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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Review!!! Vocabulary Cartoons!


Well, hello there!!!  I'm so glad you stopped by!  :)  I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you?  So why not sign up for Feedburner?  Check it out, it's right there in my sidebar!  Thanks!!  :)





About the product/service: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a free copy of a very cool book called Vocabulary Cartoons, Elementary Edition from New Monic.  The book, geared towards 3rd through 6th graders, teaches the "210 words every grammar student should know."  The book also contains 21 review quizzes with matching and fill in the blank questions. 

The idea behind the book is to use a "mnemonic device" to help your child remember the words.  I was going to try to explain mnemonic, but in the end, I decided to just use the definition from the New Monic site. 

Vocabulary Cartoons works on the principle of mnemonics. A mnemonic is a device that helps you remember something by associating what you are trying to remember with something you already know.



This illustration from the website shows exactly how this works.  You can download more samples here.


What are the pros of this product? This is a simple and easy to use book that teaches vocabulary while making it fun.  The comic format makes it feel like you are being entertained rather than taught!  Expanding your vocabulary will make reading and writing more enjoyable, and face it, it will lead to better test scores on those "oh so lovable" standarized tests.  (There are also two books for older students which teach SAT words.) 

As the company states, "Learn a word a minute, and never forget it!"


What's not to like? Well, I can't really think of any.  I suppose if there are people out there who don't like to make up or read silly stories to remember the definitions of words, then they won't like the book.  And, I suppose, when it really comes down to it, you could forget the words if you don't use them. ;)  (Heck, I sometimes forget my kids' names!)


The Crazy Mom take:  I could have written this book.  Maybe not illustrated it, but I could have written it.  Why do I brag so?  LOL  Well, because this book does what I have been doing all my life. I have always come up with creative ways to remember things from phone numbers to names to definitions.  I once knew a lady called Corebell.  I envisioned an apple core and a bell and I never forgot her name.  I don't always make up a story, but sometimes I do.  People have always been impressed with my ability to remember things, but really I've just been using this very same sneaky little trick to make myself look good!  LOL  I love it!!!

My kids have enjoyed thumbing through this book too.  In their co-op writing classes (Hello Mrs. F!!!) they get extra credit for learning new words.  To get the points they have to know the word, the definition, and how to use it in a sentence.  This book is perfect for this!  I haven't used it in any formal way, I haven't had too.  You could make lessons out of it, but why?  I have a feeling your kids will do as mine did and just pick up the book on their own and learn some new words!  :)

Happy learning! 



What's the bottom line? $12.95

I am going to give Vocabulary Cartoons New Monics 5 out of 5 smileys!!!



See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say @

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783111/

*The Smiley System:


I can't really recommend this product.

I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.

Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!


Disclaimer!!! I reviewed this product because I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was given the product by the vendor to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others. Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way. I am in no way obligated to give a positive review. I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal! What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive.

As with all products, you must do the research before buying. Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying. I can't guarantee that a product will work for you. You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s). I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review. I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else. I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.

Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath. Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!

Copyright 2010 Ramblings from the Crazy House 2http://www.vocabularycartoons.com/home/pages/Cartoon-Samples.html

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Review!!! Schleich Toys!!!


Well, hello there!!!  I'm so glad you stopped by!  :)  I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you?  So why not sign up for Feedburner?  Check it out, it's right there in my sidebar!  Thanks!!  :)




About the product/service: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a box full of cool toy animals from Schleich



What are the pros of this product? Oh, this is such an easy review!  How can you not love a toy?  Especially one that doesn't take batteries!  LOL  These are delightful little figurines (I think that's what they're called) that look so real!  (OK, just checked and they are calling them action figures.  But that makes me think of Batman, not horses and elephants!  LOL)  There are farm animals, animals of the wild, and more.  They even have Smurfs, medieval characters, and mystical figurines if you're into those sorts of things. 




What's not to like?  Um, well you could spend a fortune if you started to collect them.  There are so many!!!  Also, for those of you who boycott products made in China, they are made there.  Other than that, I don't see any problems with the product itself.  They do, however, say 3+, so I assume they are not safe for infants and toddlers. 


The Crazy Mom take:  Well, my grandma lived with us until her death when I was only eight.  However, I have many, many fond memories of her.  One memory that really stands out is playing with these cheap little plastic animals.  They are long gone except I think I have the body of a giraffe and the head of a lion.  LOL  Had they been from Schliech, I would probably still have the whole collection.  Well, unless my dog chewed them.  She did get to my poor pig's leg.  But, anyway, these are great products and my kids and I fought over who got what.  Of course, I got first dibs.  LOL

Happy pretending! 


What's the bottom line? Prices vary. 

I am going to give Schleich 5 out of 5 smileys!!!






See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say @ http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783079/


*The Smiley System:


I can't really recommend this product.

I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.

Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!


Disclaimer!!! I reviewed this product because I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was given the product by the vendor to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others. Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way. I am in no way obligated to give a positive review. I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal! What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive.

As with all products, you must do the research before buying. Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying. I can't guarantee that a product will work for you. You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s). I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review. I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else. I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.

Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath. Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!

Copyright 2010 Ramblings from the Crazy House 2

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Review!!! America's Math Teacher!!!


Well, hello there!!!  I'm so glad you stopped by!  :)  I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you?  So why not sign up for Feedburner?  Check it out, it's right there in my sidebar!  Thanks!!  :)




About the product/service: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received free access to the America's Math Teacher website from Math Essentials.  This site is set up to be as close as you can get to having your very own math tutor. 

Rick Fisher is your student's tutor as he teaches everything from basic math to Algebra.  You can see samples of what is available here.

Once I got the hang of it, I found this program to be rather simple.  Your student watches video tutorials, completes correlated exercises, and then is evaluated to make sure he or she has learned the material. 

What are the pros of this product? This product doesn't seem to have left out anything anyone might need to know.  The site is so complete it could easily be used as a stand alone curriculum.  Here is the list of advantages to homeschoolers according to the America's Math Teacher website:


Online access anywhere anytime

Access entire library of courses

Provides great addition to classroom learning

Students learn and master exact topics recommended by the National Math Advisory Panel

Excellent for families with children at different levels

Curriculum spans Grade 4 through Algebra, and Algebra II COMING SOON!

Written exercises ensure practice a necessary part of learning

Resource Center with Glossaries, charts, tables, and more.

Students can work at their own pace and repeat lessons when necessary

Students will master the topics necessary for success in college

Excellent for adults as well as children No fluff or side topics: just good solid instruction

What's not to like? I was totally overwhelmed by this website when I first checked it out.  There was just so much on it!  I'm one of those people who takes forever to order at a restaurant if the menu is too large.  It does take some time to get to know the site.  Once I did figure it out, though, I realized it is actually quite well organized.  It's just that my mind is not!  :)

Also, the price is for a whole year which may be more than most people need.  For example, if you're just having a problem with one concept, with one child, this wouldn't work unless you were willing to pay to access the whole website for an entire year. 


The Crazy Mom take:  I have to be honest and say that I don't think this service is a good fit for my family.  We have been using textbooks for math all along, and in all honestly, we don't have a lot of time to do much else.  I don't mind popping in a DVD to help with a concept or having my kids use a drill program for fun once and a while, but we don't have the need for something like this.  Not that it's not a good program, but there are just not enough hours in the day. 

This site has tons available on it.  Like I said above, I was rather overwhelmed by it all.  I'm sure there is a lot on it that would be valuable to us if I really took the time to search it out.  However, what I am already doing seems to be working for us, so this site just didn't meet a need.  Besides, I don't like paying an annual fee for anything unless I'm abolutely sure I'll be using it throughout an entire year.  But, like I always say, your family is different than my family, so check it out yourself.  You just may have a need that America's Math Teacher can fill!  :)

Happy math! 


What's the bottom line? $195 per year per family
I am going to give America's Math Teacher  out of 5 smileys!!!

Check it out! http://americasmathteacher.com/


See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say @

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783008/

*The Smiley System:


I can't really recommend this product.

I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.

Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!

Disclaimer!!! I reviewed this product because I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was given the product by the vendor to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others. Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way. I am in no way obligated to give a positive review. I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal! What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive.

As with all products, you must do the research before buying. Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying. I can't guarantee that a product will work for you. You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s). I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review. I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else. I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.

Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath. Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!

Copyright 2010 Ramblings from the Crazy House 2
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