The longer I homeschool my children the more value I see in the approach and subjects of a Classical Education. I see so many benefits for life and so as I am trying to prepare them in the best way possible I continue to try to implement a more classical methodology. One of the companies who produces many resources for this method of education is Classical Academic Press and thus I find myself exploring their product line quite frequently. As I use several other products from Classical Academic Press and find them to be of high value I was very excited to have the opportunity to review their beginning Logic course, The Art of Argument.
Art of Argument is designed to be a first semester course for students in 7th grade and above. Art of Argument introduces students to informal fallacies, the basics and beginning of logic study.In this course students study What Logic is, and 28 fallacies falling into the categories of Relevance, Presumption, and Clarity. Each fallacy is studied in its own chapter with several additional chapters at the beginning of the course discussing what logic is and the purposes and reasons for studying it. Students are also introduced to Socrates and his contributions to the world of thought. Each lesson is approximately 5 pages long. Each lesson uses a brief real life example or one which could be real life to discuss the fallacy and make it relevant to the student. After this discussion one or more ads are used to illustrate the fallacy discussed to show how students may encounter it in life. The chapter concludes with 3 -5 questions for the student to answer.
The teachers edition provides the full text of the student book as well as answers for the student questions. This book also provides tests for the end of each Unit and a Final Exam. Answers are given for each of the tests as well.
I also received a sample of the DVD which accompanies the course. This DVD contained 6 of the fallacies studied in the book. On the DVDs each of fallacies is presented and discussed in a small group setting with two adult facilitators and several students.
There is a separate course designed to follow Art of Argument which helps students learn to build their own solid arguments.
Student Book $21.95
Teacher Book $24.95
DVD Set $54.95
Bundle Set of All Items $88.95
In addition to Logic, Classical Academic Press also offers Latin, Greek, and Spanish courses for all ages. They also have several Bible study courses and a poetry course and resources for parents/teachers defining and designing a Classical education program.
Classical Academic Press also offers a free online enrichment program which offers fun practice for many of their subjects. Unfortunately, (in my opinion) Headventureland only contains activities for the language courses they offer. The only item available under the Logic section is computer wallpaper.
I have used other books published by Classical Academic Press and believe my children have and continue to learn a lot from them. Art of Argument really is the same. I believe it is a very well done introduction to Logic and Fallacies. However, I did find it to be quite challenging for my 10 year old, which is in line with the recommended 7th grade level.. She was willing to work through it together and did comment that it was interesting, but it was a lot of work and required a lot of thinking.
My daughter enjoyed the conversations with Socrates throughout the lessons, as he tried to teach points of logic and as well as understand practices and colloquial expressions of our times. The conversations in the text among other students also makes the text fun and engaging.
We both thought the fake ads in the book added a lot to the substance. They are instrumental in making the fallacies concrete for the learner. Additionally, the text is lively and uses real life examples to teach the fallacies. While there is space for the student to write out their answers to questions, we just verbally discussed them.
I greatly appreciate having the full student text in the Teachers book. Having everything before me makes it so much easier to discuss the topic because I know exactly what they are looking at as well. While the teachers manual does contain tests to copy and answers for both the text and test questions there are no additional teacher helps in the book.
I have mixed thoughts about the DVD's from the sample we saw. While the sessions brought up some interesting points we did not think about in our discussions, they did seem to drag a little. I did not time each session, but they seemed long. We watched the sessions as a conclusion to each of the fallacies we studied, so it is possible they may not have seemed as drawn out if we had used them as an introduction rather than a summary. You can watch a sample video class on the information pages for purchasing Art of Argument.
Art of Argument is a well done course, however, it is somewhat too challenging for my oldest at this time, especially in addition to her other work. I believe she will get even more out of the course when working through it again. At this point we plan to set it aside for several months and then continue again in the fall.
Read what other Crew members had to say at the Crew Blog.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the materials discussed here for the purposes of review and writing this piece. I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions expressed here are solely my own.