Friday, April 4, 2014

10 Things To Do With Your Children Ages 10-12

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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 teaching children in the Later Knowledge Level.

Chapter 12 - Ten Things To Do With Your Children Ages Ten Through Twelve

The Bluedorns observe the starting of the formal grammar stage age 10.  Just like in the previous chapter, they go through ten things to be focusing on with your children that are in the 10-12 year age range.  Early in the chapter they state, "This is approximately the age when children are ready for more formal academics.  Around age ten, the light bulb goes on."

What age have you noticed this 'light bulb' go off in your children?

I do not have children this old yet, so I can only trust that they are right about this.  I am slowly trying to process their distinction between formal and informal academics.  I have a hard time understanding why you wouldn't continue teaching a little child who is soaking up information.  I think, though, that the Bluedorn's point is not what you are teaching your children, but how you are teaching them.  Am I getting that correctly?

For instance, when both of my kids were learning letter recognition at age 2, I noticed they were learning that and I started making sure that we would cover each letter.  Once they recognized each letter we started  talking about the sounds they make.  That was at age 3.  In my mind, the natural progression is to sit down for 10 minutes or so a few times a week and slowly start to put letter sounds together and eventually begin to read.  Both of my kids followed this progression exactly the same.  My daughter is almost 4 and she is beginning to read simple books.  My son took off in his 4 year old year and now at age 5 he can read chapter books and does for a few hours a day.  He is able to learn so much more than I am able to teach him because of this.  It seems to me that this was more the direction outlined in The Well Trained Mind that we read together this past summer.  Teaching the Trivium says it's better to wait, and even if your child is 8 or 9, no big deal.

Family Worship

Not surprisingly, worshiping together as a family should still be a priority.  You should study the scriptures and memorize passages together.

Literature and Reading Aloud

Continue reading aloud to your children for 2 hours a day, but they will also be reading more independently now.  Read fine literature and memorize pieces of poetry.  The Bluedorns suggest staying away from light reading like Hardy Boys, The Boxcar Children, American Girl, etc.  Most homeschoolers love these books!  Even classical sites like Veritas Press recommend Boxcar Children for second grade literature.  Is that the difference?  Are those books not good or should your child just be past them by age 10?

What do you think about books like Hardy Boys, The Boxcar Children, and American Girl?

What literature do you recommend for the 10-12 age group?


"By age ten, your child should be reading from history and narrating it back to you." (pg 347)  Sounds good to me!  They say that you can either study history chronologically or based on your child's interest.  This veers a bit from the typical classical method, but I know they are not claiming to be classical purists, only applying the trivium to each subject.

I remember hearing someone say once that if your child is really interested in another time period than what you are studying, take a week off and let that child enjoy reading and researching about that favorite period or person.  After that week or so, jump back in where you left off.  That should satisfy your child and also you can tell them to look forward to learning more about it when you get back to that time period again!  I thought that sounded like a good idea.  Does anyone know where I'm getting that from?  I feel like I heard it recently....oh well.

Make sure you are keeping a timeline and a history notebook to keep everything organized and to easily be able to look back at what you have already learned.


"By age ten, your child should be writing something everyday." (pg. 352)  Letters to family or friends, copywork, dictation, journaling, anything to get them beginning to learn about writing.

I was encouraged and challenged by a few things the end of this section. (pg 356) 

"Perfectionism can break the spirit of a child."

I definitely don't require things to be prefect, but it's good to keep in mind how my children might see that =)  I want to be sensitive to how they perceive my critiques.

"Dictation should be a teaching session, not only a testing session."

Good food for thought =)

Spelling and English Grammar

Just like in math, the Bluedorns talk about age 10 being when a child's brain is ready to really learn about grammar.  Many families start in 1st grade, but they do not recommend it.  We talk about parts of speech as we come to them, but so far we haven't done any formal grammar instruction.

What are your favorite resources for teaching grammar?

Once again, they recommend a notebook for grammar.  Keep a section for dictation, spelling rules,  grammar, sentence diagramming, etc.

Latin and Greek

By this age, hopefully your child will know the Greek alphabet.  Now is the time for memorizing known Bible passages in Greek and doing copywork.  You can also memorize common phrases in Latin.  Once your child gets the writing and speaking part down, you can start studying Greek grammar.  Get yourself another notebook!  This time for Greek or Latin grammar (or one for each!)

Early Logic

The Bluedorns don't recommend any sort of formal logic studies yet, but they say it's a great time for early logic activities!  They recommend the books Building Thinking Skills for making the transition to formal logic more gentle!


The Bluedorns spend the majority of the section talking about why to not do math before age 10. We already talked a bit about delayed formal education, so I won't say any more, but I'd love to discuss in the comments if you have any more thoughts on the subject!

Once your child is 10, they say to drill math facts if they haven't picked them up already.  They also recommend Saxon as a math text from this point on.  


The Bluedorns take a very relaxed approach to science for this age child.  It seems very Charlotte Mason to me (not saying that is bad =)  They recommend having your child keep a nature book, spending plenty of time outdoors, doing experiments about things they are interested in, and reading something science related each day.

I don't mind this relaxed way of approaching science for elementary aged students, but I do still prefer a systematic study of science.  I don't think it has to be rigorous (by any means!) but I think it is beneficial  to approach it in a logical manner.  What do you think?

How do you study science with your upper elementary aged children?

Art and Music

The Bluedorns say you can begin a formal art or music program at this time if you would like.  Or you can just surround your child with great tools to create their own projects and resources so they can observe great pieces of art and music.

At the end of the chapter, they spend a little time answering a few questions, summing up the 10 things to be focusing on, and sharing a sample schedule.

What did you think of this chapter?

Do you follow these ideas with your 10-12 year old children?

What idea from this chapter might you start implementing now?

Thanks for reading along this week!  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 thirteen 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. I agree that children should have a systematic study of science along with plenty of nature study. It helps if children are familiar with scientific terminology when they hit highschool or highschool science becomes very difficult. This can be done through nature study and reading plenty of science books, systematic curriculum, or lots of time working through experiments and demonstrations.

    1. Kids are so curious anyways. I know my young kids love doing science, as simple as we make it. It's all so new and interesting to them! I agree, nature study is fantastic, but I think other types of science study is good too, even for the grammar stage).

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sara!

  2. I'm excited to start reading what others thought about this chapter. Admittedly I'm still working my way through it. I've found myself in agreement (almost letting out a sigh of relief at times) and other times not quite agreeing with things. Mind you my kids are 8 and 9 and I am in no way an expert haha. I believe strongly in nature studies but at this age (8 and 9) believe my kids need more than just going into nature and studying something that caught their interest. I by no means believe in a rigorous science study at this point though. So often the words themselves are very difficult for them BUT it is amazing the concepts or general ideas that they DO understand.
    Language - hmmmm....well....we are working our way though Song School Latin this year and I plan on adding some sort of Greek within the next 2 years. I just don't know/agree with how important it is for them to memorize scripture in Greek. I don't think it's a bad thing....I just don't know how important it really is at this age. Care to share your thoughts about the memorization of scripture in Greek?

    1. I feel the same way when the discussions get to things that are specifically for kids older than mine =)

      Like I commented above, I agree about the science part. Like you said, it doesn't need to be rigorous, but kids are so curious that it would seem wrong to not help them discover more! I know the Bluedorns are not against that type of discovery, though, they just don't want to be pushing anything unnecessarily soon.

      I actually liked the memorizing Scripture in Greek idea. I think the point is that it would be something that they are already familiar with, so the memorization in Greek would be easier and have more meaning. Now, I haven't done this yet, but it did pique my interest, so I think I'm going to try it with a few of the verses we already have in our memory box.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Ok, I am getting caught up on my posting and commenting now that I am caught up on my reading! My daughter is at the beginning of this age group, so I related a lot to this. I agree with them about informal science for the most part (build an interest and teach the scientific method…the details are many and will come later), but I DO NOT agree with delaying math. On the contrary, children need to be confidant and at ease with math by this age to avoid the American epidemic of "I can't do math". Also, I don't know why they would say to stay away from those books. There is a lot of junk out there, but these are quality children's literature. I can mostly speak about the American Girl books. They are usually around a 4th grade reading level. They have strong girls as characters who either teach about a historical period or show a lesson about character. Why would I say no to that?

    1. Yeah, I was wondering what I was missing about those books. I wish they would have given examples of things they like for the elementary set.

      I agree with you about math. I do think that it needs to be be concrete in the grammar stage, though. I think some curricula is set up that way and others not. I'm sure you could accomplish most grammar stage math teaching without a text, but personally I would feel like I was missing things =) Once again, I think more examples would have been helpful.


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