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Socratic Discussion Class

(See the Syllabus and 2014 Syllabus)

Socratic discussions.  Dialog vs debate  Ask good questions*.

Historical emphasis and setting: Ancient history of Greece and Rome.

Timelines, map assignment, word studies (plutarch has difficult words)

Topics: philosophy, history, art, math & science (greek "music")

Goals of Education: Read like a lawyer, write like an author, speak like a stateman, calculate like an entrepreneur, think like a philosopher.


Homer's Odyssey

Plato's Republic

Sophocles: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone

Plutarch's Lives

Also, pick a book from the list of Ancient Classic Books (or propose another), read it, and give an oral report on it.

Also good:

Edith Hamilton's Mythology

Writing Assignments:

Annotations and Notetaking

Writing Process Hero Report


Comparison of Themistocles and Camillus

Culmination Essay

Literary Analysis of Sophocles

Time and Space (Maps and Timelines)

Greek Maps

Timelines and important dates

Document Studies:

Greek Mythology

Hercules from pseudo-Apollodorus

Athenian radical democracy

The Athenian Constitution

Pericles' Funeral Oration (from Thucydides) [relevant pictures] --- compare with Gettysberg Address

Lycurgus from Plutarch with Constitution of the Lacedaemonians from Xenophon

Plato, Apology (awesome!)

Aristotle, Poetics (translated by Butcher or Bywater)


Aesop Fables

Nicomachean Ethics (see also 20 page excerpt) after "let no one ignorant of geometry..."

Compare Aristotle On a Good Wife with Proverbs 31:10-31

Life of Epaminondas by Cornelius Nepos

Livy-Tarquins -- The end of the Roman Monarchy

Plutarch, On Nature (overview of Greek natural philosophy) has very impressive analysis and history of Rome.  They should publish a book.

Code of Hammarabi

Cicero, De Officiis

Cincinnatus (livy 3)

Augustus on himself: Res Gestae Divi Augusti

The Enchiridion by Epictetus (The hand-book, a summary of Epictetus's Stoic philosophy)


"Know Thyself" (Delphi) -- personality profiles,  MTBI:  or

"Moderation in all things" -- Delphi: "Nothing to Excess"

"Let no one ignorant of Geometry enter here" math & Euclid  (also "there is no royal road to geometry")

"Until philosophers are kings, cities will never have rest from their evils" Plato, Socrates and philosophy

Athens vs Sparta, Peloponnesian War

Art / Music (the muses)

Grammer, Logic, Rhetoric
Astronomy, Geometry, Music, Arithmetic?

Types of Logic and Rhetoric: dialectic, etc; fallacies

Poetry and Prose (read a Bradbury short story), mechanics: rhyme, rhythm, lyricism, repetition, consonsance, etc; symbolism, allusion, simile, analogy, etc.

Compare major philosophical schools: cynics, epicureans, stoics, skeptics, sophists (ref 1) (Hellenistic Philosophy); Thomas Jefferson - I am an Epicurean

Virtue - as defined by Plutarch and other ancients

Wisdom - compare Greek definition with Hebrew and/or Christian

Compare Greek and Roman mindsets


Write like an Author:

Coach writing process.  Write down ideas learned from document study in class, require outline, draft, final, on following weeks.  (accelerate as as year progresses?)

Journal or other notes on what they are learning.

Who is the audience?  What do you want them to know? feel? do?

Writing assignments:

  • report on Greek god: facts, at least one story
  • Iliad hero story summary: pick one character, briefly tell story (use story sequence chart?)
  • Plutarch-style comparison of two characters (there are several good ones missing comparison from plutarch: Themistocles vs Camillus, etc.)
  • dialog style discussion.  logical discussion on a topic (what topic?)

Read like a Lawyer:

practice skills.  Word studies.  Write notes.  diagram ideas.  speed reading/skimming?  Comparing and Connecting.  Quiet and pondering.

practice with: bible, euclid, something philosophical, zeno, poetry

Note taking template. (trifold bookmark?

Read a legal brief, notice how precise their definitions are (do not write like a lawyer!)

Symbolism (with lawyers?! e.g. habeas corpus)

Plutarch - Theseus document study: lots of words to look up, historical links, geography, etc.

Think like a Philosopher:

Ask yourself questions!

Thinking skills: concentration, logic (inductive/deductive), ponder, inspiration, analysis vs synthesis, grouping, identify & challenge assumptions.

Seeing patterns and systems.

Learning skills and styles.

Fallacies, thinking traps, cognitive biases

Calculate like an Entrepreneur:

Compare and Contrast.  Follow a line of logic.  Estimate. 

Compare "calculate like a mathematician" with "calculate like an entrepreneur".

Value instead of price/count/amount/number.

Speak like a Statesman:

Orals.  Presentation.

Attributes of a leader.  Speaking out for beliefs.  Enduring in the face of trials.


Compare Obama vs Bush?

Elocution (from tjed forum)

Point out the elements of great replies quoted in plutarch: analogy, symbolism, placation, boldness but not insolence

Character traits of a Statesman (according to LEMI):

  • Virtue
  • Wisdom
  • Diplomacy
  • Courage
  • ability to Inspire Greatness in others
  • ability to Move the Cause of Liberty