Resources for homeschool critical thinking skills are few and far between despite these being extremely important in teaching our kids how to analyze arguments and ideas.
Stay with me here. There is a link to FREE cheatsheets for all the ideas I explain in this post at the bottom.
Homeschool Critical Thinking Skills: What is logic?
Logic is a tool we use to determine how valid an argument is. There are 4 different types of logic, and each type is used in life, both for academic pursuits and for the mundane things in life.
For example, I use logic when I make my grocery list. But I also use logic when looking for a mistake in a math problem.
The 4 Types of Logic
Informal Logic: This type of logic uses reasoning to make or analyze an argument.
Formal Logic: This type of logic is composed of syllogisms. You probably remember them from higher education entrance exams. They usually follow this pattern: If A=B and B=C, then A=C.
Symbolic Logic: This type of logic uses symbols to replace language and determines whether something is true.
Mathematical Logic: This type of logic uses mathematical rules to prove arguments.
These types of logic can be used with each other or independently.
Logical Fallacies are patterns of argument that our brains accept as accurate, even though they are not.
Appeal to Hypocrisy — An argument that relies on the hypocrisy of the opposing person or view. (TU QUOQUE)
Appeal to Emotion — An argument that relies on manipulating emotions to persuade people. (Argumentum ad passiones)
Appeal to Authority — An argument that relies on the authority of a person rather than evidence. (ARGUMENTUM AD AUCTORITATE)
Appeal to Ignorance — An argument that relies on the fact that it has not been proven false or there is no evidence against it. (Argumentum ad ignorantiam)
Bandwagon — The idea that large groups of people can’t be wrong and accept something untrue or unsound. (Argumentum ad populum)
Straw Man — Over-simplifies the opponent’s viewpoint and then attacks the weaker point.
Circular Argument –An argument that uses a claim as both evidence and conclusion.
Red Herring — One point (related or not) is used to distract from the topic of focus.
Hasty Generalization –An argument that relies on just a few anecdotes without substantial evidence to back up the claim
Slippery Slope –An argument relying on that one thing will inevitably lead to another.
Sunk Cost — The idea that you cannot stop something because of the effort you have already put into it.
False Dichotomy –An argument presented with only 2 solutions, but in reality, there are many possible solutions.
A Causes B –An argument that claims one event caused another because they happened at similar times without sufficient proof.
False Equivalent –An argument that tries to make 2 different things sound the same OR 2 similar things sound very different. (Post hoc ergo propter hoc)
Logic and Reasoning
Logic and reasoning are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same things. Reasoning is more about comparing and contrasting ideas or arguments to determine which is superior when a truth is not applicable.
7 Types of Reasoning
Deductive Reasoning: Starts with an assumption, then uses facts to validate or invalidate that assumption.
Inductive Reasoning: Starts with facts and uses those to validate an assumption. Informally called the opposite of deductive reasoning.
Analogical Reasoning: Finds similarities between 2 things or arguments.
Abductive Reasoning: Elucidates more information from a vague or unclear starting point. It doesn’t seek to prove anything, instead focusing on a range of conclusions. It also contains the idea of Occum’s Razor, the idea that the simplest explanation is almost always the correct one.
Cause and Effect Reasoning: Shows links between 2 events
Critical Thinking: Uses all rational thought techniques (reasoning, logic, etc.) to reach a firm conclusion. This is sort of the umbrella term for all types of thinking in this article.
Decompositional Reasoning: This type of reasoning breaks things into parts to analyze each and then determines if each piece accurately contributes to the whole.
These seem like crazy complicated ideas, but the chances are that you already use them every day. So get your free homeschool critical thinking skills resources here!
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