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:
- Nick needed more English—especially Grammar practice
- 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.
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.
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.
This method of spiraling through many concepts gave Emma lots of practice while never leaving her frustrated and bored—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!
Yes, 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.
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!
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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.