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Timing of logic and rhetoric

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    Timing of logic and rhetoric

    Hello! I have not posted in the grade 9-12 forum before because my kids are in grades 3 and 7, but ninth grade is getting closer all the time! And so I am thinking ahead to both make decisions about classes and to be able to articulate those decisions to others.

    Although many think of grades 6-8 as being the “logic” stage, MP does not begin Traditional Logic until grade 9 (grade 8 advanced). I have read Martin Cothran’s explanation of why not to teach logical fallacies first, and that algebra is the best introduction to logic, and I thoroughly agree. Does MP have any other explanation as to why not teach logic in the “logic” years? Is the whole naming of these “stages” unnecessary? “Rhetoric” is also reserved for one year, in twelfth grade. Is the skill of rhetoric also taught in the upper levels of Classical Composition? I am
    not attacking in any way, as I prefer what I am finding in MP, but trying to wrap words around this approach compared to other classical curriculum and approaches I have seen and experienced so I can explain it to others.
    2020-2021 Eighth year homeschooling, first year using MP cores!
    DD - grade 7
    DS - grade 3
    Five born to Heaven, between 2009 and 2014
    DH is a bivocational pastor
    Celebrating 18 years of marriage this year.

    #2
    I think this article may help you a bit, if you haven't seen it already. I'm not sure that I am correct, but when we hear talk of a "grammar stage", a "logic stage", etc. we should understand such talk as referring not to subjects - or primarily to subjects - but to a child's abilities, which correlate with certain propensities to learn in certain ways. So the grammar stage lends itself well to memorization as a primary tool of learning, while by the rhetoric stage memorization still has a role, obviously, but the emphasis is in the honing of a student's ability to reflect and elaborate upon what he studies. The logic stage is the middle ground, where a student's capacity for abstraction and reflection begin to bloom.
    Besides this, I think we also must acknowledge a matter of priorities: Logic as a discipline is best tackled when there is a solid understanding of grammar and syntax, that is of the way language works. At least 6th and 7th graders usually are still working on that. In general, there is a tier of subjects best started only once the basics have been taken care of, and in my opinion Logic is one of them.
    DS (15)
    DD (14)
    DS (7)

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      #3
      Thank you for that link! It is very helpful.

      Perhaps calling the second stage “logic” was a misnomer and it should be called “abstract” or something similar. Calling it “logic” makes a lot of homeschooling parents think that logic should be taught in middle school.
      2020-2021 Eighth year homeschooling, first year using MP cores!
      DD - grade 7
      DS - grade 3
      Five born to Heaven, between 2009 and 2014
      DH is a bivocational pastor
      Celebrating 18 years of marriage this year.

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Kristi B, I think you most likely have read this article by Martin Cothran, but just in case I wanted to post it as a help or answer to your questions.

        "When to Begin the Study of Logic

        One of the most common questions parents and teachers interested in classical education ask about logic is: “When should I start teaching logic to my student?”
        The answer, of course, is: “When he or she is ready.” This usually happens between seventh grade and ninth grade. It is at this age that many children begin to seriously investigate the reasons for things. They are no longer satisfied with the concrete, but are beginning to understand and appreciate abstract ideas.

        Children are not totally unfamiliar with abstract ideas even at this time; they have already encountered them in mathematics. But whereas mathematics deals with abstraction in the realm of quantitative relationships, logic deals with abstraction in the realm of qualitative relationships. Both math and logic deal with abstraction, but math does it with quantities; logic (at least in its traditional form) does it with language.

        I should point out that most modern logicians disagree with this view of logic as a language art. They view math as an extension of logic, and because of this the system of modern logic is very mathematical. But here we are discussing traditional logic, which is very different from modern mathematical or symbolic logic."

        -- from "How to Teach Logic" from here: https://www.memoriapress.com/article...o-teach-logic/
        2021/2022 (Planned) - 4th MP Year
        MP Dad & HLN Science/Math Magister
        S - 7, 2nd Grader MP @ HLN & Home
        D - 5, Kindergartener MP @ HLN & Home
        S - 4, Junior Kindergartener MP @ Home

        Comment


          #5
          Kristi,

          I agree with both the other responses. I would also point out that the "stages" of learning in Sayers developmental taxonomy are very loose characterizations of student abilities, and she is using the terms 'grammar', 'logic' or 'dialectic' and 'rhetoric' analogically, not literally. In fact, the subject of grammar is not a grammar-level subject, nor is subject of logic a logic-stage subject. Grammar involves quite a bit of abstraction, and logic requires a level of abstraction that most "dialectic-stage" students have not achieved.

          I hope that helps.

          Martin Cothran

          Comment


            #6
            Mr. Cothran,
            Thank you! Is that why Traditional Logic is scheduled in 9th grade (for homeschool families), so the student has had Algebra 1 already?
            2020-2021 Eighth year homeschooling, first year using MP cores!
            DD - grade 7
            DS - grade 3
            Five born to Heaven, between 2009 and 2014
            DH is a bivocational pastor
            Celebrating 18 years of marriage this year.

            Comment


              #7
              Kristi,

              I don't think I have said anything about algebra in particular. I think what I said was that the two best preparations for the study of logic were math and grammar because they are the two systematic studies that focus on the two basic thinking skills: analysis and synthesis, and that some facility with these skills is the best preparation for logic, since logic employs these two skills extensively. Algebra certainly does this, but so does higher arithmetic.

              All other things being equal, I think beginning logic in 9th grade is best because it allows you to teach it faster, saving time in your curriculum. But I do recommend that K-8 schools that do not feed into any classical secondary school teach it in 7th and 8th grades, since otherwise the students will never get it at all.

              Mr. Cothran

              Comment


                #8
                Mr. Cothran mentioned speed being an advantage in the 9th/10th Traditional Logic 1 & 2, Material Logic, and Rhetoric sequence and to that I will agree! I also add a reason for that--it is a very light workload class that that level. Taught earlier it may require more time and thinking. Many 7th and 8th graders are carrying a heavier load with Pre-Alg/Alg, harder Latin, and heavy lit and classical studies by that point. It's nice to save Logic/Rhetoric as a treat for 9th & 10th, then give students two full years of HS to work with it under their belt. I will also add that Classical Composition is also perfect prep for Rhetoric; in fact, that's basically pre-rhetoric work somewhat disguised.

                Hope this helps! We are very happy with the placement of waiting until 9th and 10th in my house with my oldest two thus far.
                Festina lentē,
                Jessica P

                2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
                12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
                10th • HLN, Latin online, MPOA
                7th • HLN & Home
                4th • HLN & Home
                Me: Third Form Summer Intensive MPOA

                Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

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                  #9
                  Hello all! Brand new to posting on the forum, but been reading for over a year! My DS-14 will start 10th this fall and Logic 1 & 2 are in my plans! For homeschooling, how much time each day is recommended? I would like to plan 45 minutes/day; will that be enough? I do try to keep "homework" to a minimum! Thanks so much!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by itsdj7 View Post
                    Hello all! Brand new to posting on the forum, but been reading for over a year! My DS-14 will start 10th this fall and Logic 1 & 2 are in my plans! For homeschooling, how much time each day is recommended? I would like to plan 45 minutes/day; will that be enough? I do try to keep "homework" to a minimum! Thanks so much!
                    For a 10th grader, 45 min per day would be more than enough. I think it is scheduled 4 days per week, and 30 minutes was usually enough for my daughter to complete the daily assignments, give or take.
                    Kristin - Administrator for Vita Beata (discussion classes for MP users)
                    DD19; AFROTC and Aerospace Engineering Major
                    DD17; Senior - doing MP Divine Comedy, Renaissance & Reformation, Cicero & Augustine, and moderating 4th Grade Literature for Vita Beata.

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