I am privileged today to review for you a curriculum I have been pouring over since last May myself. My twelve-year-old son and I finally finished up last year’s history curriculum this past week so we were ready to get started working on Philosophy Adventure: Pre-Socratics ($89.95 physical set, $39.95 for digital set). When we were contemplating together what he should study next, I showed him Philosophy Adventure by Stacy Farrell of Home School Adventure Co. and asked what he thought. He was immediately drawn to the text through the beautifully illustrated and colorful pages and the consistent weekly layout. Our plans were laid.
Personally, I’ve been reading and contemplating Philosohpy Adventure all summer. I am amazed all over again at the lack of material covered in my own public high school experience. I didn’t even recognize a third of the names covered in this volume. Of course I’ve heard of Pythagoreus, but names like Thales, Empedocles, and Parmenides were new to me. It has been fun to study this more obscure subject with an eye towards how these ancient philosophers relate to the prevalent philosophies of today.
Philosophy Adventure is a fun history program. It contains plenty of hands-on fun material. For instance, the map challenges that you receive each week. They are very interactive and fun. But I found a couple of instances where the material could have been made more clear. The very first question in the study guide of one chapter wasn’t found until the second page of the text. I was expecting the questions to be in order of the text. Overall I think Philosophy Adventure is a good curriculum though. –Jonathan, age 12
Even though Jonathan refers to the “material could be made more clear” I believe this is a result of his age and maturity. I love the fact that finding answers is not easy, and he is actually having to read and think about the material in order to answer and complete the activities. I don’t see what he says as a bad thing — in the case of the sections he thought were unclear a bit of help from me led him to the answer. Over time, Philosophy Adventure is going to teach him to think about what he is reading more critically and dig a little deeper to answer the questions. It’s stretching and pulling him towards becoming a better student. I think it is important to recognize that someone on the younger end of the recommended age range is naturally going to need more help and direction then someone in high school.
I personally love the layout of Philosophy Adventure. Each week is broken down into activities which repeat for each Philosopher. These include 1. the Philosopher’s Story, 2. Write, Think and Speak articles and assignments. The assignments vary and are related to each philosopher. 3. Geographical information including the mapping challenge Jonathan enjoyed so much. 4. the School of Thought of each philosopher, 4. Contrast between source material written by the philosopher and a Biblical Worldview. The study of each philosopher is covered over a five day period and concludes with a lesson quiz.
The student workbook has questions, the mapping activity, and an extra writing assignment called “Creativity and Critical Thinking Unleashed” for each philosopher. In the back of the student workbook are writer’s checklists covering the writing process taught throughout the course, grading criteria for those keeping a transcript or grades, a glossary where students can write the definitions of terms themselves, and a Write-Think-Speak journal to record the writing assignments provided each week in that section.
A resource cd found in the back of the main text includes printouts for the weekly timeline activity, answer keys for the map activities, memory cards for each philosopher, and printable quizzes and tests with answer keys. Also included on the cd are pdf copies of the text and student workbook. This would be especially important if you have more than one student and plan to re-use the text. You can print the student workbook for additional students. You will also find clear instructions using Philosophy Adventure for high school credit in the introduction of the book. Two additional recommended resources can be used to accompany Philosophy Adventure. These are Phillipians in 28 Weeks and The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions.
My Bottom Line: I highly recommend Philosophy Adventure as a key component in your world-view curriculum for junior high or high school. It also makes an excellent advanced writing course for the thinking student ready to take their writing to a new level.