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Friday, July 15, 2005

Mind and Media Review: The Thinking Toolbox

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." Most students today, public schoolers and homeschoolers alike, are often taught merely to parrot facts. Little emphasis is placed on teaching children to think and reason for themselves. "The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-Five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills" by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn attends to this neglected part of education.

"The Thinking Toolbox" enlightens the reader on a number of critical thinking topics, including:
  • When is it dumb to argue?
  • Using the Scientific Method
  • Five rules of brainstorming
  • Who has a reason to lie?
  • How to analyze opposing viewpoints
  • How to analyze evidence & sources
  • How to list reasons why you believe something
With a light-hearted touch, the Bluedorns have written an easy to understand guide to logic and critical thinking with a Christian worldview. The softcover, 234 page book is not in the least intimidating. Each of the thirty-five lessons is short (typically 2-4 pages) and ends with exercises enabling the reader to practice the lesson in various scenarios. Thankfully for those of us who have received very little education in logic, the answers to the exercises are included in the back of the book.

The Bluedorns have wisely made each lesson short and concise; thus, the reader is never overwhelmed. Due to the brevity of each lesson, "The Thinking Toolbox" would make the perfect logic and reasoning text for followers of the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method. The book is also useful for adults who would like to improve their own reasoning skills. While the book was written for ages 13 through adult, I found it to be easily understood by my seven and nine year old children. In fact, they begged daily to read the next lesson and most of the exercises led to giggles of delight.

While I have yet to read the Bluedorn's "The Fallacy Detective," my enjoyable experience with "The Thinking Toolbox" leads me to believe their other logic text would be a great addition to our family library. If you're looking for an easy and fun way to learn to think logically and critically, I highly recommend "The Thinking Toolbox."

Disclaimer: I received my free copy of "The Thinking Toolbox" from the publisher for the sole purpose of reading and reviewing the book in my capacity as a Mind & Media reviewer.


Blogger prayzgod said...

I liked that book too. It really was a fun read, and my 5 yr old even got into it. :-)

1:37 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Thanks for the review. I've never looked at the Bluedorn's books before, but I'm hoping to get a few of them in the not-too-distant future since I've heard such high accolades for them!

4:27 PM  

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