One of my biggest blessings in life is being able to home school. Another blessing serving as a contributing member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew! As a member of this crew, it is truly an honor to review products from some wonderful companies such as The Critical Thinking Co. I have used several of their products throughout the years and have been impressed by each one. I am excited with an opportunity to review Pattern Explorer from The Critical Thinking Co.
Mathematics and science can be thought of as a search for patterns and structure (Pattern Explorer pg iv).
When I noticed this product available for review, I honestly didn’t want to review it. I am not a mathematician. In fact, to be brutally honest, I am pretty close to terrible with math (which is why I married a man who loves math and numbers). I am decent with basic math, but critical thinking and anything above basic algebra I am lost. However, my oldest isn’t me! I wanted to supplement another math curriculum with what we were already doing. I have learned that in order to get the most out of my oldest, I have to keep him on his toes and supplement another curriculum or add in other projects to keep the excitement going. My oldest also likes to be challenged a lot. Before taking on this review, I did what I do best, which is research.
In my research I discovered that critical thinking and patterns (such as those covered in The Critical Thinking Co’s Pattern Explorer) can actually help many students. Mathematics helps a student to identify and analyze problems. A person is able to see the relationship between things and have an enhanced problem solving capacity. Learning patterns and critical thinking is something that some schools and teachers have taken out of math but you have a large group who realize the benefit to learning patterns and critical thinking.
Also in my research, I learned that out of all the mental skills, pattern recognition is said to have the highest correlation with general intelligence. Being able to recognize, identify, and create patterns definitely supports mathematics.
When children understand patterns they are then able to learn what happens next. THIS recent study states that schools right here in America as well as colleges and universities are failing to teach kids basic patterns and critical thinking.
As a parent, all this is extremely important to me. I want to set my kids up for success and this is one of the many reasons why I am glad this review became available!
The Critical Thinking Co. Pattern Explorer is divided up into five different themes:
- Pattern Predictor
- Equality Explorer
- Sequence Sleuth
- Number Ninja
- Function Finder
The themes rotate order so that I get 40 different activity sets, eight per theme.
I noticed as Bookworm (my oldest) was working through the workbook, each them seemed to build upon the previous. Also, each section got a little bit harder.
How did we use our workbook?
I used this with my oldest, who is 11 and would be 5th grader in the public school. I wasn’t sure how he would do or if he would like it but he did! We started out with the very first lesson which is Pattern Predictor 1.
He had to look at the pattern of circles to answer the questions that followed.
At first he had to have scrap paper and draw out all the circles to get his answers. This was definitely something new and challenging for him! However, something about my oldest—he likes a good challenge sometimes. Once I realized how much he enjoyed solving this we added it in to our weekly studies! Bookworm worked in the Pattern Explorer about 3 days a week. Once he got into the swing of things, it honestly didn’t take him long to complete the lessons. Since he is actually at the lower end of the grade recommendation for the book, I wasn’t sure how that would affect him. He did really well! Some of the lessons that I thought would for sure stump him, he got easily! We have finished the entire workbook yet but I can say that this is something I am now going to be continuing to add in to his studies. I didn’t realize just how important it was until I began my research.
Soon I will be adding it in for all my kids!