Friday, September 17, 2010

New Monic Books-- Vocabulary Cartoons

A strong vocabulary is evidence of a great scholar. It is easy to squeeze in subject specific vocabulary when studying science, history or mathematics. I am, however, generally in a quandry when it comes time to schedule vocabulary study to develop scholarly writing. Words like affinity, expunge, laudable and porcine just don't seem to find their way into my kids' language arts lessons and therefore don't appear in their written work or conversations. Vocabulary Cartoons, a product of New Monic Books, Inc. might just be the solution to help my students improve their rudimentary skills with a minimal investment of their time. Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power is designed to appeal to a multitude of ages and can be used in a myriad of ways.

New Monic Books sent me a copy of Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power for free in exchange for this affidavit. I am happy to report unbridled accolades of my own volition. Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power is propulsive in developing language skills.

New Monic describes the theoretical design of their book by defining mnemonic. According to the publisher a mnemonic "is a device that helps you remember something by associating what you are trying to remember with something you already know". Examples include acronyms like DEAR (drop everything and read)-- or rhyming phrases like "In 14 hundred and 92, Columbus sailed the ocean blue".

Vocabulary Cartoons is designed on the principle of a visual mnemonic. For example, "capacious"meaning "roomy, able to hold much" is illustrated with a small boy wearing a baseball hat 10 sizes too large. The phrase "A spacious cap is capacious" is written below the illustration. Using the cartoon visual to connect with the definition encourages the brain to develop a learning connection ensuring the student will remember the word. According to the publisher, "Vocabulary Cartoon mnemonic strategies not only accelerate learning, but they also motivate, entertain and build self-esteem".

The publisher contends standardized test scores for PSAT, SAT/ or even the GRE will improve from a deeper understanding of scholarly vocabulary. The words selected in Vocabulary Cartoons are those most frequently found on the verbal sections of the SAT and GRE exams. Additionally, students enrolled in adult education classes, ESL students and individuals suffering from ADD could all benefit from this unique product because of its strong visual component.

I believe the true test of Vocabulary Cartoons is evident when utilizing it for sporadic vocabulary study. I had Micah, grade 8, use the book occasionally over the past six weeks to note if vocabulary development had occurred or if the book was simply quixotic. Micah took a short quiz included within Vocabulary Cartoons to evaluate her ability to evoke the meaning of the first ten words included. She remembered 70% of the words, but felt the words she did remember were erudite.

"It's a great study tool for vocabulary", said Micah. "I liked the illustrations that they used to help to display vocabulary words or phrases. I found it easy to picture the illustrations in my mind when I was trying to remember the meaning of the word. I think I only got 70% of them correct when I took the test because it had been two weeks since I last looked at the book. I think I will continue to use Vocabulary Cartoons, however to help me remember vocabulary words I don't often use and to look for meanings of difficult words I encounter when I am reading".

Vocabulary Cartoons can be purchased on New Monic Book's company website for $12.95 plus shipping and handling. With casual use and dedication your student will veer from tyro to ubiquitous vocabulary enthusiast.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Math Tutor DVD: Pre-Algebra and The Texas Instruments TI83 Calculator Tutor

This is my third year with TOS Homeschool Crew and my third year reviewing Math Tutor DVD products. I must admit that I now see Jason Gibson, creator and instructor for Math Tutor DVD, as a familiar, reliable friend to call upon when needing help with complex mathematical questions. Gibson holds advanced degrees in Electrical Engineering, Physics and recently resigned as Flight Controller for NASA's space shuttle program. Most importantly, however, he is able to translate his vast knowledge of physical science and mathematics to young less experienced students. There will be no more tears or stress when utilizing Math Tutor DVD products for middle school and upper level mathematics. The DVD's are user friendly, well designed and an extremely valuable resource to have in the home.

Our family received the 5 hour Pre-Algebra Tutor Volume 1 and the 8 hour Texas Instruments TI-83/TI84 Calculator Tutor DVD's for review. Each DVD is priced at $26.99 on the company website. With step by step instruction and all the quality aspects of a DVD like portability and easily accessed repetition of instructions, I can't imagine a more affordable educational option for anyone seeking a supplemental high quality math instruction.

Customers with a Facebook account have the opportunity to visit the Math Tutor DVD fan page and receive a $10.00 coupon off their purchase for clicking the "like" button. The company offers an affiliate program, DVD bundle pricing, and the opportunity to win a complete set of all the Math Tutor DVD products directly from the website. If that weren’t enough Math Tutor DVD offers a 100% money back guarantee for all of their products.

But are these DVD's effective? I decided to ask my 13 year old, 8th grade daughter her opinion of the TI-83/84 Caluculator Tutor DVD after viewing it. She is a current Algebra 1 student, so the graphing calculator is a tool she had no experience with, but will need to master in a few years. According to Micah,

"I found the DVD really helpful because the calculator is rather complicated tool and the DVD teaches you how to use all the different keys. It was easy to understand because he used the calculator with the different functions while he talked. I could see exactly what I needed to do. I would recommend this as a tutorial for anyone needing to learn how to use the TI-83/TI-84."

For more specific information regarding Math Tutor DVD products visit their website at To read my other reviews of Math Tutor DVD products visit the links listed below.

Numbers and Counting-part of the Young Minds Pre-school series

and Basic Word Math Problems and Algebra 2

Whether it's pre-school or upper level Calculus Math Tutor DVD has products that will help your family embrace mathematics. Math Tutor DVD's are award winning, affordable and easily accessible. Buy one and soon you will feel like Jason Gibson is your new best friend too.