< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://www.mrshappyhousewife.com/serendipity/" >

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.

Barnes & Noble University

You can take free courses online at Barnes & Noble University. Some of the courses available right now are:

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary GenerationIn this course, we'll draw upon Joseph J. Ellis's Pulitzer Prize-winning book to enter the Founding era through six telling vignettes. Along the way, we'll learn to think more analytically about the past...and, perhaps, by extension, the present too.

Homeschooling Your ChildrenThis course reveals how homeschooling diverges from traditional schooling, its benefits, along with its potential challenges, including legal, time, money, and social issues. Whether or not you decide that homeschooling is right for your family, you’ll discover what steps you can take to make your child's learning years as effective and enjoyable as possible.

Join Our Discussion of Uncle Tom's CabinFew novels can match the influence Uncle Tom's Cabin had on history. Our expert-led conversation will explore Harriet Beecher Stowe's masterpiece and how she came to write this revolutionary work.

Thanks to Randi for the link.

Super Discount on "Created to Be His Help Meet"

Crystal of Beautiful Womanhood Online is offering an amazing deal ($8.50) on "Created to Be His Help Meet" by Debi Pearl. Send her an email in the next five days to let her know how many people are interested in this great deal so that she can place the order with No Greater Joy. Oh, and be sure to tell others about this.

Parlez Vous Parfait

Last night, for Sugar High Friday, I made this berrylicious Parlez Vous Parfait with blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, plain yogurt, homemade granola, and orange blossom honey. The layers are (from bottom to top): blackberries, yogurt, honey, granola, sliced strawberries, yogurt, honey, granola, blueberries, yogurt, honey, granola, and more honey. After building the parfait, I gave it to my husband. Don't worry - I made a second one for myself. It was cool and refreshing on a hot and steamy Florida night. Perfection.

Homemade Granola
(modified a bit from Martha Stewart's recipe)

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
5 oz. unsalted sunflower seeds
2 oz. coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup honey
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1. Heat oven to 300º. Line two baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In a large bowl, toss together oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, stir together honey and butter; pour over oat mixture. Stir well. Spread onto sheets. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight container.