knew my son was ready for a critical thinking history method when he started to beat me in arguments I had thought beforehand weren't even debatable topics. I learned over time to have two separate areas of topics at home with my children. There were items we could discuss and debate, and there were issues that were not up to discussion. We could discuss the theme of a novel, or the cause of a war, but we could not discuss the correct way to talk to mom, how to treat your sister, or when to do the chores. Once I figured this out, life became much easier.
Many home school parents seem to worry that their children are not thinking critically ENOUGH. Most of the time, the issue is not with the teaching method, but with the age of the child. You know your child is ready to tackle critical thinking issues in history when he starts to argue with you about many household duties and he starts to have very strong reasons to prove that he is right.
We hope that these two are eventually the same don't we? But as our children age and eventually leave the home, knowing the right perspective will be challenged. Friends, societal pressure, mass media, will chip away at the right perspective we have given to our children. They will be challenged to defend the truth, and they will be challenged to make up their minds on new issues that did not exist when we were raising them. Which is better - to teach the correct perspective or critical thinking? In the 1940s, Dorothy Sayers wrote that it was a tragedy students were learning a smattering of subjects with little or no critical thinking skills. Do we dare make the same mistake with our own children? Critical thinking is a process that we can nurture in our children. With a sound thinking process, our children will not fall prey to the pressures of the world, at least not forever.
Teaching with the Take a Stand! series helps me get to know my children and students better and it helps them how to think critically, form historical judgement, and express themselves in speech and in writing.