Trivium Pursuit

Teaching Thinking

Dear Mr. Bluedorn,

I have been drawn to the trivium for almost a year or more. I’ve been in an intense search for materials on how to teach people to think. I have been motivated in this search by observing that several of my children do not seem to think deeply despite the fact that they have been homeschooled.

We reached a crossroads recently with my 13-year-old son and finally put him in school full time. I found that I cannot do this job by myself and need my husband’s help to do it. My husband has “dyslexia,” and so does his whole family. It makes our communication difficult at times, as he does not think in words, but in pictures….

I’m guessing I am not the only one in a position like this, where the husband is not a reader and has been affected by the secular school system’s teaching methods. What recommendations would you have for a father to begin to overcome their own reading deficit/dyslexia? This may take several generations to make a change, but how? What tools can be used at an older age? My husband is willing to read several hours a week in order to set an example. He reads small portions of Proverbs with our sons at bedtime…

I would really appreciate it if you would pray about this problem, which I think has affected many fathers already brought up under the public educational system and makes it difficult for them to pass on God’s Word to the next generation.

S.W., MN

Dear SW,

This appears to be a case of artificially created dyslexia. I would suggest that you pick out an intensive phonics program (donpotter.net) and teach him to read phonetically instead of pictographically. Your biggest problem will be breaking the habit of looking at words pictographically. And then encourage him to practice reading aloud (or silently). Find books for him to read that will interest him and that are fairly easy. Does he like fiction or non-fiction best?

Concerning the problem of not thinking, people who can’t or don’t read and who spend their free time watching TV and movies, playing video and computer games, and otherwise spend their lives seeking entertainment will not be able to think critically. Jane Healy’s two books, Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think and What We Can Do About It and Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds for Better and Worse, give documentation of this. Teaching thinking is not a curriculum, it is a way of life. We’ll write more on this later.

Harvey

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