8th graders will be focusing on the writings and history of the Christian world from Christ’s coming up to the Protestant Reformation. This course opens the eyes of students to the riches of a world oft forgotten today, medieval Christendom, in which empires were conquered by the blood of the martyrs and in which the highest calling was to lead a life devoted to God’s worship as a monk. Students will also receive instruction on a biblical perspective of salvation, church life, authority, tradition, and many basic doctrines of Scripture. Many discussions and topics involve debate and argumentation, integrating the Logic stage deeply into Geneva’s teaching of literature, theology, and history.
-Mastery of punctuation rules
-Understanding and memorization of grammatical rules and definitions
-Application of grammatical rules and definitions in writing assignments
-Review and practice diagramming complicated sentence structure
-Acquisition and usage of new English vocabulary in conjunction with Vocabulary Workshop Level D
-Integrated Omnibus Essays – students will write compositions re-capping discussions from Omnibus. Essays must contain sound reasoning, a biblical perspective, specific essay structures, and required English components.
“God created man with the ability to reason: ‘Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord’ (Is. 1:18). He did this so that we could communicate with Him and with one another. This enables us to love and obey him. Reasoning means drawing proper conclusions from other information. A proper use of reason allows us to form rational statements, and to understand the statements that are made by others…with out the ability to reason, we would be unable to discuss, preach, read, hear the gospel, or follow God’s commands. In other words, proper reasoning opens the mind so that it can close upon the truth.“–Nance, Introductory Logic
Geneva Academy students have the wonderful and rare opportunity to study logic! Quite simply, logic is the study of reasoning well. In this course, students will learn the importance of using logic to discern between valid arguments and fallacious ones.
Geneva’s logic course teaches the laws of deductive and inductive reasoning. Introductory logic (first semester) will teach students how to form accurate terms and definitions through genus and species charts, extension and intension, and the methods of defining. Students will learn how to form syllogisms and test them for their validity. Students will also study arguments in normal English (such as hypothetical syllogisms and the informal fallacies).
In the second semester (intermediate logic), students will spend much of their time building formal proofs (a skill that most college students, let alone middle or high school students, never get the chance to learn). Intermediate logic will introduce students to propositional logic (such as conditionals and biconditionals), equipping them to test for validity using truth tables and to form and dismantle dilemmas. Students will also learn the formal proof of validity and will practice proving or disproving propositional arguments (formal proofs are an important preparation for geometry). Students will learn to use truth trees to test for fallacies. Analytical thinking will be encouraged at all times.
Another component of the class is playing chess. According to Garry Kasparov, considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time, “Chess helps you to concentrate, improve your logic. It teaches you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actions, how to problem solve in an uncertain environment.” Chess has the most unsubtle way of teaching us to think BEFORE we act (imagine that!). To see a great TED talk on chess, search Youtube for “How chess can revolutionize learning TEDx.”
Finally, students will be working their way through an amazing puzzle book, Alice in Puzzleland. Students will be masters of deduction by the time they finish this book.
Text: Introductory and Intermediate Logic by Nance and Wilson; Alice in Puzzleland by Raymond Smullyan
This course emphasizes the idea of the function, which is one of the building blocks of upper level mathematics. Students will begin with a review of linear functions and systems of equations. The rest of the course is aimed at gathering the necessary skill set for the following year’s investigation of higher-degree functions. This skill set includes operations with exponents, factoring polynomials, working with algebraic fractions, and mastering square roots.
Text: Elementary Algebra by Harold Jacobs
Lingua Latina – grammar, vocabulary, translation; eventual readings in Latin that will lead to the use of Latin in conversation and writing. Please see Geneva’s Why Teach Latin for more information on the benefits of learning Latin.