Nothin' 2 Prove

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Art of Argument by Classical Academc Press

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Last year our family was introduced to a company whose mission is to provide *classical subjects creatively taught*.  As we have continued with their Latin Alive curriculum and have the next level waiting (and Song School  Latin for my little guy too as soon as he’s ready!), we’ve been engaged with four attributes Classical Academic Press creates in each of their products. I just LOVE how their materials are described by these attributes:

~Classical: A rich, traditional subject that acquaints students with the best that has been thought and said, and that provides students with a set of master skills they will use throughout life.

~Creative: An engaging design, along with enjoyable online support in the form of games, stories, animations, audio, and e-readers, all contributing to a remarkable student experience.

~Relevant: Books and media that clearly connect to student interest, curiosity, and need, and that enable students to effectively write, think, debate, and argue.

~Easy to Use: Student books with clear instructions, incremental teaching, and regular review complemented by detailed teacher editions, instructional DVDs, and generous online support.

In light of a wonderful experience with this company and their products, it was with great anticipation and excitement that I found out our family would have the privilege to review yet another CAP program. This time~ informal logic.

But when I told my 11 year old daughter we would be journeying into logic, she asked me what is the purpose of studying logic. I began by telling her that it’s good to know the *proper* way to argue. (I knew that would strike an interest!) I then ventured into the fact that her older sister and I had gone through a really cool fallacy book and it was really interesting. (Yep, I agree. Not really relevant to the issue at hand!)

I then found a pretty cool description on the website that summed it up with relevance and accuracy:

~Logic is a fascinating subject for students in middle school or high school. As a fundamental part of the trivium, logic study 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. Mastery of logic is a requisite skill for mastering other subjects.~

I had to throw in the fact that one of the biggest reasons we have chosen not to pay for cable tv is that the irrelevant, flawed arguments and inaccurate statements, emotional appeal, *brain clutter* as I like to call it, really grates on my nerves and confuses our sensibility, or our logical thinking skills.  Studying informal fallacies helps us learn to detect that flawed media-appeal, as well as many other areas of life we must learn to deal with.  So we were both ready for a little adventure when we received our review materials!

For review we received the Art of Argument – an introduction to the informal fallacies student and teacher editions, and Disc 1 (of a five disc set) which covers Chapters 1-6 + Intro DVD.

The student book can be purchased for $21.95, the teacher’s edition $24.95 and the complete DVD set which contains 5 discs with all 28 fallacies discussed retails $54.95. (*Note- we only received the first disc which cannot be purchased separately.) The whole bundle with the student, teacher and complete DVD set can be purchased for $88.95. Visit the Classical Academic Press website to purchase and see sample chapters in PDF format.

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After an introduction and discussion on What is Logic, the book is superbly organized into three units,  with six chapters covering a total of twenty-eight fallacies.

For more specific description of the fallacies and subjects taught, see the PDF samples on the website which include the table of contents.

Within these well-organized pages are a variety of dialogues (with Socrates, none-the-less!), advertisements to analyze, lots of real-world applications, some worksheets, cute illustrations, examples, super-clear explanations/definitions of the fallacies, tests,  and much more.  The teacher’s manual contains the same text as the student manual with clear and concise answers to the questions. I have really appreciated having such insightful answers to discussion questions!

Our Arguing Adventures at Gunn Ranch Academy:

My six year old has intently listened in to see what he could glean from our discussion when he heard we would be arguing. 🙂

Taylor, my 11 year old, has thoroughly enjoyed this material. When we first began reading through some of the descriptions, the subject material was a bit “foreign” and maybe a little confusing. But the Latin labels of the fallacies struck an intrigue with Taylor as she recognized the meanings. I believe it really added relevance to the study from the very beginning! (And just another reason to study Latin!)  As we continued reading, we found that the examples and case scenarios as well and dialogues between Socrates and the school kid characters definitely clarified and further described the fallacy being studied. But then when we popped the DVD in to play, the discussion of the fallacies that took place between a group of two adults and four teens was the cherry on top. At first the discussion seemed a bit “tense”, but as we kept watching we found ourselves enjoying the open discussion with relevant real-life examples and topics. I thought it was cool that they discussed politics, the Iraq war, the presidents, tax cuts, commercials, and so many subjects that would normally be “off limits”. The discussion showed just “why” these subjects are such hot topics and  how they can lead to such chaos at the same time- giving some great real-life examples of how easily fallacy is used all around us. This is just brilliant stuff to show your teens!

I was not a debate student myself in high school, yet I always admired those who were learning the power of argument. Through the years in dealing with clients in my profession, I have self learned the ins and outs of discussion, argument, and relevancy through trial and error.  It’s been fun to recognize so many principles of effective communication in this study, and has been absolutely invaluable to share these principles with my daughter! This material is so totally complete on it’s own, yet such a springboard for great learning opportunities. Learning at it’s finest (and most relevant!)

When we think of “school”, sometimes we forget about things like logic. I’ve often been met with much surprise when talking about teaching logic. Many folks don’t even know what it is!  Let me assure you that even if you aren’t “into” the classical theory of learning that logic is worth a look.

Classical Academic Press has been around for ten years putting together a fabulous plethora of resources. While their original goal was to create a new generation of Latin and logic materials, they have expanded also into Greek, Spanish, Bible (which we will be reviewing soon!), poetry, with history, French and writing curricula on the way. Wow they’ve been busy! Along with great resources, they have developed an amazingly cool website for students to practice their Latin, Spanish and Greek at www.HeadventureLand.com. Go check it out! Your students (and you!) will find a lot of fun and cool things over there.

You can also visit the CAP author blogs for some really cool ideas, resources, teaching tips, fun stories, etc. There’s some great stuff over there!

You can also find CAP on Facebook for some great conversations, news about their great products, links, etc.

For other Crew Mates adventures with Classical Academic Press logic studies, visit our Crew Blog!

This is just a jewel of a company with tons of resources just waiting to be discovered~ what are you waiting for?

Happy Arguing!

Chris
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*I received these products as a Crew Mate on the TOS Homeschool Crew for review purposes. No other compensation was received, and opinions are my own.

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