Memoria Press is always a favorite classical component of our homeschool and I was excited to add the Traditional Logic I Complete Set to our repertoire this semester. Here's the deal: I was introduced to Logic as a course of study in college as part of my Political Science degree plan. I'd never heard of "Logic" and was not the least bit sure of what I was walking into for that class. I may have even made a snide joke or two when it appeared on my class schedule. I mean, how in the world to you teach and regulate "logic"? I assumed that everyone could think "logically." Oh, boy, was I naive. And just plain wrong. For many students in my class, Formal Logic was the class that wiped out their GPA.
Not so for me. From the moment the professor began explaining the course, I was hooked. I "got" Logic. I understood the concepts and could easily wrap my head around the explanations given. Give me a Venn diagram and I could figure anything out. It all made perfectly good sense to me and I was shocked by those around me who struggled with this "science of right thinking." Bring on the GRE. I could handle the reasoning behind it. Study TRUTH? I was all in. But whose truth was it? I didn't attend a Christian college and the course was not taught from a Christian perspective.
That's the problem with education sometimes. The truths taught can sometimes be a little false, a bit skewed.
Fast forward 25 years to Long Leaf Academy. It has always been my desire that my children learn to think logically as they stand for the truth that is only found through CHRIST and Martin Cothran's Traditional Logic: Introduction to Formal Logic is the perfect tool to teach them the science of right thinking. Taught from a Christian view of TRUTH, Traditional Logic is exactly what I wanted in my children's arsenal for life. Through the pages of study, they are gaining valuable tools to understand the world around them. And that's a good thing.
So, what's included, how does this work, and why is it perfect for our homeschool environment? Appropriate for 7th - 12th graders, the Traditional Logic set includes a Student Guide (146-pages), a Teacher Key (56-pages of answers! Yes!), a 2-disc set of Instructional DVDs (one video lesson for each chapter), and a Quizzes & Tests book (33-pages of short answer quizzes -- one for each chapter -- and a final exam). It is easy-to-use with little-to-no advance preparation and its success is not pre-determined by the amount of formal logic the teacher/parent has previously studied. As in, if you've NEVER had a Logic course, you CAN use this set.
Traditional Logic begins with an Introduction which explains what Logic is and why you would want your children to study it. It is further broken down into sections and chapters. There are 14 Chapters divided into 3 sections (Apprehension, Judgment, and Deductive Inference) and each is laid out in four days worth of work. Students are instructed to read specific portions of the book and work through the correlating exercises each day. If you choose to follow this pattern, you can finish the entire course in just 15 weeks. That is a one-semester introductory study of Logic that would conceivably have you ready to move into the more difficult logic lessons. Whew! It is very do-able, but because this was our first foray into formal logic studies and the vocabulary introduced is akin to a foreign language for my children, we are taking it much slower than recommended.
Due to the nature of the course, I would highly recommend that you use this study for true high school students. Yes, it is appropriate for 7th and 8th graders and can be used successfully with them, but in my opinion, the abstract concepts work best for older students. My 9th and 11th graders are enjoying the work, but there are still quite a few discussions of "what does this really mean?" and "hey, can we listen to that one more time?" as we walk through the instructional DVDs together. We have found that watching the DVD and reading the chapter helps with mastery of each concept. And please, don't let the idea that this is an introductory course fool you. There is a TON of information to take in and study contained in this first book. This very in-depth study and the DVDs have proven invaluable to us all. Mr. Cothran's use of slides and illustrations offer the ah-ha moments that strictly reading through the chapters did not.
Is this an easy course to study? Absolutely not. But it is a necessary course to study as we help prepare our children for the world in which they will live. Together my children are learning about clear judgment and gaining the ability to see through emotions and they are learning to evaluate the claims of others, looking for validity through deductive reasoning. In my opinion, these are the very things that will help them move successfully through life.
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