Sunday, February 6, 2011

VocabAhead: SAT Vocabulary Videos

This post was originally written by April E. and posted at ElCloud Homeschool blog, http://homeschoolblogger.com/elcloud.  If you read it at any other website, the content has been stolen and used without permission.  Please visit ElCloud Homeschool to report it.  Thank you!




VocabAhead offers illustrated definitions for 1000 SAT vocabulary words, in either a book format for $12.95, or a DVD-rom with videos and MP3 downloads for $24.99.  You can sign up to receive a daily SAT vocabulary word in your email at the VocabAhead website.  Their website also includes a helpful word list (with definitions) of the SAT vocabulary words and a selection of their videos.

Each word on the VocabAhead DVD-rom has a video where you can view an illustration that remains on the screen while the student hears the SAT word, its definition, and a short story that further explains the meaning of the word.   The disc also includes MP3 versions that you can load onto an MP3 player to listen to as you're going about your day.

Though our family usually enjoys mnemonic devices and products that help make learning more enjoyable, I can not recommend VocabAhead.  I have two concerns with this product.  First, the videos were not the quality I expected, though that is a small concern when I consider that there are 1000 vocabulary word videos on here for only $24.99. 

My main concern is actually with a negative tone towards parents and religion that I found in some of the definition examples. For instance, "abase" portrays parents as angry and verbally abusive.   The video for "bias" is negative toward step parents.   That negativity can feed the pity parties or bad attitudes that some children are prone to.  Other words seem to portray a negative tone toward Christianity and religious beliefs:  apostate, agnostic, and maverick to name just a few I found when randomly viewing videos.    I haven't viewed every single word, but when I first started viewing the videos for just A and B, I was startled to find several that were subtly and even overtly negative toward parents and Christianity.

I recommend that any parent wishing to use this product first preview some of  the videos at their website.

VocabAhead is available at Amazon for $24.99.



This item was provided free for our review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. We received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion. Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting In Him,
April

4 comments:

  1. Agreed. Not a good choice for us either.

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  2. Thank you for providing some specific examples of negative tone/bias. Examples make it much easier to decide if we agree with you (or not).
    BTW, I do agree with you :-)

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  3. I appreciated your review. I was running a bit behind in mine, and when I read yours, I went back and checked out a few more words, and lo and behold I ran into several I really didn't like. Previously I had thought a few were somewhat ruder than I'd like, but you are completely correct about your assessment on the overall tone underlying some of the words. I added a paragraph in my review showing a few of those examples. Thanks for your honesty! It's still an interesting product and much of it might work for some, but it would require a lot of parental supervision...I don't think you'd want your kids reading or listening to every example sentence in this product (or viewing every cartoon).

    Blessings,

    Heather

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  4. Thank you for providing an honest review of our DVD, April. Our main purpose for getting the DVD reviewed was to get feedback from parents like you so that we can improve our product and modify it to best suit your students needs. We understand that there are always several ways to explain the meaning of a word. We will certainly edit the flagged words in the next version of our DVD. Thanks again!

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