Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
Have you felt logic and critical thinking seem to be lacking these days? For a fun and engaging way to teach your children about logical fallacies, you’ll want to check out The Fallacy Detective from Hans and Nathaniel Bluedorn. This paperback book quickly became a popular option in homeschooling circles and has recently been revised to include a workbook feature within the 250+ pages.
The authors are the children of Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, pioneers in the homeschooling movement. They founded Trivium Pursuit, a company that encouraged families from a classical Christian education viewpoint – making available blog articles, books and other and resources. I’ve followed their family’s materials for many years now and always find value!
But let’s talk about fallacy and logic. What is fallacy? It is an error in logic, a point in which someone makes a mistake in their thinking. The Fallacy Detective helps your student learn to recognize common errors in reasoning. It is is geared for students in middle school and older. Depending on your child and your circumstances, students as young as 12 should be able to use this book, especially in a group setting. Older students can easily read and work independently if desired.
There are thirty-eight lessons in this book. Each lesson includes questions and/or activity suggestions to reinforce the particular fallacy presented in that lesson.
The authors recommend students work through the lessons as part of a small group. Each lesson is short – a couple pages of easy reading and then a short worksheet to fill out as they apply the things learned in the lesson. Students can read the lesson ahead of time, and come together to discuss their viewpoint and answer the questions together. Or you can read the lesson out loud as a group, and have students complete the worksheet independently and compare notes afterward.
If you do not have a way to work in a group setting, a student can complete read and complete the lessons independently, coming to parent/teacher for discussion and feedback. This book is very adaptable and not a time-consuming addition to our routine. Lessons take 15 minutes or so to complete and the discussion and sharing of ideas is proving to be fun and enlightening.
Here are some of the things The Fallacy Detective addresses:
- Straw Man Argument
- Statistical Fallacies
- Red Herrings
- Faulty Appeal to Authority
- Weak Analogy
- Lack of Evidence
- Propaganda’s Appeal to Fear
- Propaganda’s Appeal to Band Wagon
- And more, more, more!
Each lesson describes a particular type of fallacy in an interesting way that captures the attention of all ages. By using conversations and stories as well as comic strip cartoons, the Bluedorn brothers get their point across. Who doesn’t enjoy a lesson learned from Calvin & Hobbes or Snoopy?!
Near the end of the book there are instructions for playing a family (or small group) game using the different fallacies. This would be a fun way to reinforce all you have learned, not to mention some good bonding time.
The lessons in The Fallacy Detective would be an excellent way to begin the school day, but there are many ways you could incorporate it into your schooling routine. We enjoy reading together at lunch so this has been a great way to encourage for family discussion around the table!
The workbook edition of The Fallacy Detective is terrific for individual families, homeschooling or whatever educational model you follow. It would also make a great homeschool co-op course. The children in a class could read the lesson at home and then discuss the questions on the worksheet when you get together.
The thought of teaching logic to our high school students can be paralyzing, but with this book, families will find they can learn and enjoy the study of logic together! Did I mention that the answer key is included at the back of the book? So you have everything you need to improve the reasoning skills of your children as you prepare to send them out into the real world!
You can read more reviews from the Review Crew – just click on the banner below! You’ll find how other families are using The Fallacy Detective as well as how they are enjoying another book, Archer and Zowie.