Classical Composition 2 - Kolbe Academy

Classical Composition 2

Narrative Stage

As the second course in the Classical Composition series, Classical Composition 2 should be undertaken after completing Classical Composition 1. The Narrative Stage is the second of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata exercises. The Greeks developed this series of exercises to prepare students for rhetoric and delivering formal orations. They were adopted by the Church, adapted during the Renaissance, and practiced by the West until very recently.

Students will learn to write by imitating a well-told story, in this case, a narrative (folk tale).  In fact, all of the Progymnasmata exercises are based on imitation, a method suitable for learning just about anything.  Students will build skills in diction (word choice) and syntax (word order) by practicing variation.  Variation means changing a word or arrangement of words in a sentence.  Variation is a form of paraphrase.  Further, by paraphrasing the whole story, students will build skills in organization (arrangement).  By paraphrasing the narratives (folk tales) in different ways (amplification: adding to; summarization: shortening; inversion: retelling the story from a mid or end starting point), students will gain a solid understanding of structure.

In addition, students will learn how to use figures of description to make their writing come alive, and figures of speech to make their writing precise.  By learning how to use figures of description to describe a place (topographia), or the stars (astrothesia), or a person from head to foot (effictio), students will engage their readers’ imaginations.  By learning how to use figures of speech to add precision to their writing, students will engage their readers’ sense of style and form.  By the end of the Narrative Stage, students should be able to appreciate the individual words and sentences used in a story (elocution), the overall structure of a story (including recognition, reversal, and suffering), and the communicative power of a story (including the appeal to imagination and to the moral and aesthetic sense).

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.
  • Provide techniques the student writer can employ to reason his way to the best approach to take and solution to implement for future writing tasks.
  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in invention, arrangement, and decoration (discovery, organization, and elocution).
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice in classical writing between the teacher and student.

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.

  • Classical Composition Vol. II Student Book: Narrative Stage, James A. Selby, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Vol. II Teacher Guide: Narrative Stage, James A. Selby, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition 2 Course Plan & Tests, Kolbe Academy Publishing  (Digital copy provided with self-paced course.  Optional physical copy available for purchase.)

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Self-Paced Plus courses include the following:

  • Grading by a highly qualified teacher for selected assignments (listed below) in the course.
  • Access to teacher through the course’s discussion board.
  • Option to report grade given by the teacher, or to report a grade assigned by parent.
  • The pacing is still established by the parent in conjunction with the student’s goals and academic calendar. 
  • Assignments will be graded within 1-2 weeks of the submission date, excluding holiday breaks.  (For the quickest grading, students should turn assignments in incrementally throughout the year.  If a student turns in multiple assignments to be graded at once, expect a response time of 1-2 weeks per assignment submitted.)

Self-Paced Plus Assignment List:

Semester 1 Semester 2
Narrative Paraphrase* Narrative Paraphrase*
Quarter 1 Exam Quarter 3 Exam
Narrative Paraphrase* Narrative Paraphrase*
Quarter 2 Exam Quarter 4 Exam

*We developed a rubric to assist in grading these assignments.  The rubric will be available in the course’s associated Parent Group.


Course Details:

Section Number


Grades (Typical)

 4 – 8 (6th & 7th)


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 7
Religion & Bible History 7

Online Companion Courses

Literature 7
History 7
Religion & Bible History 7

Course Plan Sample

Classical Composition 2

Note: This course plan is built into the
Self-Paced course in a student-friendly format.