Teaching the Trivium – Chapter 10




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 10 – Different Methods and Approaches to Homeschooling in the Light of the Trivium

Chapter 10 introduces six common educational methodologies and relates them to the classical, applied trivium discussed in detail in the previous chapters.  If you have done any research about homeschooling, you have probably heard of most of these.  So, I’ll only make mention of a few comments.

  1. The Scope and Sequence Method – This is the “textbook” method employed by every traditional classroom.  There is a certain amount of information that each student is expected to learn each year and a certain order in which it is introduced.  Each student should fit into that mold.  Well, I think we can all agree that this is not true.  That is precisely the reason we were forced into a corner and decided to homeschool.  This method also goes against the ideals of classical education.  Sure, we are going to use textbooks, but they should be used as tools rather than a set of standards.
  2. The “Habitual” Charlotte Mason Method – I actually really like this method and how well it weaves together with the concept of classical education.  This sounds like the best way to approach educating younger children before beginning “formal education”.
  3. The Environmental “Unschooling” Method – I know this is the new trend in education, but I have to admit that it is the one method I looked at and immediately said “NO WAY!”  This is not for me.  This is not for my structured, disciplined children.  This is totally at odds with the philosophy of classical education.
  4. The Unit Study Approach – In addition to the Charlotte Mason Method, this is another great way to make learning fun and less formal in the early grades.  I try to incorporate the concept of mini unit studies throughout the year as a way to keep things interesting and fun.  It’s a great way to go more in depth with a particular subject as well.  For example, this week we are starting to work on a unit study about Westward Expansion and the Gold Rush!
  5. The Formal Classical Approach – This educational method definitely requires the most discipline, but I believe firmly enough in its ideals and results to have chosen it for my family.
  6.  The Principle Approach – This is based off seven principles of American Christian history and government as enumerated by Rosalie Slater in 1965.  This is the one method that was new to me in this chapter, but it could be taught using an applied trivium approach.

No matter what method you choose for your family, you can almost certainly approach it from the mindset of the applied trivium.  To me, the most important point in the chapter was that our culture is turned upside down, and we depend far too much on our government, economy, or church to tell us what to do.  We need to be mature adults who break the pattern of being conformed by the external world and choose to become transformational examples for our children and our community.


3 thoughts on “Teaching the Trivium – Chapter 10

  1. I had never heard of the Principle Approach either. I completely agree about unschooling! My structured brain couldn’t handle that =) I have always been intrigued by the Charlotte Mason method, so I enjoyed reading what the Bluedorns had to say about that in relation to the trivium. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the chapter!

  2. Tamara

    I am in complete agreement about the unschooling method. I know families who have done it or currently practice it and I honestly just don’t understand it! Where is the structure? How do you make sure that they learn vital information? Let’s face it. If they plan on furthering their education there are things they are going to need to know as pre recs.

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