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The Basics of Critical Thinking (Review)

I received The Basics of Critical Thinking from The Critical Thinking Co. to use with Ethan (and plan to purchase one for Lance too!).
The target age/grade is for children in 4th-9th grade. I think it's a great Jr. High course. I plan to have Ethan complete a few pages a week. We are going to take our time with it. Now that he's in 8th grade his homeschooling load is increasing and I don't want to overwhelm him.

The Basics of Critical Thinking is full color and the original owner has permission to copy for their use ONLY. I love how generous The Critical Thinking Co. is with allowing families to make copies. With that said though I pan to purchase another for Lance. It just makes things easier for me.
The Critical Thinking Co.

My two boys don't like school. They'd rather be climbing trees, playing with LEGO blocks, or playing Minecraft so I really, really, appreciate that The Basics of Critical Thinking minimizes the "lecture" time. The lessons are easy-to-understand using diagrams and engaging in short activities.

My kiddos will be introduced to common argument forms and fallacies but won't be bogged down with all the technical names. This gives them the chance to learn how to evaluate claims and arguments (so they know in real life situations) without the stress of formal terminology which they can learn when they are older when they can handle it. I want my kids to enjoy learning because what they enjoy they will remember.

The course starts with having your child do a pretest. Note: it doesn't look like a test. It's only one page, is colorful, and looks fun. And at the end a posttest.
The Critical Thinking Co.

There are 20 lesson, each lesson is between 3-6 pages long. Your child will learn:

  • What is Critical Thinking?
  • Decisions & Conclusions
  • Beliefs and Claims
  • Finding Evidence
  • Evaluating Evidence
  • Inferring and Inferences
  • Facts and Opinions
  • Facts and Probable Truths
  • False and Probably False
  • Facts, Probably True, or Probably False
  • Venn Diagrams
  • Logical Connectives
  • Advertising (can't wait for my boys to get to this one)
  • Agreements and Contracts
  • Common Errors in Reasoning
  • Arguments
  • Valid and Invalid Arguments
  • Fallacies
  • Analogy Arguments
  • Using Critical Thinking to Make Better Decisions
Whew! That's a lot of learning.

Also included in this consumable, 145 page, full color, paperback book is the answer key which I'm so thankful a separate answer book is not needed. Not only does it make the course more affordable but less books to keep track of.

This is a great precursor to Practical Critical Thinking for grades 7-12. You can read my review, currently Caleb my 10th grade son is working through that one. I hope to have him use the James Madison Critical Thinking Course as well or You Decide!

As you may know if you are a regular reader of Homeschooling6. I absolutely love The Critical Thinking Co. curriculum. They have some amazing products. We have used them of-and-on throughout our homeschooling years.
The Critical Thinking Co.
My final thoughts on The Basics of Critical Thinking: I love that it's in color. For most kids color is always fun. At the same time it's not overly colorful so it's not distracting. 

For the younger child, I'd take my time and work through it slowly. Have the child work through the course over a few years. For most Jr.High kiddos I think they can wrap it up in a year. My boys have struggled with reading in the past and are now doing a lot better. They struggle with pencil phobia so we plan to take it slow. 

Lance will start half way into his 6th grade year or maybe at the beginning of his 7th. Ethan is using it now and will hopefully complete it before he starts high school (yikes, where has time gone!).

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