School of Rhetoric
Perfection & Humility:
ACA's School of Rhetoric is modeled after the classical training institutions that produced the great statesmen of Western Civilization. Such classical schools emphasized both reasoning and communication skills, providing their graduates with the desire and the ability to persuade the world of the truth of the Christian faith. Today the term is too often used to refer to over-ornate or inflated language. Instead, the School of Rhetoric gives high school students the opportunity to express clearly and persuasively the truths they have discovered in their research.
A mature appreciation for the wonder of God expressed in His creation and humility in response to His marvelous works are key components in the School of Rhetoric (Psalm 8:3-4). Students learn to communicate their ideas effectively through reason, debate, discussion, and interaction in light of the awesome truth of God in Scripture. They integrate individual disciplines—history and philosophy as revealed in art, literature, music, and science—tracing the outworking of God’s will through time. Students are required to think, reason, and persuade from a biblical and logical perspective in all of their courses. They analyze, evaluate, and discern in order to apply biblical principals to conflicting ideas and suppositions, and putting sound reasoning into practice and becoming more equipped to communicate truth. ACA’s School of Rhetoric meets or exceeds all of Oklahoma’s requirements for graduation. Students participate in athletics, journalism, music, drama, and leadership—building a well-rounded approach to life from a Christian perspective, as they strive for “perfection et humilitas” or perfection and humility.
- The School of Rhetoric is for students in grades 9-12 (high school).
- ACA welcomes part-time students to enroll with a unique option for homeschool families to select classes "a la carte" as a supplement to what is offered at home. Students may take up to 5 classes individually, paying a proportionate amount of tuition.
CLICK HERE to view the Course Catalog for students in grades 7-12.
CLICK HERE to view the 2022-2023 Class Schedule for Students in the Schools of Dialectic & Rhetoric
- Four different diploma options are offered all of which meet or exceed the requirements demanded by the State of Oklahoma. The diploma options include: Advanced Classical Diploma, Advanced STEM Diploma, Standard Classical Diploma, and Performing Arts Diploma. Students can also receive a Homeschool Diploma from ACA. CLICK HERE to read the requirements for each ACA diploma.
- Graduating seniors are enrolled in a Senior Thesis capstone course, synthesizing students’ knowledge and skills acquired during high school. Using classical rhetoric, logic, and composition, Seniors create a thesis, research it, and compose a college-level paper. At the culmination of the course, students defend their work before boards made up of teachers knowledgeable in particular subjects.
- Students in the School of Rhetoric can earn the Jean Anderson Memorial Bible Award.
- Click here to view our 2018-2019 High School profile
Clear, Concise Communication Skills
Courses in speech and composition at this level complete the training begun in the logic classes of the School of Dialectic and produce students capable of standing for the Christian faith in a society that is increasingly relativistic.
Students in ACA’s School of Rhetoric complete all of the Oklahoma State requirements for graduation and much more. The average graduate will complete 28 units of credit in a challenging college-preparatory program. Courses include four years each of math, science, English, and history. Courses in rhetoric, Bible, and classical languages are also required.
To this academic load, students may round out their experience with electives that include journalism, art, choir, drama, student leadership, and other extra-curricular pursuits.
ACA prides itself on developing student leaders and we believe, in this instance, practice is more important than theory. Our older students are regularly invited to mentor students in the School of Grammar through our Teacher's Aide and Teacher Intern programs. It's also not uncommon for younger students to be invited into a Rhetoric Biology class for a unique lesson or for Rhetoric students to be asked to plan a lesson for a Grammar class. We are a family and we believe it is important to find opportunities for all grades to connect and bond throughout the school day.
Colloquia: Latin WORD for "informal gathering for discussion"
The Importance of Truth and Relationships...
St. Augustine’s philosophy of Christian teaching reminds us, “A person who is a good and true Christian should realize that truth belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found, gathering and acknowledging it even in pagan literature …” Accepting universal truth not only opens a bridge for relationships based upon a solid foundation for communication, it also allows those relationships to become the best means of teaching one other. Education requires trust. It involves opening ourselves, becoming vulnerable, allowing new ideas and thoughts to be explored and examined. At ACA we have discovered that the greater the appropriate relationship between teacher and student, the greater the learning that is possible.
It is for both of these reasons — the importance of truth and the importance of relationships — that ACA added colloquia to its study program in the high school. These small discussion groups, offered frequently throughout the year, add another level to our academic challenge. Each colloquium studies one book, epic poem, piece of music, art, or topic, so that the focus is limited and “bite-sized.” It has only a handful of students to allow for intimate discussions of the topic. Each colloquium is offered by a mentor and is based on a work he or she loves. The colloquium meets outside the normal classroom and centers on discussion of the great elements of the piece. While students must prepare for the meetings and are expected to participate, there are no tests or grades … only a love of what can be learned for its own sake.
Colloquia Quick Facts:
- Open to students in the School of Rhetoric (high school)
- Seniors have first choice enrollment
- Small group discussion format
- No grades or tests
- Students must complete a certain number of Colloqui points depending on their diploma track
Some examples of colloquium offerings include Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Plato’s “Republic,” “The Abolition of Man” by C.S. Lewis, and “Assumptions That Affect Our Lives” by Christian Overman.
What students receive from a colloquium is proportional to their desire for truth, goodness, and beauty, and their willingness to build relationships with the mentor and the work. We have found that in this nontraditional setting, the student often gains a greater appreciation for the mentor, and the mentor for the student, and both gain a greater love for the truth they discover together.
Each year, the school sponsors an academic trip for juniors and seniors to round out their high school program.
In odd-numbered years, ACA partners with JCF Biblical Study Tours to offer a two-week tour of the land of Israel that has been called a “life-changing experience” by those who have gone.
In even-numbered years, our students journey with Smithsonian Student Travel to the eastern seaboard, visiting historical sights in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, and New York City.
Parents and extended family members are welcome to travel, too.