Oct 31, 2013

The Question - Book Review

I'm not sure you can imagine my excitement when I was offered a chance to get my hands on a review copy of Leigh Bortins's new book The Question earlier this month. Well, maybe you can. Ha! I couldn't wait to read it! And it didn't take me long; I carried it with me, reading it every spare moment I could find - it is that good!
In fact, the book is so good that I can't wait to have a middle-schooler! (gasp!) 
I'd like to share a little bit of The Question with you, as well as a few of my favorite quotes from the new book.
First, let me say that this book is written for any parent of a student in the second stage of the trivium - the logic stage (also called the dialectic stage). If you're interested in the Classical model of education but don't really know what that is, click here. Also, Leigh does a wonderful job of explaining it in the beginning of the book, so no worries. All that to say, even if you're not involved in a Classical Conversations community, this book is still for you.
Okay, now on to the book:
The Question opens with an explanation of the Classical model in Part 1 (great refresher for all of us whose copy of The Core is dusty). Part 2 takes the dialectic arts and applies them to all the different subjects.
What are the dialectic arts, you ask? Good question!
The dialectic stage is when your child learns to ask the right questions that will lead her to a deeper understanding. The dialectic arts are tools you use to achieve those goals, and Leigh goes into detail about exactly how to do this.
Sounds good, right? But how do you know your child is transitioning from just-the-facts,-jack to the but-why phase? Here's what Leigh says:
"A grammar student might simply memorize the definition of logic, but a dialectic student would want to understand what it means. By nature, children progress from wanting to absorb knowledge to wanting to question, challenge, and argue with the basic facts and parroted ideas they have learned during the grammar stage. . . I have in mind the eleven- to fourteen-year-old age range, but every child reaches the dialectic stage at a different time." (p. 18)
I like the way she puts it next:
"When your child begins to argue with the most basic set of instructions and loses patience with your reserve weapon of choice - "Because I said so" - you will know that it is time to turn to the art of logic." (pp. 18-19)
I could go on and on about this book. I literally have a mess of notes sitting next to me as I write this. But the main thing I'd like to share with you about The Question is that, as a parent and tutor of a young child, it gives me a vision for the future, a glimpse into what's to come, and I like what I see.

"Imagine the doors of a storehouse of knowledge being thrown open and a wealth of knowledge being available at your child's ready disposal because you taught him how to ask the essential questions and that it was productive to ask them. Remember, we ask questions not because we are cynics who believe that nothing is true and nothing can be known but because we believe that truth exists and can be known, at least imperfectly. Our questions are designed to weed out falsehood and cultivate right thinking so that we can share its fruits with those around us." (p. 34, emphasis mine)

Leigh teaches us how to ask the right questions in each subject to lead our kids to a greater understanding of math, science, history, fine arts, etc. I am very excited about this book, and I highly recommend reading it, even if you just have a little kindergartner like me. It will inspire you and encourage you to keep on keepin' on. Hang in there, mama, it's all worth it!
Want to see more?

Click here to read a pdf sample of Chapter 2.
Click here to watch a quick video about The Question.

Here what others are saying about it:

Click here to read Brandy's review at Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood.
Click here to read what Beth at Classical Conversations at Home learned from the book.
Now go get your copy! ;)

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I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and this book is just pure awesomeness - that's a fact. ;) Thanks for reading the fine print, now go read The Question!

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