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Building Thinking Skills in Young People

By Daniel Valles
Art of Logic

PO Box 403
Shelby, AL 35143

This 38-minute DVD is a documentary about why and how to encourage children to think. While the DVD is more for parents, there is no problem with kids watching it too. I watched the video with my 9, 11, and 14-year-olds, who all enjoyed it.

Using reenacted colonial America and current-day dramatizations (with classical music as a backdrop), author Daniel Valles defines thinking skills, explains the importance of thinking skills, and gives examples of how to develop thinking skills in children. Many Scripture passages and quotes by Isaac Watts are given to back up his premises.

Daniel Valles is a proponent of old-fashioned, conservative values. Homeschoolers will certainly identify with his opinion of the home as the center of learning and the family as a primary influence on children. The Bible is upheld as an integral part of education. A lifestyle of learning, with children emulating the behavior and character of their parents by working alongside them, is demonstrated through the dramatization.

In listing pastimes that promote thinking skills, Valles discusses reading and writing, crafts, construction toys, and lots of outdoor play. He discourages television, video and computer games, as well as the genre of fantasy books. He encourages children to create their own structures with Legos and other building toys rather than buying "pre-made" sets containing instructions that tell children how to make a specific model.

Watching this DVD had an immediate effect on my family. During history, the girls were coloring a picture of Hammurabi, and I set out a pre-colored example for them to follow. My oldest daughter said, "We should use our thinking skills and not copy the picture." Later when building with Lego Mosaics, my other daughter said she was going to make up a picture instead of using the instructions, in order to use her thinking skills.

Building Thinking Skills in Young People is a great reminder of why we homeschool and how to go about it in a way that promotes wisdom in our children.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, November 2009

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