Every day in our homeschool my family sits together to read stories, memorize poetry and scripture, or study art and music. We call it Morning Time, and it’s a concept that is becoming quite popular in the homeschooling world. One thing I’d like to do but haven’t is add some logic and reasoning or critical thinking to our time together. I just wasn’t sure how. So I was delighted to receive Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 from The Critical Thinking Co.™ to review.
What is critical thinking? I’m glad you asked. It’s the way we look at facts or evidence that guides our decision making. How important is that in our age of clickbait headlines and sensational news? Critical thinking skills help you look more closely at the evidence you have so you can make better and more informed decisions about it. The Critical Thinking Co.™ has hundreds of books and apps that will help your children with this skill. This little workbook that we got to review is just one of them.
Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 is intended for children in the fourth grade or higher. It is available as an ebook or a 32-page workbook. Inside this book, you’ll find page after page of short little crime stories that your child has to solve. They’ll need to carefully read, and reread the stories and refer back to evidence presented to solve the case. They’ll need to use their reading comprehension skills, observation, and logic. Some of these are a bit of a brain twister and at first, glance can seem somewhat easy. They aren’t. At the same time, they are not frustratingly difficult. With some effort every case is solvable.
In all, there are 12 cases to solve, and every case involves four suspects. You are given detailed information about the crime, some of which is relevant and some of which isn’t. It’s up to your student to sort out the facts. You are also given information about each suspect which may or may not clear them of the crime.
Every sentence of information is numbered to help you quickly refer back to them as you are sorting out the case. Every case also has a page where you can write down notes about the suspects as you work through the case. In the back of the book, you’ll find the answers and explanations for each case.
My children adored the detective crime theme of this book. Even my eight-year-old daughter, who loves mysteries was intrigued. It was difficult to get my boys to wait until our Morning Time to dig in. When the day came to solve the first crime all hands were on deck. We had a lot of great discussion about how to use the information we had to solve the case. We talked about how to sort out facts and opinions, relevant and irrelevant information. How to line up the suspects’ statements in light of the information we had about the case. One of my boys was a mad scribbler jotting notes and arrows and on a sheet of paper to help him visually picture the case. My other son is more of thinker. While his brother scribbled away, he paced and thought things through in his head. Then they’d come back together asking each other questions. Sometimes they argued over different points. Finally, someone declared that they solved the case. It was always a victory moment. Brothers are sometimes a bit competitive. I tried not to make it a race or a competition and instead encouraged them to ask each other questions to help each other. Eventually, both boys felt confident in their answers and we checked the back of the book to see if they were right.
We have been using this workbook once or twice a week for the duration of the review period. Sometimes my boys work together to solve the mystery and other times they prefer to work alone. Since the cases do not build on each other, I’ve allowed them to jump around and choose cases that most interest them.
I don’t intend to end the discussion here. In the future, I plan to use some of the same concepts we’ve developed in this workbook to discuss news stories or internet articles. I think this is a great way to help our children learn to think more critically about the media and the information we all are bombarded with daily.
We’ve enjoyed Critical Thinking Detective Book 1. My boys have had to slow down and think more carefully. It is a fun way to develop those logic skills. I’m looking forward to picking up Book 2 and other books from this publisher in the future.
The Critical Thinking Co.™ has been very generous us a coupon code to get 15% off and free shipping. You can learn more about The Critical Thinking Co.™ on their website, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Please check out the reviews of all the books the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed by clicking the banner below.