Have you ever heard a parent say, “My middle schooler turns everything into an argument. They rebut everything!” Some good news exists – it’s completely normal, and even better, we can teach them how to channel it!
Developmentally, your typical middle school student (5th-8th grade) is still excitable in their learning despite what they may imply, but they need challenges. They like to judge, critique, have debates, and show off their knowledge. They usually want to know the “behind the scenes” stuff and ask the curious “why” questions about most things. They even think they are more knowledgable than adults! Take all these unique characteristics of a middle schooler and add them to full-time home educating, and if you’re like most parents, you will find yourself questioning why on earth you are doing what you are doing. Some begin to research alternatives and some quit altogether.
The descriptors of middle schoolers above are not wrong, nor are they character deficiencies, they just need to be properly channeled. Instead of forcing these characteristics out of our students, we use them to our advantage. Instead of squelching students’ argumentative, sometimes “know it all” attitudes, we teach them to turn it into something extremely positive, something life-giving, that produces truth, goodness, and beauty.
With technology advancing before our eyes, we live in a world where the art of person to person dialogue is quickly dying. Much of our logic school program revolves around the lost art of dialogue. Students in our 5th-8th grade classes will learn proper arguing, respect, critiquing, analyzing, applying, and debating – across all subjects areas. If we graduate students from our homes and schools without the proper skill of dialogue, it becomes detrimental to their own souls, their families, their communities, their faith groups, and their workplaces.
At The Classical Academy, we build and nurture the art of dialogue by creating safe spaces for everyone to add their own meanings to a shared pool of understanding, and no matter how much we believe differently than one of our peers or teachers, we teach our students that their perspective only occupies some of the pool, not all of it. Why is this important? Because it teaches students to listen sincerely, to respect others, to practice cooperation, to seek out personal growth, and to learn about someone else, rather than just fighting to always be “right.” We teach students not just to reload while someone else is talking, and to be vigilant against fear, dismissal, manipulation, and apathy – which will put an immediate stop to safe dialogue. As humans, we are naturally tempted to correct, disagree, or put ourselves at the center of someone else’s perspective or experience. It takes a high level of skill, humility, empathy, and courage to dialogue in a way that is respectful, safe, and inviting. And, it takes practice and hard work. Logic school is where the beauty of classical education begins to really show itself. It’s a markedly different approach to middle school years than traditional education practices.
Do you feel these types of conversations and teaching moments are nearly impossible to teach and re-create in a home education only setting, but you can’t afford full-time, private classical education, and nor do you want your child spending all their hours away from home in a school setting?
Do you find yourself thinking, “There’s no way my middle schooler would dialogue in a class of peers, led by a trained educator. They’re too stubborn, too grumpy, too resistant, or too shy.”
Come join us at TCA! We will teach your middle schooler that yes, it is still possible to hold a civil dialogue, with ideas out in the open, while staying reasonable, measured, and respectful in the midst of sometimes even charged conversations. Once you lay a feast of ideas consisting of truth, goodness, and beauty before a student, and begin showing him how to process them, think about them, dialogue about them, and persuade with them, you will be surprised what he can do. It may feel threatening at first, especially if the dialogue is controversial or shared between people of different beliefs. But isn’t this the skill we want our students to have? To be able to intelligently, respectfully, and lovingly interact with others in their quest to share their perspective or persuade?
At The Classical Academy Logic School (5th-8th) we offer a one day program for our 5th-6th grade students that can be enrichment or fully collaborative between home and school (meaning we plan your curriculum for your at-home days so you don’t have to). We also offer a two day program for 7th-8th grade students that is fully collaborative. Regardless of which way you choose to use The Classical Academy’s program, one thing you can be sure of, is a top notch program designed to help your student discover the lost art of dialogue.