Trivium

The lost tools of learning

From its inception, Veritas Academy advocates as its definition of "classical" the form of education that Miss Sayers described in her 1947 essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, and subsequently popularized in Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by Douglas Wilson. Both of these authors advance the pedagogical methodology of the Trivium, which includes three aspects: grammar,logic, and rhetoric. These form the basis of Veritas' academic structure.

Grammar (K-6th Grades)
Grammar consists of language skills such as reading and the mechanics of writing. An important goal of grammar is to acquire as many words and manage as many concepts as possible so as to be able to express and understand clearly concepts of varying degrees of complexity. Very young students can learn these by rote especially through the use of chant and song. Their minds are often referred to as “sponges” that easily absorb a large number of facts. In the modern renaissance of classical education, this period refers to the upper elementary school years.

Logic (7th - 9th Grades)
Logic (dialectic) is the science of correct reasoning. The traditional text for teaching logic was Aristotle’s Logic. In the modern renaissance of classical education, this logic stage (or dialectic stage) refers to the junior high or middle school aged student, who developmentally is beginning to question ideas and authority, and truly enjoys a debate or an argument. Training in logic, both formal and informal, enables students to critically examine arguments and to analyze their own. The whole goal is to train the student’s mind not only to grasp information, but also to find the analytical connections between seemingly different facts/ideas, to find out why something is true, or why something else is false, in short, reasons for a fact.

Rhetoric (10th - 12th Grades)
Rhetoric debate and composition (which is the written form of rhetoric) are taught to somewhat older (often high school aged) students, who by this point in their education have the concepts and logic to criticize their own work and persuade others. According to Aristotle "Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic." It is concerned with finding "all the available means of persuasion." The student now learns to articulate answers to important questions in his/her own words, to try to persuade others with these facts, and to defend ideas against rebuttal. The student has learned to reason correctly in the Logic stage so that they can now apply those skills to Rhetoric. Students would read and emulate classical poets such as Ovid and others in learning how to present their arguments well.

Introduction to Classical Education
The following link leads to a short (46 page) booklet that serves as a solid introduction to Classical education. An excellent starting point for parents: ICE