In Philosophy Adventure, Stacy Farrell helps us explore the history of ideas. When I first received the textbook and student workbook to review, I was a little nervous. Philosophy? The word brings to mind dusty bookshelves, deep theological texts, and eyes struggling to stay open under the weight of heavy eyelids.
I couldn’t have been more wonderfully surprised.
The book skillfully takes us through the lives of eight philosophers: Thales, Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Protagoras, and Democritus. But the text does far more than simply recount historical facts. In the introduction, author Stacy Farrell shares, “what we learned when we delved deeply into the study of the history of philosophy is too significant to sleep through. In fact, the future of freedom may depend upon how many of us wake up to the world of ideas and seek to discern and defend truth.”
Why is understanding the history of philosophy so important? Do any of these questions sound relevant to today’s life?
- Where did the universe originate?
- Was the universe created or has it always existed?
- What happens to a person when they die?
- Is there more to life than the physical body?
- Is the spirit reincarnated into other living creatures?
- How does the character of a group’s leader impact his followers?
- Could there be one omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God?
- Who or what can solve the mysteries of life?
- Can truth be known or is all of life an endless string of confusing contradictions?
- What happens when you try to blend science and myth?
- Is it possible to know God exists?
In addition to exploring the historical foundations of ideas that continue to shape modern thought, author Stacy Farrell also introduces us to a world of logical fallacies, teaching us how to identify them and think critically about the “facts” that are presented to us.
She also shares some interesting surprises along the way. Do you know anyone who is skilled in arguing persuasively, “without strictly adhering to the truth”? If so, you may have Protagoras to thank. Do you think the theory of natural selection originated with Charles Darwin and that atomic theory is a relatively new concept? You may think again after you meet Empedocles and Democritus.
My thoughts on the book wouldn’t be complete, however, without sharing with you my favorite part of the curriculum. Despite its careful research, fascinating ideas, and surprising revelations, my favorite part of the curriculum is the challenge to write creatively about what you have read.
In Lesson One the author shares, “We can think we know about a subject—until we have to write about it. Then sometimes, quite suddenly, clarity flees . . . and we are left with vague ideas and half-formed questions.” The study of each philosopher includes an assignment to creatively write a scene, based in fact, that further explores an aspect of the philosopher’s life or teaching. Each assignment begins with a story prompt that sets the stage and an assignment or question to answer.
Not only have I found Stacy Farrell’s assertion to be true, that you cannot truly know a subject until you try to write about it, I have found repeatedly in my life that history—and virtually all knowledge and truth—means more to me when presented as part of a story. A museum display of an old sword does not capture my interest until you share with me the story of the man or woman who fashioned or carried it.
The curriculum consists of a beautifully illustrated spiral-bound textbook, an additional student workbook, and a CD of Teacher’s Resources. The curriculum includes history and geography; logic and critical thinking; vocabulary and composition; presentation and persuasion; primary sources, apologetics, and worldview. If you want to help your child grow strong roots in God’s Word and a Biblical worldview, I urge you to check out Stacy Farrell’s Philosophy Adventure today.
Product review by Bonnie Rose Hudson, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, October, 2013. I received a free copy of Philosophy Adventure in exchange for my honest review.