Thursday, May 24, 2018

Home School Navigator ~Review

Home School Navigator
For the past few weeks we have been using the Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum indigo level from Home School Navigator

There are six different levels of curriculum. We had access to all 6  levels as we got started. We found that Indigo was the best level for my 13 year old. It is the highest level, rated at a 5th grade reading level. We had 4 weeks to look through the various levels before we chose which one we would stick with. 

Each week I would download the weekly guide. It lists each project that the student will be assigned for the week. It is 5 pages, so you can either download and print, or just have it downloaded to refer to. It helps give you an idea of what is expected for the week. Helpful especially for us as we don't have traditional school on Thursdays, so my daughter has to factor that into finishing up Thurs work before the end of the week. 

The weekly guide also indicates which handouts are needed printed, and the materials list for the week including the books you need to have on hand. Thankfully when we weren't able to find the book from the library, a youtube video was provided with the book being read to her.

Home School Navigator

Each day would have 6 different categories to work through;

Read Aloud : The student will either read the suggested readings, or if you are having a hard time finding it, they have uploaded videos of them reading the book to the student. We were able to find just one of the recommended books so far. They do re read the book, which my daughter wasn't really interested in, but I told her she may catch more out of it the second and third time around.

Literature/Comprehension ; There is usually an imbedded video to watch in this section that will explain the context of the activity. This category to me was really the meat of the program. This is where the student is learning how to talk about what they are reading. To analyze it, and utilize worksheets to better explain what they are reading.

Writing/Grammar; This is set up in a writing book you make. This is sometimes asking questions of the reading and responsively writing to it, and sometimes it is just a free writing for a certain amount of time.

Phonics/Word Study/Vocabulary; This keeps the same word study for the week, and introduces a list of vocabulary that go together, like having the same root word. There are games and activities to play with the words, in addition to writing sentences and learning the words.

Computer Skills is often doing your writing and journal on the computer. Good for them to get in the habit of writing with the computer and learning to type.

Independent Reading is reading for 30 minutes and can be anything you or the student choose. There are no other requirement.

If you live in a state where you need to prepare a portfolio for review at the end of the year, there is a great option to upload their work each week and then later print out. This is really helpful for keeping the language part of the portfolio up to date.

In addition to the Reading and Language Arts Curriculum, Home School Navigator also has Interactive Notebooks for the older levels.  I had really wanted to do this with my daughter, but a death in the family threw us off track with it.

The interactive Notebooks remind me of a lapbooking style where you are making little booklets about the story. The book in the Indigo level is Holes by Louis Sachar.

There are 9 months worth of weekly language arts and reading. They are divided up into months, and then into weeks. Clearly enough for a year long school year. We were generously given a one year subscription for review, and I have found it really has helped my daughter have a clearer vision of what she needs to do daily. I am not a great planner, and with home educating three other students, it helps to have her be able to work independently on her language arts.

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Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

PandaParents ~Review

Panda Parents Kindy Curriculum

My 3 year old enjoyed PandaParents  digital format of MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS during her school day. This program is geared preschool ages 3-6.

The digital program is a monthly program that includes a pdf book, access to online videos, and downloadable, printable worksheets. We were given a three month access to get us started. We chose to work with the title Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound.
The other two monthly titles we were given were; A Jolly Jingling Journey and Mommy's Baby.

Scotty Skunk is scared of sounds while he is sleeping. The 30 minute video firstly introduces us to the letter S. The Big and Little S, and the sound that it makes. It then tells us how Scotty is a Skunk and what happens when Scotty is scared.. he sprays. Little Muffin had to take a bath in tomato sauce to smell better.
After the introduction the letter, there is a story about Scotty trying to find a place to stay where there isn't a lot of noises. He has noise from airplanes, and animals, storms, tractors, you name it. Scotty wants a peaceful place to sleep.
The story goes through all of the seasons starting with winter and ending with fall and Scotty's need for a home in each of them.

There are somewhat natural breaks in the video, but I do wish there were concrete breaks. I would like to see it broken into 3, 10 minute videos rather than one 30 minute. It was hard to know when to stop the video and if I stopped it and she knew there was more, she would want to watch  more. A 10  minute video would give us a definite stopping point.

There are over 45 worksheets to use with this book and video. They each vary a little bit, but some are repeat ideas. They are best spread out over the month to work on. My daughter loves to do worksheets and could have easily done 10 in a sitting but I limited her to three each time.

The concepts included in the worksheets are
Memory skills
Fine motor skills
Math Skills
Matching and more..

Each of the worksheets go along with the story. The video is a reading of the story. My daughter much preferred listening to the video. The voices were animated and much more interesting than mom reading it.

My daughter found the video very interested. Seeing it a few times, she was able to remember and predict what was coming next. We would watch the video once a week and do work pages 2 or 3 times a week. The excitement for it didn't last the whole month. I am wondering about having  separate videos to watch over the course of the month, giving them something new each time.

She loved the worksheets that looked like real workbook pages for her. She enjoyed showing them to everyone and telling them what she learned.


See what other crew members thought of PandaParents by clicking on the banner below.
Messylearning For Preschoolers and Kindergartners {PandaParents Reviews}

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Weigl Publishers ~Review

Weigl Publishers sent us three media enhanced books for review. Glacier's, A Lion's World, There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant all came alive with additional media links and videos.

A Lions World

A Lion's World comes in a pdf form to read along with your Kindergarten through 2nd graders. My 3 year old really loved this book, especially watching it be read to her on Weigl's website. The code for the AV2 is found inside the digital book. It will also ask for a word from a specific page for security. The lions in the digital book were fascinating for my daughter, but even more so, the actual lions in the video version. Each page of the book is read in the video, and the lions' activity continues until you click on the arrow for the next page. An older child could read along with the speaker.
Toward the end of the book there is a list of sight words and where they first appear in the book. It also lists the content words. You can then utilize those words for review with an older child.
The pictures in the pdf were gorgeous as was the video footage of the lions.

Glaciers Earths Water

Glaciers is geared for the 3rd-6th grade students and is a LightBox title. You will log into the website in a different location than the AV2 book. There is much more to offer with this title as it is geared toward the older student. There are supplemental resources you can print out for the Glacier Activities. There is also a print out of the common core standards if that is something you follow.

The online program will read the text to you, but the voice is very robotic and dull. This would be a great place for improvement. Several of the pages have an icon for the web, that you can click on and it will take you to additional information. There is more info on polar bears, the types of glaciers and more. Watch additional videos of real glaciers throughout as well.

There is an interactive map where you can locate the various glaciers. On each page is a way to get to the activity or worksheet page for that page as well. The page on glacier movements does mention million of years in it's look at how the glaciers have moved. It doesn't support a young earth theory.

There is a quiz page and even an experiment to work with. Overall, this concept of reading a book and having videos, slideshows, outside links, and worksheets is a great idea.

There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant

The third book we had was a fiction book called There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant. And yes if you are familiar with the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, this is much similar, and just as funny. This is an AV2 book where the online story is really fun. The voices are great, and the characters are funny. It is much like listening to a book on CD/tape, but utilizing the web for it.
This funny story sees this poor Cowpoke eating a variety of odd creatures until he gets quite the stomach ache. It is a fairly long book, and was nice to have it read in all of the character parts.

Just this year Weigl Publishers released over 300 new titles, bringing them to having 1800 different titles! That is a lot of interactive books. They have one for each of states of the USA, which would go along with a state study. There are books on primates and many other animals. There are books on a variety of times in our history. There are some on being eco friendly. Each letter of the alphabet for the younger learners. There really is a lot and they are listed in categories alphabetically making it easier for you to find.

If you have a reluctant reader, or even just need some time for them to work alone, the Weigl Publishers books will help in this area.
See what my crew mates thought of these books by clicking on the link below.

Multimedia Digital Books {Weigl Publishers Reviews}

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