Friday, November 18, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at just for voting!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

VocabCafe' Books - A Review

Product:  VocabCafe' Books

Price:   $38.85/Complete Set of 4 books

Company:  College Prep Genius

Age Range:  Junior High and up

Other products available:  Various college prep items

Titles in this series:

Brief Description (from website):

VocabCafé books help students easily learn SAT-level words while reading an original wholesome story. These modern novellas contain no foul language, no illicit sexual themes, and no sorcery!

Based on a three-step approach to increasing vocabulary, each book highlights 300 advanced words by using DEFINITION, REPETITION, and REINFORCEMENT.
Readers find the definition of every highlighted word at the bottom of the page — a word review and appendix complement the learning process!

STOP wasting your time on fiction books that don’t enhance your knowledge.

Testimonials from the site about the College Prep line of products.

Our Thoughts:

I originally intended to have my 12 year old daughter read these books.  But after receiving them and reading the descriptions of the plots, I wasn't sure if she was old enough for the topics.  So I decided I should read them first and then decide whether to pass them on to her.   College Prep Genius also recommends that parents read the books first, and then decide whether to share the books with their children.  The company strives to pick themes that will be of interest to the high school set, without adding in questionable things such as profanity and sexual content.

But it can be very difficult for a homeschool mama to get through 4 books in a short period of time.  So I enlisted the help of my mom, who just happened to be in town visiting.  She read a little and I read a little.

My mom's opinion - She liked what she read and thought the story line was great.  She found the vocab words to be a distraction, because you have to pause from the story to look at the bottom of the page to see what a word means.  

Of course, she understood that the point of the books is the vocabulary.  In her opinion, if she saw those words again in the future in context, she would probably remember what they meant.

Mom thought the book was appropriate for the high school set and that they would enjoy reading it.

My opinion -  I also enjoyed the story line of the book that I read.   It was way better than I expected, getting pulled into it from the first chapter.    I also found the words to be a distraction.  But again, I know the whole point of the books is to improve Vocab scores.  So I made a point to look at the pronunciation and definition of each word.  I think that I would remember some of the words if they came up again.

I also feel the book would be appropriate and interesting for high school students.

In summary
1. The stories are interesting . . . a good read.  They hold your interest.  
2. The stories are "clean" without profanity, sexual content, etc.
3. You will be exposed to LOTS of SAT level words and will walk away knowing more than you did before you read the books.

Depending on your child's learning style, this might be a great investment in preparation for the SAT test.  Some children might prefer to just study a list of words.  Others might prefer to soak the words up more naturally, while reading them in context, such as the case in these VocabCafe' books.

Read more reviews.

Disclaimer: I received these books free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Christmas Lodge DVD - A Review and Giveaway

Thomas Kinkade presents -
                       The Christmas Lodge
  by Vivendi Entertainment

Price:  $12.99 at CBD (available at other retailers also)

Details: (from CDB website)

Mary Tobin loves three things---her grandfather, the outdoors, and restoring historic properties. When she rescues Charlene Rand while on a mountain hike, Mary learns that the girl and her father live at a ramshackle lodge that holds happy memories for her grampa. Resolving to repair his broken-down home, will Mary encounter reluctance---or romance---from Jack Rand? Dove approved. 90 minutes.
Our Thoughts:

 Our entire family watched it and we all enjoyed it.  It is a feel good, wholesome, G-Rated,  family-values, Christmas-y movie. 

It is nice to be able to sit down and watch a movie and not have to worry about anything inappropriate being said or done.  It is great to watch a movie, which portrays a "family-first" attitude with a high dose of good values. 

I highly recommend this movie.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

The kind folks at Propeller are giving away a copy of this DVD to one of my lucky readers.  Good luck.

One winner will be selected at random on Nov. 12th.
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