More on Trivium & Classical Education

Last week we talked about the Grammar (or early) Stage of Classical Education. Today we’ll move forward into older kids stages of Logic & Rhetoric.


 Logic Stage

The Logic Stage of the classical model is characterized by understanding the facts (the how’s & why’s). Logic students use & apply the information learned in the grammar stage. Students should be using independent, abstract thought at this time.

How do you know when your children are entering the Logic stage?

Here’s a Quick & Easy Trick:

When your kids are trying to craft an argument, you know it’s time to start the logic stage. If they’re going to argue, you might as well teach them how to argue correctly.

Since a child at the logic stage wants to argue, then teach them to argue well with logical conclusions. Students should be able to support what they are arguing and not commit logical fallacies.

Usually students at this age simply argue on emotion about whatever it is they want to do. The logic student learns to overcome emotion and argue logically. So, all you need to do is get them to translate their knowledge of logic to their own real world. Good Luck!

It’s now time to start a formal logic class. They will use their logic skills verbally, as well as in written form. Hopefully, they’ll use it socially, at church or around the dinner table. Help them to begin to see how to think logically and how to express themselves logically.

Another aspect of the Logic stage is understanding. These students should understand the cause and effects of different wars, understand concepts in science, understand the how and why of each subject area.

The questions how and why are used a lot in the logic stage. In the Grammar stage you spend much of your time asking who, what, when, and where. Logic moves up to a higher level of thinking.

You also want to equip your students with language and thinking skills so they can detect the fallacies. Students read essays, arguments and criticisms, in addition to classic books at their reading level. Logic students interpret events and look at relationships to tie together ideas in their readings.

Once again, truth, beauty and goodness should be discussed with the dialectic student as he studies. Whether it is World War I or the solution to an algebraic problem, students should see God’s beauty, goodness and truth in the subject being studied.

 Rhetoric Stage

Characterized by wisdom, the last stage of the trivium is the Rhetoric Stage. Rhetoric, characterized by wisdom, is the final application of knowledge and understanding. Your children should use language, both verbal and written, in a persuasive and eloquent manner.

What a great opportunity for students to delve in and develop their communication skills.

Discussion is probably the most important aspect of the Rhetoric stage. So, how can you have a discussion? You’re only a homeschooler.

In our family, we each kept a reading journal. Every day our kids wrote about their individual readings and we discussed some of the concepts in their journals.

When we first started keeping a reading journal, my kids were very literal, very grammar-staged journal writing. Eventually they wrote their thoughts about the book, instead of just regurgitating and telling me exactly what they read.

You may be thinking, “We’re homeschoolers, we don’t have 20 people to have a discussion with!” You’re absolutely right!

Have you ever heard of a Dinner Table?

Dinner tables make the best discussions. That’s what we used over and over again. We continue to have discussions at the dinner table.

When we had children in the Rhetoric stage, we used Gileskirk curriculum. Steve and I listened to the same lectures the kids watched on video. From there, we talked about some of the concepts that we were studying. Our lectures covered a specific time period and analyzed the literature, history, writing, science, philosophy, Bible, worldview and theology.

Logic & Rhetoric Stages are the conclusion of the Trivium and one of the best approaches to truly give your kids the tools of learning.


kerry beck - HowToHomeschoolMyChild.comKerry Beck homeschooled all three of her children for 10 years. She is now an empty-nester that encourages homeschool moms online and at live workshops. She wants to give you a free ebook: Everything You Wanted to Know About Homeschooling that you can grab by clicking here.