I have a seventh grader this year, so “logic” is a category on our checklists. That’s how classical education works, right? In middle school, when they’re obnoxious and argumentative, we give them the tools to be so more and more. lol.
Learning about how people make bad arguments can be fun. Honestly, it might be the easiest way to laugh alongside a middle schooler during school hours – pick on dumb arguments that fool people but not us because we know better.
Being able to identify bad logic, however, is not the same as being able to construct a good argument. It’s also not the same thing as knowing how to convince someone or knowing how to identify what someone is actually trying to communicate underneath their poor reasoning or ill-formed metaphors.
No one is actually protected from bad arguments by being able to identify poor logic in textbook format. Not all appeals to emotion are misplaced. Not all ad hominem are abusive. Most examples of fallacies are straw men. Ironic.
What will protect us and our children from bad arguments – and the most dangerous are those that originate in our own heads and hearts – is sound arguments. It is from reasoning, which happens through a process of questioning. The art of asking and following the questions is at the true heart of the “logic stage” of classical education. It is dialectic, the second art of the trivium.
Yet that is not what most logic curriculums teach.
You know why? A textbook really can’t teach it.
Dialectic necessarily involves a back-and-forth in person. It is personal. It is transformative.
It doesn’t happen when the schedule says it’s time to study logic. It happens at the dinner table. It happens over the piano-practice-deliberations or the math-page-lawyering. It happens in the car. It happens after church.
Dialectic happens when two people realize they need to get to the bottom of the question at hand.
It takes time, investment, and love to go there, to spend that time, to go deep with someone.
A textbook simply can’t. They can give us words and categories and structure, but dialectic takes two people in the same room, minimum.
Dialectic is less a subject to be studied and more of an art to be used throughout all studies. That’s why it’s called a liberal art. It’s not a set of facts or data or categories to file away and master. It’s a means of coming to a better understanding no matter what is being studied.
And, yes, this is why we as parents feel inadequate and ill-equipped to educate our kids. But home is actually the most important place for dialectic to take place. Home is formative.
So we are hosting a summer intensive to equip parents to engage in meaningful dialectic with their children, naturally, organically, formatively, not as merely a school subject to add to the list.
Steven Rummelsburg, teacher and writer and homeschool cheerleader, is going to teach an 8-week intensive on logic for us. The goal is to equip parents to confidently weave questioning, thinking, and reasoning into all studies. With the liberal art, the tool of learning, that is logic firmly in our arsenal, we can trust and use our common sense not only in a logic class, but throughout all our teaching and conversation.
Middle school and high school students can also take this class alongside their parents, but the aim is equipping parents, not teaching kids apart from their parents.
It’s primarily through dialogue that these skills are developed, so it’s crucial to not merely sign up our children and ignore it ourselves. We’ve set the class up to be one per household, lifetime access. So you can work through it with multiple children, take a refresher, watch with your husband, and review as necessary.
Steven will teach 2 classes every week for 8 weeks, beginning July 13, plus we’ll do a live Zoom Q&A call where we can ask him questions live and practice the knowledge we’ve gained. Replays will remain available. That’s 24 classes over 8 weeks to quickly orient us and equip us to reason well.
Class Schedule & Syllabus
The dates are when each class will be released. All classes will be available for viewing anytime after 3am Pacific that date – they are prerecorded. Only the Q&A sessions will be live. Unlimited replay access is included with your registration.
|1||July 13||Introduction & Overview||The true nature of education and logic necessitate we approach both differently than we have.|
|2||July 15||Roadblocks to Learning Logic||Logic comes with pitfalls and dangers; we must watch our assumptions as well as our methods.|
|3||July 20||The Science of Correct Thinking||We must begin with grounding principles and definitions to do logic as citizens of the City of God.|
|4||July 22||The Art of Teaching Logic||As humans teaching humans, we must value formation over information and honor the true nature of learning.|
|5||July 27||Material Logic 1: Words||To communicate well we must understand the origin, purpose, & nature of language.|
|6||July 29||Material Logic 2: What Is Logic?||As a liberal art, logic is a kind of good.|
|7||August 3||Material Logic 3: The 3 Acts of the Mind||Though integrated and unified, we must notice the distinct acts of apprehension, judgment, and reasoning.|
|8||August 5||Material Logic 4A: Understanding Understanding||Philosophy is the most profound of human learning (Don’t be scared of Aristotle).|
|9||August 10||Material Logic 4B: Aristotle’s Categories||The categories help us to know what things are, in accidents and essence.|
|10||August 12||Material Logic 5: Form & Matter||Form and matter show us the big picture about created things.|
|11||August 17||Material Logic 6: The Concept||Universals are concepts which are neither particular nor changeable.|
|12||August 19||Material Logic 7: Simple Apprehension||The Hierarchy of Being allows us to perceive the true nature of a thing.|
|13||August 24||Material Logic 8: Predicates||A predicate can have five possible relationships with its subject.|
|14||August 26||Material Logic 9: Knowing a Thing||Three tools help us know a thing: the art of the definition, the square of opposites, & the four causes.|
|15||August 31||The Method of Thomas Aquinas||Aquinas was quite possibly the greatest philosopher of history; his methods can and should still be applied to today’s issues.|
|16||September 2||Conclusion||The darkness in the world today must be fought with the light of clearly communicated & lived out gospel truth and natural law.|
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