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Critical Thinking Detective, Beginning Review by Sheila Quach

Michael Baker
The Critical Thinking Co.
1991 Sherman Ave. Suite 200
North Bend, OR 97459

I’ve used a few products from The Critical Thinking Co. in the past and have always been pleased.   I was impressed years ago when I read how John Baker started the company and how it remains family owned.  The founder son Michael Baker said something I completely agree in and base my whole reasoning for homeschooling around, “If we teach children everything we know, their knowledge is limited to ours.  If we teach children to think, their knowledge is limitless.”  I strive to ensure that whatever I put in front of my children will enhance their capacity to think for themselves and encourage a love for learning.  The Critical Thinking Co. offers many award-winning products that include kids with all types of learning abilities.  Recently Kaden has enjoyed using their Critical Thinking Detective, Beginning workbook.  It’s available as a series in both print or eBook.  I was excited to try this series out with Kaden because he often gets bored doing the same routine every single day.  We like to supplement his day with activities and programs that combine a few subjects into one and offer him a nontraditional learning experience.

This book is geared towards kids in grades 3-12+ and offers the student a chance to be a detective and solve a fun mystery.  Kaden is right in the middle of that age range and needed no help at all figuring these out, but if you have a younger student or struggling reader this would make a perfect activity to do together.  Not only are these fun to work through, but they strengthen your child’s critical thinking skills, reading comprehension and more.  And guess what?  They won’t even know they are doing all this mental growth and strengthening because they will be having too much fun cracking the case.

There were 12 cases to solve, each of them with the same instruction to determine the innocent and guilty suspect from the given evidence.  Each case has illustrations and a simple fill in the blank section for you to fill out to come up with your conclusions.  A few of Kaden’s favorites was The Cat Chaser and The Computer Tablet Thief.  I also appreciate the simple answer section in the back of the book.  It offers the mystery title, suspect illustrations and the page numbers.  Then it explains the innocent suspects and why they are innocent and then gives you the guilty character and the sentences that supports the answer.  Kaden did most of these alone, so it was helpful that it was so easy to read and redirect him if he needed any help.

I absolutely love this product and look forward to adding the rest of the series to our library soon.  These are so thin and easy to tote they would be perfect for long car trips and camping trips.  I also know some homeschooling Moms that could add this to their morning baskets as a special supplement to start their mornings.  This would also make a great gift since the age range is so wide.  I could see Kaden with a smile if he received this as a stocking stuffer or in his Easter basket.  Overall, our experience was positive and would recommend this to any parent with school aged children.

-Product review by Sheila Quach, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2018