One of my favorite companies came up for review last month — The Critical Thinking Company. We have been using their products in our homeschool since our PreK days. In fact I can clearly remember the first book I ever purchased from them — Can You Find Me (PreK). It was very recently that I passed that book on to a new homeschool momma with littles.
The book we received for review was Mathematical Reasoning (Level F), written by Carolyn Anderson.
Yes, math. Ben’s least favorite subject. You’ll want to remember that as you read through this review.
Mathematical Reasoning is a 440-page, softcover book filled with math for grade 5. It can be used as a Core Curriculum or Supplemental Resource. Only because there is not a lot of actual instruction, I would consider it more of a supplement.
It has won a plethora of awards including:
Dr. Toy Best PicksMensa Recommended Materials for the GiftediParenting Media AwardMom’s Choice Awards Silver Medal for ExcellenceiParenting Media Best ProductsCreative Child Magazine Preferred Choice AwardiParenting Media Excellent ProductsCathy Duffy Top 100 AwardDr. Toy Product of ExcellenceLearning® Magazine Recommended Resource for Successful TeachingJenkins Group Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Silver Medal
The book contains “a wide variety of math problems, emphasizing problem-solving and computation to build the math reasoning skills necessary for success in higher-level math and math assessments”. You can view the Table of Contents here.
Now on to what we thought.
Ben began at the very beginning of the book. Even though he began begrudgingly, within a few minutes of the first day, he found himself actually enjoying the fun approach to math.
These Balance Bender activities really intrigued him. In fact he skipped through the book and completed many of them! Anything to avoid multiplication!
But there is multiplication. And other operations, measurement, geometry, algebra and data analysis and probability. Ben really enjoyed that the book mixed it all up, too. He never had a day of just doing division. There were Balance Benders and Visual Patterns, Math Analogies and Cranium Crackers (word problems) mixed in throughout. He never got bored and he rarely felt overwhelmed with too many “math problems”. For you homeschool moms, that means it uses a spiral approach to math.
Take a peak inside Mathematical Reasoning.
The list price is $42.99, but I noticed tonight that it is currently on sale for $37.99. That might sound a little pricey, but it really is worth every penny, especially if you have a math-resistant student. It can be purchased from their website.
I can’t say that Ben loves math now, but he didn’t really mind doing Mathematical Reasoning most days. In fact, one day this week, I had assigned him a different math curriculum to do and he fought me for a couple of hours until I finally gave him Mathematical Reasoning to work in. I feel certain he will continue using it on a daily basis. Don’t take that to mean this is fluff. It is not. It is challenging and there were many times Ben needed some instruction and assistance in figuring things out. But it is a fun, enjoyable approach to math.
I really like that there is a lot of life application, logic and critical thinking sprinkled throughout the book. Lessons do not appear overwhelming or take hours to complete. In fact, most pages take just a few minutes to complete. There is a lot of colorful visual appeal as well, without appearing too childish for these upper elementary kids.
Like I mentioned before, there is not a lot of actual instruction in the book, which is why I would consider it more of a supplement. However, there is a handy-dandy answer key in the back. If I had one criticism, it is that the answers are in the back of the book. In fact I removed them and placed them into my teacher notebook.
Mathematical Reasoning is a part of The Critical Thinking Company’s new Core Curriculum Solutions. If you’re looking to incorporate critical thinking into other subjects (and really, who isn’t?), go check it out!
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are those of myself and/or my son.