Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Timberdoodle Review~ Critical Thinking Co.

I was so excited to try out three of the books from the Critical Thinking Press provided to me by Timberdoodle

The first one I opened up was Math Reasoning Level B which is for the first grade level.  My 6 year old daughter was between math books when I received it.  She had completed a first grade math curriculum but I was eager for her to review and master some concepts with a fresh approach.  When I opened up the workbook I was greeted with 264 bright, colorful pages.  The pages were not crowded or chaotic.  My daughter took to it instantly.  I was impressed with Critical Thinking Co's math vocabulary and how they applied it to this level.  For instance, instead of asking the kids to draw a line to match objects, they use the term "line segment" thus laying the groundwork for proper term usage preparing them for advanced math.  Besides that, when your six year old busts out with "that's a line segment" in a group of parents, it makes you look like a fabulous teacher :)
The book itself was written to the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and  offers an introduction for the parent to understand the approach that is being taken.  It goes over numbers and operations, geometry, time and measurement.  It was just the thing I needed to bridge math for my daughter who wasn't quite ready for a second grade level.  She willingly picks up this book and does two pages without being asked.  This book could easily be used with an advanced Kindergartner or an average first grader.  At $39.99 it offers a well rounded math curriculum for one year.

I chose Building Thinking Skills Book 3 Figural for my 14 year old daughter. I had forgotten that in the past I have previously used Critical Thinking skill books for busy independent work.  When I showed her the book and asked her to work a page a day she gladly agreed.  This book is 259 black and white pages of building figural thinking skills through the use of similarities, analogies, classifications and sequences for $29.99.  I really think of this book as a brain sharpener.  The concepts are presented clearly and again the pages are not crowded.  A full answer key is included in the back of the book.  Building Critical Thinking Skills Level 3 figural can be used for grades 7-12+.  The 12+ is for adults like me who can't help but grab the book and do a page or two just to clear out the cobwebs of the ole brain.

My 13 year old got to help me review Editor In Chief B1 offered at  $16.99.  She is the writer out of the five kids, so I figured this might help her fine tune her writing.  Editor In Chief B1 is a workbook for grades 6-8 which put her in the mid range to do this book.  It has 33 exercises in just as many black and white pages.  Each exercise is presented like the sample page below.  The student is given a picture with a true caption and a paragraph that has errors.  The errors can range from grammar to content.  Each exercise lists how many errors the student should find.  We found it difficult at first to count the errors as we would sometimes count two when the text considered it to be just one.  Despite the initial frustration with figuring out how it was done, this workbook opened up opportunities for us to discuss the errors and talk about what she perceived as errors compared to the answer key in the back.  Some of the errors just plain made us laugh as homophones were used incorrectly.  I added this book in as a busy independent workbook for my daughter to sharpen her writing skills.  I like the concept enough to have her continue working on one or two exercise a week.

All three of these workbooks can be found at You can check out their Free Homeschool Catalog filled with tons of amazing products while you are there.  

 Disclaimer: I received copies of these workbooks for free in exchange for an honest review

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