Monday, November 7, 2016

Critical Thinking Language Smarts {TOS Review}

The Critical Thinking Co.™ is a well-known company among homeschoolers. They have so many products to offer, such as "Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Before Kindergarten!™" , Reading Detective, Mind Benders, Editor-in-Chief, and Mathematical Reasoning. For this review, I was sent a paperback copy of Language Smarts, Level E. 

Language Smarts can be used a full curriculum or a supplemental resource. Language Smarts teaches reading, writing, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and critical thinking skills. This workbook is huge - 400 pages! There are so many topics included in this workbook that I can't list them all. I will, however, list the main topics in the table of contents:
  • Syllables
  • Word Parts {prefixes, suffixes, roots}
  • Word Relationships {synonyms, antonyms, anagrams, analogies and more}
  • Spelling
  • Editor in Chief
  • Reference Materials {using a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia}
  • Writing Detective
  • Parts of Speech
  • Sentences {compound subjects and predicates, compound sentences, clauses and more}
  • Punctuation
  • Using Words Correctly {homophones, frequently misspelled words}
  • Reading and Writing {context clues, similes, metaphors, idioms, proverbs, genres of literature and more}
  • Writing {personal narratives, opinion writing, informative writing}
That may not look like much, but trust me - the Table of Contents is 3 pages long! There are even more subtopics than I listed.  I just wanted to give you an idea of the variety and depth of this workbook! There is also an answer key in the back of the book, which I had to look at a few times!

Level E is recommended for the 4th grade. Mercie is in 3rd grade, but I felt like this would be a good challenge for her. I was right! She loves this workbook, even though some of it has been a little difficult for her. We work about 1-2 pages per day in this workbook together.

The first few lessons were on syllables, which may sound simple, but there are many different activities the child will do. Not only did she have to count the syllables in words, she had to write new words with a certain number of syllables, learn where to divide words with dashes into syllables, and accent syllables. Some of this stretched her mind quite a bit!

Next, we worked on prefixes. She had to read clues, find the word in the word box, and write it down. Then, she had to find the words in a word search! She had to write new words for different prefixes {such as un-, pre-, mis-, and re-} and make sentences with the words. There were even pages with scrambled words and prefixes she had to unscramble - and that was hard! Right now, we are working
through the suffixes pages. These are much like the prefixes pages.

I am really looking forward to using this book with Mercie for the rest of the year, and even into next year! It is such a big book that it could take us two full years to use it all. She uses Language Smarts as a supplement to her regular language arts program, but it could absolutely stand alone as a full curriculum.

The quality of this workbook is outstanding. The pages are nice and thick, with a good-sized font that is very readable. There is plenty of room to write her answers on the lines provided. The puzzles are fun, although some are pretty hard - I had to look at the answer key on some of them.

I am very pleased with Language Smarts, Level E and The Critical Thinking Co.™. I have been looking through their website and finding so many items I would love to order! They have some software downloads for Windows computers that I am going to get for my two youngest - Alphabet, Letter Sounds, Vowels, and Fun Phonics.

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Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}

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