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Homeschool (or not): Teach Your Kids to Think

September 30, 2011

Flickr/Creative Commons/Brian Hillegas

Newsflash: You will not always be there for your kids. I mean, telling them what to think, do, and act can only go so far; therefore, teach your children to discern information and come to a conclusion on their own.

First things first: establish a foundation for all information to be filtered through. I am a Christian. My standards (our standards) are based on God’s Word, the Bible. If He says something is wrong or right, that is how it is.  That doesn’t mean that I only do right and never do wrong, but it is how I determine right and wrong.

Secondly, let them practice thinking. We do this purposely once a week in our Current World Events Class, but watch out, once your children start thinking, they won’t want to stop, and you will see it popping up all the time. 🙂

For our “class”  a newspaper article is chosen. It is usually on a subject that deals with some decisions being made. It doesn’t have to be controversial, like euthanasia and abortion (but it can be.) It could also be about school funding or even city planning and zoning.

We read the article and first discuss whether it was written well (interesting and informative) and if both sides were represented fairly or was there a bias? After those thoughts are on the table we go to the heart of the issue.

Then we take turns sharing our opinions. What would your decision be? What are  the other factors to consider? ENCOURAGE your pupils to enter into the conversation. Draw them in; don’t settle for a yes/no answer. Instead of the blanket, “No, that won’t work,” lead your kids to consider WHY that won’t work. Ask them questions. “If you do that, how will you handle this?”

Don’t give your kids the answer, but guide their thinking. Remember, you will not always be there for them. Help them craft their own opinions. Don’t be afraid to play the devil’s advocate sometimes. Take the “wrong” side and let your kids come up with arguments based on that foundation you have taught them. Always go back to your foundation. This is an effective way to add some excitement to the discussion.

Even if you are not homeschooling, talk with your kids at dinner and in the car and wherever and whenever there is an opportunity. You don’t need a formal discussion time. You just need to take the time.

My point is this: give your kids an opportunity to think for themselves. Teach them to use God’s Word as a standard that works in today’s world. Challenge them to solve hard problems and to think through their solutions completely. Then, be ready; you are raising tomorrow’s leaders.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rosie P:otter permalink
    October 1, 2011 7:53 am

    Learning to evaluate and make wise decisions is the most basic and critical part of education. People who think cannot be easily led astray. They will be the leaders for
    righteousness in the future, and the thorn in the side of those who are trying to deceive.
    Wonderful article!

    • October 1, 2011 9:32 am

      I agree Rosie. There is a quote widely attributed to Lenin (although I could not find proof) about “useful idiots,” meaning the masses of people who would believe any promise given them and support the promiser, without thinking things through.
      Proverbs 11:14 talks about a multitude of counselors. Several thinking people, with a Biblical foundation, could solve a lot of problems.

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