Wordly Wise 3000 Review

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The only vocabulary curriculum on the market, Worldly Wise 3000 has been around for decades and only gets better with each new edition. We are working out of the latest edition, which is the third.

Wordly Wise 3000, 3rd edition

Vocabulary curriculum, available for grades K-12

Even though it is clearly written for classroom use, Wordly Wise 3000 can be easily adapted for homeschooling. We started out with the volumes for Kindergarten and First Grade, which require you buy the Teacher’s Manual, as well. After that, grades 2-12 do not require the Teacher’s Manual. So you only need to spend about $9 for a consumable student workbook per child. Rainbow Resource Center seems to have the best prices though you can find these everywhere else. Continue reading »

My children love this curriculum. Each lesson has a story, which I read out loud while they listen and look at the right picture in their student workbook. Each paragraph I read corresponds to a picture in their book. Then, they have to number the pictures in the order they happened in the story. There is a coloring page, a journaling page, and one or two other pages with words they must choose to match a picture.

It is a systematic way of teaching vocabulary and vocabulary is a strong indicator of future success. So yes, it is very important. Reading a lot is key also, but do you stop and look new words in the dictionary while reading? No, you don’t; nor should you.

That is why you need a systematic way to teach vocabulary and Wordly Wise 3000 will be your friend for life. Or, at least, until your last one graduates from high school.

What I found is that my children like this curriculum so much, they ask for more than one story per day. There are 15 lessons and you are supposed to spend two weeks on each lesson. But when you only have two children in the classroom, it all gets very efficient. One day, we did four lessons. They were still asking for more. I know the vocabulary itself was not that new or challenging to them, but I had to put a stop to it myself.

Imagine that. “Tomorrow is another day” used in a positive context. So the next day we did two lessons. And we always do at least two. As a result, we will finish this curriculum in two weeks. I just ordered the next three levels for them because I don’t want to hold them back. It will be interesting to see at what point they level off.

Learning vocabulary is supposed to happen through repetition: seeing words in different contexts and pictures, using them in their own sentences, maybe even drawing the concept. For Kindergarten and First Grade, Wordly Wise 3000 give you all sorts of exercises in the Teacher’s Manuals, but we don’t do them all. I have read so much to my children, they know 99% of these words already. To them, it’s more about the stories and the colorful exercises at this point.

Now and then, they don’t know what a word means but they get it from the context. Or, they have an idea about the meaning but it’s fuzzy. I asked them what “tropical” meant. They said, “tropical island.” Aha! I explained with a world map where tropical countries are found but that they are not all islands. It’s a lot of fun but then I love words.


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The other day, my son was telling a relative something and he used the word “astonishing.” I made a mental note of it, being very proud of his vocabulary, and trying to remember the last book we read where he might have seen the word “astonishing.” I could not. We read so many books.


For the first time, I am posting every day for a month.

Other people present noticed he used the word as well, and seemed impressed.

It is astonishing when an eight-year-old uses the word “astonishing” in casual conversation, don’t you think? And I can only attribute that to our reading 1,000 books before kindergarten and about 30 minutes a day since their second week of life. Add to that turning off the TV and limiting screen time to only 30 minutes a day (usually YouTube videos or DVDs) and you have a recipe for building vocabulary.   Continue reading »

We read so many books, I am astonished that we can keep up with them all in terms of not being late at the library. We have a big basket and all the library books go in there. When we are done reading them, they go in the basket. If the kids take the books to other rooms, we usually lose them. I have had to do a frantic search around the house when they become due. But that has only happened three times, I think.

Why is vocabulary so important? It is the top predictor of future success in the lives of children. Some researchers would say it is the only predictor of success for later in life. No amount of money or early intervention programs or expensive preschools or any other factor plays a role as much as the amount of words a child hears in childhood.

As a side note, bilingual or multilingual children have a clear advantage here, because for every word a monolingual child speaks, the bilingual knows two. A trilingual child knows three and so on. Another language doubles the vocabulary and the odds of future success.

Vocabulary Matters

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On the birthday of Noah Webster, a quick post about how much vocabulary matters, how reading to your child today is just as important as giving him three healthy meals before the night falls, and how to download a free book by New York Times best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin.

The single most important indicator of future success is a student’s vocabulary. How to develop it? Read a ton of books on a variety of subjects. It’s that simple. Your library card just became your most valuable possession… Homeschooling does not have to be expensive or stressful. Take a trip to your local library, pick up a handful of books your child likes and another handful of what you think he should read. Sometimes the two lists are not the same.  Continue reading »

Don’t compromise on principles, of course. Don’t allow your child to read books you would not want him to read because of your family’s philosophy or religion. But there is also a gray area of “twaddle” – a Charlotte Mason word describing books that will not do much for your child, silly books, that will never become classics. When it comes to twaddle, my approach is relaxed. At least, they are reading. They hold a book in their hands. They are not getting into trouble and they are not watching a screen or playing a video game. Reduce the twaddle, minimize it. Over time, your child’s taste will improve if you keep providing him with solid reading matter.

Socioeconomic status also influences how much vocabulary a child hears on any given day. If you can expose children to more vocabulary, you help them get out of poverty. Reading is our only hope, to quote a poster I saw yesterday at the Pigeon Forge Library during a presentation by Mr. Lincoln.


Snake Oil Educational Games Review

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Out of the Box Games offers fun educational products and we were glad to review Snake Oil – Party Potion. This particular game is for ages eight to adult, but my children had no problem playing it. They are seven and four.

I did have to read the cards for my daughter, who is four and does not read long words. And, sometimes, I had to give her an idea of how to put the cards together, but she relished it. She asked for help and quickly repeated out loud what I was suggesting to her. This was a great experience for her because she loves games. She is my playful one – everything is funny and fun to her. On the other hand, she hates to lose and she lost a few times.

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Yes, there were tears. Four-year-old tears are hard to bear, of course. So we all had to pick her product now and then in order to let her win, boost her self-confidence, and give her a reason to celebrate. Besides, her products were not all that bad, having been concocted by her mommy…

Snake Oil Logo

All this to say that young children – younger than eight – can totally participate in this game, have fun with it, learn from it, and be involved with the whole family.

I am big on communication, vocabulary, literature and creativity. This game gives us exactly what we need to stimulate creativity and improve communication skills. It also helps with social and emotional skills, as we learn to win and to lose graciously.

Snake Oil Party Potion

This physical game contains two different kinds of cards: Customer Cards and Word Cards. The object of the game is to collect as many Customer Cards as possible. Each player takes a turn in being the Customer who listens to a commercial from the other players. The Word Cards are used to create imaginary products which will be of utmost importance to the Customer. Only two Word Cards can be used to create a product.

Here’s an example. Say the Customer is a Lifeguard and you get six cards which read, Test, Pimple, Curtain, Sponge, Tummy, Tub. (You can only get six cards. Once you use up two cards, you keep the other four and get two more before the next round.)

You can come up with Test Tub – a large tub which a Lifeguard find invaluable because he gets to practice his life saving skills on small dolls. Or a Pimple Sponge – a magic sponge which a Lifeguard keeps handy as he saves people from drowning. If the local TV station happens to be nearby to interview the Lifeguard, he can make sure that there will be no pimples on his face, or the face of the person he just saved before getting on the camera.

Looks may not be everything, but the right looks get you places you never dreamed of. Vanity is not overrated. And don’t say it’s not true, because you know it is.

Snake Oil Awards

As you can see, these made-up products can be sci-fi, playful, ridiculous, or as realistic as you can possibly imagine. Which brings me to my next point: why that name? Why Snake Oil? Well, a hundred years ago, people used to sell snake oil as a cure-all. Hence the subtitle of these games, “It cures what ails ya!”

Playing this game will cure whatever ails you in a more literal way. Here’s how. Say you are having a bad day and nothing works in your homeschool or kitchen and you are just overwhelmed by life. Drop everything and play a game of Snake Oil Party Potion. The giggles and laughter will pick you right up because we all know a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Voilà! Snake Oil just cured whatever ailed you.

To my shame, I was rather skeptical at first about my children’s ability to come up with products, but they proved me wrong. They really enjoyed imagining tools to help the Customer, and these products made sense. This game helped me get a better picture of where my children are in their view of the world. It’s like a well-hidden educational experience, complete with its own test.

The Snake Oil Party Potion game retails for $14.99. There is another game for older children, which you can find on the same website. Party Potion can be played with two variations. In one, players do not wait 30-40 seconds to create a pitch and do not wait their turn. As soon as they have concocted something, they fire away.

In the other variation, players get eight or even ten cards per round, so that they have more options of combining words.

How many players can get involved in this game? No less than three and no more than six. One game takes about thirty minutes.

If you prefer to keep in touch with companies via social media, here are some links for you.


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