My morning started with light saber repair. Gideon couldn’t figure out why the button that makes it light up and make noise was stuck, so we took it apart while he told me all about the problem. He said that the button was stuck down and had been for some time, so therefore the batteries must now be dead. Reasonable reasoning for a boy who is nine.
When we solve a problem, we apply reason and logic to the information we have in order to exclude non-solutions until we can put a finger on the solution. We weed through facts and lies and arguments until we find Truth. That’s what we do when we repair a broken toy. It is also how we unravel logical fallacies in articles in the paper or on the internet. That is how we decide which statements made by presidential candidates are true and which are not. We have to work through the words we hear and compare them to the plumb line of mechanics and physics or Scripture or the Constitution in order to decide what is Truth and what is not.
Sometimes we have to take apart a sentence to understand the truth in it. This is why we need an understanding of grammar. Charlotte didn’t address this subject until students were at least ten. That makes a lot of sense because most students are reading and writing fairly easily by the time they are ten. Why would you make a student deconstruct a sentence before he can read one or write one? Thinking through the job of each word in a sentence and how the words work together makes us better writers, readers, and listeners.
Oh – and the light saber: The final diagnosis was a stewardship problem. It turns out that if you leave your light saber out in the rain, it probably won’t work well anymore. Once the wiring is nasty, there is no amount of new batteries that will be helpful. I bet Yoda didn’t need to teach Luke to keep his light saber with him so that it didn’t get soaked.