Friday, May 18, 2012

Building Your Homeschool Library? Start Here.

Library and Educational Services has been offering quality educational and inspirational items to educators, churches, libraries, and wholesalers for over thirty years. Ranging from quality oldies-but-goodies, like the Moody Science Video Classics to newer additions such as the Drive Through History dvds, there is something for everyone in your family at a price that even dad will like. Price cuts range from 30% to 70% off of retail, and you can begin shopping immediately after completing a short free registration process. You will receive e-mail notifications of specials and new arrivals in your in-box, and you can customize the frequency and content of what you receive.

I've been using LES for about nine years now. I discovered them when someone gave me a catalog after I mentioned my oldest son's love for Adventures in Odyssey audios. You can imagine how pleased I was to find them greatly discounted---about 50% of what I was paying at the retail stores. We still listen to sets of tapes we ordered back then.

The Adventures in Odyssey complete set of 54 compact disk albums
retails for $699, a savings of 50%. Boy, would we love to get that for Christmas!

Over the years, I've added to our homeschool library using LES during sales or around holidays. Last Christmas, my grandmother was not feeling well, but wanted the children to have something more personal than money in a card, so I suggested that I could find each child something out of the LES catalog and she could pay for it. I sent her the catalog with the items circled so she could see what she had "chosen," filled out the order form and an envelope for her, and all she had to do was to write a check and put it in the mail (though they do take Internet orders, my grandmother does not!). Needless to say, the children were thrilled when they opened their gifts of books. The girls received the Circle C Beginnings books and the Mike's Inspiration Station art dvds. The little boys received the new Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station series of books and a Bible devotional and hymn book and cd set. Tex received an entire set of Christian adventure books for the same price as one hardcover book bought from the store, and I was the lucky recipient of the Adventures in Odyssey Bible Eyewitness Collector's set, which the kids have LOVED listening to in the car.

I was excited to be asked to review something from Library and Educational Services since not only would it give me a cool product, but it would also give me to opportunity to tell about one of my favorite online distributors. I was even happier when it turned out they wanted us to review not one, but TWO, science videos from the Go Science series. The series teaches about science through demonstrations of experiments and my kids LOVE science.

We have been sincerely trying to go through our video/dvd and book collections this year to take out not-so-good and even just plain "good" stuff, but keeping the better and the best things. One of the areas we are particularly convicted in is the need to get rid of more and more of the video "fluff" we have lying around. We got rid of cable about three years ago, and I can't say I miss it. We limit the children's viewing of videos, and do our best to make deliberate decisions about what is being watched rather than letting them default to some old not-really-good-for-much show that makes no effort to teach or enrich in any way. In fact, the eventual goal is to have only educational videos, and those that have a deliberate and obvious character-building theme to watch on a very limited scope. 

Well, the Go Science videos are definitely going to get to stay!

Not only do they educate, but they also may a Biblical connection with every experiment. My homeschooled children, ages 2-14, liked them enough to ask for them when given an opportunity to choose a video. I liked them enough to utilize them in our homeschooling day. We used viewing the experiments on the two videos we selected to teach certain principles, and then we also used one experiment to teach the younger children the process of the scientific method and how to write a lab report.

The videos are simple. There are no astounding effects or amazing feats of technology included. The scientific principles which are demonstrated, however, are fascinating enough on their own to not need a lot of glitz to interest me. Filled with examples of how God incorporated so many intricate and precisely coordinated mechanisms and functions into our wonderful world, the straight-forward and to-the-point episodes will clearly explain many scientific principles to your children in a way that will make it possible for them to take what they learned and then go out on their own and explore the new ideas. The presenter also gives a brief tie in to a principle of God's word, the Bible, that each experiment reflects, at the end of each episode. Sometimes it seems a bit hurried, but it is always heartfelt.

Both of the volumes I ordered had fourteen episodes, and each dvd ran for 52-59 minutes (we ordered episodes 2 and 3). There are six volumes in all, each of which has 12-14 episodes with run-times of 29-60 minutes. The topics include: motion, machines, magnetism, force, electricity, design, weather, flight, chemistry, matter, sound, water, space, engineering, gravity, and life science.

The short episodes (about five minutes each, sometimes a bit less) have a PBS sort of feel to them. The presenter, Bob, is warm and friendly, and talks to the kids in a way reminiscent of Mr. Rodgers. There is a studio audience of kids ages about 4-12, and they are all well-behaved, wearing matching science tee shirts (kind of like science camp).

The video series is definitely targeted toward the younger end of the age spectrum (perhaps 2-8), but Tex watched them through once and felt like a few ideas/demonstrations he'd only read about were clarified for him (seeing them in action helps). The younger crowd at my house (ages 4-10) all liked them, especially Cowboy and Ladybug. I ordered the disk with the Tornado Tube experiment specifically because Cowboy has been begging to do that one, and I've been putting it off since I didn't want to have to figure out how to explain what it was demonstrating.

GASP! Can you believe I said that? A homeschooling mom admitting she told her student "no" when he wanted to do a hands-on activity simply to avoid having to explain it (and try to look smart about it, too)? Sigh. It is true. While I do pretty well with biological things, physics and engineering are not my strengths. This is one of the BIGGEST benefits of these dvds. If you have ever felt the same way, these demonstrations will give you the ability to meet the needs of those inquiring minds without having to become a science experiment genius. Yay! You can either watch the video and then just talk about it, OR you can watch the video and the explanation, then reproduce the experiment on your own with more confidence. Nice!

Sweet Ladybug always does her best with a smile!

 The blue you see all over their fingers and faces is from all of the mulberries they 
were eating off of our bush/tree just before I called them inside.

We chose to give the experiment a try. Actually, I asked Tex to run things for me, and he did a great job. After watching the video, they talked about the ideas, made a tornado tube, saw it in action in person (though since we couldn't find Daddy's duct tape, the seal wasn't perfect, so the cyclone was not as impressive as the one on the video), and then talked about how and why to write a lab report. We used FREE printable lab sheets from Homeschool Notebooking, and they completed and understood the concept in about a half and hour. That's a nice science lesson!

The dvds are available for just $8.97 at the time of this post, or can be purchased as a set for $47.95. The normal retail for the set is $ that's savings!

Another thing I like about LES is that years ago when I ordered some items from them, once they packed the box incorrectly. I called and explained that I had received several items I had not ordered, and that a few of the items I did order were missing. They offered to put the correct items in the mail the next business day and I asked how I should go about returning the wrong items to them. They told me that I could either be blessed by keeping them for our family or that I could donate them to a church library. Needless to say, I was impressed!! That, to me, is the ultimate in Customer Service. Thank you, LES.

Boo didn't do much but watch and be silly, but he seemed interested...
at least he was until the camera came out, then all he was interested in was being a ham!

If you'd like to read what others on the Crew have to say about LES and the Go Science videos, please check out the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.


Disclaimer: I received two Go Science dvds from LES for the purposes of evaluating the product and the service of their company. I received no other compensation, and the review you read here reflects  my own honest experiences and opinions about both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing
all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!
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