Workshop PowerPoint Presentations
Can be found here:
“Training Our
Children’s Minds”
“The Tools of Learning”
“Motivating our Children”
The Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric
States of the Classical Trivium
(1 ½ hours)
Prepared and presented by Barbara Smith
Includes anything that is of
good form and lasting value
Classical Christian – Includes anything that is
of good form and lasting value, and which
conforms to a Biblical standard within a
Biblical worldview
From: Teaching the Trivium
Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
In her essay Miss Dorothy Sayers lamented
the inability of modern educators to educate
Students are taught more subjects, but they know less
about everything.
They cannot divide fact from opinion, or plausibility
from proof.
They are incapable of directly addressing a point, or
staying on point without introducing irrelevant,
They do not define terms, and they cannot understand
different senses in which a term can be used.
They speak the language with inaccurate syntax.
They cannot learn a new subject on their own.
They do not make the connection between different
Modern students have lost the tools for thinking
and for learning on their own.
3 Stages of the Classical Trivium
(Formal Trivium)
GRAMMAR - Student was taught the mastery of
the elements of a language giving skill in
comprehension and to accurately receive knowledge
LOGIC – Student was taught the mastery of
statements, definitions, arguments, and fallacies. He
learned to critically analyze and to understand
RHETORIC – Student was taught the mastery of
creative and persuasive speech. It gave skill in
communication. Student learned to wisely and
effectively express and practice what he had learned.
Trivium Model of Child Educational
Dorothy Sayers describes these 3 stages as:
1. GRAMMER – “The Poll-Parrot stage is the one
in which learning by heart is easy and, on the
whole, pleasurable; whereas reasoning is
difficult and, on the whole, little relished. At this
age one readily memorizes the shapes and
appearances of things; one likes to recite… one
rejoices in the chanting of rhymes and the
rumble and thunder of unintelligible
polysyllables; one enjoys the mere accumulation
of things.”
2. LOGIC – “The Pert Age, which follows upon this (and,
naturally, overlaps it to some extent) is only too familiar
to all who have to do with children: it is characterised by
contradicting, answering-back, liking to “catch people
out” (especially one’s elders) and propounding of
conundrums (especially the kind with a nasty verbal
catch in them).”
3. RHETORIC – “The Poetic Age is popularly known as the
“difficult” age. It is self-contented; it yearns to express
itself; it rather specializes in being misunderstood; it is
restless and tries to achieve independence; and, with
good luck and good guidance, it should show the
beginnings of creativeness, a reaching out towards a
synthesis of what it already knows, and a deliberate
eagerness to know and do some one thing in preference
to all others.”
3 Stages of the APPLIED Trivium
(Trivium Model of Child Educational Development according
to Dorothy Sayers)
When the child absorbs factual information like a sponge
When a child is more inquisitive and analytical
When a child is more creative and expressive
The learning process naturally falls
into this three step progression:
According to Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
The first step is to accumulate the facts – Knowledge
The second step is to comprehend the relationships between these
facts – Understanding
The third step is to put to practical use the expression what we know
and understand – Wisdom
Teaching the Trivium
by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
Some Verses showing the Trivium
Proverbs 2:6
For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge
and understanding
Proverbs 3:19, 20
The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath
he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are
broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew:
Proverbs 24:3, 4
Through wisdom is a house builded; and by understanding it is
established; and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all
precious and pleasant riches
Teaching the Trivium
The Trivium
(According to Barbara Smith)
This is the time for training our children’s minds
This is the time for teaching our children the tools of
This is the time for us to be motivating our children and
helping them to open doors for their future.
“The evidence shows overwhelmingly that
these children (home educators) perform
extremely well, above average, when
they re-enter formal education. That
appears to be across the board, whether
they sat at home and had formal
lessons…or whether they were up-a-tree
hippies who had no formal learning
pattern. On any measure you like, socially
or academically they will do better.” –
Jeff Richardson, Monash University,
He is educated
who knows how
to find out
what he doesn’t know
George Simmel
German Philosopher
Home Based Education, “Not “Does it Work?” but
“Why does it work so well?” by Roland Meighan
University of Nottingham School of Education
“Families starting out on home-based education who at
first adopted formal methods of learning found
themselves drawn more and more into less formal
learning. Families who started out with informal learning
at the outset found themselves drawn into even more
informal learning. The methods that both
groups grew into had much more in
common with the methods of younger
children. The sequencing of learning
material, the bedrock of learning in school,
was seen increasingly as unnecessary and
“This study challenges the
almost universally held view
that children of school age
need to be formally taught if
they are to learn. In school
this may be the case but at
home they can learn just by
-- Alan Thomas’s research
“If you ask what schools are for the
obvious answer is to educate kids…
…but there’s an equally important answer. And that is to
socialise them, to bring them up to be comfortable in
adult society and I think this has always been a
feature of the education process, otherwise it wouldn’t
take so long. You don’t need 15 years to educate
somebody but you need 15 years to socialise
-- Sir Neil Waters, past Vice-Chancellor of Massey University, NZ
Qualifications Authority Board Chairman in an interview in the NZQA’a
magazine LEARN, Issue 10, November 1996 p.8 (The punctuation of this
paragraph is exactly as it appears in the magazine.)
From: “Preparing for an ERO Review” by Craig Smith page 18 & 19
In any study of high-achieving people,
three factors kept emerging:
Warm, demanding adults who loved and
challenged their children throughout
their lives;
2. An exploratory curriculum with an
opportunity to explore new ideas and
interests that arose in the mind of the
learner rather than a totally imposed
3. Giving people only limited access to their
peer groups.
Sir Christopher Ball, the Chancellor of the University of Derby and the Millennium Visiting Fellow at the
Auckland University of Technology
Socialisation and the Occurrence of Genius
In 1960 Harold G McCurdy examined “The
childhood pattern of genius” in a study
supported by the Smithsonian Institution
of Washington, D.C.
A big degree of attention focused upon
the child by parents and other adults,
expressed in intensive educational
measures and, usually, abundant love;
2. Isolation from other children, especially
outside the family;
3. A rich efflorescence of fantasy as a
reaction to the preceding condition.
Socialisation and the Occurrence of Genius
“ It might be remarked that the mass
education of our public school system is,
in its way, a vast experiment on the
effect of reducing all three factors to a
minimum; accordingly, it should tend to
suppress the occurrence of genius.
Quoted in Doctoral thesis of Brian D Ray,
President, National Home Education Research
Institute, Seattle, Washington, 29 July 1986
Home Educators
“How” and “Why”
of the
primary purposes
classical education
is to
equip the students
learn for themselves
From: Classical Education-The Home School
By Douglas Wilson, Wesley Callihan and Douglas Jones
In preparation for this overall task, the reading you
do should begin with the lists given in this
And we state emphatically, again,
that the reading of the teacher
(parents) is more important than
the reading of the student.
If the teacher (parent) reads as he/she should, the
reading of the student will naturally fall into
place. But if the teacher is just in search of a
“book list” for the student to read, then it is not
a classical education that is in view.
From: Classical Education-The Home School
By Douglas Wilson, Wesley Callihan and Douglas Jones
Keep it simple
and set yourself up to succeed.
Big ambitions and
big plans are great,
but if they are unrealistic,
you will burn yourself out
and set yourself up to fail.
Your home education programme, almost
regardless of what it is, has vast advantages
over even the most gifted of teachers in a
classroom simply because it is you, their mum,
doing one-on-one for as long as you like, any
way you like, and where you like, 7 days a week.
365 days a year.
With such conviction you will be spilling over with
the kind of confidence that stirs up not only your
own children but nearly everyone else you
engage in conversation to want more!
(Excitement, enthusiasm, conviction and lastly
Training our Children, Keystone Magazine
Training Children’s Minds
The gathering of information – Knowledge
The child is always learning facts, relating the facts to each
other, and using these facts and relations in practical
Our Goal is to develop competence in the
tools of inquiry: reading, listening, writing,
observing and measuring.
From: Teaching the Trivium, Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
Always begin
each day
with your
Number One
• Read a wide range books:
• The Bible
• Biographies
• Autobiographies
• Historical fiction
• Church history
• Books on science
• Nature
• Musicians
• Artists etc
Keys for
1. Review
2. Review
3. Review
On what I read to my child
what my child reads to me
Charlotte Mason
Dr Raymond Moore
Suggests three categories to focus on:
I believe that training
young children to do jobs
around the home to a
high standard is training
them to do their studies
later in life to a high
Life is a great teacher.
Do you know everything?
The Tools of learning
Arranging information in a logical order –
It takes 2-4 years to teach our children
all the skills that they need for life, to
make sure that they are good readers,
writers and mathmathians.
From: Teaching the Trivium
We need to teach them how to:
Take notes
Write book reports and general reports
Write letters
Write essays
Do research
Subject List
English - Composition
English - Grammar
English - Literature
New Zealand Geography
Answering Examination Questions requiring Essay Answers
Letter Setting-out
Quotations & Footnotes
Writing 5 x 5 essays
Writing and Presenting Speeches
Writing 5 x 5 essays
We also need to teach them the skills of:
Reasoning – to critically question, analyze,
evaluate, and discern causes, motives,
means, purposes, goals and efforts, to
investigate the theory.
Understanding is imparted through
coaching, correcting and drilling.
We develop a vocabulary of relationships,
order, and abstractions.
From: Teaching the Trivium, Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
Our goal is to develop competence in
the tools of investigation:
analyzing, comparing and contrasting
Our greatest tool for this
in Home Education
Motivating our Children
Putting the information and order into practical use –
We teach the skills of prudent judgment and effective expression – through
communication and practical application.
Wisdom is imparted through encouraging individual initiative and
innovation, asking questions, and leading discussions.
We develop a vocabulary of philosophical ideas and values.
We begin to recombine the knowledge and skills from separate disciplines.
We seek the application of principles, values and goals.
Again all achieved by being
From: Teaching the Trivium, Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
The intensive Wisdom period
lasts for two to three years,
and when it is over,
Wisdom, of course, continues to grow
and develop,
but all three capacities
– Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom
– which have been developing all along,
emerge as a fully developed team of tools.
From: Teaching the Trivium, Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
The emphasis of home-based education
on self-discipline
self-directed learning
the personal confidence this produces
creates young people who can adapt to
new situations and new people
Home based Education, “Not “Does it Work?” but “Why Does it Work so
Well?’ by Ronald Meighan
You cannot possibly
“teach” your children
everything they need to know.
But you can give them
one thing they need to learn
– a positive learning attitude.
Educating the WholeHearted Child page 3
Clay and Sally Clarkson
In summary, the capacities for Knowledge,
Understanding, and Wisdom are not
neat little compartments with sealed doors
between them. Rather, they all develop at
the same time from the very beginning,
yet they each pass through successive
periods of intensive development, until
they finally catch up with each other and
work harmoniously together.
From: Teaching the Trivium, Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
To summarize…
…it all in one sentence;
we first instruct the child in
Knowledge or Grammar;
Then we guide the child in
Understanding or Logic;
And finally we challenge the child in
Wisdom or Rhetoric.
Taken from Teaching the Trivium
We train our children’s minds,
Then teach them the Tools of Learning
Which leads to them being motivated to
put everything together.
They have the tools to study, now they can
go out to study in their areas of interest. A
motivated child will learn much quicker.
Parent’s role
The parent’s other role during this
Rhetoric – Wisdom stage
is to guide the child in opening doors
for their future
and to train the child
to be ready for their future.
By Craig and Barbara Smith
Home Education Foundation
Workshop PowerPoint Presentations
Can be found here: