Wednesday, October 30, 2013

VocabularySpellingCity Review

I was introduced to VocabularySpellingCity in 2009 and reviewed it in 2012. I was very pleased to be able to review the Premium Membership again. I planned to focus mostly on using their app with all of my kids (simply because computer use is at a premium in our home, as we are down to owning only one working computer at this point).

If you check out my review from last year, you can get a good feel for how things work in general, with screenshots and comparisons between the free and the premium memberships.

I was disappointed that Apple decided to come out with an update right around the time that we began working with VocabularySpellingCity again. You see, my son's iPod, even though it is only 4th generation (so not nearly as out-of-date as the gen2 iPod that we still have), is not able to update to iOS7, and unfortunately the VocabularySpellingCity app does not appear to be backwards compatible, so he was unable to access it. :/

However, my daughter's shiny iPod5 was updated to the latest iOS, and she was easily able to access the app. This was an excellent thing, with very good timing, because she was preparing to take the PSAT. One of the Premium Membership features is access to Vocabulary lists, exercises, and testing, and there are published lists of the 100 most common PSAT/SAT vocabulary words.

I promptly set up assignments for her using *all* of the available Vocabulary activities.
We just as promptly determined that perhaps *all* of the available Vocabulary activities was overkill... Because she was being very focused, and had to pack 10 weeks of lists into 5 or so weeks (the PSAT was mid-October), I whittled her activities down to those that I felt would be the most productive:
FlashCards (quick "traditional" task)
Practice Vocabulary Test 
(Eldest likes having a "pre-test" 
to see what she knows)

WhichWord? Sentences
(Eldest doesn't have her sound
on unless she is listening to music,
so she isn't pleased with the need
to wait for the *fanfare*
and sentence to be spoken
before moving on in this activity~
It slows it down too much in her opinion)
MatchIt Definitions
(Drawing lines to match up
words with Sentences.
Fun feature~ the colors
of the words and definitions/line
can be changed to a pleasing configuration. )
Vocabulary Test Me
Test before an answer is selected
The activities that I didn't include in her assignments (Due to time constraints, and duplication of style of activity) were:
  • MatchIt Sentences (Similar to Match-It Definitions)
  • WhichWord Definitions (Similar to WhichWord Sentences) 
  • Word-O-Rama (a "Game Show" activity that didn't entice her, but is great for elementary aged kids)
The final analysis is that the use of the lists found on VocabularySpellingCity, and the set of activities (all of which she was able to complete on her iPod~ which was fantastic, as they aren't *all* iPod compatible) were very useful in helping to boost her confidence before she took the PSAT. I am planning to continue using various SAT Word lists that I will enter myself, to help her prepare for the SAT's later next spring and fall of her senior year.

Things I mentioned in my previous review that I still wish were changed, but so far are not...  
  • I still didn't find many activities that weren't frustrating for my 6 year old, who is in CVC reading territory. 
  • I continue to wish that *any* activity, whether assigned or not would be given credit, particularly when a child is independently working beyond their assignments, and above grade level. 

VocabularySpellingCity is still one of my favorite resources to use for extra work for spelling and vocab work. I really wish that the app was able to be backwords compatible for the older versions of ipod/ipad that aren't upgraded or perhaps not even upgradeable, simply because I find the apps to be much more convenient, but the computer version is perfectly adequate, as illustrated in my review last fall. :) 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.


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