Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Latin's Not So Tough

As a reviewer for The Old Shoolhouse I was given the opportunity to review Latin's Not So Tough! by Greek 'N' Stuff.  Now, you may be asking yourself, "Latin?  From GREEK 'N' Stuff?"  Well, yes.  LOL.  I couldn't find it anywhere on their website but I'm guessing that their curriculum Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! was written first, before their other 'stuff', hence the name Greek 'N' Stuff.

Ok ok, on to the important stuff.

Latin's Not So Tough!, as a whole, is intended for use with young children.  With six levels currently available it would have been nice to be able to start with Level One (which can be completed in less than one year) with my children when they were much younger than what they are now.  I would be interested to see how going through all six levels would help them in their early study of Latin.

However, while Level One concentrates on the alphabet, diphthongs, and special consonant sounds, older elementary students (and beyond) can start with Level Three, which is the level we received to review. (You can go here and scroll down just a little to find Placement Quizzes to see which level your student needs to start with.  Personally, I found I would need to start somewhere LOWER than Level One!  LOL!)

Level Three covers the following:

*Alphabet and vocabulary review
*Latin grammar:
   ~First declension nouns
   ~Second declension (-us and -ius) nouns
   ~Three special case uses
   ~First conjugation verbs, present active indicative

*Read and write simple Latin sentences

*Matching, fill in the blank, fun activities, puzzles

Also, each level includes flashcard pages at the back of the workbook.  These need to be cut out and I highly recommend using poster board-type paper and/or laminating them so they will last longer.

Level Three is for students who have completed Level Two, or older students.  Regardless of which level you start with, each one has the following available (along with a few other things you can find here):

~Student Workbook (21.95)
~"Answers Only" Answer Key (4.00)
~"Full Text Answer Key" (21.95)
~Quizzes/Exams (5.50)
~Pronounciation CD (for Levels 1-3) (10.00)

Latin's Not So Tough! teaches classical pronunciation and is written to be very student-friendly.  The workbooks are designed in such a way that the student simply progresses through each level on a page-by-page basis, rather than on a weekly lesson structure.  The first three levels are laid out as such:
   ~Level One: 104 student pages; 28 lessons
   ~Level Two: 144 student pages; 30 lessons
   ~Level Three and above: 170 student pages; 36 lessons

The Student Workbook is laid out in such a way that they can pretty much pick it up and work through it at their own pace with little teacher involvement.  Depending on what day it is around here, that can be a very good thing but sometimes it also makes me a little sad.  However, independent learning has always been one of my goals for my children in homeschooling them so it actually works out very well.  Seeing as how I have NO knowledge of Latin, it's probably better this way anyway.  LOL! 

Actually, NONE of us have any prior Latin knowledge and this made it near impossible for us to just pick up and start learning with Latin's Not So Tough.  Right from the very first page it instructed the student to do things that we had no clue about!  They couldn't do it and I couldn't help them.  There is no instruction, just an expectation that you know what you're doing for both the student and the teacher. 

Maybe I just don't understand how to use it the right way, but my frustration eventually won out and I hate to say that we did not use this curriculum.  Maybe starting at a lower level would have helped us?  I just don't know.

However, if this is something you are interested in, let's move on to pricing.  Considering the prices are different depending on what Level you are purchasing I will simply refer you to this page to see all of Level Three's prices.

Along with Latin and Greek curriculums, a few Bible Studies are also offered by this same company.

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received this product free of charge in exchange for my review and honest opinion of it. As a believer and follower of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I promise you that all my reviews contain only my own honest opinions...'cause He told me to not lie!

Sample pages.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: Zeezok Guide to the Movies

Finally, someone has come up with our family's kind of curriculum!  Watch a movie, learn from it.  How much better could it get?

Zeezok Publishing has created these wonderful little things called "Z-Guides to the Movies" to go along with select movies that are full of wonderful learning opportunities.  When presented with the opportunity to review the guide that corresponds to the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington I jumped at the chance!  Mr. Smith... is one of our 14-year-old daughter's favorite movies so I knew this review would be a perfect fit for us.

We received the e-book, however you may also purchase the guide on CD if you wish.  This CD contains a printable pdf file of the complete study guide.  Regardless of which option you choose, each cost $12.99.  If you don't already own the movie for which you are studying you may also purchase them on DVD from Zeezok, rent them, purchase them from the store, borrow them from the library, or, my very favorite, get them through Netflix.

The study guide starts out with a Topic Overview.  In this particular guide a brief explanation of Congress, Senators, and filibusters as they pertain to the movie.  Next comes a movie synopsis giving a brief description of the movie for those who may not have already seen the movie.

Following this are ten different activities to help study different aspects of the movie more in depth.  For this particular title we started with 25 movie review questions.  Even though we had already seen the movie, a few times in fact, we still chose to watch it again so it would be fresh in our minds.  But before watching the movie for this study my daughter and I read over the review questions first so we would be aware of what to listen and watch for.  I had her answer the questions as she recognized them while watching the movie.  Gotta love that Pause button!

Then we moved on to learning all about the filibuster.  Having never had the opportunity to take a US Governement class in school and having been busy raising kiddo's the past 15 years, this study was as much for me as it was my daughter!  American history is FASCINATING to me and I thoroughly enjoyed working on this and look forward to more of these studies.

Some of the other activities we worked on were learning how a bill becomes a law, comparing our views on our US Senators (are they representatives, trustees, or both?), becoming a reporter as well as an interveiwer covering this story, trying to get inside the mind of the director of the movie, as well as several other fun and thought-provoking activities.

Both my daughter and I learned so much through the guidance of this study and we look forward to using more z-guides to dig further into other movies.  What an awesome and fun way to study history!  Even my younger kids joined in watching the movie (again) as well as some of the activities.  That's what I love so much about homeschooling.  Even though this study is labeled as being for high school students, younger children can learn so much just by joining in on the fun!

There are 28 different Z-Guides to the Movies, all of which look to be just as fun and interesting as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and each costing just $12.99.  Each title focuses on a specific time in history and in my honest opinion is just simply a fun way to help understand what life was like during a specific historical period of time.  History shouldn't be dry and boring, but exciting and interesting and if possible, fun!  With these Z-guides from Zeezok Publishing I really do think we're going to enjoy our history time a whole lot more.

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received this product free of charge in exchange for my review and honest opinion of it. As a believer and follower of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I promise you that all my reviews contain only my own honest opinions...'cause He told me to not lie!