Friday, April 29, 2011

Latin's Not So Tough! Level 2 TOS Review

I am amazed at how much of our language is rooted in Latin. In fact, many English words (especially science related) have roots in Latin. My husband and I have been debating about teaching our children a second language. Actually, the debate is how many other languages should we teach them, and specifically, which ones in order to be competitive in a global market. Another consideration is, what age do we begin, do we learn it as a family and which language will be most used and helpful to our children.

My three top picks are Spanish (we live in NJ and have a very high Spanish speaking population here) and we debated between Mandarin  and Latin. Mandarin may be very useful to our children because over half of the worlds' population speaks it and this could be very beneficial to our children in a business regardless of profession. As a science nerd, Latin is one of my top choices. I see the value in teaching our children Latin, because it will benefit them in their studies, especially if they continue in a career path with a heavy science/ health background.  So, I was excited to review "Latin's Not So Tough!", created by the Company
 Greek 'N' Stuff .

 I was sent Level 2, which focuses on a thorough review of the Latin Alphabet, dip thongs and special consonant sounds. There are also 50 Latin vocabulary words. The target age for this level is 6-7 year olds. Older students would benefit from starting at level 3. The student has a workbook that is consumable and must use the flashcards to practice the sounds of the Latin Letters. The program offers many hands on activities to cement learning. I am impressed with this curriculum. It is teacher friendly and if a child is reading well, it can be done independently with teacher supervision. 

I also like the companies teaching philosophy: “Our teaching methodology incorporates a gradual, yet consistent, exposure to Greek or Latin. Each year, after reviewing previous concepts and vocabulary, the student then expands his/her knowledge of the Greek or Latin language (in much the same way that English grammar is commonly learned).”

My only hesitation with this program and teaching it to such a young child, is that if your child is not reading well, it could be very confusing. I do think the quality of the material warrants high praise. So here is my advice. If you have a strong reader, and you wish for your child to study Latin (they may have a God given bend towards the sciences), then strike while the iron is hot and begin the program. If you do wish for your child to study Latin but they are struggling, my advice would be to let them get a good grasp their own language first, then begin at level 3.

The price of the products I received are:
Latin's Not So Tough level 2 workbook: $18.95
Latin's Not So Tough Level 2 "Answers Only" key  $4.00
Latin's Not So Tough, pronunciation CD Level 1-3 $10.00

My fellow Crew members reviewed many different products from this company, so check out the TOS Blog found HERE.

As a member of the TOS Crew, I was given this product at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Science Weekly, TOS Review

I LOVE science, I can remember riding in the back of my parents station wagon and talking to them about what I want to be when I grew up. I always said that I wanted to be a scientist. I did actually choose a career path in the science field, eventually receiving my Masters Degree in Science with a Major in Community Health Education. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) in my pre-mommy life and I love teaching the topic of Science to my little budding scientists.
Our home offers the perfect setting for real hands on science, which in this day and age, we Americans need to teach  a solid science foundation to our children in order to compete globally. We live at the end of a dead end on a lake in the woods so we are able to pull from nature and our surroundings just about anything we need  to teach on a science subject.
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent an instructional module from Science Weekly found HERE. I thought the content was fine and I thought it was great that this material will work for a large family. The topic is the same for children in pre-k through 6th grade, just the depth of understanding is different. That makes teaching everyone together much easier. Plus the material is easy enough to follow for the student, so my daughter was able to do the work with me nearby, not necessarily hovering over her.
The topic we covered was fractions, which didn't strike me as very "sci ency" since we had covered the material in math. But the information was given in clear easy to read lessons and was a good review. Each Module offers Teaching Notes with an informational background (little to no prep time is necessary). The teaching notes also offers an answer key and additional resources to round out the weekly topic.

The cost for the material is: $19.95 per student per year for 15 issues (this is if you have less than 20 people who can subscribe). If you have a co-op and can gather 20 or more students you can get a "classroom rate" of $4.95 per student for 15 issues.
I know in the homeschool scene there are many moms who feel very confident teaching writing and fine arts but almost skip science altogether, if you fall into this category, check this product out. You can visit the site and download a free sample issue and see if this might be a good fit for your family. I would also consider using it as a supplement to a unit study or for folder work if a child isn't feeling well or you are traveling but don't want to lug around teaching manuals and books.
Click HERE to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about Science Weekly.

I was sent this product at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kinderbach TOS Review

We bought a piano off of Craig's List about 3 years ago with a dream that one day our family would grow to be competent piano players. I can't read music, so this goal is a lofty one, especially when you consider our oldest child was 6 years old at the time. I had visions of snow falling outside and a crackling fire while family members took a turn playing  Christmas Carols and we all sang along. I am still clinging to this vision as my older daughters began piano lessons this past winter, but my third daughter, age 5 wasn't old enough to participate. I certainly am unable to teach her anything music related but I did want to encourage her in her desire to tickle the ivories. I had used Kinderbach, found HERE last year as a review with TOS and I kept coming back to it in my mind. I was thrilled when they gave me another chance to use their product and review it.

My daughter Mary, age 5 was thrilled when we began the first lessons, often asking for more than one a day. The program offers short video teaching segments that often include a game and fun characters. I did have to print out the workbooks, coloring pages, etc... to go along with the lesson. According to the website product description:
KinderBach breaks down the various tasks and techniques of playing the keyboard and separates them into child portions.  For example:  Before playing a song, rhythm, note identification, note placement, and music patterns are presented as different items through discussion and games.  Learning is gradual and child-paced.  In addition KinderBach uses fun characters to teach ideas, making the process entertaining.

The best part is, they offer a free trial, so you will be able to get a very good idea of the product before you purchase. If you choose to use the online program the cost is $7.99 per month or order the DVDs for $40.45. The product is recommended for children ages 3-7.

We love this product, my daughter Mary really enjoyed it, and I think it is offered at a reasonable price. Please take a look at what my fellow Crew Mates had to say: HERE

As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given this product to use at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.