Higher Level Thinking in HOD

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jer2911mom
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Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by jer2911mom » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:33 pm

Hi,

Can you please share with me in what ways you feel HOD encourages higher level thinking (thinking/reasoning/discerning for yourself vs. being told what to think or simply absorbing information) at the different levels?

Thanks!
Kathy

countrymom
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by countrymom » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:41 am

We are only as far as Beyond so far, but narration is huge. You can tell you are higher up (Bloom's taxonomy) because it is a skill children have to learn, most do not master narration as it was meant to be quickly. It is used for science too, I believe beginning with the Bigger guide. In addition to narration, the Bible and Storytelling boxes ask a lot of questions for application and character traits are brought out. The recommended math (Singapore), along with the activities Carrie provides is definitely not a memorization approach. There is a lot of notebooking once you get a little farther up in the guides (again, I believe that starts with Bigger). Others will join in that are farther along and will be able to give many other examples. You could also browse the weekly check in forum, which gives great insight into what is going on in all of the guides.
Countrymom
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LynnH
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by LynnH » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:05 am

Having had a ds that came out of the public schools I see many ways that HOD promotes higher thinking verses just spitting back what they are told. In Science the science experiments don't give them the answers and the conclusion isn't always obvious. My ds can really struggle to make his predictions because he has to really think it out and apply it to what he has been reading for the week. Drawn into the Heart of Reading is very open ended and doesn't have any of the typical just fill in the blank type of comprehension questions. It asks the student to make connections such has biblical character traits to the character in the book. Wants them to analyze different things like setting and predictions etc. The different types of narrations in the upper guides require different type of thinking. In CTC my ds has to do a detailed narration one day, a summary narration another day and a written narration another. These all require him to sort through what he has heard or read and figure out what he should say or write. Coming from the public school where he didn't do anything like this it has been a challenge for him. He wants me to give him the answer. During storytime he does different things following the story. Sometimes he acts it out in a skit or sometimes he has to think of a commercial and "sell" the story. The one I love is when weekly after we read he has to go through Proverbs and find things that connect with what he just read. This can be very challenging with certain books. I always have him tell me why he chose the verse he did. Even when he does the research box he has to find the appropriate source to pull his answers from and may have to sort through a lot of information before he finds the answers to the questions. It isn't like he is given a page that has all the answers on it and he has to just find it there. My ds can really struggle with higher level thinking so I am aware on a daily basis when things require that. I often have to remind myself that it takes time for him to learn to think in the way that HOD asks him to think.
Mom to:
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ds 18 US2, Loved Preparing, CTC , RTR , Rev to Rev, MTMM ,WG, WH and US1
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birchbark
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by birchbark » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:41 am

These are good answers and are helpful for me to think through too.

One thing to consider is how equipped are younger students to do a lot of analytical thinking? The early years are wonderful for filling with facts and experiences and (biblical) worldview as a foundation for future thinking. The classical educators call this the "grammar" stage. As students get to preteen years their thinking matures and they are better able to think analytically. The way I see it, HoD provides a solid foundation of knowledge through Bible, the 3R's, and science and history along with the skills to sort, order, and present (narration), and prepares students to think analytically from a good knowledge base. I hope I'm making sense here. :D

Another way HoD prepares for higher level thinking is by its dedication to literature. HoD makes our children "well-read" by its excellent selection and wide variety of books.

And, FWIW, Carrie hinted that there may be a logic course scheduled in one of the later guides. :D
Married to a wonderful man since 1995
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jer2911mom
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by jer2911mom » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:17 pm

Hi,

I just wanted to say thanks for the replies so far. They have been helpful!

Kathy

Tree House Academy
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by Tree House Academy » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:37 pm

Did you ask this on another forum recently? If that was you, I am so glad you decided to come here for answers. I hope Carrie or Julie will chime in as well. :)
~Rebecca~

ds13(8th) - Rev to Rev w/ TT Pre-Algebra, R&S English 6, CLE Reading 8, Rosetta Stone French
ds9 (4th) - Preparing Hearts, TT Math 4, R&S English 3, CLE Reading 4, & Writeshop Jr.

We have completed LHFHG, BLHFHG, Bigger, CTC, & RTR.

Carrie
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by Carrie » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:46 pm

jer2911mom,

This is a good question, and one that I haven't had time to thoroughly answer before now! :D First off, it's important to note that in order to think on a higher level, kiddos first need some basic knowledge about the Bible, history, science, reading, math, the flow of time, etc. So, this is an important consideration in the younger years. It is very important to lay this foundation of basic knowledge prior to jumping into forcing kiddos to come up with their own conclusions and answers. :D

Within LHTH and LHFHG, we strive to lay a good foundation in all subject areas. This is the most important consideration in the younger years. We continue to build on this foundation throughout the coming guides. :D

As kiddos move into Beyond we begin broadening kiddos' horizons through reading and examining classic poetry, discovering the point of various Scriptures, composing oral narrations, and through deeper discussion of literature through the storytime part of the plans (and later more in-depth in Drawn into the Heart of Reading). Each of these areas begin moving a child's thinking beyond one right answer toward thinking more deeply about what was read. The Emerging Reader Set also has questions with the level of Bloom's Taxonomy noted behind each one, so you can easily see where the higher levels of thinking are coming in there! The Bible portion at times does lend itself toward one-right answers from Scripture, but that is to be expected as the Scripture does clearly set forth a right answer in God's eyes. :wink:

As kiddos move on to Bigger Hearts, we add more application and opportunities to develop higher-level thinking through DITHR and its open-ended questions asking the child to delve beneath the surface of what was read and make connections. The additonal literature study through the storytime box of plans is mainly higher level as well (i.e. as it applies discussion of Godly character traits, story elements, and genre study lessons to the readings). We also add oral narration practice to science as well as history allowing students to elaborate on what was read. Higher level questioning applies Scripture to history for students to use inference to draw conclusions as well as having student share connections to their own lives through the study of Godly character traits. Science Lab Forms expect students to make their own guesses, test them, and propose their own conclusions. We also ask kiddos to prove their understanding of vocabulary words by using them within their own sentences each week. A a deeper study of classic poetry and poetic devices has students explain the meaning of the poems and the way the poetic devices were used. :D

In Preparing Hearts, as kiddos gain a firmer founding in knowledge, they move toward more critical thinking. The Reading About History box labels questions according to Bloom's Taxonomy to make sure all levels of thinking are addressed. Written narrations lead students to compose their own thoughts in a written form and share their own connections, as they sift and sort through what to share from the readings. Storytime narrations have the children "imagine they are" the character and narrate in that style. They also discuss the character's faith (or lack of faith) and appraise the role it may have played in the story. Students are also asked to share something from their own life that they were reminded of during the readings, and initiate a discussion on their own topic that the reading brought to mind. The writing lessons based on the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson go far beyond one right answer, as the students must compose their own poetry based on his style. The research component has students utilizing resources to focus on assigned topics and select what to share orally about what they've learned. Weekly science questions are included, some of which are always higher level. Both the Bible study and the Poetry study also include some higher level thought-provoking questions each week. :D

As students move into CTC, research of places and people continues. Students must elaborate on what was learned as they share their findings with a parent. Students move into giving detailed narrations one day and summary narrations the next, both of which require the student to process what was read, determine what to share, and support their connections. The Genesis study is definitely on a higher level thinking plane, as are the assignments for the geography. Students choose a memorable passage to include in their notebook for history each week, create their own timeline drawings each week, continue with deciding what to include within written narrations, choose connections in Proverbs to go with what they are reading in Storytime each week, and continue making their own guesses and drawing their own conclusions in their science lab sheets. Drawn into the Heart of Reading also raises the thinking to a higher level with the next level student book. Write with the Best pushes students beyond basic writing through asking them to model their writing after great passages of classic literature. Students must select their own topics while still including the needed guidelines. :D

When moving into RTR, research shifts to being about places read about in history. The research answers are integrated into a weekly postcard where students explain their responses to another person. Oral and written narration continue to play a big role in higher level thinking and connections. The Bible study of Philippians is an inductive study requiring students to interpret the meaning of the Biblical text and draw conclusions based on the surrounding text's meaning. The daily prayers require kiddos to meditate on the prayer topic and share from their own lives and hearts. The devotional Bible studies for boys and girls also have many great higher-level thinking moments within them as students plan to apply the Bible to their life. The science lab sheets and weekly written narration require higher thinking at these levels as well. The Shakespeare study is definitely one that challenges kiddos beyond their comfort zone. The poetry of Emily Dickinson also requires quite a bit of higher level thinking, simply to interpret what she meant! DITHR continues to raise the level further as kiddos are asked to dig more deeply into what was read. :D Our math choice of Singapore Math at all levels is also heavily focused on higher level thinking!

Anyway, you get the idea that including higher-level thinking within our curriculum is something that we actively seek to do in each and every guide! These are certainly not all the instances of higher level thinking, but they are the ones that spring to mind. :D

One thing to be warned of is that while the box-like look of our daily plans or the scripted parts within our plans may lead you to think that higher level thinking is not contained in our guides, it is important to note that is just appearance. Higher-level questions often push toward higher level thinking and without the questions being included, we often wouldn't ask them on our own! After using our guides a year or more, you'll find they are meaty in many areas of higher-level thinking that often do not become apparent until you have used our guides as written for at least a year. :wink:

We realize that simply reading classic books does not lead to higher level thinking automatically, but rather it is what you do with what you are reading that makes the difference! After 11 years in as a classroom teacher, as well as having my master's in education, I can say that I was required to write lesson plans for every day of the school year that reflected higher-level thinking within the plans in some way. During my 10 years as a home educator since then, I strive daily for that same balance within HOD, knowing that some subjects are more knowledge type subjects and others are more inspirational type subjects, and we seek to balance both. :D Higher level thinking can take many forms, and there is not one right way to include this in a curriculum, however it is important to look at this area in a way that glorifies God and not man. The greatest thinkers are still lost without a Savior. :D

Blessings,
Carrie

abrightmom
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by abrightmom » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:13 pm

Carrie,

Thank-you for a such a thorough explanation of this topic! :D Incredibly eye opening and encouraging! Thank-you again!!
Katrina 8) Wife to Ben, husband extraordinaire! God is so good!
2019-2020 plans
Jax DS17 HOD subjects: US1 Lit + US2 LL + IPC
Logan DS15 MtMM + extensions
Chloe DD13 MtMM
Levi DS10 PHFHG

seekhimfirst
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by seekhimfirst » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:56 pm

Thank you for this question! I loved reading the explanation!! :D
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing it is from the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Col 3:23-24

11yo CTC
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Heather4Him
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by Heather4Him » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:22 pm

This was a great question, and Carrie, your explanation was awesome and so thorough! I love it!!

Now, I have another question (for Carrie or anyone who can help). We are in CTC (with extensions) and DITHOR (6/7/8) for 8th grade, and this is our first year of HOD. We LOVE it, and I know it is the right curriculum for us, especially since our dd (13yo) needs more practice with all of the higher level skill areas mentioned above.

My question is, how do you "draw out" the deeper level answers and thinking when they are shy/quiet (very nervous about speaking aloud, even with Mom), and they don't really love school (so try to do as little extra thinking as possible), and haven't really had to do a lot of this kind of learning and relating with other curricula prior to this?

(For example, DITHOR answers are very short and to the point, not elaborated at all, and oral narrations are the same. Even the poetry reading is quiet and not very "animated"--no real inflection, etc.--AND the additional comments about things like what the poem made her think of are just short, quick, obvious answers.)

We've been trying this all year (since August), and it's hard to get her to dig in deeper and really think about her responses and elaborate on her answers, because she really is a quiet, shy, (and somewhat unmotivated) girl. Plus, sometimes even *I* (growing up in public school) am not sure how to help her in this area, because we weren't taught this way ourselves (although I wish we were!)

I guess what I'm asking is what can I do to encourage growth in the deeper level thinking and responding that HOD so wonderfully tries to bring out of our children, and that we want her to learn to do? Thanks!!
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
~~~~~
16yog girl
DITHOR/CTC/RTR/Rev2Rev/MTMM

Carrie
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by Carrie » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:00 am

Heather,

I'm so glad that you found HOD and that you are wanting to stretch your child in this area. :D In thinking of your child's answers, it's important to note that length of response is not a qualification for higher level thinking. :wink: Many of the great thinkers (i.e. inventors, scientists, literary writers, etc.) had their breakthroughs in a short burst. That is why many of those moments are referred to as 'brainstorms' rather than a 'brain thesis'. :wink: So, don't worry so much about the length of her answers. It's the day-to-day opportunity for pondering and stretching within their thinking that we wish to provide for kiddos through our HOD guides. Children cannot be expected to have an inspirational moment in every day. :D

Since this is your first year with HOD, you can expect that the type of thinking being asked of your child may be unfamiliar to her. It is possible that she has always been asked for the right answers and is still searching for whatever answers you (or an answer key) think those might be. Kiddos will always gravitate toward answering with the familiar. :D As the year with HOD goes on though, you should see your child growing and stretching in her responses. I would invite you to wait until completing the guide to think back to where your child was at the beginning of the year and compare that with the type of responses you are getting at the end of the year before judging her progress. :D In the meantime, you can make your sessions more discussion-like where you share your thoughts and encourage her to share hers. Let her know when you aren't seeking one right answer and jump in and engage her like you're having a chat. Seize the teachable moment to share some of yourself and your own thought processes. Then, your daughter will find her way too. :D

Be encouraged that the guide is continually providing these opportunities for you and for your daughter, and eventually you will see a change. It takes time to break out of an old habit and form a new one. Another example would be if your daughter is new to narration, then try your hand at narrating for her and put as much description and enthusiasm into it as you can. You may find that it isn't as easy as it looks and have a new appreciation for what you're asking of her! You could alternate narrating parts of the story to encourage a bit more sharing in her narrations. Both of these strategies are ones we use in our younger guides to help train kiddos in the art of narration, and they are strategies that will help you now too. :D

In closing, I'll share one thing that may better illustrate why you're getting the answers you're currently getting from your daughter. When I was trying out the sample questions for our first Emily Dickinson poem for the new guide RTR last year, I read the poem aloud and asked my second son (who was then a 5th grader) to answer the questions I'd written. He had no problem answering, even though the answers are not readily apparent, and embarked on a great discussion and expounding of his own thoughts on the poem. :wink: So, later that same day, I thought I'd share this same great poetry experience with my husband. I read the poem aloud and asked him the questions, and he had the most difficult time figuring out the answers to any of the questions. He was completely stumped! :wink: What is the difference? Is my son smarter than my husband or more knowledgeable? :D On the contrary, as my hubby is a very smart man! Instead the difference is that my young son has had years of poetry study and years of discussing and thinking about things outside of the box, so he could understand the poem and immediately felt comfortable to share and make his own connections. My dear husband has had no study of poetry, even though he is very well read,and he was stuck searching for the "right" answers which weren't readily apparent to him. A foible of my hubby's school upbringing was the focus on the "right" answers (which I can say for sure was a foible of mine as well, since I was his high school sweetheart). :D

I share this to say that your child needs much more time to grow into the comfort zone where higher level thinking is encouraged and advantageous. It will come as you continue down your HOD path, just give it time! :D Often it is the thinking that goes on long after the "assignment" is over that really stretches the mind. :D

As I said in my response above, it takes at least a full year of using an HOD guide, before you'll truly start to see what I am mentioning. :D I know there are many ladies on the board who have found this very thing to be true, so I hope this is an encouragement to you this year. You were so gracious in your question, and I truly appreciate your mother's heart on this! :D

Blessings,
Carrie

Heather4Him
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by Heather4Him » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:12 am

Thank you SO SO much for that excellent and thoughtful response, Carrie! That helps a lot!! (and relieves my mind, too) ;)

I love the example about your husband, because that is how *I* was feeling, too--like I can't really help her to elaborate, because I know that often I couldn't answer that way myself. I grew up with the same kind of education you described--to find the "right" answer. We weren't really taught to think or analyze--just answer. That is why I want that so much for our own daughter and why I believe God led us to HOD, even for all our high school years. I know THIS is what she needs (and what my hubby also wants for her!)

Thanks again for the encouragement and help. I know our dd has it in her, as we can have very good discussions about current events, life situations, dealing with difficult people, etc.--and she is very smart. It just has to come in her schooling now (especially since her motto is to just get it done as quickly as possible!), and I will continue to guide and encourage her with our wonderful HOD years to come! :)
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
~~~~~
16yog girl
DITHOR/CTC/RTR/Rev2Rev/MTMM

momtofive

Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by momtofive » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:43 pm

Heather,

Thanks so much for posting some further questions on this topic! :D It lines up with some of what we've experienced with our oldest, too. Being our first year with HOD, we're finding so much depth to what we're learning, verses the "fill-in-the-blank", "right/wrong" answers type of thinking we were used to in the past. At first it was really foreign to him, and was a struggle. I'd get one word answers, or a couple pretty generic narrations. But now, he's really starting to bloom with this type of thinking. He's really getting into the topics and stories and will get really "fired up" about things he feels are right or wrong. We've had so many really wonderful discussions that would otherwise not have happened if we were not using this God-sent curriculum! :wink: So glad to hear from you on the board and to hear that your loving HOD! :D

Carrie,

I join Heather in saying, "Thank you SO much!". You've shed some light on something that had at one time been a big struggle for us. My son seems to be doing so much better now, but, of course, there's a ways to go yet! :wink: Your direction on what things to try, and tips on how to draw out more conversation, are wonderful. It really helps me to see that there is so much more we could be doing within some of those narration times. This curriculum is truly blessing my family and making our school days so very much fun! :wink:

In Christ,

Lisa

jer2911mom
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Re: Higher Level Thinking in HOD

Post by jer2911mom » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:17 pm

Carrie, thank you very much for taking the time to write a detailed reply. I really appreciate it! This concept of higher level thinking has been weighing heavily on me lately as I've realized that I, too, was taught to give the "right" answer, both at school and at home. I want so much more for my girls. I want them to be able to think for themselves and not be swayed by the person they are talking to at the moment, like I often am. I want them to discover what they believe and why they believe it and have the confidence to share their faith with others in a gentle, kind, and humble manner. Obviously, I am going to need assistance in drawing this out of them and guiding them to this level of independent thinking, thus my question to you. Again, I really appreciate your taking the time to reply!

Kathy

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