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School Sucks 245: The Trivium (Part Three) – Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric – with Gene Odening


This is part three of a series about the Trivium Method for self-teaching. Gene Odening will accompany us through the next three episodes.

From School Sucks Podcast:

Covered today:

Grammar Review (4:50-16:20)
-parts of speech
-the Golf analogy of wisdom
Logic Review(16:20-29:35)
-the term dialectic
-induction and deduction
-the syllogism
Rhetoric Introduction (29:35-38:30)
-compassionate communication
-self esteem
-the best way to learn is to teach?
The three types of discourse: (38:30-46:47)
-deliberative (political),
-judicial (forensic),
-ceremonial (epideictic).
-related to time: future, past, and present
-common and special topics
The Five Canons of Composition – Cicero (46:47-49:46)
-invention (creating ways to be persuasive)
-arrangement (structuring argument effectively)
-style (appealing to emotion)
-memory (speak extemporaneously)
-delivery (presentation)
The Socratic Circle/Method and the Delphi Technique (49:46-54:52)
-abuse of the Socratic circle, Rand Corporation
-illusions of choice and consensus
Science vs. Scientism, and the Trivium (54:52-1:17:12)
-Global warming: Thom Hartmann vs. Marc Morano
-Hegelian Dialectic
-Kant vs. Galileo
-the trials of Galileo and Bruno
-theoretical science
Review (1:17:12-END)
-Rhetoric – the time factor
-Logic – the big picture and the small picture
-Grammar – what is reality?
-teaching children the Trivium

Look Closer:

Trivium and Quadrivium Cliff Notes by Gene Odening by 8thestate

Trivium and Quadrivium Cliff Notes by Gene Odening by 8thestate

Trivium Method of Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving by 8thestate

Trivium Method of Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving by 8thestate

Jan Irvin’s Site, Trivium Education –

T&H Trivium Resources –

The Lost Tools of Learning, by Dorothy Sayers –

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Thank you all of you that make all this posible, Im learning from your programs and trying to understand the information that is being provided and at the same time passing the informantion to others.Thank you and I will
    continue the support.

  2. I have one little correction for Gene – one I’m sure he would be pleased to know.
    I have been homeschooling my three boys since kindergarten. About three weeks ago, I decided to drop all curricula and go back to grammar with all three, in the new light of what I am learning about the Trivium. It has been absolutely, a life altering experience for all of us. I feel I have the clearest view of what I have always wanted to give my children by homeschooling. But this is where I would gently correct Gene with a smile on my face. He says at the end of the episode that if you give this to kids, they’ll soak it up no problem, but won’t necessarily realize it’s utility until later in life when they see how clearly it allows them to think. Ahem, I am proud to give hard evidence of the contrary:

    My oldest son of 9 years, last night, was sitting at the table all by himself looking at a book. Up until now, we have suspected he may be dyslexic, and is JUST like Gene described himself at that age. But regardless of his former difficulties, he puts down his book, looks up and remarks to himself, “I like how we do life now (he doesn’t even call it “school”). MY LIFE JUST SEEMS SO MUCH CLEARER. EVERYTHING IS STARTING TO MAKE SO MUCH MORE SENSE.”

    When he said this, I looked at my wife with my jaw hanging on the floor and said, “What just happened needs to be in a book. This is crazy!”

    The thing is, while his out-of-the-blue observation delights me and sounds almost contrived, I couldn’t agree with him any more than I already do. I LIKE HOW WE DO LIFE NOW. It all just makes so much more sense. Going through this Trivium process has been akin to a defragmentation of all that I had previously thought or known. It was all there, but disorganized, or rather, organized without reason. It just feels like it’s all falling into place now, and everything new falls right where it should.

    But that’s not all Gene. Before bed, my youngest of 6 years is taking a shower. His 8 year old brother is brushing his teeth at the sink. The door is open, and I hear my youngest humming a sweet little tune in the shower. Then he stops, and after a second he says to his brother, “Don’t you like our new life?” His brother says, “What new life?” And then the youngest says, “You know, all the stuff we’re learning after breakfast!”

    This is great. It’s just way, WAY, better than I could have ever thought up. It is a *palpable* difference in our “Life” as my boys like to call it. And I completely and utterly agree. Gene, you start telling people that this works, and kids will feel it presently. Reading is now my ‘dyslexic’ son’s favorite thing to do. Memorizing Aesop’s Fables is a blast. And starting the Greek Grammar has been a daily delight which is ASKED for by my little grammarians.

    As a final note, I really want to thank you all who have been involved in this Renaissance of the Trivium. I was at my wits end, and KNEW I was a horrible teacher. My self esteem was seriously low, and I worried I would never be able to give my kids what I wanted to give them so badly: my Wisdom. A Mother gives her children their Life. She carves out of her own flesh and blood, a temple for their Soul, a vehicle for their Mind. But what can the Father give? An apple? A meal? These are small contributions indeed. I wanted to give them my Wisdom, for this is truly a vehicle of the Soul which it may use as it seeks to navigate Existence. And now, with this Trivium Method, I see a means to communicate it, and really allow them to nourish their own Wisdom, whatever it may end up being.

    Thank You All.

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