The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Rock ‘N Learn Phonics 4 DVD Set Review by Linda Rose

Richard Caudle
Rock ‘N Learn
P.O. Box 3595
Conroe, TX 77305-3595

I’m a firm believer that children learn best through fun and repetition. This DVD set easily fits both categories. There are four DVDs included in the Rock ‘N Learn Phonics collection. Together with 81 printable worksheets, they form a complete phonics program. The set can be purchased for $29.99 from the Rock ‘N Learn website.

The nice thing about the DVDs is that you can put them in so your student can watch them multiple times. Each disc focuses on a few aspects of phonics and builds on previous lessons. At the end of each lesson, page numbers of worksheets are listed. The idea is to have your student complete as many of those as you feel necessary for adequate practice and review.

The suggested age for this program is for kindergarten and up. We were able to view many of these lessons with my two-year-old niece. While she enjoyed the animated characters and the catchy songs, the worksheets were too challenging for her. So, it was fun for her to be able to watch something educational while visiting our house, but I think she needs to be a little bit older to really grasp the reading concepts being presented. She did a great job of repeating words.

The first disc covers the following topics: short vowels, beginning consonants with vowels, oral blending, rhyming words, double consonants, and story practice. Memory words were introduced on this disc. These are like sight words. Story practice includes sentences on the screen below a picture. As the words are read, each word is underlined on screen. When the sentence is correctly read, there is a little animation. Story practice is included on each disc with the challenge level progressing as students learn more.

The second disc teaches ending blends, beginning blends, three-letter blends, digraphs, trigraphs, silent e, and story practice. In order to practice these concepts, a variety of activities are included. The words run across the bottom of the screen in a train format. Viewers are encouraged to read the words before they are said. The beginning or ending blend lights up, and then the word is read. Fun sound effects are included.

Disc three covers long vowels, r-controlled vowels, and story practice. Homonyms are also covered in a cute rap. The words are spelled out then defined. Several long vowels and long vowel pairs are also included. The concepts are beginning to be more advanced in this volume. This is a disc that would be great for older students who need a refresher of some advanced phonics. The music is hip and modern, so older students won’t be annoyed or bored. It really moves through the phonics pretty quickly, providing more reinforcement for review or introduction to new concepts. Sight words include they, their, and over.

The final disc teaches diphthongs, syllables, schwa sound, phonemic segmentation, ending sounds, y and le endings, rule breakers, ph an gh, memory words, and story practice. Building on previously learned concepts, students learn even more sophisticated sounds and rules. Syllables are counted in a sing-song format. The ending sounds -ing, -ink, -ank, -ang, and -dge are taught. Rule breakers are taught, as well as a hint on how to figure them out. The sight word in this story practice segment is the word who. There really are some pretty advanced phonics on this DVD. I would let my kids spend as much time as they need on these episodes so they can really master the concepts.

Total run time of the entire series is 147 minutes. As purchaser, you are granted classroom performance rights. Each disc is broken into several short segments. Watch the segment then print any worksheets that you think are necessary for your student’s success.

This program is neat because it works as a nice supplement to any curriculum or to fill in some gaps. Use this program to add a bit of pizzazz to your school day. Pop in one of these discs to review tough concepts. Add some fun into the school day by showing a few segments of one of these DVDs. Turn the corresponding worksheet into a game by challenging students in some creative way. Challenge their thinking by showing the DVD segment to a new concept as a way of introduction, or simply allow the DVDs to play in the background while your child quietly plays.

The printable activities are available as a download. The website for these is listed on the front of each disc as well as after each segment. In browsing through the worksheets, I discovered that there really is a nice variety. The activities are able to be completed quickly. Many of these activities really reinforce the concept that was taught in the lesson. Several worksheets include paragraphs or sentences for the students to read as well as fill in the blanks of missing words. There is a variety of activities including puzzles, mazes, word search, fill in the blank, matching, coloring, and cut and paste.

We really did enjoy watching many of these episodes with my niece. They are entertaining and engaging. The worksheets help reinforce skills as students gain confidence. The music is upbeat and modern. Pictures on the screen are animated, but realistic. The material moves quite quickly, which forces the student to also think quickly. This could be frustrating to a child who maybe hasn’t quite mastered a phonics concept. Having the DVDs on hand means you can watch segments several times as review.

-Product review by Linda Rose, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017