Saturday, August 11, 2012

TOS Review: Vocab Videos

I was super excited about the opportunity to review a SAT program with my oldest son White Pine. He's entering the 9th grade and those few precious years of high school and getting ready for college are now here. Continuing to build a solid foundation in word knowledge through reading, writing and vocabulary is a must!

So, I jumped at the opportunity to review Vocab Videos with the TOS Homeschool Crew!

Vocab Videos offers 25 zany, memorable videos to teach and help students remember 500 popular SAT words. You can see if FREE list of these words here or sample videos here.

• Students can create vocab flashcards, complete worksheets and take on-line quizzes to test their vocabulary knowledge.

• Teachers can track up to 20 students ($74.99/year)  and their progress through a dashboard which displays worksheet and quiz scores in handy at-a-glance graphs, or a single subscription can be purchased as well ($39.99/year). There is also an additional workbook available ($11.99). Sign up for a free trial here.

Caution: After watching the first video alone in preparation for White Pine to begin our review, I was a little apprehensive about having HIM do this program. They were NOT what I expected. The videos are certainly aimed towards OLDER HIGH SCHOOLERS (IMO) and not for 13-year-old boys. Some of the verbal phrases and situations in the videos ARE those which younger kids shouldn't view in my opinion. However, I did allow White Pine to continue on with the program WITH me.

What We Did
White Pine and I watched the videos together, challenging each other to remember the words for the quizzes in a "friendly" competition. Each video and quiz took us about 20 minutes to complete. We did not fill out the worksheets nor did we make flashcards because he didn't seem to need them for extra practice.

And (unfortunately for ME), White Pine remembered the words better than I did! What's up with that? LOL I am pleased though that he seems to have a rich, varied vocabulary!

• Videos are broken down into sections that list a word and it's definition, a brief skit showing the meaning of the word, and a review of the word at the end. It's easy to pause the video (if needed) between each word to fill out a flashcard or worksheet.

••QUICK response to e-mails! I had a problem with Vocab Videos recording quiz scores so I e-mailed, asking what I was doing wrong. It only took 1-2 hours for a return e-mail with clear instructions! Excellent!

• Beneath each video is a "playlist" which shows what words are included in that episode. This is a convenient feature that allows students to write down words on index cards (flashcards) prior to watching the video, adding definitions while viewing the video or afterward.

•Little, to no teacher prep needed to begin using the program.

*There are lots of great learning aids under "Vocab Video Learning Tools", including a glossary and category lists of words.

• Videos are clearly for older students and SOME of the humor "missed the mark" with my younger student. He did snicker during some parts of the videos, but mostly he just shrugged or gave me the "What?!" face.

• Worksheets were simple fill-in definitions of the words included in the videos. They can be saved and printed out as flashcards, but as a learning tool we felt it didn't add much to the program for us. If you have a flashcard learner, this might work better for you.

Vocab Videos is a great concept in learning SAT (and other) vocabulary Adding the visual and auditory element along with the quizzes and worksheets/flashcards does really help kids (and Moms) learn new words. Although we weren't completely "into" the videos due to the more mature content, they WERE a good way to prepare for SATs or simply to assess White Pine's current vocabulary and we will continue the videos in the fall since he IS learning and remembering new words.

If you're interested in finding out more about Vocab Videos, click any of the highlighted links above or head over to TOS and see what other crew reviewers had to say here.

Disclaimer: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, Our Side of the Mountain was provided this product free in exchange for our honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.   

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