Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Art of Argument

Classical Academic Press
The Art of Argument
Student Book- $21.95
Teacher’s Edition- $24.95
DVD Set- $54.95
Grades: 7-9 and up

For this review, we received the Student textbook, Teacher's Guide and the first disc of the DVD set.

From the website:
Classical Academic Press produces products to advance the revival of classical education.
They consider logic to be a fundamental part of the trivium and that it will impart to students the skills needed to craft accurate statements and identify the flawed arguments found so frequently in editorials, commercials, newspapers, journals and every other media. We regard the mastery of logic as a "paradigm" subject by which we evaluate, assess and learn other subjects--it is a sharp knife with which we can carve and shape all manner of wood.

Students master 28 fallacies by studying many pertinent examples. The 28 fallacies fall into three categories...Fallacies of irrelevance, fallacies of presumption and fallacies of clarity. Students learn through a variety of activities:
Real-World Applications
Phony Advertisements
Dialectic Discussion Questions

Fun extras such as a humorous skit for students to perform, and the famous short story, Love is a Fallacy by Max Shulman

The Art of Argument has been revised to include:
Improved chapter and unit organization for greater ease of use
Fallacy explanations rewritten for clarity
Many added and updated examples
Ten new and revised advertisement illustrations

The Art of Argument is our first dabble into the area of Logic. While I think it is good to know these things, I just never have pulled out something and learned this myself or taught it to my children. In my earlier days of homeschooling, I looked into the classical method of education and very quickly became overwhelmed...it was not for us.

Fast forward to The Art of Argument. I had my 8th and 12th grade boys do the assignments and we sat down and did the discussions, read the material and then they would complete the assignments. We really enjoyed reading the text, the assignments were the least favorite part of the course (Imagine that!), but what was loved most was the DVD we received which featured three experienced logic teachers and four capable, enthusiastic students discussing the 28 fallacies presented in The Art of Argument. This really made the understanding sink in for ALL of us!

What we LOVED: We loved the very easy to read, conversational tone of the text book. It was not dry and is even sprinkled with humor here and there. As I said before, the DVD was our favorite part of the course. Here there were many practical examples of what was being discussed as well as the fallacies applied. The DVDs are really a KEY part of this curriculum and I would be sure to get them.

What was a challenge: Coming from non writing boys (Yes, I know they NEED to write), there was quite a bit of essay/writing type assignments at the beginning of the course. This, on top of all of the writing they need to do for other courses seemed to be quite a bit of writing. If I were to plan my ideal time to schedule this, I would start it at a time when there is not a lot of other writing assignments. I did notice as we went along in the book, this did lessen, so my boys are very hopeful that that will continue to be the case.

Overall, I think that this warning sums this up very nicely:
Parents and teachers beware--students may use these skills against you!

Truer words were never spoken! Parents, be very careful what you teach your children!!! Seriously though, I am looking forward to getting a little further into the course!

See what my fellow crew mates have to say about Classical Academic Press' The Art of Argument here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

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