Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Critical Thinking Company- TOS Review

The Critical Thinking Co.  has been part of our homeschooling adventure for a good long time. We love their products and have used several of them including history, science, mind-benders and pre-K. I was eager for this review and thrilled to be chosen for it. 
We were given the opportunity to reviewWorld History Detective Book 1 (physical book) (Gr.6-12+). Once again  The Critical Thinking Co. did not disappoint. This is a soft cover text/workbook that covers World History, divided into Prehistory, Ancient Civilizations, Medieval Civilization and Early American Civilizations. There is a short Teacher Overview at the beginning which discusses the lessons, unanswered questions and supporting evidence, drawing references and conclusions and distinguishing between facts and opinions; all very important issues to be critically considering as one examines history. 

Each lesson contains a reading selections, often with a time-line and a map included, then multiple choice, where the student must find the supporting sentence that justifies their answer, a written response questions, Venn diagrams or concept maps. This book is chock-full of maps, diagrams and illustrations, making it a unique work-text. There is also a complete answer section in the back. 

Flower took one look at this book and claimed it for her own. We are huge history lovers around here and she was not at all intimidated by the reading, maps and charts. The reading sections are about a page long, so succinct and doable in less than half-an hour. Also, the reading is challenging but not overwhelming.  In fact, I think this book is the perfect segueway between elementary level skills and higher level critical thinking skills about history and civilizations. 

Because we are studying American History this year, we started the Early American Civilizations, which is towards the back of the book. No matter, each section, and each lesson, is self-contained so you can use it by going through it from beginning to end, using a section at a time depending on what history cycle you are on, or picking and choosing lessons that are applicable to whatever history lesson you are teaching at the moment. You can use this book as a stand alone text for World History or as a supplement to a spine. Or like us, as part of a unique, hand-picked package to study a specific time period. 
Flower used this book somewhat independently. The reading was challenging, but very do-able for my newly turned 12 year old, but some of the questions required my coming alongside of her. As each lesson follows basically the same pattern, once your student understands the pattern, they can definitely take the lead with the study. 

Again, we are studying American History this year using some amazing resources. Adding in World History Detective Book 1 from The Critical Thinking Co. is a wonderful addition to our already rich line-up. Our favorite parts of this workbook are the detailed geographical maps as well as the concept maps. They add a whole new way of thinking and conceptualizing the material. As always, two thumbs up and hats off to The Critical Thinking Co. for another stellar product that keeps our kids happily engaged while challenging to grow in skills and content area.
To take a look inside go to World History Detective Book I (I'm having photo upload issues at the present).
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Critical Thinking Company Review

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