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 14 – The Wisdom Level: Ten Things to Do With Children Ages Sixteen Through Eighteen
This was one of the harder chapters for me to read because it seems so far off for my own children. It is a step away from the students I have at the university. Yet, I know the next few years will pass far too quickly and that we will be here before I know it. Teaching university students, I also know how important it is to successfully reach this level. Honestly, hardly any of them come in remotely prepared, so I can tell you how valuable this really is. Students at this level should take the facts and theories they have learned and with guidance be able to piece them together into a meaningful analysis.
Again, there are ten points of study:
1. Family Worship – Hopefully by now a family habit.
2. Reading Aloud – Honestly, it surprised me that this was still listed in the 16-18 age group. I just have a hard time imagining this happening in my family.
3. History and Literature – History and literature really only change in their difficulty level at this stage. There should still be a notebook with timeline, notable historical figures, maps locating specific events and places, and summaries/short essays about important events.
4. Rhetoric – In this stage rhetoric changes a lot to represent interpretation and debate (both written and oral) as well as good research skills. I can’t emphasize enough how important these skills are going to be in college.
5. Government, Economics, and Law – The Bluedorns recommend studying American government at 16, economics at 17, and law at 18. Now, if you are following a classical curriculum, you should have been setting up the framework for our government through the study of ancient history and becoming familiar with our modern government long before now. However, at this point you can go into much more depth about the actual processes. I’d make the same point about economics. I am working on an elementary curriculum about economics and personal finance. This should not be the first time students should be exposed to the foundations of finance and economics, but this can also be a time to study it in real depth.
6. Languages – The advice here is continue Latin and Greek. As I’ve said before, I’m also going to allow my children to study a modern language of their choosing in addition to Latin.
7. Logic – Students at the wisdom stage should be strong in the basics of logic, and that should be practiced in all the other subjects.
8. Mathematics – The Bluedorns suggest that in certain cases after age 16 students can choose to study topics such as accounting, engineering, or computer science. I would disagree. Continually study math and add those areas as supplemental curriculum/electives.
9. Science – The study of science during these years should encompass biology, chemistry, and physics. Once again, they suggest entering a science fair each year. They also had some really unique ideas to play to different strengths of each student such as creating a notebook of scientific and nature drawings, producing a newsletter or web site about a scientific topic, and practical scientific projects rather than typical experiments.
10. Art and Music -Again, the study of art and music should be interest-driven but certainly not ignored. Art and music are the visible expressions of our souls. Don’t neglect them.