Teaching the Trivium
Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
How can you give your children the tools they need to teach themselves? Long ago students were first taught how to learn. Today, students are taught an encyclopedia of subjects – trivia – but they are not taught the basic skills of learning: to discover, to reason, and to apply. They are not taught the Trivium.
Can you homeschool in a classical style without compromising your Christian principles? Because we are Christians, we do not want to pursue non-Christian goals. Classical Education must be sifted through the critical screen of the Scriptures to be transformed into a Biblical model.
Can you homeschool in a classical style without buckling under the burden? There is only so much time in the day. For every subject, and for every age, we have a workable plan – which leaves you free to breathe. You can continue to use other approaches to homeschooling within the framework of Classical Education.
Restoring Biblical order to education
Is homeschooling about renewing family vision? The family is at the heart of God’s plan for restoring Christian culture. Homeschooling is not alternative education. Homeschooling was here first. We want to restore Biblical order to education.
This is the masterpiece work, for parents wanting to apply classical education to the homeschooling setting. Full of wise counsel about using Latin, logic, rhetoric, and the whole field of literature, without compromising Christian values or worldview. The authors have great skill at shaping the classical method with the mold of Scripture to obtain the best of both worlds.
Review by Kathy Davis
from Homeschool Buzz
How do you evaluate the success of your home school? Is it by awards, SAT scores, college acceptance, scholarships, or winning the local spelling bee or art contest? Sure, those are measurements of success, but beyond those tangible rewards, it’s seeing first hand the fruits of your labor; watching your children take what you’ve taught them and run with it. It’s seeing them use the tools they need to teach themselves. They discover. They reason. And they apply. That’s the trivium.
Teaching the Trivium is an outstanding resource that explains what Christian homeschooling in a classical approach is, and models how it’s done. Using her 20 years of experience, Laurie Bluedorn’s own successful, talented (now adult) children are testimony to the success of her use of this approach to homeschool education, and serve as encouraging role models for those of us with growing children.
Home is Better
Part one of the book explains what classical education is; giving a good argument for why home is better than a classical classroom setting, and provides the what is/how to of teaching grammar, logic and rhetoric. Part two explores the practical trivium, breaking the application into the developmental stages of your child up to college age.
You’ll find everything you need to teach the trivium, such as suggested schedules, course of studies, and a great chapter on principles for the study of literature. The appendix has very helpful articles including a comparison of ancient alphabets, and the history and research on the teaching of math.
Whether you’re new to the classical style of teaching, or have doing it from the start, there is something for every homeschooling family in Teaching the Trivium. This phenomenal resource is one of those books you will be reading and re-reading over and over again. Don’t wait for it to show up at a used curriculum sale. I can’t imagine anyone parting with it.
Review by Mary Pride
In her Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling
Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style is by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, the world’s reigning experts on this subject. As long ago as 1989, the Bluedorns were writing on classical education for homeschoolers — long before any other book on the topic emerged — as well as promoting it through their speaking at hundreds of conventions. They certainly know how to teach you how to do classical homeschooling from a Christian perspective. Their 640-page book holds you by the hand and takes you right through all the how-tos.
The Bluedorns depart from Dorothy Sayers’ dicta in several cases. By reading their arguments as to why doing it their way makes more sense than the prep-school way, you will become aware that even classical education can be “done” several differing ways, and start forming your own opinions on educational philosophy. And the incredibly practical nature of the many tips scattered throughout the book will give you a big “leg up” on your own educational efforts.
Educational Excellence at Home
I should mention that the Bluedorns’ kids have demonstrated educational excellence along the way, winning or scoring high in various academic and creative contests, from large science fairs to a NASA contest to the “Written and Illustrated By” contest. So this is not another “how to” book by wannabes who can’t show any academic results.
If you’re a Bible-believing Christian who is drawn to classical homeschooling, I urge you to buy and study this book.
Table of Contents
The full Table of Contents is several pages long, but here are the main headings:
- The Transformation of Classical Education: A Biblical Vision for Homeschooling
- Who Should Control Education: Parents or the State?
- Should Christians Prefer a Classroom School?
- What Is the Trivium?
- Teaching Languages
- Teaching Logic
- Teaching Rhetoric
- Principles for the Study of Literature
- An Application of Principles for the Study of Historical Literature
- Different Methods and Approaches to Homeschooling in the Light of the Trivium
- The Early Knowledge Level: Ten Things to Do Before Age Ten
- The Later Knowledge Level: Ten Things to Do With Children Ages Ten through Twelve
- The Understanding Level: Ten Things to Do With Children Ages Thirteen through Fifteen
- The Wisdom Level: Ten Things to Do With Children Ages Sixteen through Eighteen
- The Finishing Level: Ages Nineteen and Onward
- Conclusion: Life’s Goals Begin at Home
- Appendix One: Articles on Education
- Appendix Two: Resource List