Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services offers a wide variety of fluff-free, low-cost, easy-to-use programs written for homeschoolers by a homeschool mom with 27 years of experience as a mainstream educator and 16 years of experience as a home educator. Jill Dixon, who is a national consultant for Home School Legal Defense, began Educational Consulting and Diagnostic services in 1993 and has gone on to publish a plethora of curriculum and consulting products for homeschoolers.
I was able to review four of them: Roots and Fruits, Write with the Best Vol. 1, Write with the Best Vol 2 and The Complete Career, College and High School Guide for Homeschoolers.
Roots and Fruits is a vocabulary program for kids in grades K-12 that is unique in that it uses the English form of the root words. That means that where a typical Greek/Latin vocabulary program might use photos, Roots and Fruits uses photo, which is the form that would be used in English words containing that root.
Roots and Fruits contains over 1700 vocabulary words derived from 673 Greek and Latin roots. It contains root words simple and familiar enough to start the program in Kindergarten and requires only about 15 minutes a day. Roots for younger kids are marked with an asterisk so that you can quickly scan through the extensive list of root words and easily find those suitable for your younger students.
The included weekly schedule and list of games and activities give you plenty of ideas on how to incorporate vocabulary study into your school day with little prep time. I don’t think there is anyone who would argue the fact that familiarity with Greek and Latin roots greatly increases vocabulary comprehension. Roots and Fruits makes it easy to begin a simple vocabulary for those who prefer to do so without all the bells and whistles.
Roots and Fruits can be purchased for $14.98 for an eBook (currently on sale for $11.25), $17.48 for printed pages only, $19.98 for printed pages in a 3-ring binder
Write with the Best Vol. 1 and 2 teach written communication skills using some of the best literature of our time. Descriptive paragraphs are taught using passages from works such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, A Christmas Carol, and Robinson Crusoe. Writing a friendly letter is taught using a passage from Treasure Island as a model. Writing a speech is modeled using a speech by the great orator Cicero.
Write with the Best, Vol. 1 was designed for kids in grades 3-12 and covers such topics as:
- Descriptive paragraphs
- Writing dialogue
- Writing short stories
- Writing a fable
- Writing a friendly letter
- Writing poetry
It also contains an extensive resource section with these great helps:
- Three characteristics that make the best writing the best
- Proofreading checklist
- Grading tips
- Learning styles suggestions
- A list of additional modeling passages for further practice
- How to write guide
- Answer key
Write with the Best, Vol. 2 picks up where Vol. 1 leaves off and is geared toward kids in grades 6-12. It follows the same pattern as Vol. 1 and, in addition to its own resource section, covers the following types of writing:
- Business letters
- Book reviews
- Newspaper articles
- Dramatic monologue
Write with the Best, Vol. 1 is $19.95 for an eBook (currently on sale for $14.95), $22.45 for printed pages only, $24.95 for printed pages in a 3-ring binder, while Write with the Best Vol. 2 costs $24.95 for an eBook (currently on sale for $18.65), $27.45 for printed pages only, $29.95 for printed pages in a 3-ring binder.
The College, Career, and High School Guide for Homeschool Students is billed as equipping you to “be your student’s high school guidance and career counselor.” It contains four assessment tests on finding your student’s:
- Work and service preferences and gifts
- Personality type
- Primary learning style
- Work environment preference
Brianna found these tests very interesting, but it seemed to me that the pattern was easy to figure out, making it very easy to skew the results to what the student might want them to be, rather than revealing any hidden or untapped giftings or preferences.
The Career Guide is a 224-page book written for middle schoolers through adults and, in addition to the tests, covers an extensive list of topics, such as:
- Questions to consider when determining your potential career path
- Possible career fields, listed alphabetically
- Suggested middle and high school courses, outside activities, and potential interview candidates, broken down by career field goals
- Ten fastest growing jobs
- Occupations with most new jobs
- Interview questions to spark discussion with people working in student’s chosen field
- Twelve principals for raising godly teenagers
- Basic high school graduation requirements
- Sample high school course of study
- Calculating GPA
- Keeping transcripts
- Advice to Homeschooled High Schoolers from Homeschool Graduates
While the list of topics is extensive, a lot of the material seemed to me to be simply lists, so, although the book does make a great brainstorming tool, it’s not necessarily a how-to guide. The cost of The College, Career, and High School Guide for Homeschool Students is $34.95 for an eBook (currently on sale for $26.20) and $39.95 for soft cover.
Some pros of each of the programs I reviewed:
- The author seeks to include activities that appeal to all learning styles — visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
- Little prep time is required.
- Each of the books contain good, solid, basic information.
- Additional activities and tips for further study are included in each eBook.
- The company’s goal is excellent customer service and complete satisfaction and the owners display a true willingness to help with any problems encountered.
Some of the cons of each:
- The book are very basic, no-frills guides. I think I might be a bells-and-whistles type. While the basic information is solid, I was sometimes left feeling that I’d have liked a bit more detail.
- The format of the eBooks was a huge drawback to me. The files use a program called File Secure Pro, which requires a one-time download — not a big deal, but I had a lot of problems downloading it, requiring two emails to customer service before I was able to access the files. Once they’re downloaded, they’re not as easily accessible as .pdf files using Adobe Acrobat. You’re also limited to the number of times you can print the file, with partial prints counting as a complete print. For this reason, I would strongly suggest paying a little extra and ordering a print book, rather than the eBook. Be sure to read this note from EduDPS before ordering your eBook.
My overall impression of the Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services products was lukewarm. While I didn’t love them, I wasn’t completely disappointed in them either. I think they certainly offer solid, foundational information. I can also see being able to easily assimilate them into a variety of homeschooling styles. Maybe it’s because I’m currently thinking with a unit study mindset, but I could see the Write with the Best volumes being a nice resource to go with a unit study approach since you could easily pull writing models from whatever literature sources you would be using with the unit study.
So, visit their site, read some of the testimonials and see what you think. Be sure to check out their other products, too. They offer many, many products and I’ve only reviewed four of them.
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Actual results may vary.