Classical Comp: Chreia/Maxim

Classical Composition  Chreia/Maxim Stage Discovering the Skills of Writing is the third course in the Classical Composition sequence.  It should be undertaken after completing Classical Composition Fable Stage  and Classical Composition Narrative 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 Chreia/Maxim Stage is the third 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 varying a truth under eight heads of development, each forming an exercise, each resembling a paragraph. The Eight Heads of Development are:  Encomium (praise), Paraphrase (restatement), Cause (general story), Converse (opposite general story), Analogy (comparison), Example (specific case), Testimony (authority), and Epilogue (conclusion or summary). The first head of development defines a worthy subject for thought; the second through seventh describes an operation of the mind as it grapples with the truth of the saying; and the last calls the reader to an affirmation of the truth.

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 III: Chreia/Maxim Stage,Student Workbook, James A. Selby, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Book III: Chreia/Maxim 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. 



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