Sunday, March 18

The Art of Argument

Don't you love the sound of that title? Regardless of your definition of "argument", there is certainly an art to it. This particular title refers to the logic book by Classical Academic Press.  I have long been a fan of CAP, beginning with their amazing elementary Latin course. Through the years, they have added more and more impressive publications to their catalog and we've fallen in love with every book we've tried, such as their Old Testament Bible study and their Art of Poetry.  As expected, The Art of Argument is every bit as impressive.

Prior to homeschooling, I had never heard of logic being any sort of educational course. I heard it used to refer to right thinking, or more specifically, common sense. Now I know that it is so much more than that and I am a firm believer that it is an integral part of a proper education. Logic equips students to reason and discern, to recognize false statements regardless of the power of persuasion. That old fashioned definition of "right thinking" isn't so far off, though it is more a matter of learning to "think rightly".

The main emphasis in Art of Argument is recognition of informal fallacies, which your student will quickly realize are everywhere. It is encouraging to see them turn from a commercial or a billboard with shock on their faces as they realize that an advertiser was attempting to manipulate a response from them. It's as if I gave them a secret decoder ring for the many messages that bombard them.



Art of Argument contains 6 chapters that cover 28 fallacies. With these, a very necessary introduction, and cumulative reviews, there are approximately 36 lessons. These can be done gently as weekly lessons for one year, or as twice weekly lessons (still quite comfortably) for a one-semester course. Either method could be followed with The Discover of Deduction, which introduces formal logic.

The Art of Argument is written for middle school students in 7th and 8th grade, though it was still very insightful for my 9th grade son and myself. It is written directly to the student in an appealing conversational style. The class requires a student book and a teacher's book. A DVD is also available as a supplement. This DVD includes logic teachers in discussion with students and providing real life applications for the material. We haven't used the student book much, but instead have sat on the couch together reading through the lessons in the Teacher's Guide and answering questions orally. Doing it this way, the lessons take about half an hour. If students did the lessons on their own, writing their answers, I think each lesson would probably take closer to an hour.

The book includes many illustrations, fun skits that we act out, and it is packed with spoof advertisements that demonstrate the fallacies being taught. Each fallacy lesson includes clear explanations, entertaining and helpful examples, and questions that allow students to show they have learned the material.  The Teacher's Book is a replica of the student book, with answers filled in. It also includes tests for each unit and chapter and a final exam.

The Student Text is $21.95
The Teacher's Book is $24.95
The DVD set is $54.95
The bundled package is $88.95 (a savings of $12.90)3

You can view PDF samples of the student guide here and the teacher's guide here.

*sidenote:  These are very comparable to the Bluedorn books, which are very popular with classical home educators. This might be overkill, but even though my 6th grader has gone through The Thinking Toolbox, I'm having him go through both CAP logic books as well. Technically, both Bluedorn books can be finished with one semester on each book, making them perfect for 7th grade before beginning the Art of Argument and Argument Builder in 8th grade. There is no "might" about it; it absolutely is overkill, but it is a very enjoyable subject when taught with these books and it is a subject that I want them to know and know well. Logic is currently my 6th grader's subject and he's showing no signs of being tired of it yet.

For more great reviews of this product, be sure to visit The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's TOS Crew.

I received this material in exchange for my honest opinion as a member of the TOS Crew, and received no other form of compensation. For whatever they're worth, the opinions are mine and mine alone, as stated in my disclosure policy.

2 comments:

Nezzy said...

I just adore the title!!

God bless and have yourself a great week sweetie!!!

Under the Sky said...

Thanks, Jenn! This was great to read. :)

Kate

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