Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Methods and means of supporting critical thinking in education
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bigtim
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Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by bigtim » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:07 pm

My wife and I have/are raising 3 kids. The oldest is 20, next one is soon to be 18 and youngest is 10.

We are homeschooling the 10 year old , the 1st time we’ve home schooled, until he’s ready for middle school (5th grade) simply because… well, he’s most like me so was tagged by the principal as a trouble maker and kept getting into trouble, in essence picked on by the adult. So, we said screw you and pulled him out of school.

But, what my wife and I are now looking at is how to encourage critical thinking. We are working with a very good curriculum that the public school system has for home schooling. We’re a bit annoyed that the Bible Stories are included in the literature part… I think there are much more suitable ones for study; so we just skip those. But the only critical thinking they have is the math.

I’ve been teaching wargames and chess, and my wife and I have been doing scientific method type Q&A to get him to question and reason. I’m just wondering what other things other folks have ideas on.
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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by Flash » Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:40 am

Teach him how to use bad arguments well, especially the ad hominem so he can win his verbal battles. :lol: Look at it this way, at the same time he will learn how to tell when someone else is trying to pull the proverbial wool over his eyes. I am sure he will learn how to be a skeptic from both of you. Yet it's not easy to pick out lies, distortions and manipulations in the media and politics. Internet is such a good tool because it's all here. After saying all that I think that in a couple of years the hormones will take over and girls will be more important to him than all of the valid arguments in the world. Take care. :wink:
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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by JO 753 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:14 pm

Isn't Shermer offering a math wizz book ? Good idea to learn something like that as early as possible.

And I think there's some guy in this forum with some sorta spelling thing.

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by crewlle » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:47 am

JO 753 wrote:Isn't Shermer offering a math wizz book ? Good idea to learn something like that as early as possible.

And I think there's some guy in this forum with some sorta spelling thing.

Yes you right i agree with you.... ;) :roll:

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by fromthehills » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:40 am

Too bad I didn't see this thread, while Tim was still around, we would have had a lot to talk about.

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by KnaveOfHearts » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:24 pm

When I was in school I enjoyed the Biblical stories but only as a comparison to other creation or flood stories we read at the same time. I do have to admit as a piece of literature(but pretty much only the stuff in the old testament because it mirrors previous religions so well.) it is useful to read the bible but not as a religious text.
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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by fromthehills » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:43 pm

I didn't like reading the Bible when I was a kid. Jesus had nothing on Tarzan, and Conan would have hacked the head off Moses. Wandering the desert would have been a lot more exciting if Apaches and outlaws were about.

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by KnaveOfHearts » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:04 pm

I just meant in class in middle and high school. Not like I went home and read the damned thing. I once read a bible cover to cover but that was because I was on a 2 week hiking trip and all I had was a pocket bible because we had been forced to go to a church before the start of the hike.
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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by fromthehills » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:24 pm

Yea, never had to even mention the Bible during school.

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by bigtim » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:08 am

wow... I mean {!#%@} wow.... my youngest is now 13 and heading into 8th grade... the homeschooling experiment was just that... my wife determined she wasn't suited for it... neither was he.

And now, we have 2 littles ones, our grandkids, we're raising. I'm a far better parent now than when I had my 1st kid... OJT man, OJT.

Interesting...

since then I've taught my youngest medieval martial arts, as well as tactics... observe, situataional awareness, keep your wits, focus, critical path selection...

I've also taught my youngest how to cook, grill, and butcher small game... so I think he's on his way.

Funny though... he hates school as much as I did when I was his age.
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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by Churchill » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:57 am

bigtim wrote:wow... I mean {!#%@} wow.... my youngest is now 13 and heading into 8th grade... the homeschooling experiment was just that... my wife determined she wasn't suited for it... neither was he.

And now, we have 2 littles ones, our grandkids, we're raising. I'm a far better parent now than when I had my 1st kid... OJT man, OJT.

Interesting...

since then I've taught my youngest medieval martial arts, as well as tactics... observe, situataional awareness, keep your wits, focus, critical path selection...

I've also taught my youngest how to cook, grill, and butcher small game... so I think he's on his way.

Funny though... he hates school as much as I did when I was his age.


Home schooling sounds like a difficult thing to actually execute well. It is essentially a full time job without pay. I wouldn't recommend it unless there was little choice. My wife has a friend who lives in the Atlanta Georgia area and says that the public schools are horrendous. Last I checked, she is still home schooling her 4 children. Otherwise I would say the advantages of independence from the parents, access to peers, access to a variety of teachers, which introduces the student to various styles of learning and opinions plus so much more, outweigh most other considerations to the down side.

You raised 3 kids and now you are up for another two :shock: Good for you :D

I have 5 from ages 1 to 6, so I can relate to the lack of sleep. Our youngest who turned one last month is just starting to almost sleep through the night. Once my kids are older, I don't want to "do it all over again" :mrgreen:
Although yes, the 2nd time around one can always call on the experience from the first. Sounds like you are involved in the lives of your children, which I think is an important determinant in their positive outcome.

It is rather fun and rewarding teaching them stuff. I taught my oldest who is 6 chess (he knows how to move the pieces but not much tactics yet) and he seems to enjoy it. When me mum comes over they sometimes play together (they are pretty much the save skill level :mrgreen: )

Although I cannot say I hated school as you did, I also certainly can't say I fit in either. I didn't really like school, but I did and still do enjoy learning. There are probably more options and streams out there today.

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by Churchill » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:00 am

KnaveOfHearts wrote:When I was in school I enjoyed the Biblical stories but only as a comparison to other creation or flood stories we read at the same time. I do have to admit as a piece of literature(but pretty much only the stuff in the old testament because it mirrors previous religions so well.) it is useful to read the bible but not as a religious text.


I agree. In an anthropological or historical context, reading religious texts is well and good. But as an old buddy from the hood used to tell me, "don't smoke your own supply"

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by Monster » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:20 pm

Sorry I didn't respond earlier, bigtim. The best critical thinking aid for children would be Junior Skeptic!

And by the way, this site has a lot to say about homeschooling:

:mrgreen:
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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by Matthew Ellard » Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:00 am

bigtim wrote: We are working with a very good curriculum that the public school system has for home schooling.

Is there a national standardised curriculum for home schooling of ten year olds or is it state by state?
In Australia a ten year old would be in their last year of primary school and would go to a physically different high school Are you educating the ten year old in preparation to enter the first year of a new high school?


bigtim wrote: I’ve been teaching wargames and chess, and my wife and I have been doing scientific method type Q&A to get him to question and reason. I’m just wondering what other things other folks have ideas on.

Wargaming is sensible as it sort of an extension of economics ( Use your scarce resources for maximum effect. Make your enemy waste his resources for no effect) I guess I'd like to add a couple of suggestions.

1) Watching a movie, listen to a song or look at a photo from the past that represents a period of media and write it on a chronological wallchart. The idea is to get the 10 year old to have a natural understanding of technological shift since to 1900s and how common ideas to humans keep popping up in different medias. Matching progressions of Silent-talkies-colour-widescreen-colour TV-home-VCR-digital home entertainment to 1930s,40s,50s,60s,70s concepts on "Cowboys", "science fiction" and "family comedy". This allows good general conversations and sensible explanations.

2) Flick through a picture book or movie about a period of history and note where the period took place on a wall chart with different cultures on the same chart. I would have picked up on history alot faster if I knew the rough timings of pre-history, classical, dark ages, medieval, renaissance and modern history. As a kid, I assumed that Socrates and Caesar (anyone in a toga or with a non-anglo name) were in the same period because no one ever told me they weren't.

3) Rote learning art! I know this sounds ridiculous but it is how I was trained. My parents sent me to a little old lady who projected up visual art and made me identify the piece, name the artist and the the decade it was painted. We didn't worry about any art theory at all. We did this for 15 minutes and then I got to stick seashells in wet plaster on a glass jar or paint rocketships. When it came to art theory six years later I was "ready to go" as I had my grounding. ( Yep I'm talking about "FLASH CARDS" for art history)

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by bigtim » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:38 am

Well, one thing I realized I could do, was to take home-chore projects and make them like real projects. Have the kids spec them, schedule them, and then have check-in meetings. Treat them like real projects and teach my kids how to manage schedules and run projects.
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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by JO 753 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:31 am

Such an opportunity, Tim! To get a second chance!

One thing you must be sure of is to keep them from getting beyond your grasp of the universe. Otherwise they will be part of all the new crap that you hate because it's all so crappy.

In other words, they must learn the same things you were taught in the same way you were taught. Ideally, they will grow up to be just like you. Since you are mentally perfect, it must be your goal to pass this perfection on to this new generation, and hopefully beyond!

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by zorba » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:53 am

20 years ago I knew several teachers who were active in developing critical thinking exercises for high school social studies classes for a ntional teachers organization. In one of the exercises used with high school jrs., The teachers showed movies of native people fire walking during ceremonies. (This was before it became a fad and commercial gimmick.) The class then discussed various questions. Do they really do that or is it a fake? Does anyone ever get burned? How does it work? Why don't a lot of people get burned?

The students were assigned to do research and to find the answers. (The Internet was still in its infancy, and very little info was easy to find on the net.) The students returned to class a few days later with many different answers. They discussed and debated to determine whose answers were right. They were unable to agree on the answers.
Some students even suggested supernatural explanations.

Then the teachers asked the students, "How can we decide which answers are the best answers, the answers which are most likely to be true? After more discussion and debate, the teachers dismissed class without telling them the answers. They told the students the assignment had been completed.

The students continued debating the questions throughout the day in the halls, in the cafeteria, and during other classes. (Remember, the teachers had not given them any more assignments for the exercise.) Many returned to the library at night and many called each other to discuss it on the phone.

They came back to the social studies class the next day and demanded that the teachers tell them the answers. The teachers said, "You have lots of answers. How do we decide which ones are the best?" They debated for a half an hour whether to just take a vote to decide. Some tried to appeal to authority and play the "my source is better than your source" game.

Finally, someone suggested the scientific method. They discussed how that could work and talked about what kind of experiments they would need to try and whether it would be ethical to do such dangerous experiments in the name of science. They were still planning hypothetical experiments when the bell rang. The teachers never did tell them the answers.
In a study which was recently completed at the University of Chicago, scientists concluded that 54% of all statistics are just made up.

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by Screendoor » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:25 pm

(shameless plug)

Your local public library is a great place for kids to explore things of interest and learn critical thinking skills. Many libraries offer special programming for homeschooled kids to give them some social time and teach them information literacy skills like internet searching and using the library catalogue.

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by philipsteele » Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:26 am

i think its the right time to make some better way to expand the children's thinking capacity..try to maximum encourage to read books and other journals..that would be more useful to improve their critical thinking..and participate them with most of the public activities...it will improve their best social interactions.... ;)

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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by The Sea is Mine » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:51 am

bigtim wrote:My wife and I have/are raising 3 kids. The oldest is 20, next one is soon to be 18 and youngest is 10.

We are homeschooling the 10 year old , the 1st time we’ve home schooled, until he’s ready for middle school (5th grade) simply because… well, he’s most like me so was tagged by the principal as a trouble maker and kept getting into trouble, in essence picked on by the adult. So, we said screw you and pulled him out of school.

But, what my wife and I are now looking at is how to encourage critical thinking. We are working with a very good curriculum that the public school system has for home schooling. We’re a bit annoyed that the Bible Stories are included in the literature part… I think there are much more suitable ones for study; so we just skip those. But the only critical thinking they have is the math.

I’ve been teaching wargames and chess, and my wife and I have been doing scientific method type Q&A to get him to question and reason. I’m just wondering what other things other folks have ideas on.


It seems like you are blaming the school system for your kids problems. Part of learning to grow up is dealing with different kinds of people, even ones who you don't like. The solution is not to run away in to your own private cave. Home schooling should not be seen as a good alternative to being an active part of a school community. However, home tutoring and other supplements can be a good idea for your kid, if you want to teach him extra skills.
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Re: Encouraging Critical Thinking In Your Kids

Post by bigtim » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:25 am

The Sea is Mine wrote:
bigtim wrote:My wife and I have/are raising 3 kids. The oldest is 20, next one is soon to be 18 and youngest is 10.

We are homeschooling the 10 year old , the 1st time we’ve home schooled, until he’s ready for middle school (5th grade) simply because… well, he’s most like me so was tagged by the principal as a trouble maker and kept getting into trouble, in essence picked on by the adult. So, we said screw you and pulled him out of school.

But, what my wife and I are now looking at is how to encourage critical thinking. We are working with a very good curriculum that the public school system has for home schooling. We’re a bit annoyed that the Bible Stories are included in the literature part… I think there are much more suitable ones for study; so we just skip those. But the only critical thinking they have is the math.

I’ve been teaching wargames and chess, and my wife and I have been doing scientific method type Q&A to get him to question and reason. I’m just wondering what other things other folks have ideas on.


It seems like you are blaming the school system for your kids problems. Part of learning to grow up is dealing with different kinds of people, even ones who you don't like. The solution is not to run away in to your own private cave. Home schooling should not be seen as a good alternative to being an active part of a school community. However, home tutoring and other supplements can be a good idea for your kid, if you want to teach him extra skills.


BZZZT – wrong there Horatio…

First, this is almost 4 years ago… totally funny.

You have zero experience with kids do you? I take it you’re from the UK – so the public school system there is different. I don’t know as I don’t have experience with it. And, honestly, I doubt you do too.
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