This article is in collaboration with The Critical Thinking Company™.
Homeschooling parents and their students have a lot of flexibility that public or private school students don’t. The ability to adjust the focus of specific subjects is one of those. Instead of teaching “just” math, parents can teach math with a critical thinking emphasis. This is true of all subjects, and The Critical Thinking Co.™ has workbooks to guide parents, teachers, and students in that direction. Crew members have spent the past several weeks with some of these books.
This award-winning company, founded in 1958, has the sole goal of giving parents and teachers the resources they need to teach students strong critical thinking skills. For this reason, their books don’t contain a specific curriculum but instead challenge students to figure out a reasonable answer by pondering and decoding the questions. This method encourages students to learn how to think instead of simply memorizing what they need to pass a test.
This book is over three hundred pages of full color activities. It covers a wide variety of subjects – reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, as well as preparing them for any standardized tests they may have to take. It’s written at the second and third-grade level and gives students the tools they need to learn critical thinking skills.
Like the Level 1 book, this book gives students in grades 4-6 the critical thinking practice they need. It is over four hundred pages.
For students who have excellent critical thinking skills in other subjects, try this math book for students in grades 4-6. It contains seventy-two pages of math problems designed to help students understand the concepts of fractions, percent, and decimals that sometimes flummox them.
This is another math-only book for upper-middle-school students (grades 7-9). At nearly four hundred pages, this book will give students ample practice to master Algebra I concepts learned in their traditional curriculum.
Thinking Skills for Tests: Early Learning
The main thing standardized tests are used for is to measure a student’s critical thinking skills. These tests can be done relatively young, depending on the state. This book is designed to help the littlest learners begin their critical thinking journey. It is 64 pages and full color and has two parts (purchased separately): the workbook and the teacher guide.
This is another test preparation workbook explicitly designed for the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test®. The OLSAT® is primarily used to identify “gifted” students, and by preparing for the test specifically, students can do much better when presented with those materials. Instead of creating practice problems that mimic the test, this book has taken the concepts that the test assesses and teaches those. In this way, students are prepared for whatever their specific test asks; they won’t be thrown off if a question looks slightly different from what they’ve practiced.
Grammar is a very logical subject, and this book for grades 4-7 teaches students how, why, and when to apply the rules. There are examples of commonly broken grammar rules, followed by explanations to help students understand the rule. Then students can practice using the rule correctly with the exercises in the book.
This is a complete language arts curriculum for students in fourth grade. With over four hundred pages, the full color workbook teaches everything a student this age needs to know regarding language arts, all with a critical thinking spin.
To learn specifically about these books, click the review links below or visit The Critical Thinking Co.™. In addition to the books reviewed by the Crew this year, there are dozens of others for parents to explore and choose from.
The Critical Thinking Co.™ is also on social media.
Thanks to Wendy R. of Ladybug Daydreams for writing this introductory article.