Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I'm in love.
Head over heals in love with this company whose initials I always confuse (being dyslexic). If their initials confuse me, their books add a clarity to their respective subjects in a way no others do. EDUDPS is the abbreviated name for Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services. Those big words seem a little highfalutin' to simple old me, but don't let that stop you. I'm sure their name speaks to the diagnostic assessments they offer for learning styles, total language, and grade placement, just to name a few, but the four products they sent the TOS Crew to review have little to do with their diagnostic services (although if they are as great as the rest of their products, I'd check them out too) and more to do with the sheer genius of simplicity.
Because we received four products, and because I LOVE them all, I am going to briefly run through each one for you.
Roots and Fruits is an e-book that addresses the Latin and Greek roots of many of the words we use on a daily basis. Unlike most "root" based texts though, this one focuses on what the root looks like in our English usage. For example, most root studies would tell you "astro" means star or heavens, but Roots and Fruits says "ast, astro" and as a vocabulary word lists asterisk. DUH! I never connected that little start shaped symbol with the prefix for star! Anyway, Roots and Fruits suggests taken 1-2 roots a week to learn, and gives a suggested weekly lesson plan (you choose the words to cover, they just suggest HOW to cover them). There are TONS of suggestions for games to make the learning fun. And there are WAY more roots in this book than I've seen in any other-673- with multiple vocabulary words for each root-1716 vocabulary words total! Because you choose what roots to work on and what vocabulary words and activities to do, this truly is a K-12 curriculum. The author even points out the most common SAT words from the vocabulary lists and notes the easier roots to learn for younger students. At $14.98 for the e-book, and currently on sale for 25% off so it is $11.25, this is a MUST OWN for every homeschooler, and should be required learning for EVERY student no matter where they are schooled. Go HERE to order it.
Write With the Best is such an amazing writing curriculum, I've told three different people about it TODAY alone. It comes in two different volumes, so it accounts for two of the four books we received. Because both volumes function the same way, I'll focus on volume one here, but know that they are the same in their approach. Write With the Best takes great works of world literature, and uses them as the basis for instruction in different areas of creative writing. The author's goal is to teach students to be great writers by exposing them to great writing and having them examine it and duplicate the process. That might sound incredibly boring, but the approach Write With the Best takes is anything BUT boring. It is designed so that each volume takes half a year to complete, and each unit within the volumes takes 2 weeks. It does not take two weeks because of copious amount of busy work, it takes two weeks because the steps are broken down into very manageable bite-sized pieces. This is a writing curriculum even the busiest of homeschoolers can fit in. Each day is laid out for you and has clearly stated objectives. Because this curriculum is for grades 3-12, multiple "assignments" are listed, but not all will be applicable, and are marked as such. Just some of the topics covered are writing a descriptive paragraph, writing a friendly letter, writing a speech, writing different kinds of poetry, and writing a persuasive essay. These books again should be REQUIRED for anyone who wants to learn the skills it takes to clearly express yourself in the written word. They are a STEAL at just $19.95 ($14.95 right now) for volume one and $24.95 (or $18.65 right now at 25% off) for volume two. Less than $50 for a writing curriculum that will take you through 10 grades? Unheard of! Go HERE for a complete list of what is covered in volume one, and HERE for volume two. You can also purchase the e-books from the links above.
Finally, we received The Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for Homeschoolers (Includes Middle School through Adult). I was sold on this one from page 12 where the author includes a personal note. In it, she clearly states that she does NOT advocate the use of the information her guide presents to go AGAINST God's word in terms of the roles of men and women/husbands and wives/fathers and mothers. Her words are beautifully expressed, and if her guide offered nothing more, it would be worth it. But the guide offers SO much more. It truly is the most complete career guide I've ever seen. I wish I had had this when I was deciding "what I wanted to be when I grew up", especially since there is a whole section about jobs mothers can do to turn a profit from home. I always KNEW I wanted to be a mom, and there was nothing I could major in in college that would assist in that. Boy, do I wish someone, anyone would have given me the guidance this e-book provides. There are TONS of surveys/profile to take based on personality, learning style, work environment, and many others. And then there are lists of occupations to go with each of those results. Then there are lists of bazillions of potential occupations. Then there are lists of high school/college classes to take to learn the skills needed for each occupation, along with clubs/activities to join, and different specific occupations that use those skills so you can try to interview people in those fields to gain information. I know I've said it before, but this too is a MUST HAVE. The e-book is $34.95 (on sale for $26.20). Go HERE to view sample pages or to order your copy.
I know it's my usual "schtick" to list pros and cons, but did I mention I'm in LOVE? There just aren't any cons. I guess the thing that impresses me the most, being ridiculously frugal myself, is the affordability of each and every one of these books. All four of these are worth their weigh in gold, but are bargain bin priced. It's unheard of. Typically people who believe they have a quality product try to charge you a ridiculous amount of money for it because in our society we have bought into the thought that the best things in life are the most expensive. But here is proof that you don't always get what you pay for...sometimes you get WAY more. Please, please go check out these resources. Their homepage is HERE. You won't be sorry!
To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.