A Case of Red Herrings

Learning to think critically can be fun! We love this series and I wanted to share it with you.

I bought the red herring books years ago and used them with my older kids. Yesterday, while I was hunting through the cupboard for my son’s copywork book (Why do notebooks go missing that we use nearly every day?! Has anyone solved the riddle of how the materials we use most are the hardest to find?), I stumbled on this little book by Critical Thinking. I realized my younger kids had never had the fun of solving these mini-linguistic mysteries.

So after our copywork time, I pulled out the book and handed it to my ten year old. For the next hour, she read the puzzles to us (Jacob – 15, and me – much older than that!). We asked questions that would elicit a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response to try to solve them. Caitrin really enjoyed reading the puzzles, looking up the answers and then having to determine how to answer our questions. While I’ve always seen the value in asking the questions and trying to solve these linguistic riddles (because so much hinges on how you understand the words in the original problems), it was fascinating to watch her try to figure out what our questions meant in light of the answers. Both sides experienced the challenge of thinking in new ways.

Below is a sample riddle. Click here for the solution. See if you and your family can solve it.

A woman put on a heavy coat and left home for the rest of they day.

It was neither raining nor cold outside.

Why would she do this?

Good luck! If you want to purchase the Red Herrings series, I found them at a school supplies store in my area, but you can also order them online from Amazon.com and many homeschool providers.

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