Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Football!

And I am so thankful! We have a Friday night game this week and high temperatures are supposed to only be in the 80's. After weeks of Saturday afternoon games and 100 degree temperatures, I am ready to sit in the stands and watch the sun go down and maybe even wish I had brought a jacket. I hope your weekend is cool and Fall-like too!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vocabulary Cartoons

"Kids Learn a Word a Minute and Never Forget it"

That is the slogan on the front of the Vocabulary Cartoons book from New Monic Books. The purpose of Vocabulary Cartoons is to use mnemonics to help your children (or yourself!) to remember new words. This book uses rhyming mnemonics and visual mnemonics to help 3rd through 6th graders learn and understand new words.

Rhyming mnemonics include words that rhyme with or sound similar to another or phrases that have a rhythm and rhyme like "Kids learn a word a minute and never forget it" or "Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety two." We all have some of these rhymes in our memory that help us recall facts or names. Vocabulary Cartoons relies on this learning tool to help increase your child's vocabulary. Here is a fun one from the book:

Visual mnemonics are those pictures your mind creates when you think of a word. Vocabulary Cartoons strives to create an unusual, unique picture in your head for each word they present hoping to stick that word permanently in your brain. A few that my children found entertaining:

This is really more of a reference book than a curriculum and could be used in a variety of ways. It appears to have been written for classroom use but is easily adaptable for one or two students. The website has a link for Teacher Strategies, most of which are applicable in a small group or classroom setting, but some could be used with one or two children.

When we received our copy in the mail Maggie sat down with it and read it through and Kirk read it when she was done. They retained quite a bit from just reading it through. It would lend itself well to many applications. You could introduce one or a few words per week and discuss the rhyme, the cartoon, and the example sentences, then use the remainder of the week using it in conversation or writing your own sentences with it.

Overall I liked the presentation. Mnemonics are great memory tools and most of the pictures and rhymes are wacky enough that I remember them. A few were somewhat obscure like this one:

I know who Jason is, although I haven't seen any of the movies, but my children have no idea.

A few are creepy and I probably wouldn't want to explain those to my little guys, like this one:

Some seem cruel and I know they are just trying to use the ridiculous to stick the word in the child's mind, but part of me recoils from those like this one:

My final thought is that the idea is a great one and the book is effective but may need monitoring, especially with younger children.

The book is $12.95 and available at They also offer Vocabulary Cartoons for SAT preparation.

Read other reviews for elementary Vocabulary Cartoons from TOS Homeschool Bloggers here. If you need the SAT prep level, read those reviews here.


**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stitching, Sketching, Scrapping Sunday - September 26

It is time for Stitching, Sketching, Scrapping Sunday again. Once again I am joining Mama Manuscripts to share some homemade goodness!

Maggie turned 12 Friday. She and I made a Sock Monkey cake for her birthday party. We based the design on a piece of scrapbook paper. She drew a sketch with her color choices for us to follow in decorating the cake.

We decided to make the cake itself just as interesting as the frosting. Aunt Debbie sent us an email a few weeks ago with a link to this rainbow cake. She thought it would be perfect for color loving Maggie and it was!

There are six individual layers: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red (from bottom to top).

Once frosted with orange, I added the green stripes and outlined the sock monkey. Maggie filled in the monkey with stars, with just a bit of help from me. She was doing such a good job that I moved on to other things, while she finished up the monkey and then added the purple star border at the base.

Please hop over to Mama Manuscripts and share some of your craftiness!