Usually summertime is a great opportunity to crank out some workbook sheets to transition students from the previous grade to the next. And while vocabulary exercises and math problems are great practice, I think a great use of summertime freedom is to fill the gaps that aren't always covered in classrooms or workbooks. I studied philosophy in college and loved logic class, but I always felt that I could have used the information earlier. I remember doing syllogisms in geometry, but the idea of actually thinking logically to solve problems was never formally addressed when I was in school.
Recently, there have been a few books published that address not only problem solving and critical thinking, but major philosophical concepts, all in inventive formats. Each of these books were enjoyable reads. I myself learned a couple of tricks about the various topics they addressed. If you're looking for something to work on this summer with your 8+ year old, take a look at these books!
No Problem! by Ken Watanabe
Behaviors section upstairs & on display in the Chapter Book Room
This book is broken up into three sections in which a character has a problem he or she wants to solve, and then the narrator explains different techniques for solving the problem. Tips include logic trees, weighted pro/con lists and matrices. This would be a great resource for the young autodidact, or a good one to read together as both parent and child will get a lot out of it.
This is another book, like No Problem! that is not only really well-designed and fun to look at, but FULL of great information. Each page has a few questions, with a paragraph or more of an answer. The answers are not only well-written and easy to understand, but they summarize really well the main viewpoints held on major philosophical issues. Each answer offers readers enough to go on to formulate their own opinions.
Coming 12 October, 2010!
Really, Really Big Questions about Space and Time! by Mark Brake
A follow-up to the philosophically-inclined, aforementioned Really, Really Big Questions, is a space, time & science-oriented volume. This looks just as interesting as the first. From the publisher: "...an unusual and fun introduction to space science and astrophysics. It explores those massive, complicated, weird and often unanswered questions such as Does the Universe have a shape? What makes sunshine? Do stars explode? How do you build a time machine? and Do aliens look like me? Your head will spin – with knowledge!"