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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Memoria Press Traditional Logic I and II Review

I like the idea of teens learning logic and we have done simple logic workbooks in the past. We were offered the opportunity to review the Traditional Logic I Complete Set and Traditional Logic II Complete Set from Memoria Press. I have read and heard that this is a good, solid curriculum to use so I wanted to try it out with my teens!

These courses teach traditional logic, the study of classical syllogism from the methods of Aristotle, and is very language centered. There are some helpful descriptions and videos on the website, which I would suggest you look at if you are interested in these programs. I'm going to focus more on what the books and videos are like and how they worked for my children.

My son just finished 7th grade. He has not done formal logic before, but he has done simple logic workbooks. He has been using the first set to gain an introduction to traditional logic. I expected this to be a new thing for him that he might need a lot of help with. I was pleasantly surprised that that was not the case at all! He did the reading, workbook, and quizzes without help, and discussed what he learned with me. He did very well with all of the chapters he has studied so far!

Traditional Logic I Complete Set consists of four books and two DVDs. One of those books is the teacher key, which contains answers to all of the workbook, quiz, and test pages.

The sets were created for homeschoolers, but can be used in private schools too. It should be completed in about 15 weeks, but you can adjust as needed and there are suggestions for combining lessons for a shorter period of time. The way this curriculum was intended to be taught is for the student to read the chapter the first day of the week (and watch the video if owned) then spend the rest of the week working through the workbook pages. These pages are divided into Day 1 through Day 4, making the schedule very easy to follow.

My daughter just finished 9th grade and has done a logic course in the past, but from a different company. My hope was that she would be able to use the second course, but if that was too difficult I would buy a second set of workbook and quizzes for her to do the first course with my son. We did not need to do that because she was able to use Traditional Logic II Complete Set with the knowledge she already had, no issues at all! This set contains the same amount of books and DVDs. By the way, each child would need their own workbooks. The copyright states that they may not be reproduced.

The quizzes come at the end of each chapter, with a final exam at the end of the course. In the second course quizzes there are plenty of lines when the student needs to analyze a sorite or dilemma. The answer key has complete paragraphs so you can determine whether or not your student understands and answered completely.

Some things I really like about the second set is that students are given arguments, or quotes, from historical figures such as C. S. Lewis, Plato, the Bible, Shakespeare, David Hume, and more to analyze and practice with. They write essays evaluating the argument as well as a biography on the speaker. They also have a weekly assignment to analyze a newspaper or magazine article, or a chapter from a book and write an essay or make a presentation about what they discover concerning the validity of the argument.

Both sets are very thorough, and should be done in order. If a teen does not have any knowledge of traditional logic, they would be lost with the second set. The first set is an excellent introduction and a great way to learn the terms used and practice them in a step by step method.

The DVDs are an extra item that adds meaning to the lessons in the manual. They are not readings of the manual, they are of the author explaining the concepts taught in each lesson. My children were confused by the DVDs a little bit, but when I explained that they are a substitute for being in a live class with a teacher, they understood a little better. The things taught in the video for each chapter don't line up perfectly with the lessons because that is the nature of a lecture. I found that it helped provide a more thorough instruction to use the DVD on the first day of the week as well as read through the chapter. When doing the workbook pages for each day, they tell you what portion of the chapter to read so it is very simple to review what you need for that day then do the worksheets.

The only issue we had was that my children found the video lessons boring. It was the equivalent of a college lecture that they didn't want to sit through. I found them informative, but I do understand why my children felt bored. They were made in 2003 and 2005 and have a dated look to them. My  kids have two other curricula that use DVD lessons and they love them; so I imagine my children didn't connect well with the way these lectures were presented. That's okay, while the DVD is useful, especially if a student isn't catching on by reading, we found that the kids did okay by reading the lessons, and it was especially helpful to have each other to talk to.

The first set has an extra item on the DVDs - you can print the slides shown on the screen. I think that would be helpful if you chose to hold discussions rather than watch the DVDs.

My kids tell me they don't understand the purpose of logic yet, but I can tell they are learning because they will joke around with me and each other using what they have learned. So they are picking up on the skills these books teach and are beginning to be able to participate in arguments ....well, logically!

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