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Logic I: Tools for Thinking; Logic I: Tools for Thinking Teacher's Manual; Tests for Logic I: Tools for Thinking Review by Kathy Gelzer

Classical Legacy Press
Norman M. Birkett
2 Cable Court
Montville, NJ 07045

Logic I: Tools for Thinking, an introduction to formal and informal logic, is a big, fat, spiral-bound textbook for 8th or 9th graders. The author asserts it can be used for younger children, depending on the child and his reading aptitude. It was written for use by 7th graders in Trinity Christian School in Montville, New Jersey, where Mr. Birkett teaches. But it is also written to the homeschool community, referring often to homeschoolers. This logic class can be taught over the course of a year in 3 one-hour segments per week.

There are 33 chapters divided into seven sections. The titles of these sections are: "Introduction to Logic," "Statements and Truth Values," "Logical Operators," "The Moleculan Language," "The Logic of Moleculan Arguments," "Other Arguments," and "Questions."

Chapter format includes several pages of immediately engaging text. Mr. Birkett writes in a way that is understandable without talking down to the student. He also infuses the text with a refreshing amount of humor. Following the lesson is a list of terms (and concepts) discussed in the chapter--an outline of sorts. The chapter wraps up with a set of exercises; these sometimes include memorization as well as written work. At the back of the book you will find an appendix, which is a "Quick Reference" of all the main information learned.

The author writes from a Christian point of view. One of the exercises at the end of Chapter 1 instructs the student to study the Sermon on the Mount with an eye toward Jesus' process of reasoning. In the text of Chapter 2, Mr. Birkett discusses Biblical reasons for the study of logic. Chapter 4 lists many verses about God and truth.

The teacher's manual includes "A Short Introduction to Logic," which answers the following questions: What exactly is logic? What are the parts or branches of logic? How should Christians view logic? Why should we study logic? What parts of logic are commonly covered in textbooks? The introduction also includes an annotated bibliography for teachers of logic.

Remarkably, the teacher's manual is not simply a reprint of the student manual with the inclusion of answers to the exercises. Instead, it is more of a commentary on each chapter, and it is loaded with teaching suggestions. This is one invaluable teacher's manual. Of course, the exercise answers are here too.

The reproducible packet of loose-leaf tests contains eleven tests, which are to be given every two to five chapters. Answer keys (with specific guidelines for correct answers) are included. Each test takes about 40 minutes to complete.

I think you will find this an excellent first logic course for your middle school or high school student. It is Biblical, user-friendly, interesting, thorough, and fun! 

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2009