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Customer Review

139 of 157 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Abysmal proofreading and quality, January 23, 2011
This review is from: Brain Quest Workbook: Grade 4 (Paperback)
Given the number of high reviews on this educational atrocity I can only guess that everyone here took one of two tacts rating this book. They either blindly graded their children according to the answer key, in which case they're educationally crippling their children and should be ashamed, or they chose to ignore the errors and focus on the book itself that their children read. In that case they're rewarding an unethical company greedily cashing in on popular brand, and they should be excoriated for making a total disregard for proofreading okay.

The reality is simple: while the book has a good presentation for children and is a good source of problems, it's only useful if you, as a parent or educator, are willing to do all the problems and exercises yourself. You simply *cannot* trust the answer key. The math section alone probably has upwards of a 10% error rate, which guarantees a falsehood on every *page* in the answer key. You'll have more fun with the measuring examples. They provide a paper ruler with invalid lengths. If you make the mistake of allowing your child to measure with an actual ruler, you'll find all the answers in the answer key are wrong by on average 1cm. Absolutely brilliant.

I cannot express in vivid enough terms my loathing for this product.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 15, 2011 2:35:03 PM PDT
Member says:
Waiting for author to defend it or publish erata for wrong answers as many complaing..if not i'll never buy or recommend brain quest series where publisher and author don't backup their product .

Posted on Jun 22, 2011 3:55:19 PM PDT
C. Waage says:
Thank you for posting this. I am currently reviewing several summer workbooks on behalf of my elementary school students. I will NOT recommend this one until I have verification that these errors have been fixed, perhaps in a newly-released edition. I'm sick of lazy publishers that cut corners when it comes to editing.

Posted on Aug 1, 2011 12:43:54 PM PDT
M.C. says:
Thanks for posting. Your review was very useful as I will probably not purchase this workbook. Do you have any one in particular that you would recommend? Thanks

Posted on Apr 1, 2012 9:35:20 AM PDT
How sad, a teaching book that can't get the answers right. I agree, I'm looking for a book for my kid, but, I will not accept sloppy editing.

Posted on Jun 23, 2012 11:16:55 AM PDT
Too late for us re: the problems with the answer key, as we already started working in the book, which we bought at a B&N store. I wasn't aware of the issues until reading the reviews because we rarely, if ever, refer to the answer key in grading elementary-level work (only if the question is confusing or ambiguous).

The lively format and varied subject matter have made "playing school" over the summer more fun for my rising fourth-grader. We simply use the book for review then add new material from various sources for enrichment as we go along. We've always tried to let our children's interests lead their learning, and it has resulted in two children who love to learn.

As a professional editor, I find the existence of so many errors offensive. Still, I am loathe to throw the baby out with the bath water, as the product is very engaging. Hopefully, the publisher will release a revised edition.

Posted on Jun 16, 2013 12:35:20 PM PDT
McTuffy says:
I have found the Brain Quest line of workbooks to be wonderful! I was surprised to read the reviews regarding errors in the answer key; however, I believe we should still be guiding our children at this age and not merely relying on an answer key. We have not used the answer key once. Kids' learning should go far beyond the end product; I make sure to take the time to review each page with my daughters and discuss anything that may need it. I want to be certain that they are not just learning to spit out the correct answers, but that they understand the concepts in full and why the various processes are the way they are.

We have been using this line of workbooks since kindergarten, and my daughters are now going into the fourth grade. We have found the line to be both kid- and parent-friendly, and the girls look forward to beginning "workbook time" every summer as the school year comes to an end. I purchase the level of the grade they are going into the coming fall, and it has not only given my daughters an additional thing to do over the summer, but helped to keep recent concepts sharp. The balance of material review from the previous grade and learning new concepts is perfect; it has given my kids a "jumpstart" on the upcoming year's material so that the easier things will simply be review for them in the fall, leaving us more time to work on the more difficult concepts in the school year.

My girls just finished third grade last week, having made the Honor Roll list with straight As for their efforts, in every trimester. Although of course they probably could have done it without the coveted "workbook time" over the summer, I do believe that our Brain Quest workbooks have certainly made their pathway a bit easier --and fun, in the process! My daughters can't wait to begin their fourth grade books when they arrive in a few days. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2014 5:11:08 PM PDT
Beatrice says:
I came across this in their Grade 3 as well, but since we home-school, I've been able to teach my kids an invaluable lesson - always check for yourself - the 'answers' can be wrong, even in a text book. A great took in teaching kids to question everything and think for themselves. We have fun finding the errors... but I know most parents and teachers don't have time to teach that lesson. But it's still a worthwhile place to begin and have children pick out the errors. It teaches them more than going auto-pilot on worksheets.

Posted on Jul 15, 2016 7:50:34 AM PDT
Mark says:
I feel the need to defend the book even though I can attest to the fact that in can sometimes be confusing because they may ask the child to answer a question in which they have not provided the information for the child to answer. I can also attest to the incorrect answer key, especially regarding the math section which is a little sad. But, I like to look at it from a different perspective. I payed around $10 for a 300+ page book that keeps my kids busy for half the summer and it keeps their brains sharp. No more finding and printing out worksheets. Personally I throw the answer key away as soon as I get the books for two reasons. One, my boys know it's back there and will eventually look back when they get stuck. Two, it's not 100% accurate BUT even if it was the children will benefit more from an adult that takes the time to go over it with them. As for the "sloppy" editing and disturbing stories I like to see them as teaching opportunities. If you find a better book for <$15 please let me know because I have yet to find something that costs this little yet still facilitates this many hours of 99.9% high quality learning time.
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