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The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic Review by Kendra Fletcher

Joelle Hodge
Aaron Larson
Shelly Johnson
Classical Academic Press
3920 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011

With two high schoolers and a junior higher, our family has seen several logic curricula circulate through our home. Some are light in their approach, some are heavy-handed, and some are just plain boring. Unless you have a student who is particularly fond of the study of logic, boring just isn't going to cut it. Isn't it logical that a logic curriculum shouldn't put a student to sleep?

Still, what we need are junior high and high schoolers who are challenged to think logically and approach the information thrown at them daily with a clear line of reasoning and a systematic thought process. Enter Classical Academic Press's The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic. Designed for students as young as eighth grade, The Discovery of Deduction emphasizes practical application of structured, deductive logic.

Classical Academic Press just gets it right. Never shying from solid academics, never straying from a direct and meaty approach, the authors also manage to integrate humor and engaging exercises that might just make your student enjoy the study of logic. Over the course of nine chapters, students will study the history of logic, formal logic and the three acts of the mind, translating propositions into categorical form, relationships of opposition, relationships of equivalence, syllogism, definitions, and disagreements. The methods used are Socratic dialogue, discussion, and the integration of other subjects. Students will not just learn about the study of logic, they will come away with an understanding of how it relates to every other subject they are studying--and indeed to our lives in general.

There are 44 lessons, allowing you to set a pace that is right for you. I can see that for my more academic kids, two lessons per week will be a steady pace. But for my students who might find The Discovery of Deduction a challenge, one lesson per week will be more manageable.

Whatever your approach, you'll likely find the teacher's edition one of the better-crafted teacher's manuals you'll use. Pages in the teacher's edition match the student edition exactly, which means you can say, "Turn to page 35," for example, and there will be no scrambling to be in the same place. Seems like a little thing, but for a homeschooling parent, these little details can mean the difference between giving up mid-year and going all the way. Additionally, the answers to each problem are there in the teacher's manual, answered right in the blanks the student sees in their book. I wish all curriculum providers would understand that simpler is better and not leave us--already strapped for time--frustrated by an unhelpful teacher's edition.

Copious review from lesson to lesson assures that your student will retain what he or she has learned from the beginning to the end. Lessons include repetition of points to remember, fictional dialogues with Socrates that illustrate logic principles, and assessment of modern examples of logical fallacies. Students are sent to websites to read articles, examples of argumentation, and the occasional comic such as Calvin and Hobbes or Garfield--plenty of logical fallacies to be had there!

I'm always impressed with curriculum providers who get it right for home educators. With its ample academic approach, lighthearted treatment of the material, and excellent organization of both the student book and teacher's manual, The Discovery of Deduction is a logic curriculum that will stay in our repertoire. I think I have some other boring logic books to sell! 

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2010