Classical Comp: Refutation/Confirmation

Classical Composition  Refutation/Confirmation Stage is the fourth course in the Classical Composition sequence.  It should be undertaken after completing the Fable Stage, the Narrative Stage, and the Chreia/Maxim Stage. The Progymnasmata exercises were a preliminary series of exercises for students who would later study rhetoric and deliver formal orations.  The exercises were developed by the ancients, adopted by the Church, perfected in the Renaissance, and practiced by the West until very recently.  

Course Description

The Refutation/Confirmation Stage is the fourth of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata (a set of preparatory exercises originated by the Greeks to ready the student for rhetoric). Students will learn to write by learning to think through the process of refuting (overturning given facts) or confirming (approving given facts) the truth of a narrative by examining it through a series of exercises that are, later on in rhetoric, called Heads of Purpose. In Refutation the student will examine a narrative and work through Heads of Purpose called: the Discredit, Exposition, Unclarity, Implausibility, Impossibility, Inconsistency, Impropriety, Inexpediency, and Epilogue. In Confirmation the student will examine a narrative and work through exercises called: the Credit, Clarity, Plausibility, Possibility, Consistency, Propriety, Expediency, and Epilogue. The set of exercises in Refutation are the opposite of those in Confirmation.

Course Objectives:

  • Develop in the student an appreciation for sound writing
  • Inculcate in the student the habits of good writers through imitation of their structure and style
  • Equip the apprentice writer to become an analytical reader and writer
  • Provide techniques the student writer can employ for any given writing task
  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in Invention (generating ideas), Arrangement (organizing ideas), and Decoration (stating the ideas in their most effective form) (Discovery, Organization, and Elocution)
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice between the teacher and student.
Course Expectations

Students taking this course will have a mid-term and final exam each semester.  Additionally, students should expect to have daily reading and minor weekly written assignments or quizzes.

Assignment due-dates and grades are established by the parent.  Optionally, a student may be enrolled in the Self-Paced Plus© grading assistance program to receive grading assistance from a Kolbe Academy faculty or staff member on designated assignments in the course. In this case, parents will still submit final grades to Kolbe for the course, but may choose to incorporate the graded assignments into the student’s overall grade or use the Kolbe-graded assignments to assist in arriving at the student’s final grade.

Course Texts
  • Classical Composition Book IV: Refuation/Confirmation Stage, Student Workbook,James A. Selby, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Book IV: Refuation/Confirmation Stage, Teacher Guide, James A. Selby, Memoria Press


Course Plan Sample

Note that this is the digital version of the homeschool course plan, which is found in the course's associated Parent Group.  This course plan is built into the Schoology course for the student. 

RefutationConfirmationDailySample (7).pdf


Course Details:

Section Number


Grades (Typical)

 4 - 8 (7th & 8th)


Mrs. O'Connor

Lecture Format




Subscription Length

1 year

Extension may be granted for an additional fee.

Self-Paced Plus


Self-Paced Companion Courses

Junior High Literature
History 8
Religion & Bible History 8

Online Companion Courses

Literature 8
History 8
Religion & Bible History 8