In the middle school years (grades 6-8), Oak Hill emphasizes connections and interrelations. Having focused on the question of what in the Grammar School, we turn to answer why and how. Students in these years develop the capacity for more abstract thought, as they expand on the knowledge base acquired during the grammar stage. Now, however, emphasis is placed on using these facts to create proper sentences, to define terms and eliminate ambiguity, and to detect fallacies. Students at this age love to question and debate. To equip them to argue correctly, we teach students in formal logic and debate to properly to construct and critique valid arguments, to recognize logical fallacies, to identify critical underlying assumptions, and to develop sound reasoning skills.
The Logic phase, the second of classical education’s three stages of learning, grade begins in 6th grade at Oak Hill. Grades 6 through 8 also feature aspects of Grammar and Rhetoric learning, but the focus shifts toward Logic, the skill of reasoned thought. At this age, students enjoy argumentation and finding opposing points of view, and Oak Hill’s faculty and curriculum embrace this natural tendency and encourage students to discover principles by which the Grammar School fundamentals are ordered and governed.
Logic School students also begin their participation in Oak Hill’s House System, which provides additional opportunities for student competition, cooperation, and collaboration.
Representative textbooks and curricula are shown below. Grade 8 was launched in Fall 2012, completing our Logic School program.
Logic School Curriculum
In an effort to deepen the integration of subjects, students in grades 7 and 8 study history, literature, and theology in a two-hour block of humanities. This allows them to see common themes develop between these disciplines, and to apply their learning across the curriculum.
Literature & Language. Students read classic literature–what some have called “great books”–that pertains to the time period they are studying. Students refine their grammar, composition, and spelling skills by using texts compatible with classical education methods. Students write essays and analysis that becomes more advanced throughout Logic School. Students memorize a collection of poetry that instills an understanding of metaphor, wordplay, and linguistic style.
History. Logic School students continue a chronological sequence of historical learning. Sixth graders complete their journey from grammar school with the modern era, as they begin to apply logic-style thinking to their study. Seventh graders begin a six-year program of humanities that cycles twice through history from the Ancient World through the Middle Ages to the Modern World. Student read classic literature that is aligned with the historical time period they are studying. Assigned readings provide material for classroom discussion and exploration, and students are encouraged to analyze and understand original writings (primary sources) from history, without relying on textbook-style narrative (secondary sources). This reliance on primary sources prepares Oak Hill’s students with the analytical skills they will need for the Rhetoric School (Grades 9 – 12).
Science. Beginning in 7th grade, Logic School students begin a sequence of science courses that will segue into Rhetoric School sciences. The sequence includes Earth Science, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Students engage in hand-on lab activities as they investigate the why of science (reasons and causation) in addition to integrating the what of science (properties and facts) that they began learning in Grammar School. In addition, they begin learning and implementing effective experimentation to show the how of science. Logic School science forms a bridge between a factual scientific understanding gained in Grammar School and the rigorous, mathematical approach that will be used in Rhetoric School.
Math & Logic. Using a mastery approach, Oak Hill students retain their sharp calculation and problem-solving skills, but now add more advanced concepts in Logic School such as functions, equations, advanced story problems, and number theory. Advanced students may take Algebra in 8th grade which would then begin the sequence which leads to advanced math courses by 12th grade. Student also take courses in formal logic, which prepare them for more advanced work in not only the sciences, but also literature and history.
Latin. The Oak Hill Latin sequence continues in Logic School, preparing students for continued language study in Rhetoric School. The Oak Hill Latin curriculum is designed so that students new to Latin can join Logic School classes and begin learning Latin at their appropriate level. Students also continue to refine their handwriting through copybook exercises in Latin.