Friday, September 17, 2010

TOS Product Review--Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power

I have a "homeschool wish list" in my head, and this book was on it. We have the elementary version, but I thought we should have this book for the older students. It was a hit!! I gave it to my 17 year old son, and within a few minutes I heard him laughing over the pages of this book. He is a hard sale, so this was a good sign. A few days later, after he had a chance to look through it, I pried it out of his fingers and gave it to my 15 year old daughter. Within a few minutes, she was laughing and showing different pages to her younger sisters. I'd say this was learning at its finest! (or should I say funniest??) There are a few places where we had to weed out the slightly immodest pictures, but that worked out fine for us.

The concept is very simple. Take a look at the sample cartoon below, taken from the website

First, there is the main word with a dictionary entry. (which is not shown in this example, but the word is "Fathom, v. to understand fully; to penetrate the meaning of.") Then, a simple link word or phrase is listed, one that sounds like the main word. (fat thumb) Underneath that is the crazy cartoon to incorporate the main word and link word into something unforgettable. The caption is underneath the cartoon, connecting both words in a sentence. Finally, there are sample sentences on the bottom of the page to reinforce learning. This particular cartoon had "The jury found it hard to fathom how the defendant could commit such a terrible crime." as one of three sample sentences.

Sound simple? Well, it is. works to help the student learn the words. I love the use of mnemonics in learning, and that is what this whole book from New Monics Books, Inc., is about. I also like it when fun learning takes place, and that is what happened as my children read this wonderful book!

This particular book sells for $12.95 at:

It is targeted for grades 7-12. My 12th grade son already took his college entrance tests, but this book would have been a great help. I'm using it for my 8th and 9th grade daughters to develop their vocabulary for now, which is always a plus, and to help them study for their college entrance tests when or if the time comes.

So, my kids will learn lots of vocabulary words and have fun while they are doing it. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!!

Check out other reviews of this product at:

*** Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review of it. I received no other compensation.***

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Math Tutor DVD's--Pre-Algebra and The Texas Instruments TI-83/TI-84 Calculator Tutor

I love it when I find a product that makes my job as a homeschool teacher easier. I have come to a realization: Math Tutor DVD's are a wonderful tool to help my children learn math, or to reinforce the math they have already learned. Period. They are done by a man named Jason Gibson, who has an impressive resume before he left to concentrate on Math Tutor DVD's. I was excited to receive these in the mail, and even more excited to have my kids test them. I was the one in school who left math class each day thinking "I understand!!" then was totally confused as I did my homework. With Math Tutor DVD's, that problem is solved! Mr.Gibson is a talented teacher who helps students understand. They are not flashy, but informative and educational. More importantly, they get the learning job done!

The Pre-Algebra Tutor Volume 1 is a great tool to get students ready to tackle the big world of Algebra. This was actually on my "wish list" to follow The 1st Through 7th Grade Math Tutor and Basic Math Word Problems Tutor DVD's that we already own. This DVD is Jason Gibson, a white board, a dry erase marker, and oodles of information! I like how it flows so smoothly, even when he is writing on the white board. He makes the examples understandable, and puts things in layman's terms, which is a great thing when you are beginning to work on Algebra.

Disc 1 has 5 sections as follows:

Section 1: Real Numbers

Section 2: The Number Line

Section 3: Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To

Section 4: Absolute Value and Adding Integers

Section 5: Subtracting Integers

Disc 2 has 4 sections as follows:

Section 6: Multiplying Integers

Section 7: Dividing Integers

Section 8: Powers and Exponents

Section 9: Order of Operations

Mr. Gibson works lots of examples for the students, and makes everything seem less intimidating. It is helping my girls learn some math concepts, and that is a very good thing. They are understanding things that were never clear before. Learning by examples really works! For the Pre-Algebra Volume 1 DVD, the price is $26.99 plus shipping for 5 hours of instruction, which is so reasonable, especially when you think of hiring a tutor to help with the same learning. Here is the link for this DVD:

The Texas Instruments TI-83 and TI-84 Calculator Tutor is a wonderful way for a student to learn all the "mysteries" of the calculator he or she owns. My 17 year old son is working his way through the DVD, and is finding out all sorts of things he didn't know. It is perfect timing, too, as he is going to re-take the ACT test soon, and it's giving him some good information. It goes into great detail to explain things, which is necessary for the subject of a calculator. A calculator screen appears and things are worked on the screen, and that is so helpful to see problems demonstrated. There are three discs that cover many, many topics, including such topics as the mode menu, drawing on a graph, and calculating interest rates. That is obviously just scratching the surface of all the information included. The price for the Texas Instruments TI-83/TI-84 Calculator Tutor DVD is also $26.99 plus tax--for 8 hours of instruction! Here is the link for this DVD:

The Math Tutor DVD's have a warning on them:

Caution! The use of this DVD will cause increased understanding of (fill in the blank with your subject of choice!)

You know what? I agree! And...isn't that one of the main reasons we homeschool?

****Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review of it. I received no other compensation.****

Check out more reviews of this product (and lots of others) on The Old Schoolhouse blog!!