Building Thinking Skills: A Review by Twin Firs Adventures

Platforms: Book
Release Date: 2006
Genre(s): Thinking Skills
Publisher(s): The Critical Thinking Co.
Our Score
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Building Thinking Skills: A Review by Twin Firs Adventures

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Review by Twin Firs Adventures

Building Thinking Skills: A Review

Reviewing Building Thinking Skills Level 2 was another great opportunity granted to me by Timberdoodle.  Building Thinking Skills is a series of critical thinking workbooks published by Critical Thinking Press.  I am a huge fan of critical thinking exercises, both for children and for adults!  Now that I am an ancient 34 year old, I have started forgetting how to use my cell phone and computer.  Now is the perfect time for me to not only encourage my kids to exercise their brains, but engage in a little thinking activity myself!

When I first started homeschooling IJ (his preschool year), the first thing I bought was a curriculum package designed by Timberdoodle for preschoolers.  The package was made up of Building Thinking Skill Primary and the manipulatives that went along with it.  I knew that I was going to use the book for at least two more kids (S and E), so I faithfully photocopied the pages I wanted to use so I wouldn’t need to buy a new book. Fast forward to now, and I still photocopy pages to keep my little ones included (and busy) at our school table!

My Building Thinking Skills collection

IJ, my third grader, is my Well-Trained Mind child.  He was blessed with a serious mind and is leaving the grammar stage and entering the logic stage sooner than normal.  He is ready to argue and debate, but he lacks the tools: logic.  Susan Wise Bauer, who wrote the Well-Trained Mind, suggests using Building Thinking Skills Level 2 starting in 5th or 6th grade before moving on to logic in 7th.  IJ is currently working his way through Building Thinking Skills Level 1, which is recommended for 2nd and 3rd graders.  I’m thinking it is time to go ahead and move him up to Level 2 and give Level 1 to his younger brother!

“Did she say Level 1 is for ME?”

Is there a huge difference between the two levels?  Not really.  They have the same table of contents, the same basic exercises, the same basic formats.  There are 40 more pages in Level 2 than Level 1.  If you, as a parent, just flip through the book, you will be confused at some spots, have a-ha moments at others, and scratch your head and say, “Really?  This is critical thinking for a 6th grader?” at others.  The pages are perforated, so you can remove them for easy writing on or photocopying (you have permission to photocopy for use within your family).

But the most important thing I’m learning about not only these books, but also about any good workbook, is these books cannot always be used as busy work!  Groan!  Moms like me who have lot of loud little ones need to be able to say, “Do this. I have to go change a diaper.”  Now some of the activities make good busy work (Which shape is not like the others?), but others, like the graphic organizers, need a little introduction and follow-up.

“She blames me for everything!”

Another thing to know about this book is you can’t possibly do the whole thing in one year.  So you, as the supremely organized homeschooler, need to go through the book and decide what section you will do when.  Are you going to start on page 1 and truck on through?  Then you will do all the figural exercises first and the verbal afterward, which could be next year!  If you look closely at the table of contents, you can see a flow chart that shows which sections can be successfully completed after the one you just finished…so you can do verbal and figural at the same time!  (That was my a-ha!)

A few more things I love about this book: you learn skills using shapes that you then apply to words (very helpful for writing!), there are tons of analogies in both the verbal section and the figural section (oh so important for those standardized tests), and all the answers are in the back (because I don’t have time, or brainpower, to get work through each page myself-but I’m starting to think I should).

Legal Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.


Posted by Timberdoodle Co. | 15 Sep 2011 | 5 star, All Reviews

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