Friday, January 9, 2015

Favorites of 2014: Top 5 Reviews

We reviewed a lot of things last year: I wrote 31 reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew plus 7 other items, and Luke wrote two "unofficial" reviews of a book and a movie.  Having so many great new things is a huge blessing - we get to not only try new things in exchange for a review, but it also fulfills our need for "OOOH! Shiny!"   We've had some things that worked amazingly well for us, and some that didn't but were excellent learning experiences (we now know what doesn't work for our family so what styles of program to avoid). Plus, there are things that we didn't knew existed, and now we are eager to explore them more.  Here's a list of our five favorite reviews!

1.  This one is a tie.  Both programs feature Latin teacher extraordinaire, Dwane Thomas.

Visual Latin from Roman Roads Media

Roman Roads Visual Latin Review

Word Up! The Vocab Show from Compass Classroom

Compass Classroom Word Up review

Dwane is serious about Latin (and Greek), but doesn't take himself seriously, which makes for some wonderful learning.  One of the best features of Visual Latin is he doesn't re-shoot flubbed lectures -- he points out we all make mistakes (even experts!) and repeats himself correctly.  In Word Up! he uses some great imagery to give mnemonics for remembering otherwise tricky vocabulary words.

2.  Essential Skills Advantage

essential skills advantage review

ESA has a very special place in my heart because it's the program that finally made reading click for Jude!  Developmentally laddered with lots of room to grow, this is a program that I see us renewing for several years to come.

3.  Science 4 Us Online

science 4 us online review

This was one of Jude's favorite programs.  I liked how it had a strong science concept base that was implemented across several curricula (language arts, library skills, art, etc.).  He liked the cartoon-style animation and thought it was "the fun internet science."

4.  Diana Waring Presents: Experience History Through Music

Diana Waring Presents Experience Music Through History review

This is one that we couldn't help but fall in love with.  The program itself has a huge history, plus it's about a time in history where the music of our country was the music of her people.   It's not just a "read it and move on" history -- Celia is still learning to play the music included in the curriculum.

5. Heirloom Audio Productions: Under Drake's Flag

Under Drake's Flag Review

This was our favorite "school in disguise" review.  This audiotheater production had all the excitement, drama, and cast of a major film, without the pictures -- they were left to our imagination.  It became one of our favorite carschooling programs.  Entertaining but not distracting for the driver, it also sparked some interesting philosophical and ethical discussions in the car as well. 

We can't wait for the 2015 reviews to start!

Disclaimer:  Our family received each of these programs in exchange for an honest review, and all opinions are our own.  This post (and some of the reviews) do contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission if you purchase the program using them. This helps support other learning experiences, especially our field trips!

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