We use the Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning. According to this taxonomy, there are 6 steps of critical thinking which includes Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating and Creating. Remembering happens when the kid can narrate what they learned. So more than just answering the questions from the book, I actually like my kids to narrate back to me, either orally or written. You can check out this page for more information on narration.Understanding happens when the kid can translate what he or she learned in his own words. Applying happens when the kids applies what he or she learned in real life situations. Analyzing happens when these things happen: analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates. Evaluating happens when the kid can make sound judgments based on the facts and what he has just learned. Creating happens when the child builds something out of what he has learned.
This has been our guide to creative learning for the past 2 years. So aside from the usual reading of textbooks and answering of the workbooks, I make it a point that my kids make a project about what they have learned. It could be a lapbook or a drawing with a short story or a miniature of the subject. It is not the easy route but you will eventually see that learning takes place not only the child’s mind but also in his heart and life.