School of Rhetoric

Perfection & Humility:

Applying Knowledge

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.


Quick Facts



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.


Complete Curriculum

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.


Student Mentors

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.

Class Trips 


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.


The following is a list of activities available to students enrolled in at least one class:

  • Chapel Worship and Bible study groups: Whether it is participating in the congregation or leading worship as a member of the worship team, all students are invited to be a part of the time we set apart on Monday mornings for corporate worship. Small group Bible studies meet on Thursday mornings and are open to part timers, as well as Bible Quiz Bowls which are held every year

  • House Membership: All students, grades 6-12, are enrolled as members of one of the Four Royal Houses at ACA: Dragon, Falcon, Griffin, or Pegasus. The Houses compete in academics through quiz bowls, sports (including the ever-popular “Grailball”), elementary class activities as older brothers and sisters to our younger students, and community service. Through House competitions and fellowship, students build relationships and learn to watch out for each other in a strong family-like atmosphere. House leadership positions are also open to homeschool students.

  • Junior/Senior School Trips: Each year, the school sponsors an academic trip for juniors and seniors to round out their high school program. 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. In odd-numbered years, ACA offers a two-week trip to Israel that has been called a “life-changing experience” by those who have gone. Students, as well as family members and alumni, take part in this journey to the Holy Land.

  • Musicals and other performance-related opportunities: ACA has earned the reputation for excellence in its performing arts. The annual musicals are the most popular activities of the year, with a participation rate of 80%. Every student who tries out and is willing to commit to the work involved is given a part in the production. With positions for stagehands, technical crew, and others, there is plenty of opportunity for any student who wants to participate. In addition, we have a Show Choir, Musical Theater class, and other performance opportunities during the year at different assemblies, talent shows, and Little Theatre nights, all of which are available to part-time students.

  • Colloquia: Each semester, students are offered opportunities to study a particular piece of literature, music, art, etc., in a small group setting with a mentor who loves that particular piece. Example colloquia from recent years include the following: the classic poem Rime of the Ancient MarinerPlato’s RepublicEinstein’s Theory of RelativityThe Arts and Crafts MovementThe Hunger Games, and many more. No more than six students may attend any one colloquia, but enough choices are offered each semester to allow students the opportunity to choose a topic of interest to them.

  • Winter Court: Our annual formal banquet for our School of Rhetoric students is a wonderful time of celebrating who we are in Christ. By tradition, the School of Dialectic students serve at Winter Court, and although they work very hard, it is a great time for them as well.

  • Graduation: ACA offers a Standard Classical diploma for those students who complete all of its 27 units of required courses with at least 15 units completed at ACA. The graduation ceremony is a formal and exciting culmination to the year with a strong focus on honoring our seniors who have achieved so much. Homeschool students who have completed at least 3 units at ACA and 12 homeschool units are invited to be a part of the ceremony as well in every way as full-time seniors with the only exception of the diploma. They receive a diploma from their parents on stage in a touching ceremony. The reception following the ceremony allows family and friends to congratulate the graduates.

  • New Order of Augustine: Seniors are invited to join a special alumni organization called the New Order of Augustine. These alumni agree to pray for the school and stand as guardians to help it stay true to its spiritual commitment. They visit the campus whenever they are in town and often speak to groups of students, parents, and staff. At the induction ceremony during Winter Court, they are given a new Latin name. Additionally, to remind them of their position, the ladies receive a tiara and dagger, and the men receive a sword.