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Recap of What Philosophy Adventure Is
Philosophy Adventure – Pre-Socratics seeks to create biblical worldview that can be defended by the student through critical thinking, articulate speech, and skillful writing. So, those skills are developed in the program as the student is learning about great philosophers through the ages. Philosophers you ‘meet’ in this particular resource are Thales, Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Protagoras, and Democritus. Each lesson (one philosopher) can be done in a week or spread out a bit more if desired.
The complete set in print format with the resources on CD retails for $89.95. The digital edition, like we have received, is available on CD for $49.95 or as a download for $39.95. In the set, you receive a student reader, a student workbook, and a teacher resource guide that includes answer keys and a guide to help you teach the material to your child.
Our Experience with Philosophy Adventure
First off, I have to say that this curriculum continues to impress me. The life-long learner in me is drawn to pretty much everything about it. The narrative is well written, the layout is nicely done, there are activity pages to help guide your student in parsing out the key information,
That being said, my boys have not been nearly as enthusiastic about digging into the study of philosophy. I had my older sons each working on at least part of the program to get their opinions.
Son #1 is rather no nonsense and sees much of philosophy as being common sense to him. Hence, he’s reluctant to commit quality study time to it.
Son #2 has entered that ‘why do I have to do this?’ stage that I thought would be banished from our home after years of son #1 having that approach to learning. Ironically, son #2 is probably more in need of a good study of philosophy as he is wrestling with some pretty common age-old questions like why are we here, does God exist, and does anything we do really matter.
Coupled with some changes in our home life this summer, it has been a real challenge to work with them to get through even a complete lesson.
How I managed to fail at effectively using Philosophy Adventures
Truth be told, I tried to have the boys work more independently than they should have been working. I had less hours to be home with them during the day and little energy to focus at night on what many would consider an elective subject. And, I fell victim to assuming that my high school student and 8th grader could handle more than they really can. I took the delegation approach and assigned reading and the associated worksheets to the boys. That approach demonstrated that with a subject with which they have had minimal exposure, they really need an instructor to lead.
The boys did fine reading the selections. Where they stumbled were on the worksheets. Both complained that the answers were not super evident in the reading. (Yes, we have an ongoing struggle with this as sometimes a student is asked to come to an answer based on what they’ve read without just regurgitating it.) And, they feel back into their mantra of not seeing the point to the studies rather than digging a little deeper and putting forth an effort which would reap a reward.
What does this say about Philosophy Adventures?
Reading all of that, one might question whether this is really a great program or something that your own child will just shun if you try to introduce it. I’d argue that it IS a fantastic program which even a somewhat reluctant student could grow to enjoy. The challenge is in having a teacher / parent who has not only the enthusiasm to teach the material, but the time to dedicate for it. It is definitely NOT a student directed program, although there might be a few highly motivated high school students that could prove me wrong.
What I’m doing from this point with Philosophy Adventures
As my busyness outside of the house isn’t going to decrease in the next two months, I’ve decided to table further learning with the program by the boys. Instead, I’m going to go through as if I am the student and work on the worksheets in advance of the boys so we can try again after Thanksgiving.
Considering my 8th grader has been asking some of the questions the ‘great’ philosophers tackled, I think with a better presentation of the material by me he’ll find some commonality with people who walked the earth long before us.