Welcome to my Build Your Own Homeschool Library series where I'm sharing with my readers some of my favorite books from my homeschool shelf. Please note that all the posts in this series contain my own opinions, and I have not been compensated by any publishing company for any of the content.
The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox are written by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn, both homeschool graduates and sons of Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, founders of TriviumPursuit.com, a website dedicated to Christian classic education.
The books are divided into 35 to 38 short lessons. The books can be read independently by older students, but in my opinion, they are far more fun to read aloud.
The Fallacy Detective is intended to be read first since it presents the basics of critical thinking and lays the groundwork for being able to understand The Thinking Toolbox. The Fallacy Detective focuses mainly on errors in logic. Red Herring fallacy, Ad Hominem attack, Tu Quoque, straw man fallacy, and a faulty appeal to authority are a few of the fallacies it covers. The last section of the book discusses propaganda devices such as appeal to fear or pity, bandwagon, repetition, and exigency.
The Thinking Toolbox delves even deeper into critical thinking, covering subjects such as knowing the differences between discussions, disagreements, arguments, and fights; identifying facts, inferences, or opinions; dealing with opposing viewpoints; and evaluating evidence.
Officially, each book is written for children 13 and up, but it can also be used for children somewhat younger. I've personally read the books to all three of my children, ages 7, 11, and 12, and even though my 7 year old doesn't fully understand all the concepts, she has learned a substantial amount.
Each lesson covers one topic and ends with a set of exercise questions for discussion. These humor-filled books provide an enjoyable and unintimidating way to introduce many critical thinking topics to your children.
The Fallacy Detective was chosen as one of Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks. You can read her reviews on The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox.
How we use the books
Ideally, we read one lesson aloud a week, setting aside about 30 minutes to complete the reading and discuss the exercises. The material is well-written and easy-to-understand, and my older children have been able to recognize in real life the fallacies they have learned. All three children thoroughly enjoy these books.
Where to find the books
The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox are available through the authors' official website, ChristianLogic.com, for $22 each. You can also find the books on Amazon, although the price is usually not discounted. You can, however, find used copies for lower prices either on Amazon or at homeschool bookstores.
View a subject-by-subject list of all the posts in the Build Your Own Homeschool Library series here.
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