up.  

My Daughter thoughts

I asked my daughter what did she think about the curriculum so far and she said, "I am actually really enjoying this.  It is intriguing.  The excerpts from the writers are very interesting and have spiked my interest in people I didn't know before.  The review questions did a great job grabbing my attention.  Although I feel my writing has improved a lot in the last few weeks, writing the essays was my least favorite part, only because I had to count the words.  My favorite part is the excerpts and the quotes.  I love good, meaningful quotes!   I would recommend this to teens 13 and older. 

Some of the other moms from the crew are reviewing another great product by Silverdale Press LLC.  Their White House Holidays Unit Studies which are geared for ages 5-18.  Check out what they had to say by clicking 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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  1. it's a great program isn't it?

  2. Thank you, that was very useeful indeed! I aclually had to read a great amount of advice before I could deliver my first persuasive speech. (

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