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Schools of Logic & Rhetoric

God made adolescents and young adults to form opinions and share those opinions. During this stage, The Oaks trains young men and women to love well, think well, and speak well.  

"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it... For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

–1 Corinthians 3:10-11

The Logic Stage

The Oaks teaches formal logic, logical fallacies, and reasoning skills through tools like the Socratic Method and Aristotelian logic. For example, a teacher might ask, "What is the relationship between the Reformation and the colonization of America?" Or "What is the relationship between gravity and elliptical orbits?"

As students move through this stage of the Trivium they learn the science of accurate thinking. Logic stage students insist on debating (competitively and for fun) whether something is or is-not logical. We teach them to recognize and separate true argumentation from false. We require them to offer factual evidence and sound reasons for their bold claims about reality. 

Training in written composition based on the Progymnasmata of the Christian educational tradition becomes their bridge to the expressiveness of the rhetoric stage.

Learn more about Progymnasmata.

The Rhetoric Stage

Who today does not regret the frequent descent of political and cultural rhetoric into mere propaganda? For two millennia, rhetorical training was a prerequisite for graduation from the trivium.  So it is again at The Oaks.

Spanning all subjects, students learn to articulate their ideas using concise verbal and written communication, and to relate those ideas to an audience with clarity and persuasion. Students are inspired to investigate, contemplate, debate, and persuade with the ultimate goal that knowledge leads to understanding and wisdom, and that students become life-long learners.

Rhetoric, in a biblical context, recognizes that speaking clearly and effectively flows from the foundation of thinking clearly and effectively. We train students to place the arts of invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery into the service of biblical truth across a wide range of secondary studies.

The Rhetoric course work flows naturally from the Logic studies that the students receive. Rhetoric students are required to complete a thesis project where they must research and write about a controversial topic of their choosing, and then present and defend their position before a panel of adult experts in that particular field of study. Students are evaluated according to ethos (their personal character), pathos (their appeal to the audience), and logos (the quality of their knowledge and its written and verbal expression).

Logic and Rhetoric Reading List

7th Grade

The Magician's Nephew, by C. S. Lewis

Bulfinch's Greek and Roman Mythology: The Age of Fable, by Thomas Bulfinch

Aesop's Fable, by Aesop

The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Odyssey, by Homer

Livy: The Early History of Rome, Books I-V, by Titus Livy

Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare



8th Grade

The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis

The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis

The Horse and His Boy, by C. S. Lewis

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, by Simon Armitage

Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

Inferno (The Divine Comedy), by Dante

The Confessions, by St. Augustine

9th Grade

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

Henry V, by William Shakespeare

The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse

The Law, by Frederic Bastiat

The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx

The Chosen, by Chaim Potok

The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis

The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan

Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, by Plato, and John M. Cooper

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Up From Slavery, by Booker T. Washington ,and Ishmael Reed

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald



10th Grade

Bulfinch’s Mythology, by Thomas Bulfinch

The Iliad, by Homer

The Odyssey, by Homer

On Rhetoric, by Aristotle

The Oresteia, by Aeschylus

The Aeneid, by Virgil

Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis

The Three Theban Plays, by Sophocles

Cicero: Rhetorica ad Herennium (English and Latin Edition), by Cicero


11th Grade

Paradise Lost, by John Milton

Inferno (The Divine Comedy), by Dante

Confessions (Ch. 1-9), by St. Augustine

Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis

The Rule of St. Benedict, by Timothy Fry

Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius

Paradise (The Divine Comedy), by Dante

The Freedom of a Christian, 1520: The Annotated Luther Study Edition, by Timothy J. Wenger

Purgatory (The Divine Comedy), by Dante

Cicero: Rhetorica ad Herennium, by Cicero


12th Grade

The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey

The Man Who Was Thursday, by G.K. Chesterton

Delighting in the Trinity, by Michaell Reeves

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, by N.D. Wilson

The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Four Quartet, by T. S. Eliot

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis

The Prince, Machiavelli

Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes

Second Discourse on Civil Authority, John Locke

Richard II, by William Shakespeare

A Shot of Faith (to the Head), by Mitch Stokes

Solomon Among the Postmoderns, by Peter J. Leithart

Rhetorica ad Herennium, by Cicero