Southern Maryland Chapter – Catholic Schoolhouse

Dialectic Stage

This stage shifts focus from the acquisition of knowledge to the application of it.  Logic is stressed, and scholars are encouraged to question their world around them to better be able to make sense of it, all while rooted in the Catholic faith.

At this stage, emphasis shifts from memory work to engaging in the Socratic Method of learning through discussion, so time in group will be spent focusing more on discussion than listening to memory work CDs.  

This group will go over timeline cards (please refer to the Grammar Stage for more detailed information about these), but when they go over them, they will not only memorize them, but will engage in thought-provoking discussions about the time period.  For example, when shown the timeline card for the Agricultural Revolution of 1600-1800, the scholars will be encouraged to question why it would be considered an advance to shift to efficient cultivization and what impact this may have had on civilization.  They will delve deeper into why the French had a Revolution of their government and an overthrowing of their monarchy, and how it may have influenced our Revolution in America.  Scholars will discuss how the Industrial Revolution altered the social structures of societies, and look into the laws which we have today because of behaviors during that time period.

Children in this stage will also make presentations to one another.  Their tutor will help them to not only focus on presenting information that is interesting to them, but on refining their techniques of presentation.  They will learn about outlining, and learn key practices of good speech making, such as eye contact, voice inflection, and connection to the audience

The tutor will work with scholars to hone their craft of analysis and communication.  They will have lessons on particular writing techniques to improve their written expression.  Scholars will study passages from classic works of literature from the time period which they are studying, and may memorize certain passages, or reflect upon them, their writing style, and their significance.

Children in the Dialectic Stage will also take time to have Science and Art lessons.  They will have the opportunity to learn about important Catholic scientists in the field of science in which we study.  They will engage in more complex lab work, and will gain an understanding of experimental design.  They will have the opportunity to practice in a more detailed and refined way art techniques of the time period we are studying.  They will complete a work of art as well.

Children in the Dialectic Stage will also get an opportunity to learn the recorder, and there will be a strong foundation of music theory taught with the techniques of playing the instrument.