Jun 142013
 

We are wrapping up 1st grade for 6 year old Lizzie. It’s been a good year and she has learned a lot. Most of it was very relaxed learning.

Lizzie

I’ve often remarked to my husband that it’s a good thing that God did not give me Lizzie first. If He had, I might be one of those people who gush about how wonderful homeschooling is and how easy it is. But I know that isn’t always so. Boy, do I ever.

But with Lizzie being fourth in line with a couple of very needy kids ahead of her, (Needy in very different ways and for different reasons) it’s a good thing that she is very quick at learning and works well independently. (Mostly) She also is an independent reader which makes a huge difference in the demand for one-on-one instruction.

Here’s the curriculum she used this year.

***This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I will receive a small percentage.

Curriculum-001

Math:

184964: Singapore Math: Primary Math Workbook 1A US Edition

Singapore Math: Primary Math Workbook 1A US Edition By Singaporemath.com Inc

Miquon Red (almost done with this)

These are my favorite elementary math curricula. My oldest 2 children used this combination with great success. It didn’t work well for middle son because it was way too abstract for him.

English/Reading/Literature:

380176: StoryTime Treasures Student GuideStoryTime Treasures Student Guide
By Memoria Press

 

380183: More StoryTime Treasures Student Guide

More StoryTime Treasures Student Guide, By Memoria Press (not quite finished)

This is the first time I have used these books from Memoria Press. I have to say, I love these! I love them even more than I thought I would. I was afraid they would be too work bookish (they are work books after all!), but I found them to have a wide variety of lessons based on classic children’s literature. They teach vocabulary, drawing inferences, basic grammar, elementary literature concepts, and more. I really, really liked them.

Phonics:

146262: Explode the Code, Book 3

Explode the Code, Book 3By Educators Publishing Service

This was a little too easy for her, but she likes workbooks sometimes so this was something that she could work on when she was in a big school mood. Plus, since she learned to read very easily, her phonics skills are a bit weak.

Handwriting:

636135: New American Cursive, Book 1

New American Cursive, Book 1By Iris Hatfield / Memoria Press

I was sold on this in the Memoria Press catalog. I really like the idea of teaching cursive early. It made sense. It didn’t go super well though. This was one that needed a little more one-on-one time.

And that’s it for formal schooling.

No history? No science?

Well, no. Not formally.

I bought a sweet little history book for her,
79900: History For Little PilgrimsHistory For Little PilgrimsBy Christian Liberty Press

We just didn’t get much of it read. But she lives in a house with maps and globes, we bird watch (and all the other animals in the yard), she plays outside, and we hike. Last summer we traveled across the country visiting state capitals along the way. She finds the shapes of states in her chips and crackers. I think she’ll be ok.

What’s on deck for next year?

Mainly more of the same.

We’ll be using the next levels of Singapore and Miquon Math. I’m purchasing the literature guides for 2nd grade from Memoria Press. I am also going to be starting her in Prima Latina. Handwriting I’m still undecided about. I think I want to continue with the New American Cursive. I may add in a print book from Handwriting Without Tears as well.

I am hoping to go actually do some history and science with her next year. She’ll just tag along with whatever I use for her older brother…when I decide on that. And if I figure out how to work it into my day.

 

Apr 262013
 

I’m working on planning next year’s curriculum.

Confession time, I’m almost ALWAYS planning next year’s curriculum. Maybe I should spend more time focusing on THIS year’s?

David is in high school now. I worried and fretted about it for years ahead of time. But actually, it’s been a pretty good year.

Maybe I shouldn’t have worried? Or maybe the worry helped?

I love the freedom of homeschooling. I love being able to select curricula for all of my children and their own unique needs. And while I love the general concept of delight-directed learning, there are certain subjects that we have to teach whether my kids like them or not.

David is a math, science, and computer kid. He really is not into history, social studies, or literature at all. But he still has to study them. On deck for next year is Economics and Civics. I’ve done some searching and I’m not finding a lot that is likely to interest David. (i.e. I think he would hate everything I’ve looked at.)

But “lucky” for me (and David), I discovered Compass Classroom. First, David tried Visual Latin. It started out as a review, but he ended up liking it so much that we switched over to it for Latin II this year! Then in the fall, I enrolled him in Filmmaking from the First Directors. That has been an incredible class for him. It is excellent. (But a lot of work!!!)
Filmmaking

Needless to say, when I got the chance to review another of their products, Economics for Everyone, I jumped at the chance. I have not been disappointed.

Economics for Everyone consists of 12 video lessons and a pdf study guide. The lessons are taught by R.C. Sproul, Jr. and just like everything else from Compass Classroom, they are engaging and fun. These are not videos of R.C. Sproul standing in a classroom, but instead include fun video clips from a wide variety of old movies.

Economics for Everybody | Trailer from Compass Cinema on Vimeo.

 

See what I mean? These lessons bring an often “boring” subject to life with simple explanations and excellent illustrations of economic concepts.

I don’t actually think economics is boring. I even minored in it in college. 

Things to mention:

EconomicsThis course is titled Economics for Everybody, but it is from an unapologetically Christian perspective. The whole foundation of the study is on man’s place in this world and how he was put here by God. I think the “everybody” is referring to the fact that R.C. Sproul, Jr. explains everything so well that “everybody” can understand.

I would not consider this course alone to be sufficient for 1/2 high school credit. However, neither do the publishers and they have included a generous list of additional resources and even suggested texts to accompany the study.

Disclosure: The links to Compass Classroom products are affiliate links. I received a free copy of Economics for Everybody in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.

Nov 062012
 

When am I ever going to need this?

Why do I have to learn this?

Math is so boring.

If you’ve ever heard any of the above in your home, I have a suggestion for you.

It’s called Make It Real Learning.

I reviewed one of the modules: Sets, Probability, and Statistics from Volume I several years ago. We really enjoyed it!

I recently received the Activity Library: Volume II to review. This volume contains the following 11 books.

    • Make it real learningArithmetic II
    • Fractions, Percents, Decimals III
    • Fractions, Percents, Decimals IV
    • Geometry I
    • Geometry II
    • Graphing & Other Algebra Skills I
    • Graphing & Other Algebra Skills II
    • Linear Functions III
    • Periodic & Piecewise II
    • Quadratic II
    • Sets, Probability, Statistics II

As you can see, many of the topics are continuations of those found in the first volume. However, I do not think it is necessary to have completed Volume I to use Volume II. Volume II adds 2 subjects, Geometry and Graphing, that were not topics in Volume I.

Each of the books contains 10 modules that use a wide variety of real world examples. In Graphing & Other Algebra Skills I, your students can work problems on topics such as autism rates, paper sizes, interest rates, and calculating take home pay. Geometry includes area and volume calculations for swimming pools and landscaping, using right triangles around the house, and so much more. (Maybe this will spark an interest in my son for landscaping! We could certainly use the help.) Each problem set has both student worksheets and a complete solution set.

I think the wide variety of topics make the problems so much more interesting. I’ve enjoyed using these because they always get my son off on some other learning tangent. (OK, I confess that sometimes drives my insane, but in theory I like it.)

The books are only available as e-books, making them to convenient to use and store. Just print the parts that you’re going to use. You can purchase the complete Activity Library Volume II at the Make It Real Learning website for $39.99. There is a special bundled price of $69.99 for both volumes of Make It Real Learning Activity Library. There are also free samples available on their website. I highly recommend taking a look at the samples. I think you’ll be impressed.

Thank you Make It Real Learning for allowing me to review Volume II!

 

Disclosure: I received the Make It Real Learning Activity Library Volume II for free in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Oct 302012
 

Do you long for the good ole days when children played outside with their friends, went fishing, and had great adventures?

I know that a lot has changed in the few, short, ahem, years since I was a child. No, I didn’t grow up in the country, but my friends and I did ride our bikes all over the neighborhood, explore in the woods, and play fun games like Hide and Seek, Kick the Can and “Red Light, Green Light, Hope to See the Ghost Tonight.” Kids today aren’t allowed to do as much roaming without supervision as they used to. Parents get children together for play dates. People are so busy with all their activities that there is rarely time for kids to just play.

Sugar Creek GangUnfortunately, we can’t fully go back to those days (though there are some definite decisions that we as parents can make to keep our children’s lives as simple as possible). I recently received the Sugar Creek Gang Volume 1 CD’s to review. Theses old stories were started in 1939. They are filled with fun and simple adventures seen through the eyes of a child. The 6 stories contained in Volume 1 are on 12 CD’s. The  recordings are made from the original books, have great sound, and are wonderfully read.

Woven into the stories are observations about obeying and respecting parents, telling the truth, attending church, praying, and many other Christian character traits and practices. The stories are told in a folksy style with the character lessons woven in. The lessons, at least for the most part, don’t feel tacked on.

I’ve listened to some of the CD’s with all of my children. My son William who is 10, likes the stories. My older children (12 and 14) don’t care for them much, but did listen on a long drive without complaining. I think the stories are engaging, provide enough mystery to keep you listening, and I even found them convicting at times especially hearing the child-like faith of Billy.

You can purchase all the Sugar Creek Gang audio CD’s from Beloved Books. If you love old-fashioned, you definitely need to visit the website! Each of the volumes are $54.95. I would recommend ordering the CD’s of the very first story, The Swamp Robber, for only $4.95. It’s a great story and it will give your family a taste of the Sugar Creek Gang.

Disclosure: I received Volume 1 of the Sugar Creek Gang in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Oct 252012
 

My son William had a lot of trouble learning to read. I read all the advice that said not to worry about it.

“It will come.”

“Some kids are just late readers.”

It was helpful advice when he was 6. It was a little less helpful at 7. After he was 8 and even 9, the late reader testimonials really didn’t calm my fears much at all. One of the things that he really struggled with was focusing on the page. He couldn’t keep his eyes on the right line, and he just seemed distracted. He has never been officially diagnosed with dyslexia, but he displays most of the signs.

One of the things that we tried to help keep his eyes on the right place on the page were color-overlays. I noticed a definite improvement in his ability to keep his place in on the page. Moving the overlay himself was an issue at that time though.

Eye Level Reading RulersI was recently given a set of Eye Level Reading Rulers from Crossbow Education to review. They are designed to assist people who suffer from either visual stress or dyslexia. These rulers have 2 sizes of color-strips on each ruler. There is a thin strip that can be used for reading 1 line of text at a time or a thick strip that can highlight a whole paragraph at a time. This allows for more fluent reading. The rulers have both a glossy side and a matte side. They also come in 10 different colors so that you can test which color works best for you.

I really like these rulers. I especially like the matte finish side because I struggle some with glare. Maybe it’s from my constant use of the computer. I also like having the selection of colors to choose from. I find it interesting how some of the colors just don’t work at all, while others make the text seem clearer to me. They make a handy bookmark and are great for keeping your place when correcting student papers.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get William to give them a very good trial. Thankfully, he is reading much better now, and he seems to think that using the ruler is a step backwards. I did force him to try them out anyway, and he preferred the orange. The biggest problem with them for him is that that are a little too large for many books. If I could convince William to use one,  I would purchase a pack of 1 color and cut them in different sizes so they are easier to hold in a small book.

If you suspect that your child (or you) might be dyslexic or suffering from visual strain I would definitely recommend trying out the Eye Level Reading Ruler. They are available in the multi-color 10 pack for only $16.95, that’s a very small investment for something that could provide such a great benefit. You can visit Crossbow Education to order the Eye Level Reading Ruler and many other learning tools.

Disclosure: I received a 10 pack of Eye Level Reading Rulers in order to complete this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sep 252012
 

This summer we went on the most amazing vacation to Arizona. In the spring, as we were planning our trip, we were floundering a bit in our history studies. My husband suggested I try a unit study on Native Americans. I thought that was a great idea so I went straight to work on putting one together.

Well, no.

It was a great idea, but I never had the time to even look for a unit study, much less come up with my own.

So a couple of guilty months later, we were starting back to school, and I was offered an opportunity to review a unit study from Homeschool Legacy. Hmm. Let’s see, they have one on trees, horses, birds, Lewis & Clark, Native America, Early Settlers,…

Wait! Native America? The study I was supposed to do last spring? Well, better late than never, right? And now that we’ve visited all those western sites, it will be that much easier to imagine the Native Americans living there. Right?

Homeschool Legacy Native America, is part of the Once-a-Week Unit Studies series from Homeschool Legacy. The studies are designed so that all the activities in the study are done on one day of the week. That is with the exception of reading. They don’t have to be done that way, but I love the concept. On unit study day you can have a very short math lesson (or not) and jump right into the study for the rest of your school day. The other days have students select from the huge basket of  library books on the topic, and read from the family read-aloud. The study includes extensive book lists for all reading levels. (The Native America study can be used for 2nd through 12th grades!) There are a wide variety of activities including map activities, recipes, games, crafts, devotions, and much more. There are suggested field trips and movies for family movie night as well.

The units in the Native America study are arranged geographically. If you start at the first unit, you’ll be introduced to to the Northeast Woodland Nations. This is followed by the Southeast Woodland, The Southwest, The Plains, The Pacific Northwest, and finally the California Plateau/Great Basin Nations. After consulting the author, I decided to begin with the Southwest Nations, both because of our vacation, and the following week, on the Plains Nations, tied in well with my older daughter’s history studies. (I’m breaking all my own advice with history this year. My children are all over the place in their studies!)


Here are some cliff dwellings we visited in Arizona. This is Montezuma’s Castle.


Here’s a closer view.

The book list is huge, and I was able to find a wide variety of books in our library. There were some exact titles not available, but those were easy to substitute. The author includes Dewey decimal numbers for the books, making both catalog and in-person library searches, very easy!

The activities are varied for the different weeks. For example, in the Plains week, we played a matching game that helped reinforce all the ways that the Native Americans used bison. It even suggested making bison burgers. (That one I didn’t do. I didn’t know a local source of bison meat.) In the Pacific Northwest some fun activities include making a family totem pole and cooking salmon on a cedar plank.

Do your children participate in Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls? These unit studies have special notes to show you which activities can be used to earn badges and awards in those clubs! What a way to multi-task! We’re not involved in either of those organizations, but I’ve always wondered how people found the time for working on all those badges.

Once-a-Week studies are great supplements to other history or science curricula. Or you can use them as a stand-alone curriculum. They’re great for getting your whole family on the same page for at least some of your studies! There are even “Stump Your Dad Trivia” questions. They are super easy to implement.

You can visit Homeschool Legacy to see all the different Once-a-Week Studies they offer. Here is a link for more information about the Native America study. The study is available for $17.95.

Disclosure: I received Native America from Homeschool Legacy in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sep 132012
 

Much research has shown that early childhood is an ideal time to begin learning a foreign language. Because of this, I’ve always tried to expose my children to Spanish at a young age. I chose Spanish mainly because it’s the easiest foreign language to find resources for children. Ideally, I would teach them Spanish by speaking it to them. But unfortunately, I don’t speak Spanish. So we’ve used various computer programs, some television shows, and even a homeschool class to expose the children to Spanish.

Now I still have young children but Lizzie (almost 6) hasn’t really had any exposure to Spanish with the exception of watching Dora. (I hope I’m not the only one who has really high ideals and standards with the older children, but then relaxes them out of necessity with the younger ones!) So I was really excited when I was selected to review Speekee TV.

What (or who) is Speekee?

SpeekeeSpeekee is a lovable, purple, Spanish-speaking puppet. Speekee and his friends speak only Spanish on the 10 episodes of Speekee, so watching Speekee is a total immersion in Spanish. The program is not vocabulary focused, although there is plenty of vocabulary included, but is very conversational in nature. The program also includes many songs which are very catchy. (I catch myself singing them!)

In addition to Speekee TV, there is a free FastTrack curriculum  that adds fun activities, worksheets, and flashcards correlated with specific segments of the Speekee episodes. The FastTrack program provides plans for 40 weeks of instruction. It can be accessed on-line or e-mailed to subscribers weekly.

Although Speekee is available on DVD, I received Speekee TV to review. Speekee TV is a subscription service allowing access to all the episodes on-line. We can hook our computers up to our television, but for ease of use (or maybe my own laziness), I just had Lizzie and Andrew watch Speekee on my laptop. We experienced no difficulties accessing the website or streaming the programs. The interface to select an episode is very intuitive, and Lizzie quickly figured out how to start the desired episode.

I opted to use Speekee in the simplest way possible. I had Lizzie (almost 6 and in the 1st grade) and Andrew (20 months) watch the programs. That’s it. I did receive the FastTrack curriculum e-mails as well, and they look like an excellent way to reinforce the Spanish learned in the program. I will be using some of the activities with Lizzie as she watches the episodes again. The activities are too advanced for Andrew, obviously. Speekee is recommended for children ages 2-10, so he’s a little too young. But he isn’t too young to enjoy the program. He LOVES it. He was sitting beside me when I started writing this review and was very excited to see Speekee on my computer. Then he was very upset that we weren’t going to watch Speekee right now.

Speekee

Andrew and Lizzie watching Speekee

So are my children walking around speaking Spanish after 6 weeks of watching Speekee? Well, no. But Andrew is just barely starting to speak English. And with a program like Speekee, that isn’t the goal. I think Speekee is a fantastic and fun way to get children started on Spanish. They can learn at a young age what Spanish sounds like. They can begin to imitate it and say Spanish words with the correct accent. That can only help them in future study. (By the way, I should mention that Speekee is a UK production, so the Spanish spoken is like the Spanish spoken in Spain, not Latin America. It’s the same language, but there are some differences in some pronunciations I’ve been told.)

The recommended age for Speekee is 2-10. In my house it would never work past about 8 years old. Not because the content is too easy, but because my children would revolt at watching anything so childish after that. But every family is different, and I’m sure there are many who would find it an effective program for 10 year olds.

There are 2 subscription options for Speekee TV

  • $7.50/month or
  • $60/year

Both options give 2 weeks free at the beginning of the subscription. That allows users to try out the program to make sure it’s a good fit for their family.

If you have little ones, I highly recommend Speekee!

Disclosure: I received a 6 month subscription to Speekee TV in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Aug 302012
 

Do your children like to act out their history lessons?

Do you want to make history come alive?

Does your history curriculum suggest activities like dressing in historical clothing?

Costumes with CharacterI have a fantastic resource to recommend. I was recently given a copy of Costumes with Character from Golden Prairie Press to review. Costumes with Character contains information about the different clothing styles worn by women and girls during various eras of American History. It also has instructions and patterns for making your own period costumes that are both simple and inexpensive.

How can you make period clothing both simply and inexpensively?

The concept of this book is wonderfully simple. To start, you make or modify a basic dress. Then that same dress is used for all the costumes. For each period, there are things that you make to add to the dress such as different collars and aprons. What a fantastic idea!

 

 

My 12 year old daughter Anna wants to learn to sew, so I let her look at the book and see what interested her. Since she’s been studying the pioneers, she decided to make a sunbonnet.

The instructions for each of the projects are included in Costumes with Character, but the patterns must be enlarged.

That was actually a fun lesson in using a grid for enlarging a drawing.

The instructions were reasonably well written. I am not an expert seamstress, but I’m not a beginner either. I did used to sew much more frequently. (I don’t have much free time these days! I wonder why?) I found that I had to start on the project before some of the instructions made sense.

We ended up modifying the pattern just a bit and using elastic in the back at the neckline instead of tightening with ribbon. I also made the ties inside-out thinking that we were going to turn them. But that was not the fault of the instructions. It very clearly showed sewing them the other way. I’m not sure where my brain was.

Then we ran into some machine difficulties. We decided to finish the bonnet using hand stitching. That’s more authentic anyway, right?

Here’s Anna modeling her new sunbonnet! I think it turned out really cute .

I received Costumes with Character in e-book format to review. It is regularly priced at $21.95. The book is also available printed for $37.00. In addition, the printed patterns are available for $15.00. That would definitely be much easier than having to enlarge all the patterns in the book.

 

Disclosure: I received Costumes with Character in e-book format for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Any quoted price is subject to change.

Aug 232012
 

Every year I make a list of topics to study with the kids, and every year I include hymn study. And every year I fail to get it done.

That doesn’t mean that my children do not know any hymns. They actually know many, many hymns. In fact, many more than I did as a child. Almost seven years ago, we left the mega-church that we had been members of for 5 years. (Actually my husband had been a member his entire life until he got married and moved away. Then we moved back and joined the same church.) One of the things that we were looking for in a new church was one that used hymns in worship. It didn’t have to be only hymns, but we were looking for a more traditional worship style. The Lord did lead us to a church that, among other things we were looking for, used hymns for congregational singing. This long digression can be summed up with, my children know hymns, but we have failed to learn about the hymns and hymn writers.

One of the reasons I think I’ve failed at implementing hymn study is that I tend to make it too complicated. This year I received a great resource that is a super simple way to learn more about hymns. The book is Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers by Douglas Bond. The book, published by Christian Liberty Press, is a fictional account of Annie and her brother Drew. While spending the summer in England with their parents (who really aren’t part of the story), they meet an old man affectionately known as Mr. Pipes. Mr. Pipes is an organist in the village and is very knowledgeable about church history and specifically hymn writers.

Annie and Drew quickly become friends with Mr. Pipes as he teaches them to fish, row a boat, and takes them on the train to London. During their visits, Mr. Pipes relates the story of a different hymn writer such as Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, John Newton, or William Cowper. Mr. Pipes is a great story-teller and the children are very interested to hear his tales.

Along with presenting the stories of the hymn writers, Annie and Drew are also growing in their faith. Their priorities and behaviors change from the beginning to the end of the book. There is evidence of spiritual growth in the characters.

I received this book with the intention of having my 12 year old daughter, Anna, read it. But now that I’ve read it, I have changed my mind. I would like to use it as a read-aloud for the whole family. Even though the book is recommended for grades 7-10, the story is engaging enough for younger children especially since they’re familiar with many of the hymns discussed. I like the idea of teaching about the hymn writers using a living book instead of just facts about the hymn writers. And rather than get all strict with it and making a schedule and finding extra things to go along with the study, I am allowing us the freedom to just read the book! (Shocking, huh? If you’re reading this and have never made plans that you didn’t use or purchased curriculum and never opened it, then you probably don’t understand what I’m saying at all. But I am finding it necessary to simplify. And I’m finding that simple is often better anyway!)

Another reason that I am not having Anna read it is that I received the pdf of the book. I own a Kindle (the old style with the keyboard) which I love. However, Anna doesn’t like it very much and much prefers “real” books. To  further complicate matters, this book is not in Kindle format (.mobi) but pdf. That means that one page of the book appears on the Kindle screen (which is smaller than the book). Thankfully, the pages in the book are not 8-1/2 x 11, but the words are just barely large enough for me to read in this format. (I do not need reading glasses yet, but I suspect they may be on the horizon.) Anna suffers from frequent headaches, and I fear that this type size would bring on a headache.

I am really pleased with this book, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a gentle way to study hymns and hymn writers. There are also 3 other titles: Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation, Mr. Pipes Comes to America, and  The Accidental Voyage: Discovering Hymns of the Early Centuries. All the books are available from Christian Liberty Press. I’m personally tempted by this complete set of all 4. The pdf version of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is $8.79.

Please visit The Schoolhouse Review Crew to read more reviews of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers.

 

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Disclosure: I received a pdf copy of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Aug 162012
 

I’ve always thought that the best way to learn vocabulary was naturally. Students can learn vocabulary from their reading. They can also learn from hearing words used in conversation. My husband is especially good at using “hard” words with the children.We’ve also chosen to study Latin in our homeschool. (That’s not as much of a natural method, but it is different than vocabulary worksheets and an excellent way to boost English vocabulary.)

But my son is getting very close to the time to begin taking the SAT and/or ACT. (We haven’t decided for sure, but he’ll probably take both.) And he’s not as much of a reader as I had hoped he would be. (Unless you count computer manuals!) So he could use a some concentrated effort on increasing his vocabulary over the next couple of years.

This is my child who is totally allergic to workbooks or anything that has even the slightest hint of busywork. There are many things in school that I just make him do even if he doesn’t like it. But I’m not looking to add anything else to that list of “must-do’s” that causes conflict. I have found something that he actually likes! He is a super smart kid and trust me, there isn’t much that he likes and doesn’t find a million flaws with. (Not that being smart means you don’t like things, but in his case he’s extremely analytical and just naturally finds mistakes.)

Vocab VideosI was given the opportunity to review Vocab Videos, a unique vocabulary study program designed with college entrance test prep in mind. Vocab Videos are short, quirky, funny videos that teach vocabulary words. The students log on to their account on VocabVideos.com to watch the videos. There are several different storylines in the videos. During the video, there are short breaks in the action to point out and define relevant vocabulary words. After the video, there are on-line quizzes available as well as crossword puzzles and a definition worksheet. Students can also create on-line flashcards. The extra practice helps the students retain what they learned in the videos.

I am happy to report that

He likes Vocab Videos!

(I’m suddenly envisioning the old Life cereal commercial. “He likes it! He likes it!”

I really wasn’t sure what his reaction was going to be. And truthfully, it all depended on the videos. Let’s face it, there are a lot of educational videos that are, for the lack of a better word, stupid. He doesn’t like anything that is too juvenile. He also loves film making and editing, so anything that is poorly produced is very difficult for him to watch.

But Vocab Videos are professionally produced. While the acting is not going to win any Academy awards, it is perfect for what it is. The skits are meant to be funny and goofy, and the acting is a bit goofy, but it works. I do feel that I must mention that this is not a Christian company, and these videos are used in schools across the country. There are some instances of people saying God and the way the characters treat one another is definitely not nice all the time. They’re written to appeal to typical high school students so there are topics, like dating, that some families might not like.

I was given a Small Educator account. This account gives me access to all the scores of my son’s quizzes in addition to extra resources for teaching. I also set up an account for my daughter, though she hasn’t used the program yet. I found the set-up process straightforward. We’ve had no problems with the site itself. The videos play well, and the site is well-organized and easy to navigate.

Overall, we give Vocab Videos 2 thumbs up! (Or should that be 4 thumbs up since there are 2 of us?)

Visit VocabVideos.com to sign up for an account. There are accounts available for single students for 6 months of access for $24.99 and 12 months for $39.99. The small educator account provides 12 month of access for up to 20 students for $74.99.

 

Disclosure: I received a Small Educator account on Vocab Videos for free in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.