Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Roman Roads Media Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) from Roman Roads Media for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Roman Roads Media is a publisher of classical curriculum with a Christian worldview. Named "Roman Roads" for the first century roads of the Roman Empire that were the physical means by which the early church spread the gospel far and wide. Similarly Roman Roads Media now brings instruction through today's technology and media. Some of the curriculum they offer is Picta Dicta, a Latin learning curriculum, and Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric, the course I am reviewing here. You can see more on their website.

Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric is a complete curriculum for high school students and above to learn classical rhetoric. Rhetoric, if you are not familiar with the word,  is "a technique of using language effectively and persuasively in spoken or written form. It is an art of discourse, which studies and employs various methods to convince, influence, or please an audience". Basically it means speaking eloquently or having a way with words. This course covers a years worth of instruction, discussing topics such as: using words well, the greatest speeches of all time, and practicing the skills of effective public speaking. It teaches a Christian worldview  of this and references Bible passages in the course.

The Full Fitting Words Bundle Includes:
  • Textbook
  • Student Workbook
  • Answer Key
  • Exam Pack
  • Video Course

Fitting Words Textbook Sample Pages

The Fitting Words Textbook is a hardback non-consumable textbook that has single-column pages and wide margins. The beginning of the textbook there is a Foreword, Preface, and Introduction. There are more than 100 black and white original illustrations throughout the book. These are of classical style and are a wonderful addition to the text. There are 30 total lessons that encompass the five cannons of rhetoric. The text also covers the six parts of a discourse, the three modes of persuasion, etc. Included within are great speeches from ancient, biblical, and modern times to help clarify the ideas in the book. It has 12 of the main speeches reproduced in full in Appendix A at back of the book. In Appendix B it pin points every speech in the Bible with the scripture referenced so you can look it up, who the speaker is, the intended audience, and a title or quote from each. In the back there is also a Glossary of words, their definitions, and where they can be located in the text. There is also pages of works cited. It is a complete curriculum for classical rhetoric that is packed with resources.

The Fitting Words Student Workbook is a spiral bound consumable workbook that covers exercises and activities for all the 30 lessons detailed in the curriculum. Several of these lessons that have two exercises. It starts out with an introduction of sorts that goes into the "Components of This Course" and says the "Optional Course Schedules" should be there as well, but all I saw was a "How to Use This Workbook"page in its place. The lesson exercises follow these pages with questions the student answers in their own words about things discussed in the textbook and video course. This is to be completed by one student. After the lesson exercises there are pages that cite the works in the exercises and sheets to help the student evaluate themselves when they practice the required speeches.

The Fitting Words Answer Key is a paperback book that includes answers to all the exercises and exams covered in the Fitting Words curriculum. Its layout complements the layout of both exercises and exams to make grading easier. Brackets let us know point recommendations for exams. The one and two year course schedules are also incorporated (which is good because it wasn't in the workbook like it said in the contents that it should have been).

The Fitting Words Exam Pack comes as a shrink wrapped loose leaf packet. These are also 3 hole punched to be able to place in 3-ring binder. This includes all nine exams that cover the crucial ideas for the course. Test review sheets and speech judging sheets are also contained therein. This is 70 pages total.

Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Video Course.

The Fitting Words Video Course is a thorough instruction from the author that takes the learning one step further and adds a more visual component to it. Each lesson has two videos, one on the lesson and the other on application. These include: numerous examples, illustrations, videos demonstrating good oratory from history, extra activities, and more. There is also a preparation video for each of the 9 tests. You can pick from just streaming, DVD + streaming, or Blu-Ray + streaming.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
I thought I could use this with my 18 year old, Delbin, to enhance his speaking skills and rhetoric, but after he looked it over and did one of the lessons he said it wasn't really for him. I was a bit crestfallen as I had hoped that he would be more enthusiastic about this course and want to do it because I did believe wholeheartedly that it would benefit him. Nonetheless, since the curriculum is geared towards high school and up I took up the charge in doing the lessons myself for this review, since I actually wanted to do the course anyway.

The tote bag that the course arrived in.

I was previously unaware of Roman Roads Media and pleasantly surprised when everything came in the mail. It was all very high quality and neatly contained in a tote bag that you could store everything in. I liked that everything could stay organized inside where you could find it easily. It was a nice touch that made everything even better.

The recommended steps for doing the course were different online than on the video course...

Recommended Steps While Going Through Fitting Words from the Video Course:
  1. Watch the Lesson portion of the Video Course.
  2. Read the lesson in the Textbook.
  3. Watch the Application portion of the Video Course (workbook open).
  4. Work on the exercises in the Student Workbook.
  5. Where appropriate, put the application/workbook to practice!
I was a little confused about this, but decided to do what the instructor says to do in the video lessons. I suppose it doesn't really matter too much which order you do it in as long as it works for you. The one-year schedule has you meet 4-5 times a week, doing 1-2 lessons per day and has two semesters of work. The two-year schedule has you do a lesson per week roughly with it taking two years to complete. The one-year pace was a bit fast for me so I slowed it down to not overwhelm myself.

Delbin watching the first lesson in the Fitting Words Video Course.

We received the physical DVDs for the Video Course. There were a total of 4 discs. Disc One had lessons 1-11, Disc Two had lessons 12-17, Disc Three had lessons 18-23, and Disc Four had lessons 24-30. Over 18 hours of instruction total. Each video lesson is not too long and showed mostly the author in his study or library speaking from a podium. He is speaking from notes that he often looks down at...which is a little ironic since he is a speaker that is supposed to be teaching good speaking skills...but hey, nobody is perfect. All in all though I did enjoy these video lessons, especially when popular culture references were brought up....like for example a scene from Star Trek or Star Wars with a great quote. Hey, what can I say...I am a fan girl of great Sci-Fi and really appreciated the references.

Delbin reading the first lesson in the Fitting Words Textbook.

The physical Textbook has almost 400 pages with 30 lessons spanned out through 7 units. The lessons are short, but well written and packed with information. After each lesson there are optional Thinking Deeper questions, Developing Memory builders, and Reading Further to offer additional resources to glean from. There are also Key Concepts and Famous Orators highlighted in the sidebars for each lesson. I love that it has appendixes of famous speeches in their full text and every speech from the bible that are referenced so you can look them up on your own and read them yourself. This is a wonderful tool to have at your fingertips!

A sample of my work in the workbook for Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Exercise 4.

The physical workbook follows the textbook and video course well. It has plenty of room to write your answers on the lines to the questions asked, which is wonderful! Of note: on the website the picture of the workbook is a paper back softcover and it says there are perforated pages, but there are not any perforated pages in the version that I received. It looks like they might have made the workbook better by making it spiral bound. I really love this because the workbook now lays flat and is easier to handle when taking notes or answering the questions in it. I also liked the wide margins so that in case I wanted to write notes there I could do so. Besides the exercises to do, there are 5 speeches to give throughout the course. I didn't get to any of those yet myself, but when I do there are speech judging sheets at the back that will help others grade my work.

The physical answer key is great at providing answers to every exercise and exam. These answers are wonderful to see examples of what should be written in the workbook. These don't have answers like "answers will vary", instead they fully answer the questions with great examples in complete sentences. I am also glad to find the course schedule here since it was absent in the workbook.

I am so glad that this course also came with a physical pre-printed exam pack. This is so much better than having to print these pages out myself and hole punch them. My printer is on the fritz anyway and is very low on ink...so I really appreciate this addition to the bundle especially since it is 70 pages!

The Commonplace Book.

I have also been told by the author to keep a Commonplace Book. This is an out of pocket expense, but totally worth having. It is a blank book to write down quotes, excerpts, phrases, sayings, thoughts, wisdom, or witticism from what you read, hear, or see. This is to develop copiousness, or idea of being full of thought, words, or information.

Bookmark we also received as a bonus.

The Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric from Roman Roads Media is a wonderful and very complete curriculum for learning rhetoric. I recommend it very highly to any who want a Christian worldview about this subject and to teach this to their students at home or learn it yourself. It is a fabulous course for classical education!

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You can purchase the entire Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric bundle for $204.00 or you can get them separately through Roman Roads Media.

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Roman Roads Media...
Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}

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