Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Critical Thinking Co.™- Understanding Pre-Algebra Review

Teaching algebra is a difficult concept when you are working with special needs children.  We recently had the opportunity to review Understanding Pre-Algebra published by The Critical Thinking Co.™.   With the use of Understanding Pre-Algebra, my confidence in helping Lydia advance in Math has grown.

You might ask, another Pre-Algebra book?  Why do we need that?  There are plenty of books already available on this topic.  But what sets Understanding Pre-Algebra apart from the other books, is the teaching style.  The steps are laid out in a logical order.  It encourages students to used tables and charts to solve problems.  Critical thinking skills are encourages and strengthen.  Definitely something that students will need as they advance in math in high school and college.

Concepts are not explained in the Common Core style, which I really detest.  But they are explained the way I originally learned how to do pre-algebra.  Hints are also given with each chapter to help children grasp each topic even more.  For example in one of the lessons we completed and I have pictured below, the hint was how to keep track of the negative sign.  It was a great reminder, since this can be such an easy mistake to make.

Using correct terminology, and encouraging the use of visual charts, it helps to increase understanding.  Lydia likes to "pretend" to do everything in her head.  This does not work well in long multi-step problems, especially for her.  Understanding Pre-Algebra encourages concept charts and writing out the steps, which I have been preaching to her all year and she hates doing.  The math we were using, didn't encourage this much.   The only step we had to overcome when she was working on practice pages then was running out of room.

So we ended up changing this around by just getting her a math notebook to label and use exclusively for working out problems.

I absolutely LOVE the logic involved.  Not only is each step looked at when solving equations.  But Understanding Pre-Algebra gives students sample problems where they need to "check" and see if it's solved correctly.  This made me think and really look.  What a great way to really focus on those ever important critical thinking skills!  You can see this in the lesson below.  She and I stared at this problem.  It was a great example of how the sign makes a big difference if you do not keep track of what is going on.

Understanding Pre-Algebra workbook by The Critical Thinking Co.™really helps students to learn to avoid common math mistakes and learn concepts that will help them as they advance in higher math levels.  And for those of us parents who struggle to remember all that math from high school, there is an answer key in the back of the book that does provide the final answer.  There were a couple times that I wish a key was included that showed the steps to get the final answer.  I had to sit and work out a problem or two that she missed so that I could find the mistake so that I could make sure she understood the error.

Understanding Pre-Algebra is an extremely affordable option to help your student advance in pre-algebra if they are struggling.  It can be used by families, whether homeschooled or in public school.  The book was really created to make sure that ANY student succeeds in math and gives them the confidence that they need to keep advancing in higher levels.  I know that what we have covered so far, has helped give me more confidence to help Lydia continue to advance in her math levels.

Understanding Pre-Algebra is a full-math curriculum.  It even includes chapter reviews and a final exam.  There are 15 chapters, and includes over 100 lessons.  It was created for Middle School math, roughly grades 6 - 8.  Just a few of the topics covered include:

You can make copies of pages for your own family, which is an added bonus if a student needs extra help or you are teaching two at the same time.  Understanding Pre-Algebra is a very affordable family option for middle school math.  I have actually loved this so much more than using online programs right now for Lydia!  We have actually been using it as a supplement along with her online math, but she prefers Understanding Pre-Algebra workbook to using her online program now.

Is Understanding Pre-Algebra not where your student is at?  Visit The Critical Thinking Co.™ website to see what they offer for your child's math level.  They have elementary through high school materials.  Why let your child's math slide this summer?  Help them to get ahead for next year!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review materials from The Critical Thinking Co.™.  Click on the link below to see how they used these products in their homes and how they worked for them.