Friday, February 18, 2011

TOS Review - Kid Scoop

As a TOS Review Crew Member I was given a chance to try out Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution. Since we have three of those in our house - only one is currently identified as dyslexic - I jumped at the chance. The information page that includes pricing and the basis for the program is located here.

Kid Scoop offers a Reluctant Reader Solution package - 365 worksheets and 12 month subscription to their Kid Scoop News for the low price of $97 per year. This is a money back guaranteed program that is quickly delivered to your email box after purchase.

The worksheets consist of mini unit studies on 60 different subjects of high interest. I used Christopher Columbus with Oldest, Golf for Middle and Immunizations with Youngest. These are in black and white and come in PDF form. Oldest was studying Columbus so it dovetailed well with his history lesson - map activities, math exercises, proof reading/editing, puzzles and the always popular word search.

Golf had many different math exercises that Middle really needed. He loved the word search and the jokes and riddles on the pages.

I chose Immunization for Youngest because he needed a booster at his well check and I needed help convincing Mr. Logical. The study filled the need and went with his Science study of the Human Body. It talked about the science behind Immunizations and how the body reacts to them. Again, the Word Search was a big hit.

My only complaint would be that the pages are a bit too cluttered for people who are easily visually overwhelmed. We preferred the black and white worksheets to the Kid Scoop News. While bright, vivid colors are attractive to most kids mine are easily visually overstimulated. I am as well and I had a little trouble navigating both the website and the Newsletter online. It was much easier to download the monthly newsletter and read it on my computer.

I will continue to use these units as they make a very nice supplement to our studies. It did raise the interest level of my kids - Middle wanted to do the entire golf unit in one day. I liked the way math word problems were woven into the subject as my boys struggle with ordinary word problems. Tying them to an interesting subject made all the difference in their comprehension.

You can also sign up for 30 days of tips delivered to your email here. There are also other offerings at this link - a website for kids and a newsletter for parents.

Please head over and see what other TOS crew members have to say about this product here.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I was given use of this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.

Friday, February 11, 2011

TOS Review - The Curiosity Files - Zombie Fire Ants

As part of the TOS Review Crew I was given a copy of their new Unit Study series - The Curiousity Files for review. After discussion with the boys we chose 'Zombie Fire Ants'.

There are currently nine different studies in this series and they are currently bundled into a money saving package of all nine for $46.00. It includes - Blue Diamond, Dung Beetle, Puffer Fish, MRSA, Red Tide, Blue-Footed Booby, Cidica Killing Wasp, Quicksand and Zombie Fire Ants. You can also purchase them individually. These are geared for ages 8-13 but could be beefed up for older students or adapted for younger students easily. The studies cover Bible, Geography and of course, Science. There are plenty of Language Arts activities to choose from.

We had a blast with Zombie Fire Ants. I have always said I would ask God just what His purpose was in creating fire ants. They are the opposing side in a war over our back yard that we fight every spring, summer and fall. Sadly there were no ants to look at while we were conducting this particular study because of the unusually cold weather we've had in our area.

As the mother of three who are easily overwhelmed by too much text on a page - I appreciated the layout of the information section of this study. It was well balanced with pictures and broken into several sections for easier reading.

(I also loved showing my middle son that fire ants can - in fact - form a ball and float on water. We had a spirited debate about that and the picture provided in the study proved it.)

The boys decided that the phorid fly should be imported to North Carolina immediately so we don't have to use fire ant killer this year. Plus, I think they really want to see headless ants wandering around.

We did the Question and Answer section together - giving all of them a chance to respond. As usual - the more gross and strange the topic, the more the boys retained. I was happy that I didn't have to do much adapting to this section - it challenged them just enough.

The 'Fire Ant Week' section was a God send. My youngest has a horrible time with days of the week and using the theme to work on this skill made my job much easier.

In fact we wound up using all of the pages that had math activities on them. It goes so much easier when it's an interesting topic.

As a writer I loved the analogy of the zombie fire ants wandering around with a direction like a run on sentence does. The boys - who are allergic to writing - weren't as impressed. They did like correcting the sentences - they just didn't like writing them.

I liked having a vocabulary list and the spelling activities. I liked the use of puzzles to reinforce certain concepts. Word searches are always a good thing in our school. We did the map activity, and the lapbook components we used to lap and note in our science binders.

I cannot stress enough how much I liked the tips for making this study more friendly to hands on learners. It really made me think of ways I could use this that would not have occurred to me. We poured over You tube for Zombie Fire Ants videos.

We spent about a week on this study be with all of the information given we could have easily gone longer and branched out into different areas from it. There is a lot of material here and it's an excellent deal for the price.

Since we liked the layout and the content of this study so much I believe we will be using more of The Curiosity Files. In fact I think Dung Beetles may be the next in line. Remember, for our boys the grosser and stranger the better!

Please head over and see what other TOS crew members have to say about this product here.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I was given use of this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.