July 24, 2012 10:20 AM
Critical Thinking - teaching kids logic
I run this roundup once in a while, when something reminds me. Yesterday, a reader ordered adult logic books through my link, which spurred me to work on a new round-up of those. In the meantime - with a new school year approaching and homeschoolers building their curricula - now's a good time to remember how important critical thinking skills are to our children's ability to develop lifelong discernment skills, an orientation toward thinking for themselves rather than mindlessly accepting propaganda fed by others.
Even if your kids are in public school - or maybe especially if they are in public school - you might want to invest in this fun and effective curriculum to share together as a family,
Funny how some nonbelievers think that Christians are mindless robots. I actually see evidence daily that it takes a lot of critical thinking skills to overcome the forces of social engineering (media, music, movies) that have convinced the masses that tradition is bad and that homosexuality, abortion, and promiscuity are cause for celebration.
During my homeschooling years, I found teaching critical thinking skills to be of utmost importance so that my kids could learn to question prevailing wisdom and think for themselves. I have no fear that thinking for themselves would cause them to leave their faith - and it's okay with me if they question it. What good is their faith if it's just my brainwashing? They must be able to take in other points of view and come to their own conclusions. If their faith is strong, it will survive.
When Zach (my ENTJ National Merit Scholar) was asked by his hyper-intelligent friends, "How can you be so smart and be a Christian?" he simply replied. "How can you be so smart and not be one?"
My kids had a steady diet of critical thinking while homeschooling. I mentioned the Steck-Vaughan Critical Thinking series last week - but here are two invaluable tools for teaching good thinking skills:
Here is the review for The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills:Give your teen the tools he needs for clear thinking. Lessons cover (1) When it is dumb to argue, (2) Using the scientific method, (3) Five rules of brainstorming, (4) Who has a reason to lie? (5) How to analyze opposing viewpoints, (6) How to analyze evidence and sources, (7) How to list reasons why you believe something, and much, much more. Ages 13 through adult.
In a similar reader-friendly way, The Fallacy Detective teaches how to spot faulty logic and distractions like ad hominem and red herring attacks.
I've used these books and learned from them myself while teaching kids from 7th grade up.
Highly, highly recommended - not just for homeschool, but to supplement whatever your kids may be learning in public school. The best protection you can give them against brainwashing!