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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: The Critical Thinking Co.™

The Critical Thinking Co.™

 The Critical Thinking Co.™  publishes fun, award winning, easy to use products that help students achieve better academic skills.  They learn to analyze what they are learning and apply critical thinking to their lives.  Over the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review Understanding Pre-Algebra.

The Critical Thinking Co.™

 Understanding Pre-Algebra  ($42.99) is a 448 page paperback book for grades 6-8.  The pages are perforated for easy removal if you choose. It is a full math curriculum, not a supplement.  This course teaches the concepts and skills necessary for students to be able to tackle Algebra 1.  The book is arranged so that concepts are presented in a logical order with clear connection to other concepts. The book is written to the student with color examples and diagrams shown allowing children to work independently.  The back of the book contains a glossary defining mathematical terms, reference sheets, and an answer key.  No separate teacher book is required.  The book is a workbook style with space for the answers but at times students may need extra paper to work out their problems.

There are 15 chapters in Understanding Pre-Algebra including:

Family of Numbers
Working with Integers
Working with Rational Numbers
Ratio, Proportion, and Percent
Percent Applications
Algebraic Expressions
Equations and Solving Word Problems
Inequalities and Applications
Understanding Square Roots and Irrational Numbers
Two Dimensional Geometry
Understanding Volume and Surface Area
Graphing on the Coordinate Plane
Transformations and Congruency
Understanding Functions
Probability  and Statistics

I received the physical copy of Understanding Pre-Algebra.  It is also available as an ebook for the same price.  I have been using this with my almost 13 year old son who just finished 6th grade.  He has been completing 2-3 pages daily. He is not very strong in math and I was a little worried he would not be ready for Pre-Algebra but wanted to give it a try to see.  I have been pleasantly surprised!

One of the first things I liked about Understanding Pre-Algebra was that even though it is written to the student it does not have a lot of required reading for each lesson. Concepts are explained in a concise, easy to understand format.  Plenty of examples are given to show the student what is being explained.  Color charts and number lines are used.  Important things for the student to remember are "highlighted" in a colored block.  This reminds the students that they need to pay attention to those items. Tips and tricks are given to help students understand the concepts. We liked the Cowboy Story.  I wished I had that for one of my older sons who had a really hard time with positives and negatives.

I think there are a good amount  problems so the student can practice what they have learned, not too many or too few.  As I mentioned above some of the work will require a separate piece of paper to work out the problems.  At least one or two questions on each page asks the student to explain their thinking when they give an answer.  This really helps them figure out the "why" behind the answers to the problems. Many real word problems are used which I love.

Having the answers in the back of the book comes in very handy.  I love that no other teacher manual is required.  The glossary is a great tool to have in case the student forgets what a natural number or a polynomial is.

Before this review, I have used a few other products from The Critical Thinking Co.™, but I did not know that they had full math curriculum.  We have been very impressed with Understanding Pre-Algebra and will continue to use it for our math curriculum this year.

 The Critical Thinking Co.™ is offering free puzzles delivered weekly to your inbox.  Choose Pre-K-Grade 8.  A $75 value.  https://www.criticalthinking.com/toscrew

Members of The Crew reviewed a variety of products from The Critical Thinking Co.™ including: Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 , Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha, Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary, Dare to Compare Level 1, Vocabulary Riddles Book 1 .

Stop by the Crew Blog to read the reviews!

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