As a philosophy professor I enjoy discussing esoteric subjects with my college students. As an unschooling dad I enjoy discussing philosophy with my 5 yo daughter. It may sound strange, but there are many resources available for including philosophy in your homeschool activities. Here are some of the best books to share with your kids.
If you have young kids (4-8 years old) The Philosopher's Club by Christopher Phillips is a great introduction to the kinds of questions and ideas philosophers think about. The emphasis is on the fun of questioning and wonder and the kinds of questions are ones that most kids have fun discussing.
I think philosophy is best introduced to young kids as the fun activity of fostering curiosity and asking questions. Even if the questions are difficult to answer or don't have definite answers, there is still a value in the asking.
Another good book for young kids is Annaka Harris' I Wonder. Like The Philosopher's Club, I Wonder focuses on the joy and wonder of questioning. It is a dialogue between a mother and daughter who wonder together about questions like "Where does gravity come from?" "What was here before everything?" and invites your child to think about "What do you wonder about?"
Mysteries are posed as gifts and opportunities for wonder and questioning. Another great introduction to the joy of philosophy!
For slightly older kids, this book by James White (Philosophy for Kids) offers some good short lessons on specific philosophers through specific questions that are designed to engage children's interest and promote discussion.
A few of the 40 questions raised in the book for discussion include:
How do you know who your friends are?
Should you ever tell a lie?
Should you always listen to the opinions of others?
For older kids there are two great books which pose big questions in a context that teens can appreciate. And, like Philosophy for Kids, each chapter presents a short lesson introducing a specific philosophical thinker. At this age, a great lesson for teens is that they are not alone in wondering about these questions. People have been thinking about these questions for centuries and philosophers offer useful insights that can provide both interesting discussion material and practical insights.
There are activities and thought experiments as well as philosophical questions. Some of the questions raised in Philosophy for Teens include:
What is love?
Is there a difference between health and beauty?
Why do bad things happen to good people?
More Philosophy for Teens continues where Philosophy for Teens left off with deeper philosophical questions and more thought experiments. Some of the questions from the previous book are re-examined with different exercises and activities. At this point, your teen's philosophical thinking will be pretty sophisticated and they will be dealing squarely with serious philosophical questions that continue to interest philosophers today.
If you've gone through the entire set of books, don't be surprised if your teen expresses a strong interest in becoming a philosopher! Even if that doesn't happen you can be sure that your kids will have a firm foundation of critical thinking skills developed and a fairly sophisticated "picture of the world" (to use Wittgenstein's phrase). You can also be sure of having some very interesting dinner table conversations!