Teaching students how to think critically and creatively is one of my most important jobs as a homeschooling mother. Along with teaching reading, it’s a skill that will carry my children successfully through life. If my children learn to think through and puzzle out problems, they will be able to find solutions for themselves throughout their entire lives.
I must begin with saying that I am a huge fan of Evan-Moor in general. Throughout the years of both my classroom teaching and homeschool teaching, I’ve used Evan-Moor materials for countless subjects and grades. When I pick up an Evan-Moor book, due to past positive experiences, I expect it to be engaging, to the point, and successful in teaching comprehension of a subject. I expect the books to have meaningful work, rather than busywork. Activities in Evan-Moor books engage my students in learning rather than mindless busywork tasks.
I haven’t spent much concentrated teaching time on critical and creative thinking skills in elementary with my students- spending the majority of our time on the three Rs. When I stop to think about that approach, I realize that teaching those creative and critical thinking skills should be something I actively plan for every week, at every age! I’m glad to have found these books by Evan-Moor which will allow me to touch on those skills daily with fun yet challenging activities. The activities strive to teach children to infer, solve, reason, imagine, create, classify and compare while strengthening the skills of logical thinking, lateral thinking, problem solving, and more.
Each book can be reproduced for one classroom, I plan to photocopy the pages so I can use the book with all my children. The perforated pages make photocopying and storing in a binder easier. Using this method also allows me to choose pages based on the theme of what we are studying and/or based on skills my children need most work on at the time.
Each book is set up based on themes, with different activities included in each unit.
My children look forward to completing pages from these books. My only difficulty with the books so far, is that my rising 2nd grader is a struggling reader. I don’t expect her to have the skills to read most of the activities at the beginning of the year. There are, however, several activities that will be just as effective completed orally and she can tackle the more challenging activities later in the year. The 4th and 6th grade books are right on target for the ability level of my students in those grades. In fact, both of them often want a copy of the other’s worksheet, since the activities are so much fun!
I find these Critical & Creative books by Evan-Moor a great addition to our homeschool curriculum. They provide an easy way for this busy Mom to insert important critical thinking skills into our homeschool days- and my children feel like the fun worksheets are a treat, rather than work!