Critical Thinking Co. A Timberdoodle Review

Heather —  January 19, 2011

I love it when our homeschooling is moving ahead with everyone pretty confident about their coursework and content with their schedules.

But, the reality of teaching several kids at different stages often translates into learning curves for all of us as we go through the year.

While most of our curriculum is working this year, I noticed a few things that needed tweaking. Two things stood out to me:

  1. Nick needed more English—especially Grammar practice
  2. Emma was bored with her Math

As I did not want to change up my major curriculum choices, I was not quite sure what to do. Luckily for me, I happened to get a chance to review some homeschool curriculum from Timberdoodle and The Critical Thinking Press.

I was inspired by the bright colors and entertaining artwork of The Critical Thinking Co. books. I liked the theme of challenging kids to think–developing critical thinking habits is an integral part of all their products.

And, I liked the idea of supplementing our current schedule with some items that would appeal to the kids and filled an important need in our curriculum.

As I was able to choose some books to fit the children, I chose Math Reasoning Level A (kindergarten) for Emma, and Editor In Chief C2, for Nick.

The book for Emma was an instant hit and totally solved our “boredom with math problem”. She loves this workbook. I was also thrilled with the colorful, sturdy pages that introduce and explain new math topics very well.

Bright graphics and positive reinforcement really motivate

Bright graphics and success really motivate!

The 250 pages reinforce many beginning math concepts without becoming dreary, as the authors introduce a concept, work on it for a few pages and then move to something else…and come back around.

For the first time ever, Em liked doing the number lines

For the first time ever, Em liked the number lines

This method of spiraling through many concepts gave Emma lots of practice while never leaving her frustrated and mathematical reasoningbored—the authors seemed to know exactly when to take a break and when to keep going! I began allowing Em to do as many math pages as she wanted each day—some days she will do at least ten without any motivation from me.

As the title suggests, the book teaches reasoning and problem solving skills, with topics including: addition, bar graph, calendar, capacity, coins, count, fractions, language, length, likelihood, match, number line, odd/even, order, pattern, real world problems, shapes, subtraction, time, weight, and whole numbers.

There is an answer guide included in the back of the book and this level can be used as a core math or a supplemental. We began using this as supplemental, but I soon felt that this book could easily be Emma’s complete curriculum for this level.

Look at some sample pages from the book.

We did not fare as well for Nick’s experience. But, it was not because the book wasn’t creative and just plain challenging. Our problem was that it was too challenging!

editor in chiefYes, I made an error in judgment on what level to get for him. While this level is recommended for grade levels 9th-12th, it is a serious grammar study—fun, yet the exercises cover some complicated concepts. Attempting to work through this book really forced us to decide to regroup and focus on grammar at an earlier stage–because Nick actually wanted to do this book, as it was entertaining, it showed me that he was not just lacking in motivation.

We liked the idea of the book, Editor In Chief. In these books, your child basically acts as if they are an editor and as they search for grammatical errors, they are truly analyzing the materials and thinking about correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization and more.

The 130 page book includes an editing checklist, 33 lessons, answers, even a guide to grammar, usage and punctuation.

They do have five other levels for this book. See which Editor In Chief Book might be age-appropriate for your kids, here. We will be getting another one, so we can have a bit of fun, too.

See a sample page.

Are you looking to fill a void in your curriculum? Looking for Math curriculum? Language Arts? Check out Timberdoodle for tons of educational items, including complete curriculum kits. I so enjoy their catalog!

Click to get their free catalog!

Click to get your free catalog!

You can even get fun updates on the Timberdoodle Facebook page.

As a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team, I received a free copy of these books in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.


Posts Twitter Facebook

Blogging about parenting, green living, education.

12 responses to Critical Thinking Co. A Timberdoodle Review

  1. Heather, Great review. The math looks fun for the little ones! I wish there was a way to make math fun for the older ones! 🙂

    .-= April´s last blog ..Guest Post- Lee Binz – The Four Homeschool High School Advantages =-.

  2. Oh, we love Editor in Chief! We love all Critical Thinking for that matter, but we do use Editor in Chief!

  3. I love the Critical Thinking company books. They are so colorful and interesting. An excellent “break” from usual textbooks. They are a tad pricey, though, so that limits our use of them to those I find on sale somewhere used. Your review is great…awesome pictures!


    .-= Heather @ The Blessings Pour Out´s last blog ..Time4Learning is Time4Fun =-.

  4. That is great that you found just the right thing to help your Emma. We are enjoying using many of the Critical Thinking books.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..multitudes of gratitude =-.

  5. The math book looks really fun & I could probably benefit from the Editor in Chief. Great review.
    .-= Lisa McClanahan´s last blog ..Peter and the Wolf =-.

  6. My sons love the Mathematical Reasoning books, too! And I didn’t realize Timberdoodle had a blogger review program. Cool!

    April E.

  7. The Editor in Chief book looks similar to what I’d like to do with the older kids. Finding errors seem to be their issue. To them it “looks” correct. We are also doing the IEW review and I’m having them do some extra supplementing with grammar style things as well. I may have to check into this one. Thanks for the review.

  8. We have C1. I’d love to get C2. I didn’t realize there was another one in the series! Critical thinking press has some great products!

    Mrs. White
    .-= Mrs. White´s last blog ..Getting Ready to Face the Family =-.

  9. Nice job on the review. I’m sorry Editor In Chief didn’t work for you, maybe at a later date it will work for him. I have always been interested in that book.

  10. We love those Critical Thinking Press products, too. Plus we began using the Editor in Chief series recently ourselves to get a much-needed break from “regular” grammar programs. My 15 and 12 year olds are enjoying the B and A series books, respectively.

    I really ought to look more closely at the Mathematical Reasoning books, too. Thanks for this review. 🙂

  11. I have been wanting to get the little kids’ Mathematical Reasoning books! I did get one for Richard, but these pictures make me want one for Trina too.

    Bummer on the level for Editor in Chief being too much for Nick! I love that series, but it does seem to be more challenging than I would expect based on the grades listed, or something. I need to get back to using them, methinks… and make sure to go easier than I think I should! 🙂
    .-= Debra´s last blog ..Book Review- Unplanned =-.

  12. Yeah we picked the wrong level too, oops! However now that we have gotten further into it I notice my son (9th) is getting better at finding the mistakes. I have been using what he misses as a lesson by going over the material in the back.