Saturday, April 7, 2012

Homeschooling Methods: Classical Education

There has sometimes been confusion about what Classical Education is. Some assume it only means that you include the classics as part of your curriculum. Hopefully, every homeschooler does this since it is an important element of every successful method of homeschooling. Classical Education is a little more detailed in its description than this though.

Classical Education depends on three stages of learning referred to as the Trivium. In each stage the student learns material suited to their mental developments. When they are young they memorize easily but are not ready to apply what they learn until they reach the third stage. As with many methods, there are various approaches to Classical Education, and customizing it to fit the needs of your family may make it a fit for you. Using this method, your child can get a solid liberal arts education.

The three stages:

Grammar Stage - This stage generally includes students from ages 5 to 10, although this can be a bit flexible according the individual development of your child. In this stage they easily memorize and mimic what you teach. This is a time to drill all those math facts and lists of cool science stuff. It's a great time to be playing file folder games and other hands on memorization tools that will help them gather and memorize all the helpful information they can. It's a wonderful time to be memorizing scriptures. Some of what they are memorizing may not even make complete sense to them at this stage, but later it will.

Logic Stage - This stage generally includes students from ages 11 to 14, although flexibility still applies. When you notice your child is beginning to question what you tell them its a pretty good indication that they are headed into this stage. In the Grammar Stage they may have questioned what. But in the Logic Stage they question why. They want to understand all those things they learned in the Grammar Stage and make sense of them. They want to understand why family rules are important and why the grass grows or everything turns green in the spring or it is important to practice the piano. Although this can be a frustrating shift for parents, undertanding why a child has started arguing and questioning everything can help a parent know how to continue to be effective.

Rhetoric Stage - These are high school age kids from about 15 to 18. This is the stage when the learn to apply everything the have learned in the Grammar Stage and learned to understand in the Logic Stage.

Popular resources used for this style:
  • The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
  • Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bl

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