If one is a person of conscience and would like the establishment of a rational society, then one would presumably like reason to prevail among human beings. Where does one acquire the skills of reasoning? Ostensibly, one would think these skills could be acquired in our public school system. As homeschoolers, one sees that this is clearly not the case. "Teaching to the test" and conformist, mundane thinking rules public education today. One is hard pressed to find creative, "outside the box" thinking. If your child is sensitive and imaginative, there is no forum in that system where your child can be heard -- they simply are not seen.
To those who value original thinking and the principles of reason, where does one turn? One turns to a tested, inspired, and original curriculum designed specifically to teach reasoning and creative thinking. Dr. Matthew Lipman's Philosophy for Children curriculum was created by Dr. Lipman at his Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children. Through Socratic dialogue and by fostering a community of inquiry where curiosity and questioning are encouraged, reasoning skills are honed. The teacher is a facilitator, not a dictator. The class is a democratic setting where all have equal say (we sit in a circle!), and all are learning together.
The methodology utilized in this course is based upon the pedagogy
developed by Dr. Matthew Lipman in his Philosophy for Children curriculum. It is referred to as the Socratic Method, or Dialectic. It is based on a logical method of questioning which Socrates further developed and made famous.
One of the benefits of this method is that it empowers the student. The student is treated with respect and it is presupposed that the student's ideas are worthy of examination. This approach is student-centered, not teacher-centered. In this manner, the student gains confidence in his perceptions, thereby engendering empowerment.
The teacher/facilitator creates the conditions for this pouring forth of ideas by fostering an atmosphere of trust. It is within this non-judgmental learning environment where the student feels free to discover and experiment with new ideas.
For a full description of methodology and skills attained, including state standards met through the course, see the printable pdf below: