Showing posts with label Reference Key. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reference Key. Show all posts

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My TOS Review Reference Key

****I will have a link at the bottom of the reviews that takes you here, so you can refresh your memory on what the symbols mean...but if you have time, please read thru this now. I should be posting my first review within the next week or so. I look forward to this great project created by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Oh, and on my side-bar I have an icon with the TOS Crew symbol...click this and you can see what the other 99 crewmates have to say about the products too!








For Homeschooling on a Wing and a Prayer
And the
On the Right Track Blogs

Wondering what all those symbols mean at the bottom of the review?
I wanted to provide my viewers with a “Quick Summary” guide for the described product. At the bottom of each individual review, I will have the QS Box available. It may take you some time to remember what the icons mean, but I am sure returning friends will come to recognize them soon enough. That is also why I have this key reference available, 24/7.

First and foremost: I am refraining from giving my “Soap Box” opinion about the cost of a product. I will at times post the icon below, if I feel it really is what I would consider a great bargain for our family’s pocketbook. Please note: I said a great deal for MY family…I have many years of experience in finding curriculum for the best price; and am keenly aware of what is a fair price, or not for OUR budget. Honestly, I do not feel comfy deciding that for you. I know every single person has their own idea of what is, and is not, expensive for any given HS item. Everyone’s budget is different-so what people can purchase new verses used is also unique. Some have only one student, while others have a “church bus” full-thus changing the dynamics for deciding on big ticket items. All these variances would have to be considered, and I would rather leave that to you.


If it is so downright shameful of a deal…I will post this little dude. What Mr. Piggybank states is: I would not be the least bit hesitant to get it because the cost is so insignificant to product’s overall beauty.






ICONS AND THEIR MEANINGS:

- ONE LONELY OLE LIFE SAVING RING
Overall “SOS” quality of the product. Each item will receive one to three of these beauties. One is my way of saying that even though it isn’t best suited for my family’s needs, it certainly can bless someone else’s. It could use some improvement or redeveloped concepts. Product material quality and content are sufficient. May include some “twaddle” or fluff that can be distracting from the product’s purpose.

- DOUBLE THE SUPPORT LIFE SAVING RINGS
Now we’re talking. The overall quality, content, and ability to provide true educational benefits abound. I would consider this a middle-of-the road product…it may need some improvement or have some questionable qualities but that is outweighed by the sheer genius of company’s purpose for it. It is something I would consider using again, and will keep on the shelf. This is a “good to have” in my collection. But could live without it, if need be.

- TRIPLE LIFE SAVING ACTION RINGS
This is the “Crème de la Crème” of the home school product world. This is a must for my home school library and/or curriculum. I would not hesitate to recommend this product over and over again. High quality all around. Content, material superiority, with little or no “twaddle”. This gem does what it was designed to do with proficiency and accuracy.
- DO NOT BOARD THE BOAT-THIS TITANIC WILL DROWN YOU
If you see this-well, swim fast and furious or it very well may suck you down with it. This product fails to provide any real purpose for the homeschooling family. Quality, content and overall usefulness is non-existent. I really, really hope I never have the need to use this one. I would hate to think someone has poured time and money into something only to “birth” a good doorstop. I may have collected friend’s opinions to further decide its usefulness, and they too found they too would consider it, “Good kindling.” Avoid at all costs.

TEACHER PREP AND/OR INVOLVEMENT
- “LAYING IN MY HAMMOCK, TAKING IT NICE AND EASY” Kenny Chesney
Yes, the best teacher resource there is…one that requires little or no teacher preparation or research. Your fingers may get the work out from flipping the pages: but alas-you stay calm, and relaxed knowing the author of the product did all that mumbo-jumbo leg work for you. Minimal research or library scavenger hunting. Little or no copy machine time. This is your no-brainer way to eliminate undue stress from your life.

- “WORK IT BABY-WORK IT!”
This is the less preferred method for the busy homeschooling parent. The material is laid out in an orderly (or possibly not) fashion, yet requires you to collect the goodies that make this program work like a fine-tuned machine. More than an hour’s worth of involvement to gather supplies and resources earns the product one of these. You may need to do additional on-line and library (you know the kind-pull in with a front-end loader to carry all those books home!) gathering of materials. You may have to spend some time and cash at your local copy shop (I didn’t say “coffee” shop, although that may be in order too). If you are short on time and patience, consider this one carefully. Of course, enlisting older children in the process teaches great life skills!
- YOU’RE AT THE HELM HERE, DEAR FRIEND!
You see this precious icon and you know it means direct teacher involvement. This is not a bad thing, but you will definitely need to schedule out more time to cover the instructions before the dear ones sail off on their own. I am sure most of the products I review for the younger ones will have this. Fear not though, someday, they will be able to crack open a guide and do the majority of their work independently. This should be every HS parent’s goal-unless you plan to tag along with them to their college classes and work. That said, just know-if this icon is up in the box-it means you are that wheel.

- OR - HIT THE CRUISE CONTROL AND REST A SPELL
This is delicious. Material is almost completely or mostly child-led. You are there for questions and maintaining some resemblance of order. These moments are to be savored. The product has simple, clear instructions and has no real influx of new material that requires extensive teacher involvement. Independency is encouraged, and the material lends itself to it rather nicely. Child is able to follow directions and complete tasks easily. This could include, but is not limited to: workbooks, activities that reinforce learned material, reading books, simple projects that promise not to “blow up the house” or “flood your first floor” and can be done quietly! Yes! Quietly! That beautiful thing every parent longs to see in reality.


EBOOK,DOWNLOADABLE PRODUCT OR DIGITAL EDITION: IF IT COMES ELECTRONICALLY-IT WILL HAVE ONE OR TWO OF THESE ICONS:

- Most Helpful Life Raft
This service/class should be a blessing to your home school career. This may be more suitable for the parent/teacher, but will ultimately bless the children. This may be a reference or aid for you, not necessarily a physical product. I would say that you can survive without it, but it would make a nice addition to enhance your curriculum.

Super Most Helpful Life Raft
Again, this can be a service or class-not necessarily a product, but it should ultimately bless you and your children. This may include downloadable eBook materials, or links to such things. This is a highly recommended item. I would not hesitate to suggest this, and feel that it will build up and strengthen you as a homeschooler. This is a “Go for it” product.


AND NOW THE DOWNSIDE OF LIFE:

- A MOST DISCOURAGING TURN OF EVENTS
You start out thinking this is going to be a great addition to your homeschool curriculum. The excitement builds, and then, after using it-you find you are miles out to sea, with no land in sight; and your only companions are the starving sharks swarming around you. This nightmare looks bleaker by the minute. Could this be true? Yes, you have just entered one of the most feared situations the curriculum buyer can face. Online programs that have substandard educational value; expound negative, worldly behaviors and thoughts and basically- lack quality. Very discouraging, indeed!

- A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
This pretty well sums it up-find another way to spend your hard earned cash.







---


POINT OF VIEW-CHRISTIAN OR SECULAR (IF THE MATERIAL ITSELF ISN'T JUST OOZING WITH CHRISTIAN MATERIAL, IT GETS THE SECULAR WORLD ICON, EVEN IF THE AUTHOR IS A CHRISTIAN)-BUT wait!  I have added a new balanced scale icon to represent those products that are from Christian authors or from a Christian intent-but may not necessarily be super infused with it.  They are a good balance for many, many families who are and are not Christians.

One of these images will be listed at the end of the Quick Summary. I considered the product’s point of view, and whether it leaned toward being secular or Christian in nature. This will help you decide if it best suits your overall preferred goal for your family’s curriculum. Personally, I use both types depending on what information and needs our family has for a particular area of study-but tend to prefer Christian perspectives due to our personal beliefs.
- Secular perspective/company
- Christian perspective/company


-this is a new icon (2010) to showcase those items that present some or many references to the Word of the Lord (Bible) yet remain neutral enough for those who tend to steer clear of such products-in other words, you will find a Christian undertone, but it is not so drippy with it that you should still be able to enjoy and learn from this product, without feeling  overwhelmed by the Christian connections. So the perspective is most likely Christian-but benign enough to not be labeled with the cross (as I am finding pretty much everything but Bible education material is fitting this new one).



So there you have it. My not so famous way to give you a “Quick Summary” of the product I reviewed. I am sure I will find some additional icons to add, so come back often for updates. And, as always-thank you for stopping by.
Blessings to you-
First Mate Sheri TOS CREWMATE- 1 of 100 (Plus 25)