Friday, February 18, 2011

Review of Critical Thinking Co. Books

 I have long been a fan of The Critical Thinking Co.'s Logic series (Building Thinking Skills), so I was very excited to receive free from Timberdoodle, in exchange for my review, copies of Mathematical Reasoning Levels C and D and Building Thinking Skills Level 2.

The Critical Thinking Co.'s Mathematical Reasoning books cover a year's worth of math skills in a brightly colored, beautifully illustrated large soft cover book.  This is definitely not Saxon Math! According to The Critical Thinking Co.'s website, the program is aligned to national standards and contains a full year's curriculum.  Levels C and D, which I am reviewing here, cover 2nd and 3rd grades.
While my other math curricula cover things like the temperature example above, none covers it so...gently as does The Critical Thinking Co.  By using such vivid and fun pictures, the lesson is driven home in a concrete way without ever cluing a child into the fact that he has learned a key math concept.  Like other popular math programs, Mathematical Reasoning takes a spiral approach, which both reinforces the concepts taught, and keeps children from getting bogged down in one particular concept area.

My children have really enjoyed working with these books, largely because it doesn't feel to them like they are doing school!

The downside of these books for me is that, because my kids are used to a much more rigorous approach to math, there is no way that these books actually constitute a full year's math program.  For a child who might be reluctant to do math, however, I believe that these books would be a Godsend.  As hard as it will be for them to believe, they will be doing school! What a break for moms who experience meltdowns at the mention of math.

Building Thinking Skills is actually the true strength of The Critical Thinking Co.'s line of products, in my opinion.  These books have a little bit of everything, but all of the activities are geared toward developing a student's logic skills.  There are analogies, spatial reasoning puzzles, and math puzzles, to name a few.  My oldest daughter is thrilled to work in this book.  If she ever has a few minutes between assignments, this is what she pulls out.  It is self-teaching, and with the available Teacher's Guide, self-correcting.  My daughter definitely does not think of this book as work.  In fact, she doesn't even have to be in school to reach for it!

 I love that analogies are introduced to younger students.  The ability to understand them will not only lead to a higher SAT score in the future, but it truly does develop critical thinking skills.

I would strongly encourage parents to check out The Critical Thinking Co.'s line of products, available from Timberdoodle.  Buying through Timberdoodle not only gives you the best customer service in the homeschooling world, but it earns you 5% back on all your purchases, redeemable as Timberdoodle purchases!  There are many wonderful Critical Thinking Co. products from which to choose, and the purchase could end up being just the energy injection you've been searching for to liven up your homeschool.