Teaching the Trivium – Chapter 6



This post continues the discussion of Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn along with the Classical Mamas Read group led by Amy at Living and Learning at Home.

Chapter 6 – Teaching Logic
Logic is the science of correct reasoning. Logic describes the way things fit together and is the framework upon which we build all other knowledge.

Chapter 5 begins by introducing some of the basic terminology in the study of logic.  At this point I have to admit that I read the definition and started skipping through some of the pages because what followed every definition was the authors’ logical argument in favor of a particular religious belief. The religious beliefs of my church are not so fundamentalist, and I might argue in return that perhaps this results from the fact that they believe they are using deductive reasoning when I might argue it is a case of inductive reasoning.  Nevertheless, doesn’t that make a case for the study of logic?  You understand what being illogical really is.  You also understand how someone can logically think through an idea and come up with a different conclusion because their set of facts which are possibly true can be different from your own.  Most of the time we just don’t have all the information.

The next part of the chapter goes on to talk about how to go about teaching logic but does not suggest any particular curriculum.  They are saving that for a later chapter. Before age 13, they recommend informal logic training. This can be as easy to introduce as strategy games such as checkers and chess as well as good literature.  My kids love games, and I have introduced some basic logic/critical thinking problems to my 10 year old this year. At age 13 students should begin study of the logic framework in an informal manner and will be ready to attempt formal logic around age 16.  You have to remember that these ages are suggested and average.  Only you know what your child is capable of doing.  For example, my second grader has far above-average critical thinking skills and can work through problems in a way that many 5th graders may not be able to do.  Just remember to keep it fun while they are young and making the connections necessary to use in higher grades.

6 thoughts on “Teaching the Trivium – Chapter 6

  1. I don’t want to start an internet debate, but as far as what you didn’t agree with are you referring to how they tie logic in to morality?

    You do bring up a good point that two people can come to two different conclusions using their own sets of facts. The part where it gets tricky is that there is only one set of facts, but two different people don’t always have the same information in order to know what is fact and what is opinion.

    I don’t know if I’m making sense (too bad on a discussion of logic!) but it’s a good discussion! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this chapter!

    • Amy, I’d just say that morality is not always just black and white. Killing someone is wrong, but what if your life is in danger? Stealing is wrong. What if it is something to feed your family? It’s easy to judge someone else’s choices when you don’t know all the facts or circumstances. That’s all. It’s always more complicated. We each have to face God in issues of morality. So, that was all that I meant. It’s not so simple and black and white.

  2. Logic puzzles, chess, and checkers are a wonderful way to introduce logic to pre-teens. Thank you for reminding me that there are many ways to introduce logic informally.

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