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Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style

Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
Price: $26.89


How can you give your children the tools they need to teach themselves? Long ago students were first taught how to learn. Today, students are taught an encyclopedia of subjects – trivia – but they are not taught the basic skills of learning: to discover, to reason, and to apply. They are not taught the Trivium.

Can you homeschool in a classical style without compromising your Christian principles? Because we are Christians, we do not want to pursue non-Christian goals. Classical Education must be sifted through the critical screen of the Scriptures to be transformed into a Biblical model.

Can you homeschool in a classical style without buckling under the burden? There is only so much time in the day. For every subject, and for every age, we have a workable plan – which leaves you free to breathe. You can continue to use other approaches to homeschooling within the framework of Classical Education.

Is homeschooling about renewing family vision? The family is at the heart of God’s plan for restoring Christian culture. Homeschooling is not alternative education. Homeschooling was here first. We want to restore Biblical order to education.

637 pages

9 X 6

ISBN-13: 978-0974361635

 


Customer Reviews

Review by Kathy Davis at homeschoolbuzz.com

How do you evaluate the success of your home school? Is it by awards, SAT scores, college acceptance, scholarships, or winning the local spelling bee or art contest? Sure, those are measurements of success, but beyond those tangible rewards, it's seeing first hand the fruits of your labor; watching your children take what you've taught them and run with it. It's seeing them use the tools they need to teach themselves. They discover. They reason. They apply. That's the trivium.

Teaching the Trivium is an outstanding resource that explains what Christian homeschooling in a classical approach is, and models how it's done. Using her 20 years of experience, Laurie Bluedorn's own successful, talented (now adult) children are testimony to the success of her use of this approach to homeschool education, and serve as encouraging role models for those of us with growing children.

Part one of the book explains what classical education is; giving a good argument for why home is better than a classical classroom setting, and provides the what is/how to of teaching grammar, logic and rhetoric. Part two explores the practical trivium, breaking the application into the developmental stages of your child up to college age.

You'll find everything you need to teach the trivium, such as suggested schedules, course of studies, and a great chapter on principles for the study of literature. The appendix has very helpful articles including a comparison of ancient alphabets, and the history and research on the teaching of math.

Whether you're new to the classical style of teaching, or have doing it from the start, there is something for every homeschooling family in Teaching the Trivium. This phenomenal resource is one of those books you will be reading and re-reading over and over again. Don't wait for it to show up at a used curriculum sale. I can't imagine anyone parting with it.

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Review in Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling

Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style is by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, the world's reigning experts on this subject. As long ago as 1989, the Bluedorns were writing on classical education for homeschoolers -- long before any other book on the topic emerged -- as well as promoting it through their speaking at hundreds of conventions. They certainly know how to teach you how to do classical homeschooling from a Christian perspective. Their 640-page book holds you by the hand and takes you right through all the how-tos.....

The Bluedorns depart from Dorothy Sayers' dicta in several cases. By reading their arguments as to why doing it their way makes more sense than the prep-school way, you will become aware that even classical education can be "done" several differing ways, and start forming your own opinions on educational philosophy. And the incredibly practical nature of the many tips scattered throughout the book will give you a big "leg up" on your own educational efforts.

I should mention that the Bluedorns' kids have demonstrated educational excellence along the way, winning or scoring high in various academic and creative contests, from large science fairs to a NASA contest to the "Written and Illustrated By" contest. So this is not another "how to" book by wannabes who can't show any academic results.

If you're a Bible-believing Christian who is drawn to classical homeschooling, I urge you to buy ... and study ... this book.

Copyright 2004 Home Life, Inc. From Mary Pride's review published in Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling (Harvest House, 2004). Used by permission.

www.home-school.com/catalog/pages/mpguide.php3

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Review in The Church Librarian

Informative, encouraging, and usable! Teaching the Trivium is an excellent resource for parents considering home schooling, professional educators studying the home school phenomenon, and those already home schooling who are looking for guidance and affirmation. The authors present a strong, logical argument for Christian home schooling as a means to strengthen our families and our nation.

The Classical Trivium includes grammar -- mastery of language, logic -- critical analysis and reasoning, and rhetoric -- mastery of creative and persuasive communication as an academic reflection of the Biblical Trivium, the mental capacities of Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom. "We choose to limit our meaning of classical to include only what is of good form and lasting value (classical), and which conforms to a Biblical standard within a Biblical world view (Christian)." (p.31) Biblical education teaches how to distinguish good from evil, truth from falsehood, right from wrong, holy from profane. (p.39) The learning process is a three-step progression. 1. Accumulate the facts. 2. Understand the relationship between the facts. 3. Put the facts into practical use and expression. Students who have been taught the Trivium can teach themselves anything.

Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn teach home school seminars throughout the United States. Their writing is straightforward, providing advice from their experiences home schooling five children. Another strong point of the book is the extensive discussion of activities and suggestions for teaching and blending various age groups. As a home schooling parent, I highly recommend this book as the best and most useable of the home schooling books I have read.

Reviewed by Sharon Hinton RN, BSN, LP, Librarian, First United Methodist Church, Floydada, and Rural Nurse Resource Training Center, Floydada, TX

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Review in Christianity Today

Classical education, with its emphasis on teaching languages, logic, rhetoric, literature, and history, is gaining notoriety among Christians these days. Private schools dedicated to this method of learning are popping up all over the country, and homeschoolers have long embraced the concepts. But there is classical education and then there is Christian classical education. The Bluedorns are all about the latter -- reclaiming for Christianity the ideas often credited to classical Greek scholars. They explain the Trivium -- the idea that there are three distinct learning stages in a child's life -- and tell you how to teach to maximum effect in each of those stages.

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Review by Cathy Duffy at cathyduffyreviews.com

The Bluedorns are true pioneers in classical Christian education. For years, they’ve been sharing what they’ve learned through their research as well as through their experience teaching their own children, and through interaction with thousands of other parents across the country....

See the rest of Cathy Duffy's review at her web site

http://cathyduffyreviews.com/parent-helps/teaching-trivium.htm

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Review by Christine Miller at classical-homeschooling.org

Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.00 until you have this book. If you can only get one book on this page, make it this one. The Bluedorns have done an excellent job explaining the Biblical foundation of homeschooling, of Christian education, and how to apply the Trivium to a uniquely Biblical, Christian education at home. "Long ago, students were first taught how to learn. Today, students are taught an encyclopedia of subjects – trivia – but they are not taught the basic skills of learning: to discover, to reason, and to apply. They are not taught the Trivium. Because we are Christians, we do not want to pursue non-Christian goals. Classical Education must be sifted through the critical screen of the Scriptures to be transformed into the Biblical model." The Biblical model is thoroughly explained and applied throughout the book. Packed with Scripture, guides for teaching discovering (grammar), reasoning (dialectic), and applying (rhetoric), and many, many practical how-to’s and helps of all kinds, with an out of this world appendix of resources, this is the Well-Trained Mind for those that want their children to have a uniquely and thoroughly Christian education and grounding in a Biblical worldview (that’s all of us, right?). It is inspiring, encouraging, and hopeful – the Bluedorns have lived this life with five children, the youngest of which is 17.

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Review by Dianne Rigdon

While not a curriculum, per se, I just had to add this book today. Quite honestly, I have just started this book and only gotten a third of the way through it and am loving it! I imagine that this review may be altered upon completion, but only by details, and not demeanor. I had expected a book that would tell me how to classically homeschool my child. Well, it does that on one level, and yet, more importantly, it tells me how to be a Classical Christian first and foremost. Each subject is handled biblically first, and technically second. Excellent arguments are made for homeschooling. The book is worth it for this section alone, in my humble opinion. Ultimately, we learn (as hopefully we already knew) that we must measure our lives, homeschooling and otherwise, only by God's Word. The Bluedorns have more than 20 years of homeschooling experience and have given classical homeschooling, indeed all homeschooling, an excellent treatment in Teaching the Trivium - Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style. (Their website is a wonderful resource as well.)

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Review by Martha Robinson at homeschoolchristian.com

Are you looking for a voice of experience in the classical Christian homeschooling world? Pioneers in the Christian homeschooling movement, the Bluedorns began homeschooling in 1980 when their oldest son was five. They admit to making wrong turns in their quest to implement the Trivium at home, and we are the beneficiaries of their experiences as expressed in the new book, Teaching The Trivium. With the overriding themes of bonding to family (rather than peers) and following the Lord's calling, the Bluedorns make a strong case for both homeschooling and the classical Christian approach. Teaching the Trivium is actually an expanded version of eight booklets that the Bluedorns wrote on the Trivium. They have included information from their seminars, feedback from other homeschoolers, research, and many opinions based upon their twenty-plus years of experience in homeschooling. The book may be divided loosely into four sections that are detailed below. I. The introductory section The Bluedorns begin by explaining the difference between a "classical" education and a "classical Christian" education, a point that is particularly important with the increasing popularity of the classical approach. While cautioning that families should not try to recreate the classroom at home, they highlight why families should follow the Trivium methodology: academic achievement, creation of a self-teaching student, and the Biblical basis of learning. In the second chapter the Bluedorns offer the question, "Who should control education: parents or the state?" They explain in an impressive and most persuasive style why government schools conflict with Biblical principles and Christian values. "Classroom schools" are then compared to homeschooling with homeschooling being the most favorable for a host of reasons including the artificial environment of age segregated groups, inappropriate behavior caused by gender mixing and a variety of values among the students, and the bonding to peers and teachers rather than family. The introductory section is completed with an explanation of the Trivium, using an analogy, that I found distressing, comparing the child's stages in the Trivium to a computer, and a comparison with outcome-based education.

II. The argument section The next several chapters of Teaching the Trivium are arguments for teaching classical languages (Latin, Greek, and Hebrew), logic, and rhetoric. The Bluedorns are proponents of reading the Scriptures in the original languages so this is the major thrust of their argument for fluency in classical languages. The next chapters discuss when and how to study classic and historical literature from a Christian point of view. This section ends with a discourse on how different methods such as Charlotte Mason, unit study, and principle approach fit in with the Trivium. The Bluedorns make it very clear that they reject the notion of unschooling.

III. The "how-to" section Here the Bluedorns offer helpful, original ideas for implementation of the Trivium using both purchased and home-grown curricula and sample schedules for families with children of all ages. This section is very valuable to families struggling to implement classical Christian education.

A. The "early knowledge" level (birth to age 10) is described first. The Bluedorns suggest that this period should not be one of academic focus; but rather, parents should focus on helping a child's character develop through diligent work habits, service to others, and honoring God and parents. Activities suggested for this period include reading aloud for two hours per day, use of narration, copy book, and memorization, keeping notebooks for history and English, developing expertise in phonics, learning the Greek alphabet, participating in arts and crafts, field trips, and play time. Family Bible study is prescribed for all levels.

B. The "later knowledge" level (ages 10 to twelve) is the time to begin formal studies in the Bluedorn's methodology. The history notebook should be expanded to include maps, timelines, and outlines. English language activities from the "early knowledge" level should continue with the addition of spelling, grammar, and composition in the form of dictation, letters, and a journal. Latin studies should begin at this time and Greek readings from an interlinear book should be introduced. A formal math program and introductory logic (Building Thinking Skills) should also start in this level. The Bluedorns suggest that art, music, and science should be pursued based upon the child's interests. Family Bible study and reading aloud of good quality literature continue.

C. The "understanding" level (ages 13 to 15), corresponding to the logic stage, is next. This is the time for great expansion in the parents' minds as well as the child's. Activities from previous stages, such as family worship, notebook activities, and reading aloud, continue while others are added. Greek, algebra, geometry, and logic in the form of "critical thinking" are some of the new subjects. The Bluedorns recommend combining history and literature at this point and studying history chronologically from primary sources whenever possible. Composition skills should be honed with work in outlining, written narration, summaries, essays, and creative writing. The Bluedorns highly recommend speech and debate as great mind exercisers and urge families to spend a minimum of seven hours per week on this. With the idea that contests are great motivators, they suggest that students should enter science fairs, debate contests, and writing contests. Formal music lessons may begin during this time if the child is interested.

D. The "understanding" level is followed by the "wisdom" level for young adults ages 16 to 18. The "wisdom" level is the time to be creative and to apply the facts and theories learned earlier. History, literature, reading aloud, Bible study, and Greek continue. The Bluedorns suggest specific resources for study of rhetoric and more in-depth logic. Trigonometry, pre-calculus, and calculus are recommended with engineering or computer science as potential alternatives if the student does not wish to go so far with math. Biology, chemistry, and possibly physics should be studied with emphasis on entry into more contests. The Bluedorns stress the importance of preparing all children for marriage during this stage. The girls must be ready for managing a home and the boys for making a living.

E. In the final part of this section, the "finishing" level, the Bluedorns philosophize about principles for setting goals and making decisions about future life. They discuss whether college is really needed to reach these goals and offer alternatives such as college at home or an apprenticeship. The Bluedorns offer hope for the future as our homeschooled children grow up with a new vision for education, family values, and nurturing of Christian children.

IV. The appendix A wealth of support material is included in the appendix. Dorothy Sayers' "The Lost Tools of Learning" is reproduced in its totality. Backup material for some of the hypotheses offered in the book appear here as well as far ranging articles about ancient alphabets, which Bible translation is the best, and what contests are open to homeschoolers. Other articles offer pointers on public speaking and give suggestions on how to start a debate club. Recommendation: With the phenomenal increase in interest in the classical approach, families are searching for the one method that is right. Teaching the Trivium offers valuable insight into one of the many ways to implement classical Christian education at home successfully. Bringing their strong emphasis on scriptural truth from a Reformed perspective, the Bluedorns emphasize a focus on the individual child's development cycle as well as flexibility for larger families and non-school situations that demand the family's attention. They do not offer a "one size fits all" path to classical education. Each family may use a variety of materials implemented in a more relaxed way to achieve the result of thinking adults who have a firm grasp on their faith.

The Bluedorns' methodology seeks to prepare the child for the role each will play in adult life. The Bluedorns question the value of college and suggest that young men should find a way to support their families while working from home in entrepreneurial enterprises. They view the Trivium as a way to develop a well-trained soul AND mind. The Bluedorns' opinions are firmly expressed and they use all the logic and rhetoric skills that they have learned to persuade you to agree with their points of view. Even if you do not agree with the Bluedorns' theological perspective or revolutionary methodology, you will finish this thought provoking book with many new ideas, an increased view of the importance of religious studies throughout the curriculum, and a positive, hopeful view of a future new generation of Christian homeschoolers. – Martha R

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Review by Raymond and Dorothy Moore

Dear Harvey and Laurie,

Thank you for your fine book...We are pleased, of course, that your concern is the same as ours–that Biblical principles, not humanist principles, are laid at the foundation of all Christian Homeschooling. This book will be a valuable resource for our educational counselors.

With gratitude and blessings, Raymond and Dorothy Moore

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Review at handsnhearts.com

Teaching The Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn This book is one of my top two absolute, all-time favorite homeschooling books. I am a voracious reader, so that is saying a lot! (BTW, we are working on offering my other all-time favorite book very soon.) If I had the resources, I would give a copy of this book to every single new homeschooling parent. It is a book about the Classical method of education, but the material is presented in a way that is also very compatible with Charlotte Mason's methods.

We bought this book when I was at a crisis point in my homeschooling journey. I was discouraged and was begging God to transform my vision of my marriage, children, and homeschooling. This one resource, more than anything else, did that for me. We actually got the book for me and the audio seminar for my husband, but ended up listening to the audio seminar together before I could read the book. I wept in the car as I listened. There is a list of 10 things to do with your child before age 10, and as I listened to that list, I was overcome and told my husband that all of the days he had come home to find me frustrated and saying that "I hadn't gotten any homeschooling done," I HAD done the things on the Bluedorn's list!! This book is so freeing, encouraging, and affirming, and will be of enormous benefit to you no matter what age your children are. BUY THIS BOOK. I would give it to you if I could.

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Review by Mary Collis on Home School Favourites, Australia

Just a note to let you know that I have read a good deal of TTT (I had only ordered it to sell on hearsay) and am so glad I have done so. It is an excellent addition to the books I sell and I'll be glad to recommend it to people. It is full of lifegiving revelation and thought-provoking comments.

I loved the part about how liberal arts liberate! And Harvey's pertinent comments about selecting classical/ancient books. It's great to get a book that is not rehashing everyone else's ideas, and hear from someone willing to think outside the box and not just toe the line. Well worth the money!

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Review by Debra Laughlin, December, 2001 CHECK News of Kansas

Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn I love this book. I love the feel and the weight of it. And the paper choice. After I read this book, I read it again and I loved it even more. It truly is a beautiful book if you call those things beautiful that God calls beautiful. This book will align or realign your thoughts on exactly why you homeschoolers do the things you do. If you have not thought through the reasons for teaching at home (or have forgotten any good ones this week) this book will logically guide you and transform your mind. I must confess that I have never, prior to reading this book, understood the premise of classical education. I had listened to Mrs. Laura Berquist explain to me how and why she teaches the Trivium. After sitting through her workshop I was convinced that I was neither intelligent enough nor adequately equipped to undertake such an endeavor. Mr. and Mrs. Bluedorn have cleared up all that. I now know for certain that I am not intelligent enough nor am I equipped to adequately teach the Trivium. But I know Someone who is. For the Trivium comes to us not through the pagan gods of the Greeks, but through the God of the Ages. The Bluedorns claim that the Trivium was the believer’s first and that we should take it back. They show through scripture and history that ancient Greek education and current state-run educations were looked upon disdainfully by Paul in his letters to the early Christians. To the Romans, Ephesians, and to the Corinthians Paul points out that “Their education was the agent which caused their great ignorance, because they were educated without reference to God.” (I Cor. 1:21) Also,”Nothing can be truly known and understood correctly without reference to God.” So encouragement comes from the Bluedorns that yes, you and I can teach in the classical Christian method without unwanted classical pagan influence. The Trivium is a method of instruction that focuses on teaching children what their minds are created to handle and doing it during those years that they can handle it. First comes the Grammar or Knowledge stage in which all manner of memorization takes place. Poems, math facts, scripture, songs–-anything that can be considered the pieces of a thing to be learned. If the child cannot seem hold a pencil for the math and spelling–small matter. Do it orally. If the child can recite the facts, that they know it. Here is the time to gather all the pieces to be learned in their most basic form. Next, comes the assembling of the pieces, the Understanding stage. The child begins to understand the how and why they fit together. All even numbers times an even number equals an even number. If they know the sounds of a language, they spell correctly. If I understand the elements of a foreign language, I can fit them together to make meaning. Here we teach the child the logic of his education. Finally the puzzle is fit perfectly in place. The picture is revealed and you now ask the child for a description of the picture, its pieces and how he arranged them to fit so well. This is the Rhetoric or Wisdom stage. The explaining stage. Your child should be taught how to argue (no–as in debate –with logical reasons for their position). Your child should produce well prepared and well penned ideas, presumptions with their conclusions in their own literary works. They articulate the language of any discipline they have formerly studied. Here is the fruit of their and your labors. The rhetoric stage is really the blossoming of your child. The book is a how to (and also a why should we?) on every area of education. Of particu-lar usefulness is the lengthy exposition of Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Clarity of reasons and commands to oversee the education of our children is present in this excellent discussion. This alone is worth the cost of the book. Men, you should read this book and implement the thoughts and instructions therein. It has so much there for you. Discipline–you cannot instruct a child who is rebellion. First he must be trained then taught. What do you do with this boy who manifests these behaviors: “Hates to hold a pencil, is not motivated, does the minimum required–seems lazy, wanders around with seemingly nothing to do, must be continually reminded, no project appeals to him, has a narrow focus of interests, and so on ”? Definitive answers are provided. And the girl who rolls her eyes and sighs when given work, what about her? The questions and answer sections are rich in wisdom. Suggestions are also given for those considering college and on establishing a livelihood. Specific resources to use are given for many of the suggested courses, history, bible study–not a written one–but how to study, authentic historical sewing patterns, lists of contests, lists of confessions and catechisms to discuss, and so on. This list is not like any resource list you have heretofore perused. Also included is Dorothy Sayers’ essay “The Lost Tools of Learning.” The Bluedorns go into extensive detail on why Latin, Hebrew and Greek are so important. We may not achieve fluency with the current generation but with perseverance, our grandchildren or the “greats” should. Can we truly know and understand scripture unless we truly know and understand the languages? Included is a comparison of alphabets and pronunciations of the ancient languages. Did you know that at seminary a century ago, no Greek or Hebrew was required? That is because they were to have mastered them prior to college. How far we have fallen. Also given a vigorous discussion is the choice of Bible translations. You’ll not be surprised that the Bluedorn’s prefer the King James Version. That is because it does not suffer from “meaning between the lines”. So many translations exist today because the common people can no longer understand the syntax of the King James. Bluedorn’s suggest that the “look-say” or “whole word” reading being taught has shut down the ability to understand complex sentences. The Bluedorn’s five children from 18 to 26 have successfully fulfilled their education at home.(Helena is in her last year) From their website I have paraphrased the information about their family. I believe it is important that you see families like this who have lived the good life of homeschooling and are thriving. Nathaniel is the family webmaster and designs and formats all of the Bluedorn’s materials. He studies classical guitar, logic and writing and attends bees and cows which he owns. Johannah has illustrated the book reviewed here. The front cover is truly a lovely oil of a pastoral scene. She studies French, writing and illustrating–having written a children’s book— gives art lessons, attends five cows and makes cheese and other milk products. Hans handles the Logic Loop on the web, studies classical guitar and is working with Nathaniel on putting together a logic curricula. Ava handles phone calls at the house and with Helena’s help fills the orders from the home. She gives sewing and music lessons, and does sewing for others. Helena is finishing her high school studies and is working with Harvey on a Latin pronunciation guide. All the children work with them on their writing projects. The girls keep the household running and the boys keep the property in good repair. The family lives in the country and have a large garden and a fruit orchard. The children are all still there contributing to their parents’ well-being. In other words the Bluedorns live what they teach. With highest recommendations, you need this book.

– Debra Laughlin, laughlinhsac@msn.com – Note to the Bluedorn’s–wish I would have found your book completed 8 years ago. I see that I have been leaning in this way, but couldn’t quite find the right thing to guide me. You have put it wonderfully together in the book. Thanks.

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Review at homehearts.com

There is more than one way to pursue a classical education, and the Bluedorn's have provided an enticing path! Let's start at the beginning: How does classical education fit into a biblical worldview? In Teaching the Trivium, the Bluedorns begin by explaining the three stages of learning (or the way we learn) in Scriptural terms: knowledge (grammar), understanding (logic) and wisdom (rhetoric). The differences between a classical model or method and classical humanism are clearly explained. Grammar (or languages), logic and rhetoric as subjects are explained in detail. We are provided with principles we can use in choosing literature (a sometimes sticky point for those following a classical education). Very helpful plans are laid out for each stage along with answers to questions they have received over the years. The Bluedorn's approach is more relaxed using a combination of methods depending on the stage. Naturally, their recommendations are just that - guidelines to help us along. Teaching the Trivium is rich with insight, helps, resource lists, appendices full of information, Scripturally based arguments and large (at over 600 pages)! Worth every penny!

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Review at eho.org

Learning. Most of us desire to see our children become life-long learners. But do your children have the tools to teach themselves? Many "educational" programs teach students subjects, many times simple trivia, but they fail to teach the basic skills of learning - to discover, to reason, to apply. . .the Trivium. By sifting Classical Education through the critical screen of the Scriptures the Bluedorns have written this book to help you pursue the Trivium without compromising Christian principles. Knowing how busy the homeschool educator is, they have created a workable plan for every subject as well as every age that allows the continued use of other approaches to homeschooling within the framework of Classical Education.

Teaching the Trivium begins in Part One by defending the return of Classical Education to a Christian perspective, as well as a discussion of parents' roles in education. The Trivium is then defined and chapters follow that are devoted to teaching languages, logic, and rhetoric. You will also find chapters on principles for studying literature, application of the study of historical literature and applying different methods and approaches to homeschooling in light of the Trivium.

Part Two covers practical application of the Trivium by breaking down the process of learning into the Early Knowledge Level, The Later Knowledge Level, The Understanding Level, The Wisdom Level, and The Finishing Level. This is followed by Appendix One, which includes several articles, from various sources, on education. Appendix Two contains an extensive resource list. The Bluedorns have written a "classic" on Christian homeschooling in a classical style. Their desire? For us to see that. . ."homeschooling is not an alternative education. Homeschooling was here first. We want to restore Biblical order to education." reviewed by Nelda Haney

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Reviews by parents

Dear Laurie, Harvey and Family, Have you considered for a sub-title for Teaching the Trivium –"A Prescription for Peace"? I am greatly encouraged as a Christian wife and mother. Your book calls me to a high standard without making me despair that it is unattainable. It is scholarly, funny, spiritual, and practical. My husband and I have started reading it aloud together after everyone else is off to sleep. Thank you for listening to the Lord, for writing this book, and for not being false teachers – but for actually living what you have set forth. – Patti, IL

In my opinion, Teaching the Trivium is worth its weight in gold!! TTT is all about the reason behind training our children classically: to glorify God in all that they do! I now tell people TTT is THE BEST homeschooling book I have ever read!! I'm thinking of buying a second copy to put in my own library. I have a very extensive library of my own and my friends love to borrow from it. I am hesitant to loan out my copy of TTT because I like to refer to it often. I'd hate for it to be "checked out" when I want to look through it. :-) TTT is like nourishment for the soul! It teaches you how to place your classical education within a biblical framework. It addresses why a Christian family must provide a distinctly Christian education and does so throughout the book. The book is worth more than twice the price! Truly!! I have wasted my money on many books in my 4 years of homeschooling! There are a few books that I tell people that were worth more than the money I paid: My Doorposts books and Teaching the Trivium. These books are goldmines and indispensable in the Christian homeschooling library. Can you tell I feel strongly about it? LOL!! I would do anything I had to get a copy of TTT. In fact, I did! :-) I only have a copy because of our dear Tracy R. on the list. She hunted one down for me at last summer's homeschooling convention. It was the only one left in the entire exhibition hall. I thought I had looked everywhere but had left one small stone unturned. She unearthed the book, I plopped down the $27 bucks and have never been happier! Do what you can to get a copy of TTT. You will not regret it!!! – In Him, Ronette

I wrote to you a few weeks ago about finding your site and what a blessing your family is. Well now I have finally gotten your book and I have read almost the entire thing and I am even more thankful than when I wrote to you last. Your book is full of great information not just on homeschooling but on life period! Each time I pick up the book, I find something else that I look at in a "new way". My poor husband is getting the "Hey, listen to this" version right now until he can read it for himself. There are three things in your book that particularly made an impression on me. The first is the waiting until the kids are around 10 to start formal math. I knew after I read the Moore's books that they definitely had something but I couldn't stand the thought of not having "real" math books because that is what we have always had. I read the article in the appendix a few times and re-read the section in the chapter on it and it really made me think. Why beat myself up and frustrate my son with workbooks and curriculum that aren't helping but hurting? I prayed that night that God would direct me in the way I should go and I knew my answer when I got up the next morning. Now we are just playing a few games with pick up sticks, dice, and manipulatives. I haven't seen our son so relaxed about math in a long time. One of the other suggestions that impressed upon my heart was family worship. I grew up a ministers daughter and my father was faithful every evening to sit down with us and do a family devotion. I can look back on this with fond memories and realize how much my father cared about us. He wanted us to know Jesus in a very personal way and he was equipping us to do that. We do bible in school everyday but Dad isn't around for that because he is working. We use scriptures for copywork everyday but it still isn't as a family. After reading your book and seeing family worship referred to often it started to bring back all of those memories of my childhood and it hit a sore spot because my children don't have that. Again, I turned to God and asked him how I should approach my husband with this. I am so thankful that God always knows what we need before we even ask because my husband asked me a few days later when would be a good time for all of us to sit down each evening and worship together. We have musical instruments that we play so we have include this in our worship each evening. I don't think that there is a greater gift that we can give our children. Lastly I have been overwhelmed in prayer on implementing first time obedience with our children. I had always figured that "oh well, they are just kids and they will learn." I was so wrong. We had to deal with a major issue of selfishness this week with our 7 year old and my husband and I realized how wrong we had been. God expects first time obedience from us. Of course we aren't perfect and we don't always do what we are told, but we also know that there are consequences for our actions. We began to realize that not expecting first time obedience from our children was giving them a major disadvantage in their growth in God. If they don't have to obey their parents then why should they obey God? We have prayed for days on this issue and have finally come to some answers. We will continue to pray that God help us to be obedient in this new adventure also and not be lax. Sorry I have made my letter so long but I just want you to know what a difference you make in peoples lives. I am sure I would have came to some of the conclusions without reading the book but you have helped me to get their a little faster! The more I read your book, the more I realize that you truly have a special gift from God. He has chosen you, the Bluedorns, to speak into other peoples lives when they may not know they need it or even now how to fix it. Thank you so much for listening to the call that God has placed on your lives. You truly are a special family and so blessed by Christ. – Homeschooling Mommy in Christ, Judy

I just finished reading your book Teaching The Trivium: Christian Home Schooling in a Classical Style. I wanted to thank you for bringing encouraging common sense and a clear vision for Christian education to the homeschooling community. – Blessings, Linda Trumbo www.howtonews.com

I received my copy of your book yesterday ~ which was also my daughter's 8th birthday. We were extremely busy & I didn't have a chance to even open the cover until this morning. Now that I've opened it I can't put it down! I'm thoroughly amazed at the wisdom you have put on every page -- things I hadn't even considered! What a wonderful treasure I now hold in my hands! We are brand new to the classical approach and I have been searching for a combination "how to/here's what we did" type of book...I just can't say thank you enough for the efforts your family has put into this book! After a very long season of burnout, we are all excited about school again! I can't wait to begin implementing the things I'm learning about from you! Thank you, thank you, thank you! We will keep your family in our prayers! May God richly bless your lives! – Blessings, Debbie

This is not an email asking for advice! I just wanted to thank you from the very bottom of my heart for your ministry. I have followed your ministry for many years going back to newsletters and any other info I could get my hands on, continually feeding my heart, mind and spirit with your Bible based approach to learning. I love the new newsletter and continually learn from your gracious approach to Home Education. Your new (well sort of new) book has so much wisdom and sound advice. I appreciate so much the love and effort that you put into making it one of the best resources on home education. We (the homeschool community) will never be able to thank you for how you have ministered to us and our families. I pray the Lord will continue to increase your ministry and influence. Again, thank you and God bless all of your efforts!ly, Valerie

Hello Bluedorn Family, Though I don't want you to be tempted with pride I did want to tell you thank you for your service to the Body. We have been on a journey for six years (when our first child was born and my husband heard about classical learning in seminary) to find a way to teach our children in a classical, Godly, and Christ-centered way. Having come out of public education ourselves we knew what we didn't want, and only vaguely what we did. God brought many resources across our path. Two years ago I read of your book (TTT) in a catalogue. We were at a conference and I went to the booktable to find the book. They didn't have it, and I bought an expensive second best. It taught classical education, but the author did not write from the firm Christian stance we were looking for in a method. A few months ago our local bookstore got your book, and I perused it (having become more cautious and skeptical by this time), and purchased it. Each new page and chapter resonates with what we have yearned for in our hearts for our children. We have not been given what you have been given - the knowledge, understanding and wisdom to write these works. But we have been given the ability to use what you have done, and I am so glad you spent yourselves and your time to do it. You have been used by God to edify us. In this I know you will be encouraged, just as we also are when we find a new way God has used us. It is our plan to educate our children (#4 to arrive in October) using the ideas God gave you. By the way, the "many resources" are listed in your resource list at the back of your book). Delightful confirmation. Even the "second best," which can be a source, though not our primary one. In His time, God has now brought us the framework in which to use the tools He has assembled for us. Sincerely yours in Christ, Catherine Knapp

I am writing to tell you how much I appreciate your life and ministry. I have admired your work for many years, and it just keeps getting better and better. The first booklet I purchased from you was Nathaniel's HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE. That booklet is about worn out now, as I have used it so many times to choose good books for my children! I remember being so impressed with your son as he talked to me about it, and how I hoped that my sons would be as kind, nice and articulate as yours. (In fact, they are getting there!) I am reading Teaching the Trivium right now, and I just purchased THE FALLACY DETECTIVE. I can hardly wait to get through both books! I also plan to read more of your publications as finances allow. I'm also so impressed with how you are publishing these books yourself, and yet, they have such a wide market. I wanted to also compliment the beautiful art work in your TRIVIUM book. Your daughter is so talented. I especially love the little dog in the pictures. We have three dogs of our own (Two Rotties and one Doxie--the Doxie is the boss), and we are "town dwellers" so they are the only "herd" of anything we can have. But they are a very special part of our family. I loved the pictures of your canine taking part in your studies because ours are also right under our feet at all times, listening in and begging to participate. Thanks again. I'm so thankful God put you in our lives! Sincerely, Karla Akins

Your gift of writing in TTT has blessed an infinite number of families. Your family stands alone in the classical field, showing families how not to merely train minds, but to train whole persons in the Way they should go, so they shall not depart from it. I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for your willingness to follow the ministry the Lord prepared for you. Ann

A few years ago I found myself at complete burnout. The curriculum I was using in our homeschool was very tiring and burdensome to us all. Many a day I would cry because I felt nothing was getting accomplished, and on top of nothing getting done, we were having horrible days. This was neither the mother I wanted to be nor the environment I wanted in my home. I got on my knees and asked God for wisdom. I wanted to keep my children at home but was afraid I would ruin them. Late one evening I was searching the web and ran across the idea of classical education. I had researched classical education before and loved the idea, but some of the books that were suggested quickly turned me off. As little as it may seem, God gave me wisdom to do a search on "Christian Classical education," and of course I came to your web site. I stayed up late reading your web site and immediately ordered your book Teaching the Trivium. I received your book during our Christmas break (God's providence) and devoured it in a week. I cried. I praised God and discussed everything I read with my husband. You will never know how much your book ministered to me during that time. The burden was lifted. Praise God! I go to your book often and will use it forever. Teaching the Trivium is on the list of books I will give to each of my children. Although we've never met, your family is very precious to ours. I thank God for the work he has done in you and through you. CK

.....It was later that I was blessed with Teaching the Trivium. It was just the “living waters” I needed for our continued growth and desire to serve the Lord. I continue on a regular basis to re-read TTT and am continually renewed with inspiration. Remember the Bluedorns have included with each level a suggested schedule. (And extensive references for books and curric in the back). Adjust that schedule to what works for your family. If you get up later, then move the times down. For our family we do family worship at the end of our day. If you use the chart “Ten Things To Do Before Age Ten” then you will be covering EVERYTHING. If you do not own the book I would suggest that is the first thing you purchase. It will cost less and give you so much more than a box of a years worth of curriculum that costs hundreds of dollars more. And in a pinch I think the Ten Things list is on their website. And just start with one thing at a time. The Bluedorns are highly experienced and inspired by God in their writing TTT. Everything that I have used out of it is proven correct and right on point. What I notice is that children that are buried under academics and much goings and comings have glazed over eyes and are not as balanced as the children who are home educated as a lifestyle, as the Trivium and kept at home. Isn’t that how to HOME school, at home? DV 

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Review by Jill Pettis at praiseworthythings.blogspot.com

Having come to Christianity late in life I have always been put off by what I like to call “Christianese” -- that being any number of stock phrases that Christians use to communicate complex ideas to each other. These are phrases such as “fed” or “washed in the blood.” I’m so pleased to find Christian authors who have intelligent minds and use them without relying on a lot of Christian lingo to get their point across. The Bluedorns believe that educating our children is a mandate of God. They spend an entire chapter of this expounding, arguing and providing proof for this argument. That chapter alone is worth the price of the book. I found it so thought provoking that I often read portions aloud to my husband and we had many interesting discussions based on this. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. What the Bluedorns continue with in the book is a systematic approach for teaching our children in a manner that glorifies and honors God. They show us how to teach our children to not only love God with their whole heart and soul but also with their whole MIND. This is the great strength of this book.

If you are interested in Classical Education I strongly urge you to get this book. I, and many others I know, consider this a handbook or a manual if you will for how to classically educate your child. Once it has been read and understood then you can put it on the shelf close at hand to turn to again and again for answers to questions you encounter along the way. The how and the why of their plan is clearly laid out in a format that is easy to understand.

There are also chapters devoted to helping parents to use the Trivium with other methods such as Charlotte Mason as well as a discussion of some methods that do not fit well with the Trivium such as Unschooling. These chapters contain discussions and explanations of each method. This would be very valuable for those approaching educating their child for the first time as they investigate what method they will use.

Part two of the book is titled “The Practical Trivium” and contains valuable, hands on information for how to teach your child. All areas of study and ages are covered. Finally lists of specific resources and where you can obtain them are given. This is the part that I turn to again and again. The information here is extensive and exhaustive. The explanations and reasons are clear and easy to understand.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who home educates their child. The information is intelligent and thought provoking. You will come away well educated on the subject of homeschooling in addition to having valuable tools for carrying out homeschooling.

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Review by Kristine Jacobson, Forest Lake, Minnesota

The Bluedorn’s are truly a blessing to the Christ Centered Homeschooling Community! I have for years trusted the infallible Word of God to be a light unto my path. Weather the wisdom is for me as a mother, daughter, wife, or homemaker I can always find instruction and comfort. When I began to research educating my children I was again blessed to find that God gives us immeasurable instruction in His Word on this very thing!

Armed with the Word of God I began the process of narrowing down my homeschooling philosophy. (It is amazing the amount of information there is to sift through.) I did dig my way through the maze of books, articles, and web pages and discover a few nuggets of gold that helped me realize the direction the Lord had been guiding me. My research and our family convictions led me directly to Christian Classical Education.

I was then faced with researching Christian Classical Education. What the Bluedorn’s have spent years researching and perfecting, we simply receive as a blessing from the Lord! Teaching the Trivium did not bring me complexity and stress but FREEDOM! Freedom to take ownership of teaching my children! Freedom and confidence because it is bathed in scripture! And we can always be confident in the Word of God. Like a cool glass of water on a hot summer day – Teaching the Trivium gets to the reality and practicality of Christ-centered Classical Education. It will nourish your tired researching soul and fill you with joy as you are bathed in scripture and guided through the process of teaching your children.

Teaching the Trivium is first and most importantly a Christ-centered approach to teaching our children at home. Second it reveals the importance of the classical approach of learning. Finally it encourages you through a laid back approach of teaching to: keep the critical subjects at the forefront. As if this is not enough for all of us who are buried under piles of dead end research, Teaching the Trivium also discerns what the appropriate age is to train our wonderful children. By the end of the first several chapters you will be able to delight in the adventure of homeschooling.

I am reminded each time I pick up Teaching the Trivium how the Lord has for years brought pioneers like the Bluedorns ahead of us to pave the way and pass on their delight in training and instructing. Our life has been so blessed in this short while we have had access to the Bluedorn’s material. We have recommended it to every one we know, so we wanted to take this opportunity to recommend it to everyone else!

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