Aug
17

Wanted: Education Without Compromise

By

Psalm 1:1-2

“Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
 But his delight is in the law of The Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”

Instilling a desire for The Lord’s blessing, and teaching the steps that one might take to receive it, is of the utmost importance to me as a parent and home educator.  Presenting a consistent, Biblical worldview to my children is a priority in my life and home.

Next, I am responsible to see that they are academically equipped to be their best self.  Teaching them the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic, or finding the resources that can.

Vocab Videos are designed to build literacy, improve reading comprehension, and raise test scores.

“Outrageous plot lines and entertaining characters” are combined to illustrate the meaning of 500 essential vocabulary words in “hilarious, professionally produced short videos.”

“Each video follows a structure designed to make memorizing easier, using both auditory and visual clues.”

A vocabulary word is printed on a blank screen, with the definition, and it is audibly read.  A video demonstration of the word and it’s meaning is presented.  Finally, the word and definition appear on the screen again, and a narrator audibly uses the vocabulary word in a sentence.

There are 11 videos in the Series, 25 total episodes, that include 20 (30 second – 1 minute) clips each; covering 20 words per set.  The videos now play on mobile devices and tablets, in addition to the PC and laptop.

When you browse the website for  Vocab Videos  you’ll find that they’ve included access to Digital Study Tools that aid students in their retention of the words and their meanings – Digital Quizzes, Flashcard Maker, Digital Worksheets, Glossary of Words, and Crossword Puzzles.  There are also Teacher (Parent) Tracking Tools that can be set up for each student.

An Individual Student Subscription  starts at $24.95 for 6 months and is full access.

A Small Educator Account, for 1 – 20 students, is just $74.99 for a 12-month subscription.

The Vocab Videos Workbook, used for review and reinforcement, is a companion to the videos.  It can be purchased for $11.99.

It is evident that so much work and creativity has gone into each video clip.  The concept, no doubt prompted by a genuine desire to help students, is fantastic, but the execution falls short of my expectations.  As the conservative, Christian parent that I am, I am devoted to teaching my children to follow Scripture, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”  The “be in the world, but not of it” school of thought.  These videos are based on parodies of supposedly popular TV shows and movies:  Lost, The Office, 24, Gossip Girl, Rocky, and only after a Google search of  “horror character in hockey mask” I believe, Jason, from Friday the 13th.  Granted, this might be culturally entertaining to some, but the majority of it is unacceptable to me and I am quite disappointed that it is the basis for the video series.

I am definitely looking for a way to improve my student’s  SAT scores.  Knowing that Vocabulary is worth up to 150 points on the SAT, I was excited to use  Vocab Videos  with my high school and college age children.  In hindsight, I am thankful my 13-year-old daughter was not scheduled to use this program until next semester, so she was spared the inundation of inappropriate visuals.

Video clips include, but are NOT limited to:  The use of curse words – h*ll and d*mn, frequent use of The Lord’s name in vain – OMG and my lord, and other words that we find distasteful – p*ss*d.  Borderline bullying – two male co-workers express an attraction to the same female co-worker.  One belittles the other and when that co-worker uses the restroom and forgets to pull up his pants (shown in his boxers, which is unnecessary in itself) the bully proceeds to send a phone pic to everyone in the office.  Name calling – moron.  Hypnosis, chanting, Mystic Dan – his magic powers, foretelling of the future and disappearing into thin air.  Disturbing, scary, weird, violent clips involving the character spoofing Jason, dressed in bloody clothes and wearing a hockey mask – A high school girl is having nightmares.  She does say, “Watching all those scary movies was not the most judicious (the vocabulary word being demonstrated in the clip) thing I’ve ever done.  You watch scary movies you get nightmares.”  The Jason character calls her, shows up at her window, and her barricaded door, and eventually slits the throat of the pizza delivery guy.  She looks through a medicine cabinet that has at least a dozen prescription bottles in it, along with several OTC meds.  She doesn’t take anything, but the hint of drug use is uncalled for, in my opinion.  Jason scares another young girl, in a different clip, noting that her parents aren’t home and she’s alone.  He breaks into her home and she straddles him while holding a large butcher knife to his throat.  Later, they skip through the park together, holding hands and making the Mean Girls jealous…

My 22-year-old daughter said, “There are other ways to learn vocabulary words.  It’s not worth it to have to watch that!”  We don’t use language like this and we don’t watch shows like the ones depicted by these Vocab Videos.

Proverbs 4:23-27

“Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
  Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
  Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
  Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.”

 

The videos are designed to help memorization, often by viewing them repeatedly.  These pictures are not ones that I want imbedded in any of our minds.

Philippians 4:8

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

~

I highly recommend that YOU utilize the 1 month FREE trial to determine for yourself, whether or not  Vocab Videos  is a good fit for your family.  Personally, I’m looking for education without compromise, and I cannot justify using this program.

Let me remind you though, that the Crew is a diverse group of individuals with varied opinions.  I encourage you to click the banner below to read their reviews of this acclaimed program.

Comments or Questions?

Contact   Vocab Videos via their website

or

through their  facebook   page.

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   12 months access to a Small Educator Account of Vocab Videos was given to me free of charge, in exchange for my honest review, as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

Thank you for reading, today.  I appreciate your comments.

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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Comments

  1. Callie says:

    As a woman of faith and a mother of younger children, I know without a doubt that this program is NOT something I would entertain as an education tool. I know that my children are not old enough for the program yet, but I look to others, like yourself, to help me find the tools for when I DO need them.

    That being said, from this review, it sounds like a bit too much of a worldly view from the example videos you gave and not something that I would even consider for my family. I have a hard enough time trying to keep things Godly without having to worry about an education tool gone wrong.

    Thank you Penny for your honest and Christian based review, I appreciate you “taking on for the team” so that my children and I would not be subjected to an educational and financial nightmare.

  2. Giggly Girls says:

    Oh my! That is not something I would want to subject my child too even if I weren’t a Christian. I wouldn’t let a high schooler watch something like Gossip Girl and I certainly wouldn’t want their education to be based on shows like that.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I use that verse from Philippians often with my kids to guide their discussions. “Is it lovely?” can quickly turn a conversation. My son especially is so impressionable, I wouldn’t want him overhearing his big sisters watching something like what you have described.

  4. wow! I appreciate your honesty with this review. these are things I would want to know before purchasing a product like this.

  5. Susan Raber says:

    Great job on this review. I agree that there are other, better ways to teach vocabulary.

    I generally don’t object to pop culture references, but it’s been my experience that when the content is outrageous, my kids will remember the gimmick but not the concepts. So then what’s the point?

    The use of obscenities, mild or otherwise, is inappropriate for an educational program.

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