This article is in collaboration with The Critical Thinking Co.
Most homeschoolers will tell you they have one main goal for their children: to become lifelong learners. As a group, we generally aren’t interested in “teaching the test” except in specific circumstances; we want our children to learn how to think for themselves and how to learn independently—and more specifically, how to want to learn. These are skills that will last them their entire lives. One of the main aspects of learning to learn is critical thinking, and The Critical Thinking Co.™ has that goal in mind with every resource they publish.
The Critical Thinking Co.™ was founded by John Baker in 1958 and remains a family business to this day. Now run by his son, Michael Baker (John passed away in 2008) and his three sons, the company strives to be a blessing to children and their educators—whether parents or teachers. They donate thousands of books to underprivileged children every single year.
No matter what age your children are or what subject you need extra help in teaching, The Critical Thinking Co.™ has you covered. They offer books and resources for children Pre-K to 12 (and beyond), and in every subject imaginable. They even have full curriculum options for every single grade. If your kids are needing help with standardized testing, you’ll surely find something from The Critical Thinking Co.™ that will guide you in your student’s endeavors, no matter what they are. And the company is so sure you’ll be happy with their products, they offer a full money-back guarantee.
If you’re still not sure, you can find plenty of free resources on their website to “try before you buy,” including worksheets (printable samples directly from their books) and software demos. You can even find a critical thinking quiz and see how good of a critical thinker you are!
Today, though, let’s focus on just a few of their books. Members of the Crew were able to choose from six different books (available as physical copies or e-books) to review.
Building Thinking Skills® Beginning 2 is a large book for your preschooler because it’s important to teach critical thinking skills from as young an age as possible! If you’ve taught a Kindergartner (or a few), then you know that most of the time, they guess at the answer rather than trying to figure out the correct response. This book is designed to combat that reflex in the little kids. Using full-color pages, this book is also an excellent resource for test prep, if your state requires that.
Tell Me a Story is also for the younger set. This book encourages pre-reading skills by focusing on the pictures in the story. There are questions for you to guide your child in, but the focus is on them telling the story to you. This encourages them to learn vital skills such as observation, cause and effect, sequence of events, and more.
Next up is one more book for young kids: Science Mind Benders®: Animals. Designed for children ages 3–8, this book teaches critical thinking through a topic almost all children adore: animals. If you’re looking for a science curriculum for a young child (Pre-K or K), this might be a good choice for you. It would also be an appropriate supplement for a child in grades 1 or 2. The book teaches basic zoology topics such as vertebrates vs invertebrates, warm vs cold-blooded animals, types of animals (fish, birds, amphibians, etc), and more. Printed in full color, this 88-page book has a wide variety of activities sure to help any child learn.
With Science Vocabulary Crossword Puzzles, we move on to books for the older crowd. This book is designed for older elementary students (grades 4–6) who already know how to read and have a basic understanding of science and science terms. The 25 crossword puzzles are perfect for reinforcing science vocabulary and the ability to rely on (or develop) reference skills.
Moving away from literature and science, we have Understanding Fractions, a book for elementary students learning their fractions for the first time. Designed to supplement any curriculum, the activities in this book make it easy for you to teach your child fractions. It covers everything from “what is a fraction” to finding common denominators in order to add and subtract fractions.
Vocabulary Virtuoso: Mastering Middle School Vocabulary is an ideal resource for middle school students who are likely to be headed to college, or just want to expand their vocabulary. The large book (over 150 pages) covers 180 PSAT vocabulary words over 15 lessons. Students are taught the critical thinking skills necessary to infer definitions of the words through context clues, and the words are used in various forms so that students will learn to recognize the many variations of each word.
The Critical Thinking Co.™ has much, much more than these six books, so we encourage you to check out their website for yourself. You will almost certainly find something that will bless your homeschool and make sure you’re encouraging critical thinking in your home!
Thank you to Wendy Robertson of Ladybug Day Dreams for writing this article.
Wendy has been married to her high school sweetheart, Will, for over 20 years. Together they have five sons ages 3-17. Her sons have been homeschooled from the beginning, giving her 13 years of home education experience. She is an avid knitter and crocheter, and blogs at Ladybug Daydreams, posting twice a week – once about homeschooling and once about another random topic (books, yarn, recipes, and more).
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from members of the Homeschool Review Crew!