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Traditional Logic I Review by Martin Cothran

Memoria Press
Martin Cothran
4603 Poplar Level Road
Louisville, KY 40213

Logic and critical thinking skills are essential to a well-educated adult. It drives me crazy when I hear people passionately arguing their position with no realization that their conclusion is unreasonable based on their premise, or that it conflicts with something they just said ten seconds before.

In an age where technology has made it easy to put forth unedited/unreviewed opinions about everything from politics to religion to movies, it is vitally important that we teach our children how to discern truth from error and fact from fiction.

That is why I was very excited to review Memoria Press’s Traditional Logic I course. This is a course on formal logic, which has been a part of the classical style of learning for generations. I believe formal logic is extremely useful for high school/college students of any style, and has been sorely neglected in recent years.

This course covers a basic understanding of the theory of knowledge, four kinds of logical statements, four ways propositions can be opposed, three ways they can be equivalent, and the seven rules for the validity of syllogisms. Logic is defined in this curriculum as both “the science of right thinking” and “the art which enables us to proceed with order, ease, and correctness in the act of reason itself.”

The Traditional Logic I curriculum comes with a DVD, workbook, quizzes and tests booklet, and answer book.  The course says it is designed for students as young as 7th grade. I personally think it is much better suited to advanced 8th graders or high school students. My 7th grade son was frustrated because I initially tried to have him do it independently. If you are hoping to use it for a younger student, be prepared to learn alongside your student and help him work through the subject.

I would highly suggest that parents watch the DVD introduction, or read the intro in the workbook, to help determine the best way to schedule the course for their particular student. The suggestion is made that you may want to skip the first three chapters, which are more abstract, and perhaps return to them at the end.

Each workbook chapter lesson is 4-6 pages, followed by a series of exercises (questions) that should be answered about the reading/DVD lesson over the course of four days. Following this pattern, the curriculum can be completed in fifteen weeks or sooner—a nice semester credit for high school—or at a slower pace for younger students and their parents.

The DVD has a formal speaker giving a lecture like you would find in a high school or college classroom. There are occasional graphic slides to illustrate key points. The speaker obviously knows his topic, but he is not overly exciting. If you are looking for a highly interactive speaker for an easily distractible student, this isn’t it. Students might benefit from an occasional pausing of the lecture from time to time to discuss with a parent and see how they are processing the information. If your child is more visually oriented and can acquire information from reading/discussion alone, I would not consider the DVDs essential.

If you want your student to take this course, but fear you don’t have the time or knowledge to invest with him or her, consider Memoria Press’s online academy and their Traditional Logic I course at Classes are held online once a week for an hour and a half with interaction with a teacher and other students via the computer. My oldest son loves the independence of online classes and the interaction he gets with other students. It has made some of his more difficult classes enjoyable.

In summation, Memoria Press’s Traditional Logic 1 is a thorough logic course that will set the stage for solid thinking in your students, but it is a challenging course that may require parent interaction or a highly motivated student to reach its full potential.

-Product review by Dara Ekanger, Molly Green Magazine/The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2016