Spanish Is Fun
Foreign Language / February 19, 2011

Spanish Is Fun Content: Foreign Language Grade(s): 5th and up Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 400+ Publication Date: 2003 Publisher: www.amscopub.com Available in: French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish From Amsco’s website: ___ is Fun series provides students with a basal text that will help them attain acceptable levels of proficiency in basic communicative skills. The book provides enough materials for a one-year course in junior high school as well as beginning high school courses. Develops basic communicative skills through simple materials. Uses visual cues for learning and practice. Provides topical contexts to which students can easily relate. Teaches vocabulary through lively drawings that convey meanings of words without the need of English. Makes extensive use of cognates to show students that Italian is not so “foreign” after all. Presents structure inductively, guiding students into making their own discoveries and formulating their own conclusions. Features short, entertaining narratives and/or playlets that illustrate new vocabulary and structures. Rounds out lessons with illustrated conversations, personalized dialog exercises, and other practice. Makes cultural connections in the narratives, playlets, and personalized communicative practice. Includes review units after every four lessons featuring games, puzzles,…

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Material Logic
Logic , Math / February 18, 2011

Material Logic Content: Logic Grade(s): 9-12 Perspective: Christian Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 224 Publication Date: 2004 Publisher: www.memoriapress.com Common Core Aligned: No From Memoria Press’ website: When most people think of logic, they think of formal logic—the study of the structure or form of reasoning. But what most educators don’t realize is that formal logic is only one part of a complete logic program. The other branch of logic study was called “material logic,” and focused not on the form of reasoning, but on its content. In short, while formal logic studied the “how” of reasoning, material logic studied the “what.” The principles of material logic, an important part of trivium language study, are now almost forgotten—a casualty of the almost exclusive modern secular emphasis on math and sciences. Formal logic was once termed minor (or lesser) logic, while material logic usually went by the name of major (or greater) logic—a measure of how important classical thinkers considered them. With the publication of Material Logic: A Traditional Approach to Thinking Skills, these ancient techniques are a lost art no more. Whether you want a follow-on course to Memoria Press’ popular…

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History Odyssey
Social Studies / February 10, 2011

History Odyssey Content: History Grade(s): 1st-4th (Level 1); 5th-8th (Level 2); 9th-12th (Level 3) Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 74-119 (varies) Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: www.pandiapress.com Common Core Aligned: No ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** History Odyssey brings to life the story of mankind through a comprehensive study of the literature, historical events, and geography of the time period. Each study guide is intended to lead the instructor and student through a year-long study of the Ancients, the Middle Ages, Early Modern, or Modern time periods. They provide the framework and structure for using and organizing many of the best resources available for history and literature. The study guides include easy-to-follow lessons that present history chronologically and include reading and writing assignments, map work, and activities. Each level of History Odyssey progresses gently, preparing the student for more complicated reading and writing. Level one History Odyssey guides are generally written for 1st through 4th grade students. (Modern Times, level one is recommended for grades 3 through 6. It is a more difficult course and bridges the gap between level one and level two courses.) Level one guides coordinate…

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IEW Teaching the Classics
Reading / February 8, 2011

/ IEW Teaching the Classics Content: Reading Comprehension Grade(s): K-12th Perspective: Christian Prep Time: Extensive Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Extensive Cost: $$$ || ? Pages: 97 Publication Date: 2004 Publisher: iew.com ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** By using short stories as the models and the Socratic approach as the method, the authors systematically prepare you to teach character, plot, theme, and other elements of fiction and literary analysis. You can quickly equip your children with literary study tools that can then be used easily on longer works. Skills gained through this program will allow you to study any piece of literature. Includes a video seminar on 4 DVDs and a spiral-bound syllabus. Suitable for teaching all levels. Although this is meant to be teacher training, older students will enjoy viewing it too. About the Author: Andrew Pudewa is the founder, principal speaker, and director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. Presenting throughout North America, he addresses—with clarity, insight, practical experience, and welcome humor—issues relating to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills….

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IEW Student Writing Intensive
Reading , Writing / February 8, 2011

IEW Student Writing Intensive Content: Writing Grade(s): A (3rd-5th); B (6th – 8th); and C (9th-12th) Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$$ || ? Pages: 100 Publication Date: 2010 Publisher: www.excellenceinwriting.com Updated Review: 01/02/2014 From Excellence is Writing’s website: Recorded live, this DVD writing course for students by Andrew Pudewa is comprised of four writing sessions on DVD. Each session presents structural models and stylistic techniques from our TWSS Syllabus. Included with the student handouts are complete teacher notes, source texts, and checklists providing fifteen comprehensive lessons to ensure your student masters each unit before moving on to the next. Since each lesson can take one to two weeks to complete, the entire package can provide 15–30 weeks of writing instruction. Level A: Grades 3-5 Level B: Grades 6-8 Level C: High School Picking up where the original SWI of that level left off, Student Intensive Continuation Course DVDs provide 32 more lessons to take your student through the rest of the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style writing units. Because the lesson plans are chock full of material, you can use this product for 1-2 years of writing instruction. All the student handouts,…

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Art of Problem Solving, High School
Math / February 7, 2011

Art of Problem Solving Content: Math Grade(s): 9th and up Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Solutions Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$ || ? Pages: Varies Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: www.artofproblemsolving.com Updated Review: May 26, 2015 Reviewer: Alessa Giampaolo Keener, M.Ed. Looking for other Art of Problem Solving reviews? Find them here: Beast Academy for grade 3-4 Art of Problem Solving Basics and Beyond for grades 7-10 AoPS Pre-Algebra and Algebra for grades 7-9 We’re just going to say it like it is: Art of Problem Solving is a math curriculum designed for kids who LOVE math and are really, really good at it. We’re talking about the kiddos who may be starting Algebra 1 at the age of 10. That’s not to say that other students would not benefit from AoPS. But, if your teen enjoys math textbooks with the visual appeal of lots of bright pictures and sideboxes filled full of random fun facts and real world applications of math skills, then AoPS will probably not be a good fit. AoPS textbooks are highly regarded for their rigor and depth, but they are dense and intense – which is not a bad thing, if you love math….

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Latina Christiana
Foreign Language / February 7, 2011

Latina Christiana Content: Latin Grade(s): 3rd – 5th Perspective: Christian Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $ || ? Pages: 88 Publication Date: 2002 Publisher: www.memoriapress.com Common Core Aligned: No From Memoria Press’ website: Each lesson consists of ten vocabulary words, a set of grammar forms, and a Latin saying. Exercises reinforce memory work, teach systematic grammar, and provide simple translation. Prayers, songs, conversational Latin, history lessons, maps, and games add interest and motivation. The Teacher Manual includes keyed copy of the student book and provides grammar overview, teaching guidelines, recitation schedule, scripted lesson plans, tests, keys, and background information on Latin sayings and Roman history. Both Christian and classical content. The thirty lessons can be completed in a year or longer, depending on age of student and experience of teacher. Latina Christiana was designed as a beginning course for students of all ages. This course was specifically written for the teacher with no background in Latin. About the Author: Cheryl Lowe graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in chemistry and from Western KY University with an M.S in Biology. Cheryl has had wide teaching experience teaching everything from phonics, reading, math, Bible,…

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Poetry and Humanity; and Poetry, Plato and the Problem of Beauty
Reading , Writing / February 6, 2011

Content: Poetry Grade(s): 5th – 9th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2010 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: The Poetics Program by Michael Clay Thompson is designed to enable students to understand poetry on a far higher plane than has been previously possible. These books can be used as stand-alone introductions to poetry for young students, or they can set the stage for a more advanced program that should come in middle school or high school. Poetry and Humanity builds on a theme of understanding humanity and our existence. It shows how poets push language to its maximum in order to express those things about humanity that are most true, or difficult or subtle. Longer and more challenging poems are used as examples. Topics include: (1) Advanced Rhymes: half-double rhyme, elided rhyme, amphisbaenic rhyme, reverse rhyme, half-rhyme; (2) Advanced meter from monometer to octameter; (3) Stanza: heroic couplet, terza rima, villanelle, quintet, sestet, octet, submerged sonnet; and (4) Figures of speech: metonymy, synecdoche, oxymoron. Poets quoted include:Thomas Hardy, William Blake, William Shakespeare, Henry Longfellow, W B Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Lewis…

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Word Within the Word
Reading , Writing / February 6, 2011

Word Within the Word Content: Vocabulary Grade(s): 6th – 10th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: To maximize the learning value of Word Within the Word, the student books are designed to be used with The Magic Lens series. Revised in 2013, Word Within the Word continues to focus on teaching vocabulary, with the original first thirty Lessons containing Latin and Greek stems, word lists, activities and tests, but each lesson now has historical discussions and illustrations that offer students a greater understanding of the classical roots of the English language. Word Within the Word is a program that uses etymology, not memorization. Latin and Greek stems are presented as a system of thinking, a way of building, analyzing, spelling, pronouncing, using and choosing words. The Word program is intended as a weekly effort; built on a cumulative basis from Volume I. Every test reinforces every list. There are 30 lessons in each book. Lessons include: a Stems List; a Sentence Page designed to show how example words should be used; an Analogies Page…

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The Magic Lens
Writing / February 6, 2011

The Magic Lens Content: Grammar Grade(s): 5th – 10th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: The Magic Lens is designed to be implemented along with The Word Within The Word, with parallel lessons using the same vocabulary week by week. The Magic Lens is entirely based on four-level sentence analysis. This analysis of parts of speech, parts of sentence, phrases, and clauses is Michael Clay Thompson’s original and enormously successful approach to teaching grammar. It uses his beautiful “t-models” to illustrate how sentences are constructed and includes a detailed look at how grammar affects punctuation. The student book is in full color. The parent manual contains the full text of the student book plus special boxes that contain tips and further questions for the instructor, implementation instructions, and answers to the questions and exercises. About the Author: Michael Clay Thompson received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University, studied for gifted education accreditation at Mars Hill College and obtained his MA from Western Carolina University. During his teaching career he taught in schools…

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