Many children have difficulty getting information from Point A to Point B. There are things inside their little brains that just don’t seem to get expressed coherently or appropriately. Earlier this year, I stumbled upon something that has become a light bulb moment in speaking to this issue.
That’s right…that subject no one teaches anymore. That subject that creates a huge question mark in most homeschool moms’ minds. That subject that is unheard of except in Classical Homeschooling circles.
I was pretty sure one only needed logic if one was planning to be a lawyer, and only then because some Ivy League school told you you needed it. But, since we follow a Classical Homeschooling model (sort of) and many of my catalogs suggested Logic, I decided it was worth looking in to. Never did I expect it to help my child who struggles to express what is in her head. I understand that logic is all about teaching young people to coherently present their knowledge; however, I really thought it was best used for those who are verbally gifted already.
Let me digress for just a moment…
The fact that we school in a predominantly Classical style is due mostly to the fact that that method is one that meshes well with my oldest child’s personality. His next youngest sibling…not so much. She sits in on some of the things we do, but her subjects tend to be highly artsy and much less structured. You can school the artsy child in the Classical method, but you will have to tweak. And tweak we do. (At the moment I am considering “tweaking” myself right out of Classical Homeschooling…that’s another post! lol)
So, when it came to Logic, I purchased Building Thinking Skills with no expectations for anyone except my oldest child. However, Meg found the book and curiosity made her open it. She ended up bringing it along on a road trip we took and spent hours pouring over the pages. I could hear her working over and over again to explain the shapes, using the example as her model. (Describing shapes is something done early on in Level 2 of the Building Thinking Skills series). She would occasionally get frustrated, but for the most part, she just kept working at it. I realized she was explaining things in a way I had never heard her explain them. She is one of those children who if asked mere seconds after having a new concept introduced to her, “What did I just say?” will look at you blankly and reply, “I don’t know.” Frustrating, but true. So, to hear her actually speaking what she was seeing out loud and in a coherent manner was incredible!
It was here the light bulb flipped on…
Logic isn’t just for the verbally gifted child. Logic is for all children. I would even go a bit further and say that Logic is especially helpful for those children who need practice in getting information from their brains into written or spoken word. They get a chance to practice this in a non-threatening, simplistic manner.
Even if you don’t purchase a full-blown logic curriculum, one simple thing you can do for your verbally challenged child is have them work on describing pictures or household items. Show them a picture of something like a flower:
Ask them to give you 3-5 words that would describe the picture. In the beginning, the child who struggles with this kind of thing will possibly balk at having to give you so many words, and once they get started, they are likely to give you some rather interesting descriptions.
When Meg first looked at this she said, “rose.” (Nothing like stating the obvious, huh?) When I asked her to be more specific and tell me more about it, she said things like yellow, thorny, pretty, green, and picture. (once again, stating the obvious! lol)
Prompt your child to move past simply stating the obvious. I asked her if the rose looked soft, what general shape is it, how would the leaves feel if you touched them, etc. This is a crucial step. It teaches the child to express themselves in a deeper way. Children with a disconnect from mind to mouth often find themselves expressing themselves in inappropriate ways. Even the obvious is often difficult for them to explain, but if you help them to explore the world beyond the obvious, you give them a treasure trove of language to help them express themselves more fully and with less over-the-top emotion (which often happens simply because they can’t get their point across to you). It teaches them to verbalize precisely, which is something we all need practice in!
It has been so interesting to watch Megan work at giving more precision to her thoughts. Yes, she still gets terribly frustrated when she can’t fully flesh out her point, but it is getting better as she accumulates more practice at verbalizing in a logical manner. I am so glad I didn’t brush Logic off as a waste of time!