Learning to Think Critically Brings Happiness, Wealth, and Wisdom

There seems to be a short supply of people today who think critically. In the public schools the idea of a classic education that includes the great Greek thinkers like Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato mostly has disappeared .

When your children develop their critical thinking skills, however, they will be able to preserve their wealth because they will be less foolish.

They will be happier because they will avoid situations that cause grief.

And when they do make mistakes as life seems to insist that we do, they will learn from them faster.


My question is that with all the work and diligence required to educate someone,

Why do we believe that education is filling up children with facts and not the skill to think for themselves? 

In fact, to educate literally means to lead out. When we educate, we are leading our children out of their darkness and into the light of knowledge. 


We Think Critically When We Question EVERYTHING

Children have a natural curiosity about their world. As a parent, you simply capitalize on that curiosity.

That doesn't mean that you can't tell your children "Because Mommy said so; that's why," but at some point questions asked should be answered.

Believe me, with a bit a patience and honesty, you can outlast your children's curiosity for the day.

After a while, they will beg you to stop. But that's a good thing too.

Why? Because that means that their brains are tired because they were listening and learning. 

Here are the six types of questions that you will use to help your children think critically. You will ask and encourage them to ask

1. Questions for clarification.    

2. Questions that probe assumptions. 

3. Questions that probe reasons and evidence.             

4. Questions about viewpoints and perspectives.       

5. Questions that probe implications and consequences.           

6. Questions about the question.          

Application: Green Eggs and Ham 

Below are some sample Socratic questions that parents can ask their children when they read Green Eggs and Ham to them. These questions not only stimulate their critical thinking skills, but also their reading comprehension skills.

Questions for clarification

1. How do you think the green eggs became green? 

Questions that probe assumptions

1. Why do you think the character didn't like green eggs and ham? 

2. Do you think he would have felt the same way if the eggs were purple?  Why?

3. Do you think that the character was a "disliker" and that was his personality? 

Questions that probe reasons and evidence

1.Why do you think Dr. Seuss used rhyme to tell his story about Green Eggs and Ham? 

2. What other arguments could Sam have used to persuade the character? 

Questions about viewpoints and perspectives

1. Why do you think Sam was so persistent to have the character try the green eggs and ham? 

Questions that probe implications and consequences

1. What do you think would have happened in the character's life if he never tried green eggs and ham? 

2. What do you think will happen to his life now that he has tried them? 

3. Do you think he will be happier in his life?

4. Why do you think he will or will not be happier?

5. Why do you think people are afraid of things? Can you think of any examples? 

Questions about the question

1. Why do you think Dr. Seuss tells this story?

2. Do you think that this was the first character that Sam tried to convince to eat green eggs and ham? 

3. What do you think Dr. Seuss was trying to teach children who read this book? 

These questions are not all inclusive; in fact, it would be wonderful if you would share your own questions and the category each one fits inside. 

Socratic Questioning Across The Curriculum

Learning to think critically is a wide subject, and this page is only an introduction. If you would like to receive updates when the next page is ready, please follow me on Twitter or like the Facebook Create My Homeschool page. 

Begin now teaching your children how to think critically, apply Socratic questioning, and recognize fallacious arguments. 

By doing so, they will be better prepared to navigate their way in the world through whatever propaganda, hazards, hiccups, snake oil peddlers, and agents who will cross their paths.

Teach your children to recognize the seven most popular advertising propaganda techniques now. 

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