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Logic in an age of illogical thinking—what’s the purpose? One only has to live through one election year to recognize how important an introduction to logic course is. The middle school students at SLOCA are taught how to recognize and name many of the logical fallacies committed by candidates who make outrageous claims, shallow promises, and personal attacks against their opponents. However, this ability to recognize fallacies is only the tip of the iceberg of value derived from four years of logic.
Students who take logic learn how arguments are formed, they play with the subtleties of language, and they are taught how to apply thinking with clarity and purpose. Recently the eighth graders discussed how immediate inferences can be made from individual statements, they learned how to restate propositions in three separate ways without changing the inherent meaning of the propositions, and they were also forced to name and use parts of speech to form cogent arguments. Furthermore, through the use of very precise language, students are exposed to many of the skills used by philosophers throughout the ages. These skills enable our students to comprehend, craft, and evaluate language in ways that challenge many adults today. If we hope that our young people are going to engage in significant intellectual inquiry, they must be equipped with the skills to understand what they read. Logic trains the mind in the skills of analysis necessary to engage with authors that most of us fear because individuals who are equipped with these skills have exercised pathways of thinking that are foreign to the modern mind.
To make this all a little more practical, consider just a few places logic is applied in today’s world. “A doctor must reason from the symptoms at hand, as must a car mechanic. Police detectives and forensic specialists must process clues logically and reason from them. Computer users must be familiar with the logical rules that machines are designed to follow. Business decisions are based on logical analysis of actualities and contingencies. A juror must be able to weigh evidence and follow the logic of an attorney prosecuting or defending a case…As a matter of fact, any problem-solving activity, or what educators today call critical thinking, involves pattern-seeking and conclusions arrived at through a logical path.” (Bennett, D. J. 2004: Logic Made Easy)
Latin is a common classical subject choice that gets critiqued because of its lack of use in modern society. However, Latin is foundational for unlocking the system of language in general, and especially the Romance languages of Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Latin further drives the student to truly understand how English works because it forces the decomposition of language in order to comprehend the purpose words play in the sentence. It presents grammar in a different form from English, demanding that the learner wrap his/her mind around what a subject, direct object, verb, object of the preposition, and adjective actually do in the sentence. This forced understanding enriches one’s mastery of English. The key to Latin is to appreciate the benefits and beauty of the language; something often lost on pre-adolescents and adolescents—especially for those whose significant adults agree that Latin is a “dead language.” It is far from dead. It only is to those who choose not to learn and appreciate the deep benefits of the process and content of Latin.
|Latin textbooks available in SLOCA's bookstore|
• Often, grandparents who see first-hand what SLOCA is all about are more excited to give. Invite them to one of our campus tours (there is one tomorrow at 9:30 AM), or Grand Day later in the year.
• Encourage your kids to share with their grandparents what they love about SLOCA.
• Invite grandparents to read our school blog, and share your own magical moments with them.
• For grandparents who like to go over the top with gift-giving at birthdays and Christmas, perhaps suggest fewer gifts, with a school donation instead.
I live in Seattle and my grandchildren live in San Luis Obispo. I can only visit two or maybe three times a year making it even more important for me to stay involved in their education. To achieve this I have done several things over the years. Because I am a retired librarian I have made sure they have plenty of books. Not just any books but the best I can find, the classics from all times, and a sampling of some of the excellent ones that are coming out now. There is plethora of children’s books at this time and some of them have nothing to commend them at all, so I read the ones I choose first to make sure they are something I want to influence my grandchildren.
The other thing I am doing, because it is Julian’s first year at SLOCA, is to find quotes from famous people from the historical time he is focusing on this year. I try to find an equal number of men and women, and along with each quote I include a few lines from Wikipedia about who they were and when they lived, as well as a photograph, painting or drawing from Google Images so that Julian can visualize them. When I look for the quotes I try to find ones that are short and relatively easy to understand and have some significance connected to these people’s historical importance. I was a History minor in college so my background is coming in handy. It is wonderful to be able to share my love of books and my skills and training to help educate my grandchildren.
One week Julian was working on copywork for a quote my mother had sent from Helen Keller. He had copied a few sentences without having read the context paragraph; who Helen Keller was, her accomplishments, or her disabilities. Julian asked me what this was about, and I read the context to him – that she was both deaf and blind, and yet had earned a BA, and become a lecturer, activist and author. I explained how she had learned to comprehend language, taught by her teacher, Anne Sullivan. I told Julian to close his eyes, and I took his hand and spelled out “w-a-t-e-r” on his palm (this was the subject of the quote). His eyes shot open, and he was absolutely amazed by the story. He finished his copywork, and got all excited, wanting to research more about her story.
Trimester 1 Fine Arts Focus Wrap Up
Online and print resources for the artists we’ve met:
- Rembrandt – great bio and collection of his works
- Rembrandt – another good resource
- Rembrandt by Xavier Niz
- Rembrandt (Art for Children) by Ernest Lloyd Raboff
- Linnaeus (lots of info and will appeal to older students with an interest in science)
- Linnaeus – article and pictures
- Audubon – good bio and much more
- Audubon – nice read for Primary and up
- Audubon – sumptuously illustrated book on the artist and uses his own quotes and thoughts
- Audubon – for LMS readers and up, this title is also on the Novel Adventures Reading list!
For this costume, which is very appropriate for what we’re studying now, I found a black large sweat shirt, cut it open and pinned the “new” lapels down. With lots of glitter glue, I copied the pattern from the costume example. The under shirt is a red t-shirt and again I copied the design with glitter glue. This was a few years ago. I did spend some money on the hat and added gold ribbon. But I knew we would use that hat often, so it was a bit of an investment. SLOCA has seen this hat many times over the years. FYI, all that glitter glue needs time to dry, so this needs to be done at least 24 hours in advance. A blow dryer will help speed up the drying process, but it’s certainly not a “day of” project.
The Power of Music and Your School Time
There is a great classical music station available to Central Coast listeners. KUSC FM 99.7 cranks out your classic favorites from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and more. If you are curious about utilizing classical music as part of your home school line-up, consider the science behind it: Listening to music (without lyrics) stimulates the right side of the brain. Conversely, when you write and study, you trigger the left hemisphere of your brain. Doing both at the same time means both hemispheres are firing simultaneously, working as a whole and increasing your ability to memorize and retain information.
So what kind of classical music is best? Experts say Mozart and other baroque music (music in the 17th and 18thcenturies from Europe), maintain a pace of 60 beats per minute and is actually said to increase learning potential by up to five times normal amounts.
While I am no brain scientist, I did read numerous science studies linking classical music to learning when my children were babies. For me this was “new news”, so I gave it a try. It worked. I found my toddlers playing significantly longer and with more focus when classical music was playing in our home. That mini experiment made such an impact on my husband and me that our family has incorporated classical music into our home school days as well. I truly find my children (and me) more relaxed and I do believe that it has a positive effect on their learning ability. So, let the music play…
Being thankful and showing appreciation for those in our lives and for what we have and receive.