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Reviews

The Critical Thinking Co. {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

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Bug loves puzzles, so when a crew review for Math Analogies: Level 2 Software from The Critical Thinking Co. came up, we jumped on it! I love giving new programs a try, especially when it’s something I am sure the kids will enjoy from the get go. We have used more than one product from the Critical Thinking Co. over the years, and each time, I have been pleased with the progress the kids made.

For this particular review, Bug was getting ready to take a “talent search” test for one of the local colleges. He’s a sharp kiddo, and is working well ahead of his age/school grade level across the board, so I thought it would be nice to see where he is at on paper, and see what resources are available for him. The problem is that is isn’t used to testing, so using a program like Math Analogies was part of our preparation plan to make sure he would be ready to sit and work come test day.

Critical Thinking Company Review
Math Analogies: Level 2 is intended for kids in the 4th or 5th grade. For reference, Bug finished 5th grade math with a different program, so I expected this program to be a good fit for him. Unfortunately, it became clear quickly that I have not done enough analogy practice with him in the past! Bug really struggled to get the questions correct, and spent some time the first day in tears. He isn’t used to a good challenge, and he also had a tendency to rush through the questions when he knew there was a certain amount he needed to complete for the set. Instead of putting in the work, he was making his “best guess” and that just wasn’t cutting it.

The program gives you 150 problems per set, and as you work, it gives you a percentage of what you are getting correct. The first time working through the problems, Bug got a 52- yikes! He’s a sensitive kid, so of course, this had him in tears in no time. He was a little upset because the program wasn’t telling him what the correct answers were, so he had a hard time figuring out where he went wrong.

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As much as I hate to see him get overwhelmed, part of using a critical thinking program is learning how to think about the problems. Sometimes, it isn’t as easy as just picking the right answer! I sat down with him, and took a moment to see where he was struggling. With me by his side, he slowly became more and more comfortable with analogies. This program doesn’t spend a huge amount of time teaching how to solve the problems, instead, after a brief introduction, it jumps right into the problems, and your kiddo needs to think hard to figure them out!

What we ended up doing was having Bug sit down with a pencil and paper while he worked through the problems. He brainstormed, and put his thoughts on paper, and it got easier and easier. Each time he sat down to do the program, it gave him less and less problems to work through (it won’t give you the problems you got correct twice). Eventually, he started scoring much better!

I feel like the time we spent on this program was worth it, and I appreciate that as a computer based program, I can delete his data and have him try again at a later date (or save it for his siblings) instead of having to buy a new workbook each time. There is a windows and a mac version of this program, or a printed workbook you can purchase.

Critical Thinking Company Review

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