Preparing Younger Children for Logic

Mr. Nance,

Do you know of resources to better gradually prepare our younger Foundations students for formal logic? Anything ages 4-11?

I have often said that the best preparation for the study of logic is the study of truth. Most children don’t need to experience much of what we could call “formal pre-logic”. Rather, they would do well to concentrate on learning other topics common to upper elementary (Latin, literature, arithmetic/pre-algebra), as these provide plenty of material to prepare their minds for the study of formal logic. If you do want some specific pre-logic books, I like the The Fallacy Detective by the Bluedorns. Also, Learning Logic by Dr. William Craig looks good. These would be best just before the study of formal logic. 

But consider what the guys at Trivium Pursuit say: “We suggest that formal academics should be the focus after age ten, hence the focus before age ten should be to build a good foundation for the later academics. The way to accomplish this is to exercise the mind so as to develop those parts of the mind which are appropriate for the specific age of the child. The early years are the time to sow the seeds of honoring God and parents, developing the capacity for language and the appetite for learning, enriching the memory, encouraging creativity, and instilling a work and service ethic. These are the kind of things which will lay a good foundation for the formal academics later. First things come first.” Read more from this article HERE.

Another good idea is to challenge younger children with puzzles. Teach them to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Play Twenty Questions, Mastermind, Chess, and Situational Games. This will be a fun way to get their minds tuned to thinking in a straight line. And ask them challenging questions at the dinner table. “Billy, you have two legs. Gorillas have two legs. Are you a gorilla?” Get them thinking, and keep them thinking. Eventually they will be hungry to know the proper rules of thinking. Then they are ready for logic.

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