At some point in our lives we will be faced with situations that require us to give a logical argument: when we need to defend our faith, our political views, and especially when we must stand up to opponents of homeschooling. Sure, you could just wing it, say the first thing that pops in your head, or you could learn the skill of developing a factual and clear argument. The Argument Builder, published by Classical Academic Press, is one curriculum you can use to teach your students this important concept. As they enter college they will more than likely have a chance to put what they learn here to use.
I recently reviewed the Art of Argument, which teaches the 28 fallacies in logic, Whereas the Argument Builder focuses on building an argument step by step. I plan to use both of these texts as a logic course for my high-schooler, but considering each has such a wealth of information, we will likely only get through one text this year.
The Argument Builder is broken down into 25 chapters, and concludes with instructions on conducting a debate. Though you could use this book for individual study, it is well suited for use in a group or classroom. Because there is a lot to know about developing an effective argument, it’s hard for me to overview all that the curriculum offers in this review. The publisher summarizes it nicely in his foreword to the student:
In this book, you will be shown how to plan and build good arguments. You will study excellent examples of some very good argument makers indeed – talented people ranging from classical Greek and Roman orators to biblical writers, Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, and contemporary writers. You will learn what materials to use: examples, statistics, experts, proverbs, analogies, difference, degree, and cause and effect, among others. Using these materials, you will have ample opportunity to practice building good arguments both by studying the masters and seeking to imitate them in your own arguments.
I liked the way the content is presented – written in a conversational tone to the student, with plenty of practical applications and common life situations to drive home the main points. There is room in the student text for recording answers and short essays, so it is consumable. There is also a Teacher’s edition that I feel is a necessary component to teaching the course. It is the same text as the student’s, with the addition of all answers to the questions and exercises. I can’t see how I could properly grade my son’s work without it.
So, if you’re interested in pursuing a course on logic and want to equip your student with the skills to craft a solid, persuasive argument, you should consider this title.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the above books for my review.