09 May 2019

Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 Review

 We have used several products from The Critical Thinking Co. throughout our homeschool years. The most recent is Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 in which I received a physical copy of the book.

Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 is for grades 8 thru 12 and anyone needing help with vocabulary for the PSAT and SAT test.
My 13 year old son is just finishing up 7th grade. He has always enjoyed learning new vocabulary. The reality is that I would also like to prepare him for the standardized testing as he approaches highschool. I don’t want it to be a rush and trying to have him assimilate new vocabulary just for the testing of the SAT and PSAT.
Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 book has twenty vocabulary list and five reviews. Every vocabulary list you are introduced to nine vocabulary words. That amounts to 180 vocabulary words which according to the author 85% of the words are currently included in the PSAT and SAT list. Pretty impressive amount of words to help out with your testing and not to mention having the satisfaction of learning some pretty impressive vocabulary words that you may not know!

On each list you some part of speech is focused on during the lessons. For example List 1 is “Amazing Adjectives” or List 6 is “No nonsense Nouns.”

To make the learning of the vocabulary words fun the stories are fashioned after a fictional classroom with the interactions between the student and teachers. The activities focus on concepts.

The concepts are:

Literary: Characterization in Literature, Idioms, Puns, Jargon, Irony, Euphemisms, Aphorisms, Allusions, and Theme.

Rhetorical: The Art of Persuasion in Speech and Writing and Using the Extended Simile to Write a Poem.

Historical: The Renaissance and the Renaissance Artist.

After each word you have the pronunciation listed under it. The definition of the word is provided and also a sample sentence using the vocabulary word in context.
                                             All the answers are located in the back
In the back of the book is an answer key is provided for all the activities broken down by list and what page it corresponds with.

You start out by going over your nine vocabulary words at the beginning of each list. Each word list has six different activities that you work through.
 Completed activity finding the best word to complete e the sentence 
There are several activities throughout. One activity is filling in the vocabulary words to complete the sentence. The vocabulary words are located in a box at the top of the page. Under each sentence is a gray box that has synonyms or idioms of the vocabulary word. Some of the words in the gray boxes my son knew while other ones he looked them up in a thesaurus to see how they are similar to the vocabulary word.

 Completed pages from List 3 on the Story Challenge activity

Story Challenge activities are 2-3 pages long. Your vocabulary words are at the top of the page. You basically fill in the blanks in the story using your words. The stories vary from one focusing on idioms, puns, euphemism, and more styles. At the end of the story there is a gray box that explains the concept and gives you more examples.

 Unscramble the word completed activity page

Unscrambling the word- You read the provided sentence and within it a word is underlined. The underlined word could be the vocabulary word, definition, idiom, synonym, or phrase. You have to unscramble the word to obtain the correct answer. This was my son’s least favorite activity as he’s never cared for unscrambling words.

Write the word from your vocabulary box that is the best match to define the word. Using your vocabulary box you have to either write the correct word which could be idiom, phrase, or the vocabulary word.

Another activity is completing a sentence. You read the first part of the sentence and then write out the rest of the sentence. There is an unlined word in which you have to deduce the meaning of the word yourself.

 Two pages from the first review that my son completed

The five reviews cover a total of four lists you will have three activities to complete. There is a crossword puzzle that uses your vocabulary words that you learned in the last four lists. The next page is a multiply choice question in which you circle the correct response.

 A completed review page finding the word that best fits for the fictional titles of books

 The last activity you have fictional titles of books and using your vocabulary list from the top of the page you need to record the best word that is an option to use in the books

Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 How did I use it in my homeschool?
I used this with my 13 year old son who is finishing up his 7th grade. My son is an independent worker and was able to do this with very little help from me.

I spent a bit looking over the material before I handed it over to him. The curriculum is self explanatory. I like that I don’t have to do any prep for the lessons either.
My son started out each lesson reading over the list. Some words I helped him pronounce and sometimes he looked up the words using an online dictionary to make sure he was saying the words correctly with the online audio button.
 My son is just finishing up List 1 here

The only activity that he needed me was when he had to unscramble the words. He was able to figure out some of them without unscrambling the words from the word list and the meaning. He would have me check the answer key to see if he guessed correctly.

We’ve had a few crazy weeks here lately and he for the most part worked on this throughout the school week. Some activities took longer than others but we spend no more than 20 minutes each day. As of this week we are halfway into List 5. Since our school year is coming to an end we are going to continue this next year after he completes List 5. Next year we will do a quick review with the vocabulary when we begin.

We sat down last week and looked over all the words in the book to get an idea of which words we may or may not know. Here are just a few words that I’m going to mention.

As far as some of the vocabulary words my son knows are words like: iconic, quiescent, stoic, accost, litigate, authentic, curtail, serenity.

Some words that we both didn’t know: egalitarian, ebullient, prehensile, inchoate, aplomb, quixotic, caricature, obfuscate, mawkish, visceral.  

My son’s thoughts, “This wasn’t bad. I liked that the lessons aren’t very long. I liked all of them except the unscrambling the words. I found some of the words hard to say so I found the audio button on the words with an online dictionary which helped me a lot.”

I’m happy that he is happy with what he has been doing the last few weeks. I’ve been pleased with all the products I have used from The Critical Thinking Co. and using Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 the last few weeks in another great product.
Right now is a good time to start preparing for next years curriculum. The Critical Thinking Co. is graciously offering a coupon plus free shipping. The details are below.

I’m just one out of 75 members of the Homeschool Review Crew who are reviewing different products. 

Make sure you click on the banner to find out more about the products from The Critical Thinking Co.


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