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Taking Homeschool to the Next Level - Developing Higher Level Thinking Skills in Our Children

There is a lot that is involved in educating a child. There’s always a “next level”. It can be very overwhelming to sort and sift through all of the skills, knowledge, and information kids need to know to be successful at the "next level". Our kids need to know all kinds of different facts, processes, concepts, and ideas. But they also need to be able to problem-solve, think critically, analyze, and reason. Concrete ideas and facts are fairly easy to teach and plan lessons around - so how do we develop critical thinking skills in our kids?

There is a tool that some educators use called Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Wheel. This DOK Wheel is divided into four sections:

Level One: Recall - This involves remembering facts and terms. Students will either know or not know the answer. Some verbs included in this level are: identify, memorize, calculate, arrange, recite, match quote

Level Two: Knowledge Application - In this level, students must choose the correct path with given steps to answer a question. Some verbs included in this level are: interpret, predict, construct, compare, classify, graph

Level Three: Strategic Thinking - This level builds on level two in that students answer questions or solve problems that are more abstract. These problems may have more than one answer or there may be more than one way to solve the problem. Some verbs included in this level are: investigate, formulate, hypothesize, critique, revise

Level Four: Critical Thinking - At this level, students are gathering and collecting information from various sources in order to justify their ideas and solve real-world problems. Some verbs included in this level are: prove, analyze, connect, design, create

The idea is that the types of skills listed in “Level One” do not require the same higher-level thinking as those listed in “Level Four”. In order to develop higher-level thinking in kids, try to plan lessons that require your child to do the types of skills listed in levels three and four (the verbs listed in levels three and four are more rigorous and challenging). Should we avoid levels one and two altogether? No - those are important skills, too. And students do not have to master one level of thinking to move up to the next level.

You can find an example of the DOK wheel with some helpful question stems for each level here.

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