The Logic Stage
By fifth grade, a child’s mind begins to think more analytically. Middle-grades students are less interested in finding out facts than in asking “Why?” The second phase of a classical education, the Logic Stage, is a time when a child begins to pay attention to cause and effect, to the relationships between how different fields of knowledge relate, to the way facts fit together into a logical framework.
In preparation for their formal Logic studies, we do all we can to ensure that by the time they leave lower school, students are brimming over with facts with which to wrestle. And although we are heavily focused on laying a solid foundation of the grammar of each area, we regularly expose students to the opportunity to safely discuss their thoughts and opinions on facts learned (practicing logic), as well as present their thoughts and opinions to others (practicing rhetoric).
Classical education seeks to emphasize the truth that all knowledge is unified. This means that every subject has relevance for every other subject, and thus the trained classical mind looks for the core principles of wisdom from which it can learn all later knowledge. Practically this means that subjects are not taught in isolation but rather in constant integration with one another.
In fifth grade, you may find the Latin, art and classroom teacher partnering in teaching a grammar, writing, and ancient history unit. Latin and English grammar patterns are taught in unison. Art history is integrated with the units of study in the classroom as well as through the Latin instruction of ancient Greek and Roman history.
Fifth grade is a significant social and emotional developmental year. Puberty can create a classroom that contains a broad mix of maturity levels, both physical and emotional. Some girls are interested in boys while others haven’t noticed their charms yet. Some girls have begun to develop physically, while others may still have a few years to go. Boys often still have a year or two before they begin to mature towards puberty.
Friendships become more important and more complex at this age. Being part of a group, what their friends think of them, and what they think of their friends are very important issues for fifth graders, particularly (but not exclusively) girls. Both sexes become more self-conscious and somewhat insecure about how they appear and whether they “fit in.”
By fifth grade children are developing a communal sense about God’s family, the church, and often want to be part of the church or children’s group within the church.
While fifth grade is a year of impeding change, it is also an exciting time as a child is evolving into an analytical, reasoning (and argumentative!) adolescent beginning his journey into the formal Logic stages of learning and development.