Lost Tools of Writing is a high school-level classical rhetoric curriculum that teaches the art of the persuasive essay. But it is more than a writing program; it is at heart a thinking program. Students learn to ask questions about decisions made by literary figures using the common topics to help them gather and arrange ideas and information from which they are able to derive and express thesis statements and supporting points. These skills can be applied to every other kind of writing (and decision-making) they'll ever have to do.

Literature is read and discussed alongside, but Lost Tools is not a literary analysis program. However, by being introduced to the craft of clear, balanced, and well-structured expression of opinions about decisions made by literary figures, they’ll be well on their way to being more attentive and discerning readers, enriching both their future classes and their own reading life.

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Level One students build on the simple structure of a very rudimentary Essay One and add new elements to each subsequent one. The foundational rhetorical canons of Invention, Arrangement, and Elocution are practiced together through lively class discussion and written exercises and then incorporated into each essay.

In eight essay cycles, Level One students learn to invent, arrange, and write a complete persuasive essay consisting of an exordium, narration, division, thesis, proofs, subproofs, refutation, and amplification. Figures of speech are practiced and gradually incorporated into the essays, including parallelism, antithesis, metaphor, simile, alliteration, and assonance. Along the way, the building blocks of phrases, clauses, and sentences are considered, compared, and crafted, thus integrating a deeper grammatical sense into the art of wordsmithing.

Lost Tools of Writing Level One with Narnia will take a 30-week tour through both Lost Tools Level One and the entire Chronicles of Narnia, in which we will read, write about, and reflect upon characters and their decisions as well as C.S. Lewis’s masterful  craftsmanship.


The Lost Tools of Writing Student Workbook Level One

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis


Recommended Ages: 12 and up

Prerequisites: Some prior grammar and the ability to write a simple paragraph

Day and time: Wednesdays, 10-11:30 a.m. (EST) and Saturdays, 8-9:30 a.m. (EST)

Cost: $575 (includes a nonrefundable $75 deposit paid at time of registration)

2022-2023 Academic Calendar and other FAQ


Lost Tools of Writing Level Two with Shakespeare continues the study of classical rhetoric with the judicial address, which refines the persuasive essay taught in Level One. Students will further build up their writing skills while also practicing the art of judging wisely and well.

Level Two includes plenty of review, a deeper understanding of classical rhetoric, special Topics of Invention, and additional schemes and tropes. As with Level One, the skills practiced in Lost Tools Level Two can be applied to any kind of writing students will ever have to do.

This class will also serve as an introduction to (or further acquaintance with!) the incomparable Shakespeare, as we will be reading, discussing, writing about, and memorizing passages from four of his plays.

Bonus for Bard lovers: I will host two Shakespeare read-alouds on Zoom, one in Fall and one in Spring, in which my Level Two students will be invited to read an assigned part from the play to be read aloud together in its entirety.


The Lost Tools of Writing Student Workbook Level Two

The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis

Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Julius Caesar (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Henry V (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Recommended Ages: 14 and up

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Level One and permission of instructor. (Note: Submission of a complete Level One essay is required if student is new to Mrs. Flick.)

Day and time: Mondays, 5-6:30 p.m. (EST)

Cost: $575 (includes a nonrefundable $75 deposit paid at time of registration)

2022-2023 Academic Calendar and other FAQ