Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Critical Thinking Company (A Homeschool Crew Review)

DISCLAIMER:  I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew


 For the last few weeks, the kids have been expanding their vocabulary using Vocabulary Virtuoso: Mastering Middle School Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™ . This digital vocabulary workbook for middle school students helps to increase vocabulary, stimulates imagination, and boosts standards-based language arts skills and teaches 180 PSAT vocabulary words.

Vocabulary Virtuoso is a middle school level vocabulary curriculum that includes 15 weeks of activities that help to expand students vocabulary.  This curriculum is a 164 page, printable PDF file that includes activities such as identifying words, using them correctly in given sentences, and having students write their own sentences using the words each week. Each lesson contains definitions, pronunciation keys, parts of speech, and alternate choices for each word made up of synonyms, idioms, and/or phrases.

Each week, students are given a list of 12 words that would not typically be used in everyday conversation.  Following the vocabulary list, there are 6 activities that follow that use these words to be used throughout the week.  These activities start pretty simple and work their way up to show better understanding of the words given. 


For the first activity, students are given sentences along with three word options in which they choose the correct word to use. Students simply select the correct word that works for the sentence and then circle their answer. 

Each activity becomes a bit more difficult and requires the student to begin to not only recognize the word but also learn to add case endings to the words.  For the second exercise, students are given a word bank with the words (some of them with ending such as -ed or -ing) in which they have to identify the correct word to complete the sentence. 

The third exercise requires the student to fill words in to complete a story. Again, a list is given at the top of the page, and students must identify the correct word to use for the story. 

The next exercise has the student reading a sentence and then unscrambling the letters to form the correct word to complete the sentence.  No word bank is given for the words this time and students must use comprehension to identify the word. 

The sixth activity asked the student to look at the word and identify an idiom or phrase that defines the word, however, these do not echo the definitions found at the original list of words.  This requires the student to think about what the idiom/definition might mean and then translate that to the original definition of the word. 

The final activity asks students to write their own sentences for the words, using their own words and not copying sentences from the previous activities.

How We Used It

We have really enjoyed adding this vocabulary exercise to our daily language arts time.  I simply load the PDF file up onto my computer each week and print out the weekly activities for the kids. (License for this product allows for parents to print as many copies as are necessary for their own private use). Each morning, we complete one activity from the packet (with two activities being completed on Friday). 

Ashleigh and Garrett completing their daily vocabulary exercise

The kids have really seemed to enjoy these activities and have had a good time learning new words such as "Legerdemain", "Spelunker" and "Juggernaut".  I have also noticed that they have been using their new words in various conversations which has been extremely impressive.  


For example, one of our words one week was "egregious" and Ashleigh later that week mentioned that running out of cereal was the most egregious of crimes. I've also heard words such as "heinous", "serendipitous" and "mundane" used lately, all words that have come from the vocabulary lists. 

Even Licky likes this curriculum

Another thing we found was that we found explore rabbit holes in regards to some of the sentences that we have completed.  One particular lesson, using the word "legerdemain" involved David Copperfield, the magician who was extremely popular in the 80s and early 90s.  This led us to watching some Youtube videos of him performing magic tricks such as making both the Statue of Liberty and a small leer jet disappear, which the kids thought was pretty cool.  They then took time out to research on their own how he performed these tricks which led to a really great understanding of what "legerdemain" actually means. 

Overall, we've been very happy with this vocabulary curriculum and the kids have responded well to it.  Just hearing them use the new words that they are learning in conversation lets me know that they are paying attention and are expanding their vocabulary each week with these new list of words.

To learn more about The Critical Thinking Co.™ , Visit their website. You can also find them on the following social media sites.




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1 comment:

  1. That's so exciting that your kids are using their newfound vocabulary words in real life!


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