A Better Approach to Middle School
Have you ever heard a parent say, "My middle school child 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 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 knowledgeable than adults!
The descriptors of middle school students 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 and 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 7th-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 thoughts to a shared pool of understanding. 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. This takes a lot of 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 the 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 setting? Or, is your student a full-time public or private school student and they are missing out on the valuable tools of learning that teach him to apply logic across all academic disciplines and to life itself? Come join us 2 ½ days a week at The Classical Academy!
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?
How Does it Work?
Our college preparatory, university-schedule classical, Christian school provides a complete five-day academic program with students spending 2 ½ days in the central school classroom and 2 ½ days at home. Both classrooms are under the supervision of the professional educator. There is one joint curriculum between school and home.
The school-to-home process covers the following academic areas and provides students with everything they need to complete their 7th-8th grade school year. academics
Teacher & Co-teacher (parent) Roles
If you are seeking a life-giving education that doesn't overtax the family schedule and allows students to work at their own pace at home, maximizing their time, come check out The Classical Academy! We will have some campus day open houses and several evening informational meetings beginning in January. Please like our Facebook page to keep up to date on these events. You can also follow us on Instagram at #theclassicalacademyindy
As always, we welcome your questions via the contact form.