Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: Art of Argument

A couple of years ago, we were looking for something to do for Logic for my nearly 8th grader.  Classical Academic Press was one company we looked into.  Connor had done some things with informal fallacies already, and we were wanting to move on to formal logic.

We purchased Discovery of Deduction, and we really loved it.  But it was hard to be consistent about doing it with just one student.  This was something we wanted to be able to discuss more, so we started to let it slide and eventually stopped doing it entirely.

Last fall, heading into 9th grade, we determined that logic absolutely had to happen.  We discussed starting over with something to address informal logic again, but this time involving William, who was starting 7th grade.  When I found out the TOS Homeschool Crew would have the chance to review logic from Classical Academic Press, we decided to wait until 2nd semester to tackle anything.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to review Art of Argument starting in February.  Everyone on the Crew received the student and teacher books, and the first DVD in the new DVD Set.

We dug right in and started doing Logic a couple days a week.  The program consists of reading (included in both the student and teacher books) and some questions for each section.  There is a DVD segment for the introduction and also for each fallacy.  There are also chapter and unit tests.

Since Connor is doing this for high school credit, I am having him complete the tests in addition to the regular assignments.  William is not doing the tests, but the three of us (and Thomas, 5th grade, too) are participating in discussions about the material.

We are simply loving this study.  One aspect of the book is that Socrates has a continuing dialogue with a couple of college students.  The kids enjoy those, though I'm not sure I'd be quite as comfortable with the issues brought up there if my oldest child was in roughly the 7th grade range.

Initially, we were not terribly impressed with the DVD.  The intro section covered the same material as is in the book, and it was good.  The rest of the DVD series includes discussion between a few teens and a couple of logic teachers, with each section covering one of the fallacies.  The first fallacy (ad hominem abusive) went on and on and on.  My kids love anything that involves DVD lessons, but they begged to not have to watch anymore.

Because we were reviewing this, I told them we would have to watch more.  I'm glad we did, because the discussions certainly got better.  I'm not sure if it is because the participants were more comfortable with each other, if they were more comfortable with the camera, or if they talked more about things before they started filming.  Whatever the reason, the discussions were far better as we went further.

I asked the kids if they wanted me to purchase the DVD Set.  Connor feels that he doesn't really need it, though it is now interesting to watch.  He thought that William would get more out of the course if we had the DVD, and they both felt that the DVD made it so that it was easier for Thomas to be involved a bit too.

Our logic plans?  We will continue on to the next book in the series, The Argument Builder.  And we will start Discovery of Deduction over again.  I think with both of the older boys able to participate, this will work well.

Art of Argument is available as a set for $88.95, or you can purchase individual components separately.

To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about Classical Academic Press and their logic programs, click the banner here:

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive the products mentioned above for the purposes of a review.  All opinions are my own.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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