First off, The Critical Thinking Co.™, has lots of different items to help home educators. Their motto, "Empower the mind!" is a good description of this company, which strives to give students the tools to think critically and analyze what they are learning.
The product we reviewed is Language Smarts™ Level E. This workbook style curriculum is meant for grade 4.
The book teaches so much! In a nutshell it covers:
- Parts of Speech
- Punctuation and Capitalization
- Reading (comprehension, genres, points of view, etc.)
- Reference Materials
- Sentences (compound, run-ons, kinds, etc)
- Writing (types of writing, research)
Some of the worksheets are two pages long, but there is not an overwhelming amount of work. Lots of the worksheets are filling in the blank using a word bank, but there are also crossword puzzles, underlining, and writing complete sentences. There is also an answer key in the back of the book which is most helpful to home educators!
How We Used It and What We Thought:
I decided to have Nutsy do this book. I started out by having her start at the beginning, which worked very well. I liked it that she had at least three pages to work on each topic, and I loved the variety of the worksheets. At the top of each worksheet is a brief explanation:
I would sit with her and go over the explanation, and then do a couple of problems with her. I would then have her do the rest of the worksheet on her own, and she would come to me if she got stuck.
Here, after learning about prefixes, she is attaching a prefix to a word that makes sense to go in the blank.
She really enjoyed to pages on roots. She loved understanding word meanings by understanding what the root meant.
I also looked ahead in the book. I loved seeing all of the topics - I could very easily assign worksheets based on problems that come up in our language arts. In our writing class we have been studying run on sentences, and so I was happy to see a couple of worksheets that help to identify run on sentences, fragments, and teach proper sentence combining using coordinating conjunctions. This is exactly the issues she has had, so it is in my lesson plan in the next two weeks, to have her do those pages.
There are 363 pages in this consumable book, so if you do two pages per day, you could finish it in a 36 week school year. This is how I do plan to use it, but I will skip around if needed.
So really I could see this book being used in a couple of ways: it is a complete curriculum and can be done from start to finish, or, you can jump around and use it in a more topical way.
There were some other great products from The Critical Thinking Co.™, including a few software downloads for younger learners, and a sentence diagramming book for older students. Check out what my fellow Crew members thought by clicking below!