Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Classical Academic Press

By now I am sure that my regular readers know how many painstaking hours I have researched different homeschooling curricula (including polling all my homeschooling friends whose children have been awarded prestigious college scholarships), and by far the logic curriculum preferred by the most discriminating homeschooling families is the line sold by Classical Academic Press. I am sure that my truly academically-minded homeschooling friends will surely want to join the elite cadre of homeschoolers using this excellent curricula.

Or perhaps you have paused at the end of this paragraph, and pondered what I just typed. Do you detect an informal fallacy here? If you guessed "Snob Appeal," you would be correct! Perhaps you have also realized how frequently our youth are bombarded with various appeals and advertisements of this very nature. Learning about informal fallacies is an excellent way for young people to develop the analytical skills they need in order to become critically reasoning adults. Solid reasoning skills aid students in many areas--from better writing skills to better standardized test-taking skills.

The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies, co-authored by Aaron Larsen, Joelle Hodge and Chris Perrin, is the first of three titles in the Classical Academic Press logic series for secondary students. Although The Art of Argument is recommended primarily for grades 7 through 9, it can also be used by those older students who have little or no other logic exposure. Since I have a 10th grade daughter who has had some light logic exposure with two other programs and a 7th grade son who had not yet studied logic, they have both been using this program with me the past several weeks.

Did I say "using"? I meant to say "loving." Really. Loving logic. Amazing. Okay, so why the interest in this program? Why does my 7th grader keep grabbing the student book and reading ahead when he thinks I'm not looking?

I believe it's due to the Classical Academic Press logo: "Classical Subjects--Creatively Taught." CAP has a knack for taking what many people think are dull, college-level subjects and making them interesting, humorous and memorable.

What is included within Art of Argument logic curriculum?
  • 28 fallacies, broken down into six categories
  • 230 page Student Edition
  • 286 page Teacher's Edition, including answers for student discussion questions
  • 6 chapter tests, 2 unit tests, plus a final exam located within the Teacher's Edition (plus answer keys)
  • interesting illustrations and advertisements interspersed throughout every chapter
  • multiple skits with Socrates (yes, the historical figure) to read aloud and enjoy
  • an optional DVD set containing over 8 hours of interesting discussions between four students, Dr. Christopher Perrin and logic teacher Joelle Hodge--one video segment for each of the 28 fallacies
View a video clip below to see what to expect from the DVD set.

The teaching procedure we have used is for the kids and I to sit down with the books, take turns reading aloud about each fallacy, discuss the fallacy, then grab the DVD in order to play the segment for that fallacy. My 10th grader and 7th grader both love this part of their school day. With the recent election coverage, my older kids have been applying all they have been learning about informal fallacies in a very practical manner.

Be sure to view uploaded DVD clips from other Classical Academic Press products and visit Headventureland for free supplementary materials designed to complement the Classical Academic Press curricula offerings, but free to all. While you are visiting Headventureland, take time to practice your Latin with online flash cards, read an illustrated Spanish or Latin reader, print coloring pages for the little ones, download a free desktop wallpaper for The Art of Argument, and watch a video of the weekly Latin derivative and word root with your children. This 10 year old curriculum company continues to expand its offerings of Latin, Spanish, Greek, logic, poetry, Bible and more with each passing year.

The Art of Argument is available as follows:
Although it is possible to effectively teach The Art of Argument without the DVD set, you and your students will likely enjoy its study much more with its purchase and use. My kids love to watch the DVD segments. It is just more interesting seeing other students interact with the logic teachers on the DVD set, and further reinforces the arguments in my kids' minds.

The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic and The Argument Builder are designed to complete the Classical Academic Press logic series. You can bet we'll be buying these additional volumes this spring. And the great thing is my kids will be happy about it.

Disclosure: As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I received review copies of the Student Book, Teacher's Edition and the initial DVD of the DVD set. My children and I enjoyed the first DVD so much that we purchased the DVD set ourselves. Yesterday the Crew was offered a discount on the purchase of the DVD set, which was made retroactive in my case. While I appreciate CAP's generosity, it did not unduly influence me and this review simply represents our family's experience and opinions about this curriculum. To read further reviews, please visit the Homeschool Crew blog.

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