Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Classical Historian - Modern American History

What is Classical Education?

Classical educators believe that a student's learning is divided into three stages. The early years are called the Grammar Stage. At this stage, children are sponges. They absorb information from everywhere. It is important to focus on learning facts and rules. Around age 11 or 12, students begin to express themselves more and form more of their own opinions. This is called the Dialectic or Logic Stage. This is when students should start to learn the tools of learning. They learn things like paragraph construction. They can learn WHY people fought a war as opposed to just memorizing dates and details. The final stage is called the Rhetoric Stage. This is when students really learn to dig into research, form, and defend their opinions.

The Classical Historian uses a five step program to teach history in a Classical style of education.
  1. The Grammar of History
  2. The Tools of the Historian
  3. Research
  4. The Socratic Discussion
  5. Analytical Essays
What is the Socratic Discussion?

"Socrates noted that the best teacher and most intelligent philosopher is one who knows what he does not know." At the Dialectic and Rhetoric Stages, it is still important to cover the basic Who, What, When, Where, Why, How questions. However, now we must also ask the students "What evidence do you have that supports this?" Our job is to point them to the documents and research. This opens up a whole new level of thinking and discussion. To learn more, click here.

I really like the idea of Classical Education and the Socratic Discussion. Up to this point, we have had a very relaxed style of homeschooling. That actually fits, in my opinion, with the Grammar Stage. However, my oldest is now 14 (almost 15) and well beyond the Grammar Stage. Looking at The Classical Historian has helped me to see how I can direct him as we begin our high school journey.

This is the package I received here. The DVD is very thorough and really explains the program very well. I got three books along with the DVD. "The Classical Historian: The Socratic Discussion in History" is basically the nuts and bolts of the program. It covers in more detail the specifics of how to teach in the classical style. It also covers grading and the basics of writing an essay and more. The second book is the 32-week guide for Modern American History. This is your lesson plans and answer key. The third book is "Take a Stand! Modern American History, Reading, Discussing, and Writing." This is basically the student assignment book, including some mechanics on writing. It teaches students how to be historians. What this does not include is a history textbook. It encourages students to use textbooks and source documents to research and find evidence on their own. It does not tell them what facts need to be memorized, rather teaches them how to think. In the short time I had to review this, I am not able to judge whether or not this will work for us, however I am looking forward to digging into it more. I will definitely be incorporating it in with our history and literature program for the year.

But wait, there's more:
So my little one wouldn't be left out of the fun, we also got to play one of the history games from The Classical Historian. Ancient History Go Fish was the most fun we've had with school in a long time. My 10yo was so excited we were playing and learning on a Saturday. They have Go Fish and Memory games for Ancient, Medieval, and American History. I'm thinking I may order more of them. At $11.95 for the Go Fish games and $14.95 for the Memory games, they are certainly affordable.

I received these products for review in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no other compensation.

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