Logic is a hot subject in the home-schooling world, partly because a grasp of the rudiments of logic is vital to a good education, but also because many of the logic books on the market are actually quite fun to use.

 For younger children, there are many books that each tackle different aspects of logic or critical thinking (think of this as pre-logic). Critical Thinking Books & Software seems to be the largest publisher of such books with titles that either appeal to the thinking/learning preferences of your child or that challenge and stretch their abilities in other thinking/learning modes.

Resources from Critical Thinking Books & Software 

 P.O. Box 448

Pacific Grove, CA

 93950 (800) 458-4849

Web site: www.criticalthinking.com

The Building Thinking Skills series is probably the most basic, comprehensive resource for thinking skills at all levels. Each reproducible student book is accompanied by a teacher’s manual that offers a combination of lesson plans and teaching information. Lessons use student worksheets, hands-on materials (only with the Primary book), and interaction between teacher and student(s). Each lesson should take about 10 to 20 minutes to do and requires just a few minutes of teacher preparation.

 The first three books in the series are written for K-6. The first book, Primary Building Thinking Skills, is suggested for grades K-2. The required hands-on materials are attribute blocks, pattern blocks, and interlocking cubes. Manipulative activities are performed with these materials before students complete the worksheet. In the 246-page Primary book, children deal with similarities and differences, sequences, classifications, and analogies. Visual-figural skills get a workout in these lessons, too.

Examples of two activities: 1) “Use PATTERN BLOCKS to make figures that look like the pictures below.” [Four different, complex arrangements of pattern blocks are illustrated];  2) “Use INTERLOCKING CUBES of any color to construct and cover each figure in the top box. [Seven figures are pictured.] Move all 1-cube figures into the first small box and all 2-cube figures into the second. Trace the figures and color the pictures to match the cubes.”

Children who are already reading fairly well should probably move into the next level, Book 1. Book 1 (271 pages), suggested for grades 2-4, uses interlocking cubes for some lessons and broadens activities beyond the primarily visual-figural approach of the Primary book. Children work on the same skills as in the Primary book but add discussion of five types of analogies, following directions, antonyms and synonyms, “deductive reasoning, parts of a whole, map skills and directionality, logical connectives, spelling and vocabulary building, Venn diagrams, pattern folding, rotation, tracking, mental manipulation of two-dimensional objects,” and more.

Book 2 (296 pages), suggested for grades 4-7, does all of the above, expands to seven different types of analogies, and adds branching diagrams, overlapping classes, and more. The idea of “implications” is also introduced. Activities vary in difficulty, so select those that seem most appropriate for each child.

Building Thinking Skills student books are $23.95-$25.95 each, while teacher’s manuals range in price from $14.95 to $18.95.

Mind Benders Series

The Mind Benders series consists of sets of smaller (28-30 pages) books. Each book is self-contained with brief teaching information and an answer key in the front or back of the book. Children organize clues (some direct and some indirect) in grids (except in introductory lessons in lowest levels) to derive logical conclusions.