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Alternatives to logic curriculum: using school subjects to teach how to think


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I've been reading a lot about logic. I need to choose something for my up-coming 8th grader, but I'm not just thrilled about any of the familiar choices: Fallacy Detective/Thinking Toolbox, Critical Thinking, Traditional Logic, Introductory Logic, etc.... I realize some of these are informal and some are formal.

 

What are some alternatives to using a logic curriculum that teach HOW to think? How can a school subject be used as an alternative to a logic curriculum thus killing two birds with one stone? I'm trying not to overplan our time.

 

(The best example I can think of is doing Patty Paper Geometry along with Algebra I..... but I don't know if this would really be an alternative to logic although it would make my dc think.)

 

Any thoughts?

 

ETA: What are alternatives for BOTH math and word based logic???

Edited by Sweet Home Alabama
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What are some alternatives to using a logic curriculum that teach HOW to think? How can a school subject be used as an alternative to a logic curriculum thus killing two birds with one stone?

 

I never had any formal logic - but I learned a lot about logical thinking through mathematics, computer programming, and science.

Any time you go beyond "these are the facts - memorize!" and ask "why?" and "what if?", you are developing thinking skills.

A rigorous math curriculum will develop logical skills; a geometry proof is an exercise in pure logic, as is computer programming.

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I believe Ambleside online recommends How to Read a Book, or something like that.... I was thinking of Patty Paper Geo, too. I also saw a phenomenal paper folding booth at convention that could take you into the realm of fractals:

 

http://www.wholemovement.com/

 

Thanks, Regena!

Both Patty Paper and this paper folding program would be good for logic that is math based.

 

The How to Read a Book would be great for word based logic, I guess. I never thought of this book as a source for logic. I'll look at Ambleside and see what they say.

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Nan in Mass has some wonderful posts about using one subject to teach "thinking" in. I am not explaining this well, but it is difficult to go "deep" in every single subject. I have so many of Nan's threads tagged that I am not sure I could help you find the ones, but your best bet is to shoot Nan a pm and have her explain it to you. In a nutshell, I would say we do our deepest thinking and analysis in literature and nonfiction writing, even grammar because those are the areas I am most skilled in as a teacher and my kids are most adept in as students. My oldest had an "aha" moment when one afternoon she was able to adapt the process she had used to analyze some sentences for grammar to breaking down a difficult word problem for geometry.

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JMO, but learning how to think is not something that comes through a formal school program designed to teach you how to think, but rather from doing activities that require you to think, and stretch you in thinking. It comes through the natural maturation process in which areas of the brain actually mature into complex processes of comparing, analyzing, predicting, etc. It comes through learning the tools (such as Logic, Grammar, Literary Analysis, Scientific Investigation, Mathematical Problem Solving, etc.) used in thinking. It comes through conversation with one another (discussing, analyzing, debating, problem solving, etc.).

 

 

For general "logic" types of learning to think:

 

We have found informal discussion of TV ads, TV shows and movies to be a great place to start our DC in thinking. Fallacy Detective was very helpful as an introductory tool for seeing different kinds of errors in logic or techniques used by advertisers, politicians, etc. to try and make you think/feel a certain way. In addition, games are a terrific way to get DC learning how to think -- strategy, consequences, trade-offs, calculating odds, making educated guesses, narrowing down choices through logic, etc. Critical thinking puzzles, logic puzzles, visual puzzles, crosswords, sudoko puzzles, etc. all help develop certain types of thinking, making connections, narrowing down options, etc. Also, reading and solving "minute mysteries". In high school we DID find it helpful to have DSs do a formal Logic program -- it helps develop other specific types of thinking skills.

 

In Science: TOPS experiments somewhat begin to guide the student toward thinking about what happened and why. Even more so, what about Critical Thinking Press' "Developing Critical Thinking in Science" books?

 

In Math: Singapore's New Elementary Math (late middle school/high school) is fantastic for helping a student develop mathematical thinking and problem solving skills -- the problems are very real-life science research type of problems. What about the real-life applications and problem-solving approach to math in Life of Fred? Or The Art of Problem Solving?

 

In English: Getting involved in speech/debate really helps foster logical thinking and rhetoric skills. Write a weekly persuasive essay from a prompt forcing you to take a position and support it. Also analyzing literature. Figuratively Speaking is a helpful resource in learning the *tools* of literary analysis, and then practice using the tools by reading and discussing literature (and films) together. Use literature guides to help springboard you into discussion. Tapestry of Grace curriculum's Rhetoric level asks (and guides) you through a lot of critical thinking questions and discussion on Literature AND History.

 

In history: Have you checked out Critical Thinking press' "World History Detective;" "You Decide"; or "Critical Thinking in U.S. History" series? Better yet, read the newspaper together and discuss current events -- why did this leader do that? why is that country allying itself with that country? how does the culture or worldview or religion of a country's people lead to the decisions and consequences they currently face?

 

 

Just some ideas to get you thinking "outside the box", and to help you see "learning how to think" as a more holistic skill that is developed not just through a formal program. :) BEST of luck in finding the tools and activities that help your family "get thinking"! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Lori,

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this out. I can get very anxious when I contemplate the fact that we don't have a formal logic program. I could never figure out how to do what is important to me and still get that done. It is a relief to see that we already do many of things you listed just because those are areas of interest. I worked in advertising so my kids have been analyzing ads since they were very small. We have long solved the NY Times crossword together and usually when they are grounded from electronics, the sudoku books come out. We often listen to political speeches and discuss what we think the point was and how effectively the speaker got their point across. For some reason, I have more patience for this kind of teaching/play than I do for formal logic classes.

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Nan in Mass has some wonderful posts about using one subject to teach "thinking" in. I am not explaining this well, but it is difficult to go "deep" in every single subject. I have so many of Nan's threads tagged that I am not sure I could help you find the ones, but your best bet is to shoot Nan a pm and have her explain it to you. In a nutshell, I would say we do our deepest thinking and analysis in literature and nonfiction writing, even grammar because those are the areas I am most skilled in as a teacher and my kids are most adept in as students. My oldest had an "aha" moment when one afternoon she was able to adapt the process she had used to analyze some sentences for grammar to breaking down a difficult word problem for geometry.

 

Thanks, Lisa! I'm learning how to do coach my dd to analyze sentences and directions just like your geometry example. We're finishing Analytical Grammar which has been a wonderful tool to help with grammar analysis.

We are also using Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings this year which has given us the opportunity to answer analysis questions. We do this orally so that we can practice answering in complete sentences and use supporting details. I think it has helped my children to hear each other's answers.

Maybe we're on the right track.... just have to make sure we apply these kinds of analysis toos across the board.

 

JMO, but learning how to think is not something that comes through a formal school program designed to teach you how to think, but rather from doing activities that require you to think, and stretch you in thinking. It comes through the natural maturation process in which areas of the brain actually mature into complex processes of comparing, analyzing, predicting, etc. It comes through learning the tools (such as Logic, Grammar, Literary Analysis, Scientific Investigation, Mathematical Problem Solving, etc.) used in thinking. It comes through conversation with one another (discussing, analyzing, debating, problem solving, etc.).

 

Lori, this is a tremendous help! Thank you so much. You have given me a framework in which to apply logic to any circumstance. This is what I need to begin doing. Discussing the consequences of decisions has been the best kind of logical discussions I've had with my children this year. We've talked about this in the context of stories and tv/movies. Since they have to live with the consequences of their own decisions, this is highly relevant.

I am going to check out several sources you mentioned that I haven't heard before. I really appreciate your help!

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I've been reading a lot about logic. I need to choose something for my up-coming 8th grader, but I'm not just thrilled about any of the familiar choices: Fallacy Detective/Thinking Toolbox, Critical Thinking, Traditional Logic, Introductory Logic, etc.... I realize some of these are informal and some are formal.

 

I hear you. I'm not sure about weaving it in another way (but I'm also thinking of doing Patty Paper Geometry along with Alg I next year - we'll just have to see if I can find the time to schedule it in) but have you seen that Harry Stottlemeier logic program that's been talked about here later? I'm buying that to do next year - from what I understand it's formal/traditional logic based.

 

I also own Critical Thinking I (which is informal logic), but haven't gotten to it this year - I'm thinking of signing them up to do it with onlineg3 next year, as that will get it done and give them others to discuss with, which I think is a big part of the puzzle.

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Ok, I have spent all morning reading things like Nan's comments about how important WTM skills are. I think this is somewhat similar/related to my logic question.

 

There are so many people on this board who use Traditional Logic. I have to believe there is value in this program based on its popularity. Now, I would like to hold it in my hands before pronouncing any kind of judgement on it, yet, I don't feel like it is a match for us.

 

Forgive me if my ideas are immature. I am learning more and more as I read. What I *think* I want to do is learn the fallacies. Maybe we will use Fallacy Detective and Thinking Toolbox. I need this to be light-hearted and even silly. Then, I just found a resource that looks VERY interesting:

 

http://walch.com/Study-Skills-Strategies-Outlining.html

 

This is also at CBD and RR (I think).

 

It is an outlining book, but it ties in study skills that seem very "logic" oriented. I can really see doing FD or TT (BTW, which comes first?) and this Walch study skills book every other day next year with my 8th grader.

 

My goal: Based on what I've read/heard from SWB, I think I want dd to do A Rulebook for Arguments in 9th grade..... read, outline, find an example.

 

To recap: A possiblity...

8th: FF or TT AND Walch Study Skills Outlining Strategies

9th: A Rulebook for Argument

 

PLEASE.... Does this make any sense? It seems to be more practical for us than using Traditional Logic..... certainly a foreign language for me. I would consider using it in 9th grade if it were THAT valuable.

 

SWB indicated in this post that TL might not be necessary if a student went through A Rulebook for Argument. This is what I think we may do.

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forum...ton#post910524 Maybe post #37 by SWB will put your mind at ease....

 

 

Feedback??? :bigear:

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