Monday, March 29, 2010

TOS Crew Review -- Critical Thinking

Homepage - The Critical Thinking Company

Although many consider logic an advanced subject belonging only in high school or college level courses, the Critical Thinking Company has created materials to help parents begin laying the foundation for sound logical reasoning.

Logic carries special weight for Christians. We want to be ready to give an answer to those that ask. We also want to defend our faith as necessary in the face of challengers, and perhaps most importantly, we want to arm our children to identify faulty reasoning and not become swayed by illogical doctrines and arguments against their faith in Jesus Christ.

Balance Benders won't accomplish all of that, but they will introduce the concept of logic in a way that even primary students can begin to understand by looking for correlations, applying established truths, and combining multiple properties to evaluate a problem.

Product: Balance Benders
Details: A workbook put out by the Critical Thinking Company that offers 40 puzzles that will stretch your child's logic and algebraic reasoning. Designed for students in 2-6 grade the book offers tips that cover basic algebraic concepts needed to solve the problems and the solutions. They also offer three other books that increase in difficulty for older students.
Price: $9.99

What we loved . . .
  • Open up and dig in. This book requires no prep work. You simply open up the workbook and start working. You can begin by going over the tips in the back so the student understands expectations more clearly. My 5th and 7th graders had no trouble jumping in without any explanation other than the directions on the given page.
  • Great logic workout. Logic plays such a critical role in so many subjects, and this is a simple way to begin discussing not just algebraic concepts, but logic concepts that will help your child in a myriad of subjects. Some kids seem to naturally have an easier time reasoning logically, but all students can benefit from growth in this area.
  • Sturdy workbook. Paperback, but the pages are fairly thick and durable. They are perforated and the original purchaser is allowed to copy as much as needed for in family or one classroom use. Many of these we just discussed the answers out loud rather than writing or even needing to copy the pages. This worked well for our kids.
  • Addictive. I don't know if this is a positive or not, but we definitely enjoyed figuring out the puzzles. My oldest (7th grade) quickly went through the whole book. Obviously, he would enjoy one of the higher level books, and I will definitely have to look into them. For me, I needed my fifth grader to help me on the last couple . . .

Some considerations . . .

  • Just the beginning. This is a short term use workbook. Even if you use just one puzzle a day it will only last you for 40 days (about a couple months of school). This would be an easy and beneficial addition to workboxes for those of you that go that route.
  • Students vary. While a fifth grader might find these a frustration, some second graders might fly through them. Each child is very different in this area regardless of other academic achievement. As I mentioned, my fifth grader is stronger in this area than I am. But, every child can progress, learn, and benefit from foundational logical reasoning instruction.
We really had a great time with this book of puzzles. It is educational and entertaining. I would highly recommend this series of workbooks if you are looking to add this to your routine or even to work on occasionally with your kids individually or as a group. You might even find yourself enjoying taking a look through it.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This workbook was provided to me free of charge from Critical Thinking Company as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

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