Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Critical Thinking Co.™ (A Homeschool Crew Review)

One of the reasons I continue to homeschool my students is because it seems these days, students are taught the various tests that they must take to graduate from public schools.  This means they are expected to memorize and regurgitate a large amount of material, but they never really learn that material, much less learn to analyze the information and dig deeper into what that information means in both practical and real-life situations.

The Critical Thinking Co. understands that students need to develop their critical thinking skills in addition to just memorizing information.  Members of the crew have been reviewing their choice of 6 different workbooks from The Critical Thinking Co. with their students to work on these valuable skills.  Our family chose to review Dare to Compare Level 1, which asks students to use mathematical calculations to make comparisons and come to an ultimate decision to answer complicated word problem.

About The Critical Thinking Co.

Established in 1958, The Critical Thinking Co. has set a goal of producing award-winning products that help students to achieve better academic results as they sharpen their reading, writing, math, science and history skills while improving their critical thinking abilities.  By creating lessons that require the student to analyze what they are reading and learning, their hopes is that students improve both their grades as well as test scores as they learn to analyze information and use higher critical thinking skills to apply that information to their classwork and lives.  The Critical Thinking Co. does not believe in drill and memorization but instead believe that the development of these critical thinking skills produces better results.

About Dare to Compare Level 1

Written for students Grades 4-5, Dare to Compare Level 1 is a 96-page digital download book that contains 50 pages of word problems as well as pages of hints and solutions for each of the problems.  (A physical workbook is also available for purchase for those who prefer.) Pages are in black/white greyscale format, making the workbook both easy and cost-efficient to print.

The digital workbook does require downloading an executable file to your computer running Windows 7, 8 or 10.  Currently, it is only available for the Windows OS but a Mac OS X version is currently in the works. 

To access the workbook, the executable file must be installed a serial number for proof of purchase must be entered to register the file.  Once installed and registered, simply click the icon to open the workbook and pages can be printed from the program.

Each problem is designed in such a way that students must work multiple steps to derive the answers necessary and then compare those answers to each other.  For example, the student might be asked to determine which jar has the most volume, but students must first determine the volume when they are told how much volume must be added to fill the jar.

Other questions might as for students to compare distances traveled by multiple vehicles at different speeds, to compare the square area of two pieces of land or to figure out the prices of items purchased.  Altogether, there are 150 individual questions for students to solve.

Since we are working with the digital version of the workbook, I was able to simply print out a few pages from the workbook each week and then we would work each problem out together, step by step, on our dry erase board.  We found this worked really well for us, as I could give the kids the dry erase marker and have them talk their way through working out the problems.

Dare to Compare Level 1 is considered a supplement and that's exactly how we decided to use it.  One could easily work through the workbook starting with the first question and then working straight to question 150 or you could pick and choose questions to coincide with current lessons for reinforcement of the material or even past lessons for a review.

Since Garrett and Ashleigh are currently learning Multiplication and Division, I tried to focus more on questions that focused on those particular skills.

On this particular problem, the kids had to calculate the total length of three wooden fences  and then determine which fence had the longest perimeter.

I've been very happy including these questions as part of math drills for the kids each day and the kids seem to enjoy them just as much.  Ashleigh has even said that they are "fun" and this is the kid who hates math almost as much as her mother does.  I really like how each question has multiple parts to it, making the kids actually think about what they have to do to figure out the final answer.  Overall, it's a great workbook to work on math skills and at a price of $10.59 (for either the digital or paperback version), it's a solid investment for a great math supplement.

#TheCriticalThinkingCo #HSReviews

For more information about The Critical Thinking Co. be sure to visit their website. You can also find them on the following social media sites:

Also, The Critical Thinking Co. has a few special offers that I would like to bring to your attention.

Free Critical Thinking Puzzles!
This is a great way to "test drive" materials from The Critical Thinking Co.
 and get a good feel for them.  By signing up and choosing a grade level between PreK through Grade 8, you can have Free Critical Thinking Puzzles delivered to your inbox weekly.  This is a $75 Value! Sign Up at:

Special Offer from CriticalThinking.com!
Second, readers can get Free Shipping + 15% Off Any Size Order!  Simply use the coupon code: TOSCREW18 to get both discounts. This coupon expires on 12/31/2018.

While we reviewed Dare to Compare Level 1, members of the Crew were allowed to select their review item from 6 different selections that cover a large variety of subjects for all grade levels. Be sure to click the banner below to read the other Crew reviews today.

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

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