So we are in my son’s senior year of high school and he has already begun some of his online classes to pursue his children’s ministry degree. As he begins his college education I realize the need for him to really be able to speak, debate, and write thoughtfully to present his thoughts and beliefs. This is one of the reasons I think it is very important to include Rhetoric as one of his subjects this year. I was so so excited to find out I was going to get to review Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (Complete Program) from Roman Roads Media. When I first started checking this out I thought “wow, this looks really good” and when I got into it, I can tell you, I wasn’t disappointed.
For starters, when they say this is a “complete program”, they aren’t kidding. It really comes with every single thing you need in one package. From the textbook, to the student workbook, to the exams, complete answer key and even (yes!) video lessons, it’s all here. Of course, you can pick and choose how much you want to use because as the parent, you are always in charge, but everything is right here, and it’s all put together so well that it is really easy to use.
Parents should begin by reading the introduction which explains each component and gives a very convenient schedule for either a one year or two year course. I am one of those moms who always appreciates a schedule. Yes, I will probably tweak this to suit our particular needs, but for me a schedule is a great starting point because it gives me some idea of how to break down the material. Since we are in my son’s senior year we decided to follow the one-year schedule, but if we had gotten this earlier I probably would have done this course over two years to give us more time to dive into some of the further suggested readings and other things.
The video lessons that accompany the course are broken into two parts for each lesson, one that goes over the main lesson and one that takes students through the exercises for those lessons. Now, my son is not a great video learner. However, he did like watching the application videos a lot. Mainly because he liked how Mr. Nance (the author) explained the exercises and he said the videos helped him to better understand the figures of speech introduced in each lesson. He also watched the videos that reviewed the lessons before he took his exams. So, I allowed him to choose which videos to watch and he utilized them in the way that suited him best. I liked the way they were set up, because they were not incredibly long and the menu made it easy for him to find the videos that matched the lessons he was on.
Okay, so getting into the program, can I just say that I really kind of got into this myself and did a lot of pre-reading ahead of my son? The lessons in this book are meaty, and actually really interesting. If you think rhetoric is a dry topic, it’s not. At least not the way it’s presented in Fitting Words. The textbook consists of 30 lessons divided into seven units that cover topics ranging from types of arguments, to emotions, to delivery and so much more. Along the way your children will read Bible passages, excerpts from Phaedrus, and all kinds of speeches and other examples that will help them bring to life the things they are learning.
In the workbook, they will learn to apply what they are learning through activities that ask them to read Bible passages and identify the emotions of the speakers in those passages, look at historical documents and explain the methods the authors used in writing those documents, identify figures of speech in well-known writings, and have opportunities to give speeches of their own for specific purposes such as soliciting specific emotions from their audience, give a speech appropriate for a ceremony, and more.
Each chapter approaches it’s topic directly and explains it in detail with plenty of examples. The chapters themselves are pretty short (a big plus for my son!) with sidebars that highlight key concepts and ideas. At the end of the chapter there are questions you can use for discussion that encourage students to think more deeply about what they just read, suggestions for further reading, and a short memorization exercise. In addition, students will complete the related assignments in the workbook for their lessons. The thing is, even though the information itself is meaty, my son did NOT feel like he was overloaded with work to the point that he dreaded this subject and that is really the key to success for me at this point. Because if I have to fight with him to get him to do it, chances are, it probably isn’t going to get done. That is another reason I really like this course. He’s learning a lot, but he doesn’t feel like he’s being slammed with work! You can always dig further with the additional suggested readings, and if we were using this as a two-year program I probably would, but since we only have a year, we are going easy on that, only reading those particular ones my son is really interested in.
In the appendix you will find a full glossary, the full text of historical speeches featured in the text and a listing of Biblical speeches featured as well. This was very handy for my son to use as a reference for assignments.
The amount of depth in Fitting Words was just really impressive to me. I feel like my son is going to grow as a thinker, a writer, and a speaker through using this program, and the skills he learns are going to benefit him in his college courses. I definitely think this is a great program for any high school student. To learn more, connect with Roman Roads Media here:
To see what other members of the crew thought of this program and the others we got to check out, click here: