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Critical Thinking

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Critical Thinking website

This is another company I am already very familiar with and have highly recommended over and over. When I first started homeschooling I spent quite a bit of time looking over their products, and one of the "gifted and talented" books I read steered me towards the critical thinking website, and highly recommended that every gifted and talented child should at least go through their Building Thinking Skills series. I believe this series can benefit every child out there. 

  While I only received the level two book for review,  I’ll give you a peek at our experience with the Building Thinking Skills series.

 Now when I first started homeschooling 5 years ago, I was a bit price shocked by having to invest in so many different curricula to homeschool with in general, so I will admit I began collecting the whole series of Building Thinking Skills books used.  Back then (4-5 years ago) this series needed both a student book and teacher’s manual to use effectively. My collection of different editions didn’t mesh together exactly, so was a bit confusing to make work, but I was determined so I did what I had to. 

I didn’t start with the primary because my youngest at the time who was 4.5 (Taylor), was already reading, and needing more. So I started both Taylor and Morgan in the level one which is labeled 2-3 grade.

Building Thinking Skills® Level 1

Morgan who was 7 at the time progressed quickly onto level 2 labeled 4-6th grades:

Building Thinking Skills® Level 2

and I must say really enjoyed these books. Taylor finished the level one and moved on into level two over a longer period , but then we took a break for a couple of years from this series to enjoy many of their other products.

The end of last year Morgan (11)  moved on into the Building Thinking Skills Level three books which splits the Figural and Verbal into seperate books (the others have both figural and verbal sections together in one book.)

Building Thinking Skills® Level 3 Figural Building Thinking Skills® Level 3 Verbal

She has worked off and on through the older editions of level three series that we already have. I never ended up with the teachers manuals for either one of the set, so it’s not been quite as effective as it could be. I think the newer editions are certainly much better to include everything you need into one book, but I haven’t actually seen the new editions of Level three.

As I mentioned,Taylor had only just begun work on the level two that we already had, because we had  been enjoying many of the other Critical Thinking books such as Mind Benders,Think-a-Minutes, Math and Language Detectives, Editor in Chief,  Word Roots, and others.  Several of these come in workbook as well as Cd-Rom form. You can get lots of free samples and downloads on their website , but be prepared with lots of extra time because this stuff is so cool you will end up staying for a few hours each time you go back for a look!

Now for our actual "Crew Review" of this series and company, we were sent Building Thinking Skills Level 2. I was soooo hoping for the preschool level for little Levi who is totally ready for this, as well as the new edition level three books , but we did sit down with the level two book and to back through some of the exercises. Since Taylor had started but not finished this book, she is really enjoying going through it again!  The series focuses on critical thinking skills with both figural and verabal methods. There are many spatial exercises such as putting shapes together in the correct manner, identifying a shape that has been turned a certain way, correctly describing shapesin 2-D as well as 3-D, and using vocabulary words to describe other things. It also includes Venn diagrams, and many, many other critical thinking type skills.  My kids say this book just seems like a big puzzle book, and really love the challenges. I always love a book and/or method that makes learning so fun that it doesn’t seem like "school".  I do really LOVE that they put the answers in the new editions of these books so that you don’t need to buy a student and a teacher’s book to go with it. They are $29.99 per level book, except the First Steps preschool level one is $44.99.  

I can’t wait to get started with Levi on the First Steps to Building Thinking Skills which is the Pre-K program for which we already have all the attribute blocks and interlocking cubes. He loves playing with these manipulatives, so I believe he will enjoy the books if and when I am able to order them.  The company does offer some good sales and coupons sometimes, so be on the lookout!

I also want to mention that I really enjoy the eNewsletter they send out, and you can sign up for free on their website. Since I am a catalogue freak, I also love looking through their catalogue at the huge amount of products they have to offer. They not only have great products for critical thinking, but also language arts, reading, math, science and even history, at every grade level.

Go think with your kids!!

Chris

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