Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Teaching our Teens, a review: The Art of Argument by Classical Academic Press

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the products with my boys and share my honest opinions with you. Paperboy was the fortunate participant this time.

Paperboy laughed when he learned his next course would be "The Art of Argument." He felt he already possessed great skill in that area. He was confident this subject would be a breeze. I was looking forward to gaining new communication skills and perhaps reaping the rewards of the great lessons learned. 

Classical Academic Press describes this program as:
Junior high aged students will argue (and sometimes quarrel), but they won't argue well without good training. The Art of Argument was designed to teach the argumentative adolescent how to reason with clarity, relevance and purpose at a time when he has a penchant for the "why" and "how". It is designed to equip and sharpen young minds as they live, play, and grow in this highly commercial culture. This course teaches students to recognize and identify twenty-eight informal fallacies, and the eye-catching text includes over sixty slick and clever, “phony advertisements” for items from blue jeans to pick-up trucks, which apply the fallacies to a myriad of real life situations. 
Don't let the publisher's description of 7th grade and up fool you. For students who have had no training in informal logic, this is a great place to start. Paperboy confessed to me in the car that he reads it slowly as it is challenging to digest. He felt it has already helped him to see how foolish some of his arguments have been. Many times he has fallen for propaganda from a talk show host and not clearly understood the issues.

When you purchase the Art of Argument Basic Bundle for $88.95 what do you receive?

The kit comes with a teachers manual, the student text book and a set of Dvd's with over 5 hours of instruction.

  • The Dvd lessons are taught by two teachers as they discuss the terms with four students. The lessons are 15 to 30 minutes long. The student's input and discussion of lessons are a great substitute for a co-op class. The video is professionally produced, yet it is obvious they didn't edit it too much. The replies of the students ranged from simplistic to well thought out responses. 
  • The 230 page student workbook is divided into three units which contain 6 chapters and cover 28 fallacies. Covering two fallacies per week worked for our family. The workbook includes open ended questions, highlighted vocabulary and continual dialogue with Socrates. The book uses fictitious ads to represent each fallacy. This visual is an extremely effective method. It also incorporates some humor into the lessons.
  • The new and expanded teacher's guide includes the student text with answers, chapter and unit tests. Honestly, I have never been taught informal or formal logic, so I can't imagine not having the teacher's guide. 

Classical Academic Press has a catchy slogan: Classical Subjects Creatively Taught. I agree, the thought of teaching logic and studying Socrates with my son, wasn't something I was looking forward to. The Art of Argument has definitely changed my mind. Classical Academic Press has a web site for students to practice their work. They offer free wallpaper background for students to remind them of the fallacies. There are more books in this series to carry your children through formal logic. You can pick up your own copy of The Art of Argument here. And lastly, don't just accept my persuasive argument for it, see what other members of the crew thought about it here.

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1 comment:

Covnitkepr1 said...

Terri, I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation