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30 Minute a Day Learning System Workbooks
(Preschool, Kindergarten, and Grade One)

Brighter Minds Children's Publishing

651-C Lakeview Plaza Blvd.
Worthington, Ohio 43085

This review includes three workbooks that are purchased separately: Preschool, Kindergarten, and Grade One. Each 396-page book contains 50 daily lessons, Assessment pages, Reinforcement activities, an Achievement Certificate printed inside the back cover, and puppet pals printed on the inside front cover. The books were designed by teachers to be easily used by parents and fun for kids. The only other necessary items are pencils, crayons, and a student eager to learn.

According to the back covers, these books are intended "to reinforce the actual school curriculum." Each lesson consists of six pages, one of which is an Assessment sheet that allows the parent to determine whether the child is struggling with a particular concept. Each lesson contains a language arts component and a math component. The Preschool book covers such things as basic letter and number recognition with phonetics, matching, shapes, colors, and positional concepts. Concepts in the Kindergarten book include high frequency words, money, word families, rhyming, and sequencing. And, finally, the Grade One book covers such things as alphabetizing, addition, subtraction, sight words, understanding directions, and reading comprehension, and it even touches on American Sign Language.

These books are very bright and colorful, yet the drawings are simple enough for young students. The concepts are presented well, and the instructions for parents are easy to understand. I thought the Assessment pages were a wonderful feature. And I also liked the fact that the pages were perforated. This allows you to remove various pages for storage in a portfolio without having to keep the entire book.

After we flipped through the first two books, my son worked through the Grade One book, which was a great deal of fun. These books are a great tool for review. And for homeschoolers not using a full curriculum, the books may shed light on some areas that have been overlooked.

A few potential negatives to mention: Some people may not like the fact that the animal characters in the books are presented with human characteristics. Also, the books are not intended to be photocopied for multiple students. You will need to purchase a separate book for each student. Finally, the cut-out puppet pals, found on the inside of the front cover, are exactly the same for all three books. I wish they had been different (or at least different poses of the same characters). You may want to use the puppets as an incentive for completing the entire book (since you probably will not want to cut apart the front cover until you are finished using the book).

We recommend this series; it does offer a great deal of information for each level. Certainly, more teaching is needed than just 30 minutes a day, but homeschoolers with some initiative might choose to use these books as a roadmap for building an entire curriculum. For those already using a full curriculum, these books would come in handy anytime a little review is needed--at home or on the road. The price is reasonable for the wealth of information included. These books will be completely used up by our family and purchased again for our younger children who are toddlers now.

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, January 2007

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