Classical Composition 4 - Kolbe Academy

Classical Composition 4

Refutation/Confirmation Stages

As the fourth course in the Classical Composition series, Classical Composition 4 should be undertaken after completing Classical Composition 1, Classical Composition 2, and Classical Composition 3.  The Refutation/Confirmation Stages are the fifth and sixth 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, perfected in the Renaissance, and practiced by the West until very recently.

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.

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. IV Student Book: Refutation/Confirmation Stage, James A. Selby, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Vol. IV Teacher Guide: Refutation/Confirmation Stage, James A. Selby, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition 4 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
Week 3: Refutation Final Draft* Week 3: Refutation Final Draft*
Week 7: Quarter 1 Exam Week 6: Quarter 3 Exam
Week 11: Refutation Final Draft* Week 8: Confirmation Final Draft*
Week 14: Quarter 2 Exam Week 12: 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 (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

Course Plan Sample

Classical Composition 4

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