Posted in Resources, Reviews

The Critical Thinking Company: Inference Jones – Review

PhotobucketWe LOVE the study of logic and The Critical Thinking Company in our homeschool!  I was thrilled to get the chance to review another one of their books, Inference Jones: Beginning.

Inference Jones: Beginning is designed for Grades 3 & 4, to “improve critical reading and higher order thinking by developing the student’s ability to draw inferences from written text.”  This 42 page book includes 18 short stories with questions and an answer key.

My 8 year old daughter, working at a Grade 3 level, did not like this book.  She found it too “babyish”.  Let me clarify that she has already worked through many of Critical Thinking’s wonderful Mind Benders series of books, and is reading novels.  As for me, although this book takes things a little farther than typical reading comprehension, I am still not overly fond of reading comprehension exercises like this which involve fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice answers, with stories designed for such.  I prefer more in-depth discussion of great literature.  This may, however, be a good resource for children struggling with reading comprehension.

Inference Jones: Beginning is available in paperback format for $11.99 US plus shipping (I received a pdf version for review purposes only).  You can view some pages for yourself here.

Click HERE to see what other TOS Crew members thought of Inference Jones and other Critical Thinking Co. products.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Information

Classically Homeschooling

There are many different methods of homeschooling.  Before I started homeschooling, one of the first books I read on the subject was The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer and Jessie Wise.  I am so glad that it was at my local library!  The Classical Method as laid out in the book made complete sense to me – I wished I had been educated according to its pages and I knew that this was how I wanted to homeschool my children.  It wasn’t long before I bought my very own copy.

What is the Classical Method of homeschooling?  It is the way that children were educated many years ago, the roots of it dating back to Medieval times, and centres around the Trivium.  The Trivium literally means “where three roads meet” and refers to the three stages of educational development:

  • The Grammar Stage – when a child is a sponge, soaking up facts (generally Kindergarten/Primary – Gr. 4)
  • The Logic or Dialectic Stage – when a child starts to learn the WHY of the facts s/he has learned (Gr. 5-8)
  • The Rhetoric Stage – when the child is able to express their opinions (both written and orally) in a logical, persuasive manner

Two foundations of the Classical method tend to be the study of Latin along with the formal study of Logic and Rhetoric.  My son absolutely LOVES this part of Classical learning.  We have been using the resources suggested in The Well-Trained Mind to teach these subjects.  We have been using Memoria Press‘ Latina Christiana series from the beginning to learn Latin, and this year my daughter is getting officially started.  (Although she got a head start with it from listening to her brother – one of my favourite homeschooling memories is my little 3 year old girl repeating after the CD in the car with us “porto, to carry”)  After working through The Critical Thinking Co‘s Mindbenders, my son was more than ready to start into Critical Thinking: Book One this year.

Ever since I reviewed Tapestry of Grace for The TOS Homeschool Crew over two years ago, I have been combining The Well-Trained Mind curriculum with Tapestry of Grace.  Each is a curriculum in and of itself, however.  I found that I myself needed a little bit more structure, and Tapestry of Grace’s weekly outlines give me exactly that, while I continue to use The Well-Trained Mind’s course of study for Latin, Logic, Science, etc.

If you would like to learn more about The Classical Method of Homeschooling, here are more links and resources for you:

What Is Christian Classical Education?

Three Pillars of Classical Education

The Lost Tools of Learning

Why Study Latin?

Love, Luck &
Laughter,