Wednesday, June 1, 2016

{Schoolhouse Review} ~ Essential Skills Advantage

Online learning has become such an amazing homeschooling resource. And Essential Skills Advantage and their Complete Home Learning Suite is another great online homeschooling resource.

Essential Skills Advantage Review

What It Is:

The Complete Home Learning Suite is an online subscription. You pay per student with significant discounts for the added siblings; for this review I was given access for two students and chose to have Dasher and Nutsy use it.

This is a supplemental curriculum, meant for grades K through 6th grades. The main subject groups you can choose from are:

  • Reading (Grades K-6)
  • Spelling (Grades 1 - 6)
  • Language & Grammar (Grades 3-6)
  • Math (Grades K - 6)
  • Geography (Grades 3-5)
  • Science (Grades K-3)

When you first begin the program, you will have access to both a parent and student account. You have the option of choosing a password for each student, so they can access the site when they need to, on their own. You can also see their progress and grade, and monitor the time they spend doing the program.

How We Used This:

I chose to review this with specific subjects in mind.

Dasher struggles with math, so for her we focused on the math sections. She went into the higher grade levels and then found activities to do. There were lots of topics to choose from and were grade appropriate. Each activity was interactive. There was a voice that would ask her a question, and she needed to type the answer.

There was a pleasant sound when the answer was correct, and a softer, lower sound when she answered incorrectly. She would progress through the questions and complete the activity. I could then see her progress on the parent page.

I chose to have Nutsy do the geography and science sections. We have not yet done much geography, so I was happy to see a few activities appropriate for her in grade level 3. She first spent some time in World Geography and started in Central America. The lessons first had her follow directions and click on each country as it was highlighted and audibly said. This taught her the location of each country. Then, she needed to click on each country as it was said by the program. This was where we found that the program was not perfect; even though she was clicking right on the correct country, she was still at times dinged for an incorrect country. She was then asked to spell the country - this proved to be a bit too hard for her. Having to spell Nicaragua was hard for her at the 3rd grade level.
But I know that spelling is one of her weaknesses and saw the overall point of the program was to teach her the location of the countries and did see her learning more about countries in Central America.

In science she again did the third grade material. I don't focus too much on science in the early years, so I appreciated the lessons in motion, energy, light, and matter. We could have also chosen life science, earth and space science, and physical science. She really enjoyed learning more about animals and what kinds of environments they live in.

What I Thought:

This is definitely a great resource for supplemental school work. In the beginning I thought I would assign sections to them and have them do a certain number of sections, or activities, per day. But as we used the program, I found that the best way to assign work was to assign them a certain amount of time per day. So onto their schedules went Essentials Skills Advantage, 20 minutes per day. This did encourage independent learning, especially with Dasher. Nutsy, who is reading at about the third grade level, struggled at times with activities that had her unscrambling words.

So after reviewing this I did feel that it gives them supplemental help. It is aligned more with traditional, classroom type learning, which I do welcome, at times. It is good for my homeschooled, more eclectic-type learning style students, to be exposed to the wording of questions in traditional testing and classrooms.

This program would be perfect for summer retention! We do take off of school during the months of July and August but that doesn't mean we stop learning. During the summer I require a reading and learning time each day, and Essential Skills Advantage makes it easy to assign work that keep the brain thinking. I plan to assign 20-40 minutes of ESA time four days a week. These activities will do a great job of reminding my children of important facts, and giving them another way to review what they have learned.

Other members of the Crew reviewed this as well; check out what they thought by clicking below.

Essential Skills Advantage Review

Crew Disclaimer

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