Friday, February 14, 2014

Teaching Logic - Teaching the Trivium Ch. 6

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This post contains an affiliate link to the book that we are going through.

Welcome to another week of the Teaching the Trivium book club!  I am so excited to read and discuss this book along with you.  I loved the discussion last week and would love to hear from more of you!  Today we talk about logic.

Chapter 6 - Teaching Logic

"Every subject has it's own logic."  Logic is "the science of correct reasoning."  (pg. 149)

My kids are not to the logic stage, but I really enjoy looking ahead to see what is coming and how the trivium all fits together, so this chapter was very helpful!

What I learned is that logic is basically the idea of getting at truth.  Without logic, words lose their meaning and when words lose their meaning, the line between true and false (or right and wrong) gets blurry.  

That seems to be exactly where we are today in our society.  People have elevated feelings and experiences over truth, thereby losing their logical capacities.  What is left is relativism, and morality goes away.

If truth becomes relative in our thinking, then it follows that morality must also become relative in our thinking.   (pg 153)

If you ask a homeschool family why they choose to homeschool, they probably won't say "because they don't teach logic in public schools" but the sentiment is there.  Relativism is abundant in everything that is controlled by the government. Children are not taught to practice logic in order to find truth.

What is Logic Useful For?

Just like the grammar stage is essential in any learning process, so is the logic stage.  In the grammar stage we learn the facts so we can build upon them in the future.  In the logic stage we learn how to think about all those facts that we learned.

Every science --- whether it be chemistry, physics, geography, history, or theology --- is (or at least is should be) the application of the science of Logic to observations made in that particular field of knowledge.  Hence the study of the exact science of Logic is foundational to the study of every other subject.   (pg 157)

Practically speaking, we want to learn logic (and teach it to our children) because ensures that we will learn everything else well.  It will allow our children to look at 'truths' that are presented to them and assert whether they are truths at all.

As a Christian, using logic helps us to evaluate every new claim or idea that the world throws at us.  We will not so easily get tossed in the wind, but will be grounded in the truth.  "To reject logic is to reject truth, and to reject truth is to reject God."  (pg 158)  I'm no expert on logic yet, but I think the opposite of that statement would therefore be true as well: To embrace logic is to embrace truth, and to embrace truth is to embrace God.

Principles and Observations for Learning Logic

The rest of the chapter goes on to share the breakdown of the actual study of logic.  There is formal logic (the study of the systematic form of argument), and informal logic (less theoretical and more practical).  The Bluedorns do a great job at explaining the different types of reasoning and many types of fallacies.  They give many examples that really make clear a challenging subject matter.

They also give some tips for how to actually teach logic in your home, including what to do at the different ages.  Before age 13 they recommend playing great mind strengthening games, reading quality literature, and continuing working on memorization and narration which also build the mind.  They recommend starting formal logic training at age 13, starting with informal logic and then moving on to the study of formal logic at age 15 and above.

Do you have logic age children in your home?

What ages have you found your children ready to begin the logic stage?

What are your favorite resources for teaching logic?

Leave comments here on the blog post, or share about it on social media (#ClassicalMamasRead).  I'll be sharing too, so follow me on facebook, twitter, or google+ and we can chat about it there as well!  Don't forget, if you want to share your thoughts about Teaching the Trivium on your own blog, link it up below so we can all come and visit!

Next week we will be talking about chapter seven of Teaching the Trivium.  If you haven't gotten your own copy yet, make sure you check your library or order one soon so you can be ready for next time!  Also, this is a 600+ page book, so I am only touching on certain points of each chapter.  There is so much great information that I am not covering, so if this discussion interests you, you are going to want to make sure to pick up your own copy so you can read more!

Classical Mamas Read Link-Up

Did you write about Teaching the Trivium on your blog?  Have you been reading and blogging about another book (for you, not a children's book)?  Do you have a book club going on at your blog (once again, not for a children's book)?  I'd love for you link up here so we can all be encouraged by each other and maybe find another great book to read!

I think I'm going to keep this link-up ongoing since there aren't going to be a huge number of posts and then anyone new will be able to be encouraged by the other book reading ideas and discussions.  If the number of posts gets too large, I will fix it.

Please note, all posts must be on topic (about a book you are reading) and appropriate (think family friendly).

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  1. We are following the Well Trained Mind curriculum, which means that my daughter will officially enter the Logic stage in a few months. They also recommend easing into the formal study of logic and leaving more formal study until around 7th grade (which will be about 13 for many kids and be in line with this book). Once in a while now we incorporate "logic puzzles" into our curriculum. She particularly loves problems where you have several people with several preferences to match with their owner. For example, you have to figure out who likes what flavor ice cream with what topping and what type of cone. I am anxious to read on and get to the chapter where they actually start recommending specific curriculum.

  2. Thanks for the reminder of how The Well Trained Mind suggests to do logic. I've read that chapter, but forgot. That makes more sense to me now, remembering how they have you start the logic stage earlier, but the actual formal study of logic doesn't come right away.

    I remember loving logic puzzles as a child. I will definitely use them with my early logic stage kids as well (once they get there, that is!)

    I'm anxious for the later chapters as well! Thanks for the comments this week!

  3. So many of the comments you pointed out from the book are essential to encourage us to teach logic. When we "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:7" Teaching to the moment and including decision making in this process makes each party more aware of what the other will say. I actually like to quiz my kids on how a problem should be dealt with just to keep them thinking. No free rides around here. Our 7th grader loves discussing the Bluedorns "Fallacy Detective" book.

    1. Great ideas! I have the Fallacy Detective book, and have heard that it's great, but my kids aren't logic stage yet. I look forward to using it in a few years! Thanks for sharing your experience having to do with this chapter!


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