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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Classical Academic Press–The Art of Argument

Classic Academic Press

Art of Argument

I do not remember having studied logic in school. I know I must have been introduced to informal logic, as I know some of the terms, but I do not necessarily know what those terms mean. So reviewing, The Art of Argument, has been a fascinating education for me, as well as for my children.

To be totally honest, I was extremely excited about being able to review this book. The study of logic was one I have been wanting to start. Sarah (14), on the other hand, was completely against the program from the minute she heard what it was. I was flabbergasted as Sarah is not known for discounting any schoolwork before she gives it a try. So I sat down and talked to her about it and found out that one of her friends who attends a private Christian school had used the program last year and said it was very hard. So here we are, starting out with mom excited and Sarah very reticent.

I took a very slow, gentle approach to this book. I read the book out loud to her instead of assigning her to read the pages herself and then discuss. We went over vocabulary out loud as we read. I even started out by having her do the question pages out loud with me.  During the Introductory, What is Logic? section and the beginning of Unit 1 Sarah warily went along with me. I noticed her starting to become more and more interested by the time we reached the “Dialogue on Logic…and Propaganda”  which is in the form of a play between Socrates and a girl named Tiffany.

When we reached the first Fallacy, Ad Hominem Abusive, she was hooked. She admitted that she does enjoy the book so far. She has said it is not as “hard” as her friend made it sound. I reminded Sarah, that she is 14 and her friend is 13 and studied the book last year at 11 and 12.

What surprised me completely though was Ben (10). Ben was in the room listening while I was reading the first few introductory lessons to Sarah. Then he apparently was listening intently during the first Fallacy, because as I was asking and discussing the questions with Sarah, Ben piped up with very complete, well thought out answers. He is now constantly on the look out for examples of the Fallacies we have studied.

We usually read the chapter out loud together and discuss the questions. Then we will watch the video series, available as a supplement, that corresponds to the fallacy we are studying. Watching this video adds a great deal to our understanding by providing a deeper level of discussion and more examples.  The video is set up like a panel board discussion, with four students and two adult facilitators. It is not fancy, but provides valuable insights and produces better discussions than I can come up with myself.

The Teacher’s Edition was the same as the student book, except for having answers printed on the worksheet pages. This made it easy to teach, as I was always on the same page as the kids and could see everything, in full size, they had in their books.

I would highly recommend The Art of Argument by Classical Academic Press. The use of skits involving Socrates inject humor into the lesson. My kids found the “advertisements” that illustrate the different Fallacies to be entertaining. I feel this is a very solid informal logic curriculum.


Many of my Crew Mates also reviewed The Art of Argument. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought of the program.

As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received The Art of Argument, Student book, Teacher Edition and Disk 1 from Classical Academic Press for free in exchange for my honest review of their product

1 comment:

Lexi said...

That looks like a great resource...but I have a long time to wait before we can use it. Maybe I should get it for myself? : )
Stopping by from the Crew!