The method at the primary (Grades K-2) and grammatical (Grades 3-5) levels uses observation, sequencing and memorization. These activities are found in every assignment. They are ordered to improving the power of making images and to the quality of the images made.

There is also an emphasis on developing patterns of language, especially in the grammatical level, (Grades 3-5). This is accomplished by using copying, dictation, conversation, usage exercises, and creative writing. Continuing to read aloud and encouraging sustained silent reading is also very important. All of these are pre-writing or writing activities.

The importance of improving the strength and docility of the imagination can't be overemphasized at this stage of formation. To this we add the development of the tools of expression, so that the imagination has the "furniture" to be arranged, when the student is ready.

The later formation to which this is ordered is the ability to order thoughts, both chronologically and by order of importance, to recognize an ordered argument, to produce or construct an argument, and to present a cohesive argument. This will be the emphasis in the dialectical level (Grades 6-9).

At that level of formation, the dialectical or logical, the method is to summarize, analyze, collate information, recognize an argument, learn how to order material in an order of importance, and construct an argument. These activities are found throughout the dialectical level (Grades 6-9).

There is a strong emphasis on clear thinking in these grades, with many opportunities for analysis, in matters that are commensurate with the young mind, such as grammar. Grammar is central to the curriculum in the analytic or logical period (Grades 6-9). There is also an emphasis on understanding the way the mind works (at least implicitly) in the 6th and 7th grade. This is accomplished by using the particular writing exercises the way they are laid out in the curriculum.

The later formation to which the dialectical level is ordered is the strengthening of the ability to order thoughts, and presenting a cohesive and persuasive argument. These are the formation goals of the rhetorical level (Grades 10-12).

The method at the rhetorical level (Grades 10-12) is to present a position eloquently, as well as cogently, to polish arguments, and to put together coherent thoughts on a subject quickly and accurately. Children should learn to "think on their feet" so that they can easily demonstrate what they know, and thus be more persuasive regarding the truth. (This also helps with SAT and ACT writing tests.)

There is a strong emphasis on learning how to speak persuasively to an audience, which includes learning the ordinary conventions for papers, such as footnoting and bibliographies, but it also includes the ends of rhetoric.

Rhetoric is of three kinds: the political, the forensic and the ceremonial. These three kinds differ in their ends. The political aims at establishing whether a proposed course of action is expedient or inexpedient; the forensic, whether an action done was just or unjust; and the ceremonial, whether someone deserves praise or blame. In our high school program we discuss all three types of actions and characters. You can see that these ends are all suited to the man who is concerned with the noble and the good. They will be best achieved by the man who is wise. Now, to attain these ends, the speaker has three means of persuasion. The first is his own character: he must present himself as one who is worthy of belief. The second is his power to affect and control the emotions of his listeners, for their state of mind will greatly affect how receptive they are to his argument. And the third is the persuasive quality of the argument itself, for the premises must be likely and the procedure logical. In my experience, the student in the rhetorical stage is interested in the high and noble, he cares about what is good and bad, and about what is blameworthy and praiseworthy. So the ends of rhetoric are by nature of interest to the high school student.

Learn more about our method in the four stages of learning:

Learn about our Content.