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Rhetoric simply put, is the art of persuasive speech and the culmination of the classical education experience.

Our Rhetoric students emphasize the integration of academic content by understanding the connections between bodies of knowledge and building the power of persuasion within the world of ideas. Based on the knowledge and reasoning skills developed through the grammar and logic stages, students culminate their academic experience by applying the art of both written and spoken presentation.


Guide for Independent Study

Parents at this stage have the opportunity to supervise the progress of their students' independent schoolwork and provide any additional guidance they may need before entering college. Courses offered at this level will mimic that of a junior college program or higher, where independent study and research skills, time management skills, a strong work ethic, and self-discipline are essential.

Rhetoric School Curriculum Overview


Language Arts at the Rhetoric School has the classical emphasis on the fundamental skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, viewing and presenting.  Vocabulary and composition skills by way of narrative and expository essay writing is regularly employed. In 9th through12th grades, students will compose essays and write eloquently and persuasively while learning through "The Lost Tools of Writing". In 9th Grade, students read a broad range of classical texts, which are rich in the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome and early Christianity. In 10th Grade, literature has an emphasis on western authors and important events in history via literature. Some examples of this are, "Utopia" by Sir Thomas More and "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley. In 11th grade, focus will be on critical reading and effective composition. The course includes studies with an emphasis on American authors and important events in American history via literature and includes books like, "The Great Gatsby" and "Death of a Salesman". In 12th Grade, studies have an emphasis on European authors and important events in history via literature and will include books like, "The Portrait of Dorian Gray" and "Tale of Two Cities".  


The study of mathematics serves to bless our students with an ability to see God in numbers and the great world of order. In the Rhetoric School, students build on prior skills developed in Grammar and Logic School. In 9th grade, students will take either Algebra I or Geometry, which integrates and prepares students for constructions, transformations, coordinate geometry, formulas, and an introduction to trigonometry. In 10th grade, students take Geometry or Algebra II, which include Functions and Relations, Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities, Quadratic Functions and Relations, Higher Degree Polynomials, Complex Numbers, Exponential and Logarithmic Functions, Rational Algebraic Functions, Irrational Algebraic Functions, Sequence and Series, Probability, Data Analysis, and an Introduction to Trigonometry. Successful completion well-prepares the learner for Pre-Calculus. In 11th Grade, students will take either Algebra II or Pre-Calculus. Pre-Calculus deals with more advanced math concepts including solving systems of linear equations, inequalities, parametric equations, and operations with matrices and inverse trigonometric functions. It covers definitions, graphs, identities, properties, and applications of transcendental functions and their graphs, as well as right and oblique triangles and vector notation. In 12th Grade, students will take either Pre-Calculus or Calculus. Calculus helps develop and enable students to understand sets, numbers and functions, gain the ability to evaluate and prove limits, compute derivatives and show that certain functions are differentiable, assess the graphical interpretation of the derivative as well as the real world application of a function's derivative, compute the integral of a function, analyze the real-world application of the integral, and define and solve differential equations.


In 9th Grade, students take a deep dive into Ancient History. From antiquity to Dark Ages, the study of world history and the societies, individuals and cultures that greatly influenced the western world today are worth every minute of study. Through primary, secondary and tertiary sources, students learn about the philosophies that contribute so much to our world today. In 10th Grade, historic studies continue from the Dark Ages to 1880 and students will recognize how the study of world history and the societies, individuals and cultures that greatly influenced the western world today are worth every minute of study. Through primary, secondary and tertiary sources, students will engage with history and see how it has impacted our society today. In 11th grade, students gain an understanding of American History through an in-depth look at the real people who founded, shaped, and developed the United States, including their struggles and triumphs. This age explores history from the early explorations and colonies, to the creation of a nation, to different political eras and the Civil War. In 12th Grade, students gain an understanding of our government. Its history, influence, trajectory, and potential - enables us to understand current events and discern or analyze the state of our country. This course gives our students awareness so that they can speak well as to how the government functions and/or how it ought to function


All science courses at Oak Grove include labs. In 9th Grade, students are placed in Biology, which features hands-on, collaborative approaches embedded with meaningful experiences about the living world by focusing on four major themes in Biology: Cell Biology, Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology. In 10th Grade, students study Chemistry, which features the study of the physical world by examining: Matter and Energy, Atoms and Moles, The Periodic Table, Ions and Ionic Compounds, Covalent Compounds, Chemical Equations and Reactions, Stoichiometry, and the Causes of Change. Ethical discussions related to chemistry will be covered in this class as will multiple hands-on lab experiments and activities. In 11th Grade, students are placed in Physics, which is an introduction to concepts of Motion in One Dimension, Two-Dimensional Motion and Vectors, Forces and the Laws of Motion, Work and Energy, Momentum and Collisions, Circular Motion and Gravitation, Fluid Mechanics, Heat, and Thermodynamics. Finally, in 12th Grade, students will learn about the beauty of God’s design and how mankind is created in His image, which is the primary focus of this course. Material will include studies of biological molecules and organisms, as well as structure and function of bodily systems. Laboratory instruction, dissection, and microscopes will be utilized in a hands-on approach, while using the scientific method.


Leadership classes at the Rhetoric level are designed to help our students work out their faith and sharpen it to bless and impact others. These courses are meant to strengthen the faith of our students and develop leadership skills on a weekly basis. In 9th Grade, students explore why it is important that the church reach out to all peoples with the gospel, and study biographies of many who have gone before them to the mission field. In 10th Grade, students will have a better understanding of global missions and religions. 11th Grade equips students with the ability to deepen their understanding of what they hold dear and enhance their ability to communicate it well. In 12th Grade, students explore the essentials of Christian leadership with a focus on the role individuals play as influencers, assessors, and cultivators of societal norms. The course challenges students to critically think, humbly engage, and prayerfully explore how to best formalize opinions and relate to an ever-changing world. The students are coached and mentored as they learn to question and discover Truth that will equip and embolden confidence to live a life cultivated in conviction and rooted in truth.


Learning a foreign, Latin-based language (or Latin itself) is exercise for the mind. It deepens grammar and vocabulary like no other study. In 9th Grade, students are required to take this higher level course, which sets the stage for Latin grammar, vocabulary and basics, so that any student can advance into a deep study of the classical language or gain the worthy skills that go along with navigating any language. In 10th-12th Grades, students have the opportunity to continue with Latin and advancing Latin, or transition into Spanish. Upper-level Latin and Spanish courses will provide practice in translation and conversational skills. Students at Oak Grove are required to take 3 years of Foreign Language at the Rhetoric level. 


The classical art of Rhetoric is taught intentionally at the Rhetoric level. Using learned skills, the rhetor learns how to persuade another by compassionately knowing where they stand and why they stand there is the nearly lost art of rhetoric, which ultimately leads to that winning over another to the truth, and is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. In 9th Grade, students begin their skills by learning how to understand, define, and communicate what something is so they may later defend or argue well. In 10th Grade, students begin to learn more about the art of rhetoric in Rhetoric I and cover classical informal rhetoric as found in ancient texts, formal rhetoric as created by celebrated Greek rhetors, and classical rhetorical theory as outlined by Aristotle. Throughout the class, our modern understanding of rhetoric will be scrutinized and judged against the foundations of this classical art. In 11th Grade, students will learn about how to love others well through Rhetoric and use books like, "Rhetoric of Love 2" by Douglas M. Jones. Students will also prepare and present a Junior Thesis in front of their peers and loved ones as they begin to prepare for their final capstone event in Senior Thesis. The Senior Thesis Project is a rite of passage at Oak Grove Classical Academy. In this course, students have a wonderful opportunity to take the skills they have learned throughout their educational experience (skills like thinking logically and being able to communicate with clarity, eloquence, and wisdom), and apply them to a particular area of research. Students will develop a cogent argument that addresses a topic of  interest and that is of public concern, utilizes scholarly sources and urges a particular course of action. Students will present that argument orally before peers and parents, and a panel of respondents at the end of the academic year. Books like, "Rhetoric Alive! Senior Thesis" by Dr. Alyssan Barnes are used to guide and instruct students. 

Melissa Duerksen

Head of Rhetoric

Class Sizes
Range of students per class:
Student to Teacher Ratio:

Rhetoric School Schedule
Rhetoric students are on campus Monday-Friday from 8a-3:30p*
Early release or elective options are offered on T/Th as part of our University-ModelTM