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Just wanted to put in/add that I don't think they "move kids ahead of the game" or any of that stuff either. I think kids are where kids need to be generally.. wherever that is lol.
 

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Interesting that this topic comes up... I've been considering buying one for about a week and a half, since a store near us was advertizing one at a greatly discounted price in an upcoming sale. I searched the archives here on this forum (found a good thread from a year or two ago), and posted a question on another homeschool message board. I came *this* close to buying one, but in the end, I decided not to. I realized that the only reason I was even considering it was because it was a "good deal", and because I was feeling the peer pressure from my more mainstream mommy friends.

My dd can already read very well. (She turns 5 next week.) As for 6th grade reading level, I'm not sure what that would mean to a 5 year old. My dd might be able to read some things at that level -- someone mentioned the newspaper -- but she has such limited life experience that I don't know how much real meaning they would have for her. Reading at that level often has references to other situations and contexts that *very* few 5 year olds would appreciate. My dd is interested in Harry Potter, but I've told her she should wait until she is older to read it. For one thing, it's a bit scary (dd is sensitive to scary things), and for another thing, the children in the story are "big kids". They do "big kid" things and talk about things "big kids" are interested in. She might be able to read the words, but she wouldn't fully understand what was going one. (I don't think she'd get Snape's sarcasm, as just one example, and I'm *glad* she wouldn't!) Besides, she'll enjoy it *so* much more when she's older. (Not bashing anyone whose young child is reading HP -- I don't think it's harmful or anything. Just using HP as an example of why 5 year olds reading at super-excellerated levels is an odd thing to aspire to.)

I do allow selective electronic toys, but my experience with them has been that they are of limited use for my kids. I can think of only two electronic toys that I'm really glad we have/had: one is a small keyboard that I purchased that gets lots of use and is fun to play with. I imagine it will be used well into the future. The other was a Mickey Mouse alphabet game that was a gift. My dd *loved* it for a short time around 2 1/2 and learned most of her letters from playing with it. She was already in the process of learning her letters, so I'm sure it would have happened anyway, but she had so much fun with the toy. (Plus she was potty training at the time, and it kept her busy on the potty. :LOL )

I decided the Leap Pad would probably be fun for a while, but I wouldn't be surprised if my dd lost interest fairly quickly. I might still grab one if I see it at a garage sale -- not much lost if it doesn't get used much.


My this is a rambling post!
I'd edit it, but it's bed time for the kiddos!
 

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We bought a Leap Frog spelling for my son. All my kids love it. My son has benefit from the autonomy from me/adults for spelling mistakes. He is very embarrassed about his lack of ability to spell and not having me over his shoulder to correct him has helped him.

My children, even the almost 11 year old, like the Leapster. But, my kids also have a tendency to play on it as a group.

I do think they can be over used and introduced early, but I don't see some of the spelling and math games for school age children be bad. It can reinforce skills. I think some of the younger Leap Frog products well
. But then again I do know people that have recieved these as gifts and find them to be perfect car toys.
 

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Abi has a LeapFrog DVD: The Letter Factory. She really enjoys it for entertainment but learned her letters way before we got it. (It was on sale someplace)

The library has the LeapPads and books that you can check out. I have checked them out twice for Abi and she got bored with them within a couple of hours both times. I can see it being a fun toy for some kids, but really, I feel that it's better to sit down and read with your child. It should not be used as a substitute for parental involvement and I think sadly it is used that way in some families.

ETA: Abi got the Leapster for her bday and she really likes it. She plays with it in the car and during doctor appointments for Nitara. She also plays with it in bed if she's having a hard time falling asleep. It's purely for entertainment for her, although she learned some animal facts from both her Dora and Nemo ones (the only ones she has b/c they are too $$ for us to buy more).
 

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I don't think LeapFrog helps most kids beyond what any normal parent is already doing.

DD got one for her 4th birthday but she was already reading so it definately didn't help her. DS had a fit so we got him one at the same time (18 months)
Well, he is now older than DD when she started to read (without the leappad)--- does that "proove" anything :LOL Realistically, they haven't touched them in six months (once DD is done w/ a toy DS gives it up too) but they were fine for the cars.

DD wanted a Leapster and saved her allowance up for one. DS wanted one too (since DD wanted one) so they both have them and have used them for probably 2-3 hours total. Maybe they'll use them sometime this summer on long car trips


I really don't think they are that helpful. Anecdotally, my niece who had the LeapPad had the *hardest* time reading of all of her cousins who are of reading age and DD's friends who have the LeapPads (siblings) have had the hardest time of her friends.
I doubt that LeapPads actually *hurt* but anecdotally they did.
 

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I read to my son a lot - all the way up until he was 12 and began taking off on his own with novels that I just wasn't interested in spending all that time with. Those are precious memories for both of us, and I think much of who he is today goes back to the things we read together.

When I ran across one of the first LeapFrog products, it was long after he had learned to read, but I was so awestruck that I stood there and played with it, then came back and played with it some more. I couldn't believe how well designed it seemed to be, and came back yet another time to play with it some more. It was the one that had plastic letters you could put on top of cards with words - like "frog" - and then you could push each letter and hear the sound, and then push something else and hear the sound of the word.

I've always been fascinated with elementary education - which is why I went through college intending to be a teacher and taking all the necessary ed classes. I learned almost nothing about teaching in those classes, by the way. I was stunned to get into the classrooms as a substitute teacher and discover how different it was from what I'd been led to believe. Anyway, the thing I loved about the product I saw (can't remember what it was called, but I think it had "desk" in the name) was that a child could be self-led, self-taught, at their own pace, within a play mode, and in a multi-sensory way led by their own whims and imagination. It involved touch, manipulation, colors, sight, thought, hearing... And I think things that are self-taught are best on a lot of levels.

I'm not a "toy nazi" though
. I was so excited that I even phoned the company to ask them something - can't remember exactly what now, but it was the first product I'd ever seen that I really wanted to help promote, maybe even distribute, because I thought it was that cool.


My son had gone to Waldorf kindergarten, but I never embraced the anti-plastic/anti-battery philosophy.And this is a tangent, but I'll tell you why: because it was my personal experience and that of many friends that it was us, the parents, who loved the feel and simplicity of those beautiful wooden and natural fiber toys the most, whereas our children were more attracted to toys that *did* more, offered more opportunities for manipulation and exploration, etc. That's not to say that imagination isn't of the utmost importance, but my son certainly never missed out on exercising his imagination by exploring plastic toys and such - to the contrary. My friends and I all had the wonderful ongoing experiences of going into Hearthsong and falling into a trancelike state with all the beautiful things - but it really seemed to be something that appealed to our own emotional needs rather than our children's (especially our boys).


- Lillian
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lillian J
I never embraced the anti-plastic/anti-battery philosophy.And this is a tangent, but I'll tell you why: because it was my personal experience and that of many friends that it was us, the parents, who loved the feel and simplicity of those beautiful wooden and natural fiber toys the most, whereas our children were more attracted to toys that *did* more, offered more opportunities for manipulation and exploration, etc. That's not to say that imagination isn't of the utmost importance, but my son certainly never missed out on exercising his imagination by exploring plastic toys and such - to the contrary. My friends and I all had the wonderful ongoing experiences of going into Hearthsong and falling into a trancelike state with all the beautiful things - but it really seemed to be something that appealed to our own emotional needs rather than our children's (especially our boys).

I have to agree with you for the most part Lillian. I *love* the Hearthsong catalog and others of it's ilk. But while my kids enjoy looking through it, they seldom beg me for things out of it. (These are kids who virtually never see comercials for children's toys on TV, so it's not media influence that's driving them.) Actually, they seldom beg for any toys, except sometimes in an actual toy store where they have been playing with an item. I bought my ds the beautiful wooden fire truck when Hearthsong had it on clearance. He enjoys it and plays with it, but dd has lobbied me several times to let them paint it, since real fire trucks aren't made of wood and are red or yellow -- not brown.
In all honesty, I don't think a red plastic fire truck would be any less stimulating to their imaginations. The only real advantage to the wood is that it will be more likely to stand the test of time and be passed down to ds's children (assuming they don't mind the green magic marker on the wheels and ladder.
: ) There's a lot to be said for toys that will last, but it's not about *his* development right now, kwim? Another example that comes to mind is a toy cash register. We have a local toy store that sells many of the same toys as Hearthsong, but also carries some better-made plastic and electronic stuff. DD loves the cash register with the scanner and digital read out. I showed her the all-wood verson but she was less than totally uninterested. Who can blame her? Every cash register she's ever seen is plastic and has a scanner and a digital read-out! She would play much longer and more imaginatively with the more realistic toy. (In fact, someone gave her a cheap-o electronic toy cash register that broke the same day she got it.
But until it broke, and even for a little while afterword, she played with it with great imagination!) My biggest beef with cheap plastic toys is the that they are often made with exploited labor. But that's another issue...

I'm still going to hold out for a garage sale leap pad.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
I'm still going to hold out for a garage sale leap pad.

Suggestion: Keep some fresh batteries in the car to use for trying out things like this at garage sales, in case there are none in it - one drawback to these things can be little electronic glitches you might not expect.

And if they have weak batteries in it, it could also give a wrong impression - in that sometimes electronic things can start to slightly malfunction when the battery is weak.

Lillian
 

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I think these kinds of electronic toys are great for using IN the car. There are only so many things you can do while sitting still, strapped in. Most of the non-electronic ones involve small pieces, which get eaten by my van. So we do favor electronic doodads for long drives. And the in-car DVD (not to start THAT thread again...)
 

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I do hope someone tells Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David-- the perpetrators of the term "soup nazi". I had no idea either one was a shaygets.

Quote:

Originally Posted by annettemarie
Some people may use it as slang, but that doesn't necessarily make it right. Especially in a place like this where we try (I hope) to be sensitive to one another. I would hate for a carelessly tossed remark to cause pain to any of my brothers or sisters who have been affected by true Nazi-ism. It may be mainstream in the mainstream, but this ain't the mainstream.

ETA- And you will find other discussions about how offensive this loose use of the word Nazi is, including insights from our Jewish sisters, all over MDC.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ChristaN
I have never seen any research that associates early reading with long-term higher success in school or higher IQ.
I may be misunderstanding you, but one of the best indicators of prodigious intelligence is the capacity to read at a precocious age, as all researchers (I can't even say "most") of genius, giftedness, and advanced IQ agree. Specifically, see Miraca Gross, Exceptionally Gifted Children (an Australian study of children with IQs of 145 and up, if memory serves) as one example, though there are many others.

For what it's worth, though, I don't think it's possible to successfully teach someone a concept for which they aren't developmentally ready. You may as well try to teach a four-foot kid to reach something on an eight-foot shelf.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I may be misunderstanding you, but one of the best indicators of prodigious intelligence is the capacity to read at a precocious age,
I believe the research shows the following:

Early spontaneous reading is indeed associated with prodigious intelligence and higher academic achievement. Early reading instruction (whether electronically or via real human beings), on the other hand, is not associated with higher academic achievement.

Miranda
 

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We have the Fridge Phonics set and the Fridge Farm (or whatever it's called -- the one where you can mix and match the animal halves) set. One lives here, and the other stays at my parents' house. We got them because ds was getting very interested in refrigerator magnets, and my parents loved playing with them with him, but the magnets we already had were serious choking hazards. The Leapfrog ones were the easiest to find chunky-enough-to-be-safe magnets.

Ds has learned a lot of letters (and some letter sounds) from the Phonics set. He's probably also learned them earlier than he would have without it, because I don't think it would have occurred to us to spend much time pointing them out to him at this age (although now we do spend a decent amount of time talking about letters, when he initiates it, because he's fascinated by them). I don't think this early alphabet knowledge is going to have any real effect on the rest of his life, though.

One other result of the Fridge Phonics set: Ds decided that other magnets should make noise, too. He brought our Einstein magnet over to me, held it up against my belly, and pushed on it, as though he were putting one of the letters in the Leapfrog base. Being that the magnet has a photo of Einstein sticking his tongue out, and being that I'm a fairly bizarre mama, I began singing, "Einstein says <phhhbbbt>, Einstein says <phhhbbbt>, every scientist makes a sound, Einstein says <phhhbbbt>."

Now if you ask ds, "What does Einstein say?", he blows a raspberry. I want to see *that* in a Leapfrog commercial. :LOL
 

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we have some leap frog toys and while i like them, i don't think that they are giving abby any advantage. she had the alphabet ball in english and spanish and really liked them.

she also has a leapster she got at age 2.5 yrs which she LOVES. she has the letter factory cartridge and knows what all the letters are and what sounds they make and also will say what word starts with the sound on some. we use it in the car and when she wants to "do it myself" meaning i can't help her or sing along, etc. she can do level 1 and 2 on the shapes and putting them into pictures and likes the matching game as well. she really likes the drawing area as well.

she also has the fridge magnets and likes them, too. when i am cooking i have her play there with them and she enjoys it.

all in all, i don't think that they are helping or hurting her, she just has fun with them and learns a little, too and that is a good thing.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma
I believe the research shows the following:

Early spontaneous reading is indeed associated with prodigious intelligence and higher academic achievement. Early reading instruction (whether electronically or via real human beings), on the other hand, is not associated with higher academic achievement.

Miranda
And then, with instruction, you have to define what reading is. My son can sound out CVC words, but he's definitely not reading yet. And if the children are taught early, does it come after time-consuming instruction, i.e. how long does it take for them to learn the tasks? And then if they are taught early, say at 4, how long do they stay at that level? I'm sure that many 4yos, maybe even most, can be taught to "read", but I doubt they will hold any long-term advantage over their peers, because their progress is very slow. But a gifted child just takes off and does it and requires little (if any) help.

I'm only saying this, because, in my area, academic preschool is huge and people seem to define "reading" by being able to recite Bob books. I doubt many of the children could read the words in a different context, however.
 

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Okay annettemarie, we'll have to agree to disagree. I have Jewish friends who aren't offended at all by the use of the word, and even use it themselves in such a manner. And my gay friends use the term as well (homosexuals were condemned right along with Jewish people). Just one of those things people won't agree on, I guess.

Peace,
Trish
 

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I hate LeapFrog products. I find them noisy and obnoxious. That said, we do have FridgePhonics, and each of the kids has a LeapPad (all gifts). I keep them on the utility porch so the kids don't see them often and ask to play with them, but I do bring them out whenever the kids ask.

I don't think that the LeapFrog products will do anything to help your kids get "ahead of the game" (especially if they are used in the schools, where all the kids will be expected to be at a certain level, making the LeapFrog "advantage" no longer an advantage but the norm). I do think that FridgePhonics has helped my kids learn the letter sounds, but at 2 and 3 I don't think that benefits them in any way. They can SAY the sounds, but do they really understand why letters have sounds and what to do with those sounds? I don't know, and I don't really care.

My daughter enjoys the math book for her LeapPad (it's called Lots and Lots of HoneyPots) and maybe it helps her with preschool math concepts. But maybe not. Probably the only thing it REALLY assists with is developing fine motor coordination.

Before I had kids I was ADAMANT that they would never own a LeapFrog product (the textbook development house is used to work at had the first LeapFrog development contract) because I thought they were evil. I no longer think they are evil or even detrimental, just anoying and probably not worth the money. But my kids' LeapFrog stuff were gifts, so I'm not going to worry too much.

Namaste!
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Boy, alot of you sure chimmed in on this one! There seems to be folks on both sides of this. I found it interesting what Lillian said about the wooden toys and non-battery stuff being appealing to us and not necessarily to our kids. I wasn't particularly more attracted to 'natural' toys as a child, why should my son be. I was partial to my Lincoln Logs until my neighbor glued them together! I usually leave it up to the grandparents to buy those things. That's what I'll do here I suppose...
Anyway, I think I need to relax a bit and quit being a...
*TOY TYRANT*
I hope that this terminology works for everybody. I meant no offense to any particlar person or group of people. I was trying to use a word as an illustration. In fact I was making a negative comment about my self. Sorry for it.

amy
 
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