This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 10th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Critical Thinking Co.™: Understanding Pre-Algebra ~ a TOS review

We have always loved all the curriculum we have used from The Critical Thinking Co.™ so I jumped at the opportunity to review Understanding Pre-Algebra for my logic loving daughter, Montana. We used this new book from The Critical Thinking Co.™ as a supplement for our summer learning, let me tell you a little more about it.


The Critical Thinking Co.™

The Critical Thinking Co. is a family-owned business that has been “empowering the mind” for more than 50 years. They sell critical thinking products/supplements that cover reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history. Instead of rote drilling and memorization, students are encouraged to “carefully analyze what they are learning.” The Critical Thinking Co. is on a mission to develop the critical thinking skills in all children. The Language Arts book is available in either book form or Windows PC download.

Understanding Pre-Algebra

I requested a digital copy of the book that includes 448 pages! I find that this format works best for our family because I have several children behind Montana who will eventually use this book too. I especially appreciate the generous copywrite The Critical Thinking Co. provides in letting the purchaser to make as many copies of the pages within the eBook as necessary for their family. This is extremely helpful to me as I try to provide quality learning materials for my family. This product is also available as a paperback, and carries the same “family” copywrite provisions if you have multiple children to use this book. This is something that as a large family homeschooler I appreciate.


This book is written for children in the 6th through 8th grade and teaches math concepts and thinking skills that a child will need to be successful in Algebra I and higher level math courses. The curriculum is marketed as a full curriculum and I will say that it definitely is meaty in the focus and teaching. Math is not Montana’s favorite subject like some of my other children and the concepts don’t always come easily to her. Since we are already on summer break, Montana has been using this math book three days a week to prepare her for next year’s math curriculum. I put little green and red sticker flags on the pages so she would know where to start and finish her lesson.


The book covers a lot of material within the 15 chapters included. You can get an in-depth look at the table of contents on the website, however, these are the 15 Chapters covered: 

 • Family of Numbers
 • Working With Integers
 • Working With Rational Numbers
 • Ratio, Proportion, and Percent
 • Percent Applications
 • Algebraic Expressions
 • Equations and Solving Word Problems
 • Inequalities and Applications
 • Understanding Square Roots and Irrational Numbers
 • Two Dimensional Geometry
 • Understanding Volume and Surface Area
 • Graphing on the Coordinate Plane
 • Transformations and Congruency
 • Understanding Functions
 • Probability and Statistics



This math curriculum is standards-based and stresses practice and critical thinking when teaching the concepts through short lessons. Charts, diagrams, pictures, and graphs are in color with clearly presented concepts and math vocabulary your child will be set up for success for future higher level mathematics. Important information is highlighted so the student knows they should pay attention to it. There is a chapter review at the end of each chapter to show you where you need a little extra help. A glossary and several reference sheets including a table of square roots 1-120 are found in the back of the book along with the answer key.



Since we choose the digital edition of the book that requires using a Windows operating system, and I printed out the first the first two chapters of and placed them in a working binder for Montana. Normally, during a school year the student would complete two pages per school day and that would ensure you finished by the end of the school year. Montana also worked on two pages a day, four days a week during our review period. Instead of skipping around the book, which is fine, we started from page one just so she has a firm grasp on the concepts she is learning.



I really like that this book makes Montana put her thinking cap on. This book was challenging for her in a good way. Several of the answers not only want the answer but they want you to explain your thinking. To me this is priceless! Anyone can put numbers into a formula and come up with the answer, but this book teaches you to think “why” and “how” you came to your conclusion.


We definitely will be continuing with this book for the rest of the summer and throughout next school year. Since starting this math curriculum Montana has a good grasp of pre-Algebra knowledge and so have I. We both especially enjoyed the Cowboy story found within Chapter 2 on multiplying and dividing integers. So much so, that I made a copy for my rising 10th grader as she has been struggling a bit with this concept. The story helped to give her a visual and now she is not making sign mistakes within her Algebra I work.

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

I think this is a great book and if you are searching for a math curriculum move Understanding Pre-Algebra to the top of your list! In all the products we have tried, this company has never steered me wrong. Be sure to check out the other products including Critical Thinking Detective Book 1Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Dare to Compare Level 1 , and Vocabulary Riddles Book 1 that my CrewMates reviewed from The Critical Thinking Co. by clicking the banner below.

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

 Format ~ digital eBook, for Windows platform only 
 Price ~ $42.99 
 Ages ~ 6th – 8th graders

The Critical Thinking Co.™

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