Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent's Guide to Growing Wise Kids in the Digital Age - book cover
Science & Math
Behavioral Sciences
  • Publisher : TarcherPerigee
  • Published : 01 Feb 2022
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN-10 : 0593192281
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593192283
  • Language : English

Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent's Guide to Growing Wise Kids in the Digital Age

A guide for parents to help children of all ages process the onslaught of unfiltered information in the digital age.

Education is not solely about acquiring information and skills across subject areas, but also about understanding how and why we believe what we do. At a time when online media has created a virtual firehose of information and opinions, parents and teachers worry how students will interpret what they read and see. Amid the noise, it has become increasingly important to examine different perspectives with both curiosity and discernment. But how do parents teach these skills to their children?

Drawing on more than twenty years' experience homeschooling and developing curricula, Julie Bogart offers practical tools to help children at every stage of development to grow in their ability to explore the world around them, examine how their loyalties and biases affect their beliefs, and generate fresh insight rather than simply recycling what they've been taught. Full of accessible stories and activities for children of all ages, Raising Critical Thinkers helps parents to nurture passionate learners with thoughtful minds and empathetic hearts.

Editorial Reviews

"In a world where too many people think they know what isn't so, there are few skills more vital than critical thinking and rethinking. This is the guide parents need to teach their kids to become thoughtful consumers of information."
–Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again

"Julie Bogart is a brilliant educator who's written a wonderful book that shows us how to nurture children's ability to think critically and carefully. Each chapter offers dozens of questions, lessons, and exercises for helping learners understand their biases, evaluate the sources from which they get information, and consider other perspectives. These tools can enable students from kindergarten through high school to experience the joys of discovery and insight, and they can help young people grow into compassionate adults who want to make a positive contribution to their world. Read this book and use it. Your children and students will thank you, and you'll learn a lot about yourself, too!"
-William Stixrud, PhD, bestselling coauthor of The Self-Driven Child

"There is no one I know whose wise counsel I would trust more than Julie Bogart when it comes to teaching our children (and ourselves!) how to think. Critical thinking has never been more important, and Julie arrived just when we needed her. This book is a must for anyone who wants to raise children to be thoughtful, kind, and independent."
-Sharon McMahon, creator of Sharon Says So

"Raising Critical Thinkers
is a must-read for parents and teachers. It speaks to the deep need for raising and educating children (both at home and in the classroom) to do much more than accept, memorize, and restate. Julie masterfully provides the tools to guide children in growing the ability to think-while also challenging readers to reflect on their own critical-thinking skills in the process. It is a gold mine of learning for all."
-Susie Allison, creator of Busy Toddler and author of Busy Toddler's Guide to Actual Parenting

"Raising Critical Thinkers encourages us to grow courageous children who respect evolving beliefs, value intellectual honesty, and consider context as they read and experience the world. The journey I took with this book was thought-provoking, and every chapter expanded my parenting priorities in a glorious way."
-Amber O'Neal Johnston, author of A Place to Belong

"Critical thinking is not merely a test of fact vs. fiction. In this timely and actionable primer, Julie Bogart teaches us how imagination, self-awareness, empathy, and introspection make true critical thinking possible. These are crucial lessons for children and parents alike."
-Ximena Vengoechea, author of Listen Like You Mean It...

Readers Top Reviews

Once again, Julie has me rethinking how I parent, how I approach teaching my children, and how I engage with the world as well. I highly recommend this book to all parents and educators!
Pittdrum98 MsMa
This book is such a great book on teaching our kids to evaluate the information streams they have coming in on a daily basis. I loved the personalized stories Julie wrote in the book along with the research that went into helping our kids love learning.
CBDPittdrum98 M
Reading this book felt like taking a deep breath - instantly clarifying and calming. In her signature approachable, engaging style, Julie Bogart gives parents like me the roadmap we need for raising capable, engaged and independent thinkers. Being a parent right now feels really hard, and it’s a daily challenge to wade through information as a mom - much less teach my kids how to do it. As a researcher, educator, and mom of five kids she’s successfully launched into adulthood, Julie brings us common sense, wisdom and encouragement in this sane and fact-filled guidebook. Grab a few of your parent (or grandparent!) friends, put some tea on and start a book club around this one. These ideas are meant to be shared!
Raising Critical Thinkers is a valuable book for every parent. Whether we realize it or not, we are always imparting our beliefs, perspectives, biases, worldviews, interpretations, opinions, and prejudices (and if you don’t think you have them, well, you’ll sure realize you do throughout this book!) to our children and it is important to recognize, evaluate, and possibly change or release ones that are no longer serving us or are harmful. In Raising Critical Thinkers, Julie Bogart helps us learn how to reflect on and evaluate them in ourselves and how to curiously seek to understand them in others (including our children, our spouses/partners, our communities, and yup, even those we deem our opposition!). Since reading the book, I've found myself seriously considering the source of the perspectives of people I interact with. I really like that! If you’re worried that there will be commentary or obnoxious rants about hot political issues, religion, or any other divisive problem in our society today, there isn’t. I was specifically looking for it and it was not there. What you will learn about is how to stay connected to and in relationship with people even when you disagree, and in fact maybe you’ll learn to at least begin to value those disagreements as a way to learn more about others. Raising Critical Thinkers will help you learn skills to cultivate your relationship with your kids and invite their perspectives, thoughts, and feelings so that you’ll increase the trust in your relationship. You’ll learn how to focus on problem-solving rather than finding the “right” answer. There is plenty of practical help, even in the form of specific questions to consistently work into your conversations with your family to increase everyone’s capacity for critical thinking. If you’re looking for a book that will help you develop skills to learn more about yourself and others, defuse divisive discussions, and create connection through disagreements, you will value Raising Critical Thinkers and learn a lot from Julie’s wise perspective and winsome writing style.
Jacqueline ViockL
In a world where we are now flooded with information on a daily basis trying to teach our children how to discern truth without bias is such a difficult task, Julie Bogart has given us such a wonderful gift with this book. Julie pairs well sourced up to date research with sage personal narrative that leaves a parent feeling up to the task of helping their child to skillfully discern any topic they encounter from language arts, current events, to navigating social media. The activities included in the book are helpful and fun for the whole family to look closer at how we shape our views that help us think critically. A must read for any parent, another marvelous book by this author.

Short Excerpt Teaser


I knelt next to boxes of opened letters addressed to my grandparents scattered on the carpet in the living room. My two aunts and I paged through each one to determine which to keep and which to toss. My beloved Bapa had died. His wife survived him, but she suffered from dementia.

I popped open the top of a more recent box of letters. These had been written within the last year. No stamps. I stripped the vanilla pages from their unsealed envelopes to discover love letters penned by my grand-father to his wife of sixty plus years. Eva had lost the ability to speak coherently and had forgotten her own name. My heart squeezed, imag-ining my grandfather writing to the woman he had loved for decades, willing her to understand, knowing she couldn't read a word. My Bapa's beautiful penmanship curled into paragraphs of memory.He wrote, "Eva, remember when we climbed the little hilltop to-gether, where I first made love to you?"

My jaw dropped. My Catholic grandfather- talking about his 1930s love affair with my grandmother before they were married. I stopped my two aunts from their estate duties. "June, Shevawn, listen to this!"

I read the paragraph aloud, and the much younger of my two aunts, Shevawn, whooped, declaring, "And they lectured me about the sanctity of my virginity before marriage! What's up with that?"

My other, more serious and older aunt, a professor of ethics and religion and a former nun, immediately capped our howling laughter. "That can't mean what you think it means!" She avoided saying the words. I did not: "You mean sex? Come on, June! Imagine Eva, Phil? Taking a roll in the hay on the hill where they first declared their love for each other? It's romantic! Incredible!" I teased her to lighten the mood.

She wasn't amused, but Shevawn laughed louder. After a moment, June leaked a small smile, considering the torrid possibility of her parents having sex before marriage, and gently told us to calm down, that we had work to do. She had allowed herself the possibility of my interpretation- a moment of amusement- but she would not be swayed from her task.

I enjoyed this impromptu sitcom moment. I knew the complexity of the ideas in conflict. In the 1930s, to "make love" to someone meant to put the moves on the woman of your dreams. It didn't mean to have sex, the way it does today. But this letter had landed us in trickier territory. My Bapa hadn't written this note in 1937. He'd written it in 1997. He referenced an experience from the 1930s, yet recorded it in the full light of the late-twentieth century. Certainly, he knew the changing times and the way sexual innuendo had altered the meaning of those two words. Yet perhaps he was calling back to a previous meaning deliberately. Did he use that old- time language to jar his wife's confused mind into re-calling a sweeter period of her life? Or was he expressing nostalgia for his own memories using the idiom of that day? Or had we stumbled on a deathbed revelation- a confession- a scandal and secret he had kept until his dying day- that he and Eva, the lifelong Catholics, had been lovers before they were married?

My aunt June wanted her parents to be good Catholics for their entire lives. My younger aunt Shevawn wanted them to be rebels, revealing a long-hidden willingness to put their own values ahead of church doctrine. Each of these interpretations matched the sisters' per-sonalities and had less to do with my grandparents than the story my aunts wanted to tell themselves about their parents. Later that weekend, I ribbed my mother that her Catholic parents may have had sex before marriage after all. She chuckled and dismissed the notion as ridiculous. Her memory of growing up Catholic with these parents shaped her beliefs- no late- in- life letter could alter what she knew about her parents.

You're probably wondering: Who was right? That's the essence of critical thought right there. We take data, experiences, language, mem-ories, and beliefs and mix them together to form opinions. In this case, my family never agreed on the correct connotation of the "making love" idiom as written in the letter. My Bapa had passed on. Whatever the meaning, it had died with him. For me, the love letter remains a deli-cious enigma- one of those delightful paradoxes of textual interpre-tation that reminds me that critical thinking doesn't always lead to airtight conclusions.

The ability to evaluate evidence, to notice bias as it kicks into gear, to consider a variety of perspectives (even if they make you uncom-fortable), and then to render a possible verdict- what you believe to b...