One of the main goals educational wise for our children is to build strong readers. So, I was very happy to get to review Home School Navigator and their Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum with our 2 boys (7 &4). This is an online subscription that utilizes books, videos, worksheets, writing prompts and more. It also has printable lesson plans, writing prompts, poetry extensions and more.
First of all, it was simple to set up both of my boys' accounts on the site. Then I went in and picked a level for each of them to start with. Gabe obviously started on the lowest level (red) and Jake went to the second level-orange (an equivalent of 1st grade). You could load a picture of each child onto their account page if you wanted to :)
This is not your average online reading program. Most of the ones I've seen are done solely online which is not my preference. However, this one is totally different. At the start of each unit you read a book. They had many of the books linked as read-a-louds on YouTube so you didn't actually have to have the books in hand (which was super helpful). I also found that if they weren't linked I was able to find them on YouTube as read-a-louds. The boys absolutely loved this! We "read" loads of these. A few we discovered that we loved were "The Mitten", "The Gingerbread Man", "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" & "Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock".
After you read the book then its time to discuss it! I had the boys narrate back their version of the story. It was really cute to hear them tell it! They both actually did both the lower level and higher level stories with each other. Jake (7) was of course more advanced but I was amazed at how well Gabe (4) did with it also.
Then there was the Word Wall. On the site they explain how to set your "word wall" up. It also has printable word cards to place in it. However, I didn't have the exact setup they had so I simply used a large poster board and wrote in permanent marker the words on it and hung it by our dry erase board. This is supposed to prevent you from having to respell common words for them while they are writing. Another way I used it though was to make sentences completely (or almost completely) from the words on the word wall. Each week you added new words to the wall. They recommended that you not add more than 5 new words per week to keep from overwhelming the child. They also had printable practice with the new words each week. That helped practice handwriting and spelling.
They also recommended using a "student notebook". Your child could write one or more sentences per day in it. We didn't do this simply because he was doing a study on wildflowers and was writing in his student pages there (and he's not a huge fan of writing).
They have a place to upload scans of your completed work in each unit so at the end of the year you will have a completed portfolio!
Overall, I think this program is really neat. There are so many ways to customize it for your individual children and we are going to continue it. However, since its summer we are doing it at a reduced pace!
(here is a video explaining the product and what each level means)
I hope you'll check out the other reviews at the link below!