Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Building Thinking Skills

Some of the more important things we teach in home education are implicit in multiple curriculum areas, but rarely defined as goals in themselves. Logical reasoning is one of those things that is hard to focus on by itself, but is essential to proceed in truly understanding every subject.

At the AHEA convention in the spring, I found a workbook designed to develop those sorts of skills. It's Building Thinking Skills, by Sandra Parks and Howard Black, published by The Critical Thinking Company. It has sections on similarities and differences, sequences, classifications and analogies, and deals with each area both figurally by using shapes and verbally.

Many of the exercises are similar to brain teaser puzzles that you might see in children's magazines. They build steadily in difficulty and challenge. My daughter likes working in this book and often completes four or five pages in a day.

There are six levels in the series, Beginning, Primary, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 Figural, and Level 3 Verbal. Hannah is doing Level 2 which is labelled as grade 4-6, so I assume Beginning would be a "preschool" level (preschool is such a funny term for home educators to use!), Primary is likely suitable for grade 1, Level 2 for grades 2 to 3, and the level 3 books are likely for grades 7 to 9.

I tend to assign Hannah pages from this book when I can't work directly with her, or when we're either done early or hitting some sort of roadblock in another area. It almost seems to wake her brain up to sit down and go through a couple pages of this book.

I bought my copy from SMARTS, and I think it's also available from Canadian Home Education Resources.

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