While students work primarily with words, this is not a vocabulary or spelling course. The Analogies books—all three levels—were designed and written by a group of teachers in the New Jersey public school system to help their students become more creative thinkers able to make connections rather than simply storing information like little computers. The books cover grades K-12, with exercises gradually becoming more challenging until students are ready to make their own analogies. There isn't a lot of teacher or student time involved, making these an excellent quick supplement to the daily curriculum.
How Do These Work?
There are three series: Primary Analogies for grades K-3, Ridgewood Analogies for grades 4-8, and Analogies for grades 7-12. Primary Analogies and Analogies have three books apiece, while Ridgewood Analogies has five. Students begin with connecting pictures, and eventually move to entirely verbal exercises. An analogy is a correspondence or relation between two things that are different, and by mastering the skill of finding these correlations, students improve their ability to synthesize facts and data they learn.
Primary Analogies teaches kids to make basic connections between, first pictures of objects, then pictures and words, and finally words alone. While there is a progression of difficulty, none of the exercises in these three books require more than basic inductive skills. The accompanying teacher's guide/answer key for each consumable workbook includes answers to all problems, as well as a defense of teaching analogies and descriptions of the different types of analogies (descriptive, comparative, categorical, serial and causal).
Ridgewood Analogies only employs exclusively verbal exercises, and while the difficulty increases, there isn't much variation among the exercises from one text to another. The teacher's guides double as answer keys, and include help for guiding students through the exercises. At this level Venn diagrams are introduced, an excellent concept for your kids to master if you plan to have them study logic more formally later on. The subtitle for this series is Critical and Creative Thinking Across the Curriculum, since analogies in the major disciplines are all utilized, from science and math to history and geography. At the same time, this isn't a source for learning about these subjects; students will need a knowledge of them already to complete many of the exercises.
The final series, simply called Analogies, is for high school students, and is touted as excellent preparation for the SAT college entrance exam as well as other standardized tests. These are more directly vocabulary-related than their predecessors, with exercises calling for students to write sentences based on analogs, and to identify the closest relation between two paired analogies. A glossary at the back of each workbook includes words encountered in the text itself. There is no answer key or teacher's guide at this level, but answers to all exercises are included in the back of each book. The focus at this stage is problem-solving and analysis, thus cementing many of the concepts introduced in the two earlier levels.
All the books in these series are consumable workbooks in black and white, with minimal line drawings only in books one and two of the Primary Analogies level. They are of moderate length (usually around 40-50 pages) with enough exercises to last about one semester. This isn't formal (or even informal) logic, so don't try to use it that way; the books aremeant to train students to connect material and improve their higher-order thinking skills. As a stand-alone curriculum this won't work too well, but as a supplement, not only to logic, but to your child's learning in general it is excellent.
Our Honest Opinion:
This is the only program we carry at Exodus Books that concentrates exclusively on inductive reasoning skills. As such, it is almost an indispensible supplement to any study of logic you or your students want to pursue. While spare and not altogether exciting, these workbooks are efficient and if you insist your kids take them seriously, will hone their thinking abilities more ably than a lot of other logic workbooks. After all, the purpose of education isn't to learn facts—it's to bring those facts together in a way that makes sense.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Did you find this review helpful?