Monday, November 7, 2016

The Critical Thinking Co.- Homeschool Reiew Crew Review

We homeschool in many different ways and styles.  After all, I have four kids, two of which are still learning at home, and each of them has a very different learning style.  But one thing I have found to be consistent in our home is the occasional need for worksheets.  Let me make it clear, I DO NOT like busy work, but there are some times that completing workbook pages is just what you need to learn.

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}One of our favorite companies for such workbooks is The Critical Thinking Co.  In the past we have had the privilege of using their math and history workbooks, but for the past month or so, we have been using their Language Smarts Level E workbook, intended for 4th graders.  If you don't have a 4th grader in your house, no worries! The Critical Thinking Co. has products for just about every subject you could want to teach for grades pre-K through 12th!  There is a little bit of everything, including some pretty incredible software!


We are using Language Smarts as a supplement to Colby's grammar because we had already begun a program, but this workbook is clearly intended to be a full Language Arts program and does not need any additional activities added to teach a fourth grader.  Its 400 pages (yes you read that right, 400) are comprehensive, covering language arts basics that every 4th grader need to know.  So far we have studied things like syllables, prefixes, suffixes, roots, and synonyms.

Other concepts covered are-

 Level E (Grade 4) Content
    • Capitalization         • Prefixes, Suffixes, Roots
    • Critical Thinking         • Silent E
    • Compare/Contrast         • Singular/Plural
    • Imply/Infer         • Syllables
    • Inference         • Usage
    • Opinion         • Homographs
    • Prediction         • Homophones
    • Adjectives         • Metaphors
    • Adverbs         • Sequencing
    • Antonyms         • Similes
    • Conjunctions         • Writing
    • Interjections         • Characters
    • Nouns         • Comparing
    • Prepositions         • Conflict
    • Pronouns         • Context Clues
    • Sentences         • Drama
    • Subject and Predicate         • Editing
    • Subject-Verb Agreement         • Fiction and Nonfiction
    • Synonyms         • Idioms
    • Verbs         • Parts of a Book
    • Grammar         • Plot
    • Punctuation         • Poems
    • Colons         • Proverbs
    • Commas         • Reference Materials
    • Exclamation Marks         • Setting
    • Periods         • Story Maps
    • Question Marks         • Table of Contents
    • Quotation Marks         • Titles
    • Semicolons         • Topic and Main Idea
    • Spelling         • Using a Dictionary
    • Compound Words

Each new concept is introduced with short and easy to understand instructions that Colby is able to read himself.  Then the concept is reviewed with a short activity.  Activities have included fill in the blanks, multiple choice, sentence writing, and even crossword puzzles. More than several pages are included for each new subject so your child will have plenty of practice with the concept before moving on.  Because each day is a little different, the pages have captured Colby' attention and because they are fairly short they do not wear him out.

We are currently doing one page a day, which seems a little slow to me, but was a good starting pace for Colby.  By completing about two pages a day, your child will be able to complete this curriculum in a school year.  Not a grammar ace yourself?  No problem!  All of the answers are in the back of the book for quick reference and easy checking.

Another reason I like The Critical Thinking Co. workbooks is because they are full color.  No, there are not fancy pictures all over the pages, but just enough color to break up the monotony and draw attention to the instructions.  Think of it as having the important parts already highlighted for you.  I think that is especially critical to visual learners, plus let's face it, just makes a workbook more visually pleasing.

One of the things that stands out to me about Language Smarts and other Critical Thinking Co. products is that they continue to be up to date and on the cutting edge of technology.  Examples of this are the Using an Online Encyclopedia and How to Use the Internet to Search for a Topic workbook pages.  Let's face it, kids need those kind of skills in the world we now live in!

We also had the privilege of previewing the Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Before Kindergarten! software bundle.  From toddlers to preschoolers, this 5 app software bundle will help teach your children in a fun and engaging ways things like letter sounds,  pre-writing skills, and basic math concepts.  Very cute and easy to use, your little ones will love making this part of their day.  Colby would have loved this when he was younger!

If you are looking for a full Language Arts program, I would highly recommend Language Smarts Level E for your 4th graders, as well as a help for older students who need more review!  For additional thoughts on this program and more from The Critical Thinking Co., just click on the banner below!

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}
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