Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review of Critical Thinking Co.

Disclaimer: I received Crypto Mind Benders free in exchange for my honest review.  And, honestly? I love it! My oldest daughter (10) has been a fan of Critical Thinking Co. for a couple of years now, but this book is, by far, her favorite.  Combining two of her favorite things (logic problems and the quotations of famous people), this book provides a great mental workout and hours of fun.  We didn't treat the book like an element of school.  Instead, working in it was one of the incentives I gave Therese for finishing her school work! The book has followed us everywhere: it has gone to Tae Kwon Do (where my husband had a blast working in it with Therese), dance, the dentist's office, and Grandmother's house.  I'm actually a little worried that she'll be sad when she finishes it. Fortunately, there are several other titles in the series!

Why is this book so wonderful? Several things: first, there are no word problems. Word problems just don't agree with the way some children learn, so removing them from the equation makes these exercises applicable to a larger audience.  Second, there is a payoff for getting the right answer: you get to see the quotation at the bottom revealed.  Third, I firmly believe that there is no better training for the brain than logic problems, and these are among the best.  When I was studying for the GRE, I read that doing logic problems could increase me score, as they train a particular part of the brain.  I had always loved them, but began to do them in earnest.  Like other logic problems, these have so much packed into one puzzle! There are only a few clues, but there is so much information to be extracted from those clues! Having to be so precise and complete in your work really forces you to pay attention and not allow for any lazy habits.  Hence, these logic problems also promote patience and attention to detail in one's work.

Finally, although the book is recommended for Grades 3-12, even adults can have fun with it.  It is a great way to bring the non-homeschooling parent to the table (so to speak)! The book can also be used as a center or as a reward for work well done.  For example, if your child does a great job with math M-T, maybe she can work in this book on F instead of doing her regular math.

Crypto Mind Benders Famous Quotations from The Critical Thinking Co. is available for $10.99, and it is worth every cent.  I plan to buy more in this series.  For other opinions, see the Crew blog.

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