Saturday, December 6, 2008
After you have gone through the simple registration process and the child is logged in, he simply chooses a subject and there will be an arrow pointing in front of the category he needs to click on. On the next page, there is another arrow pointing to the lesson he needs to be working on. Each lesson is kept at a fairly short length. You can go to your child's portfolio and view a report of all the work he has completed. It can be viewed by day, week, or month. Regular lessons are not scored but they will still be listed there and show the date and time they were worked on and whether they were completed or not. I found these reports really nice to look over and they can even be printed if you need them for a portfolio.
There are many different ways your child can answer questions on this site. Sometimes there are a list of questions to click on. Other times there may be a drop down menu to choose from. And often in math, he will have to work the mouse a little more and drag and drop items or numbers onto a specific place on the page. This keeps a child actively involved in the lesson and not just sitting there. There is also a really nice Tool Kit that provides an online manipulative to use for just about any math a child might be doing.
Some nice features about the site are text-to-speech in the language arts and math programs, which was a huge plus to me with a child with dyslexia. He was able to complete lessons independently that he normally wouldn't have been able to if he had to read them on his own. The Odyssey Writer, which is a very kid friendly word processing program, is a really nice writing tool that is very easy to use. The graphics on all of the lessons are perfect for kids and not too overwhelming. The math program has great charts and graphs and introduces concepts in a very systematic order.
One thing to note about this site is that it is geared towards the secular crowd and I thought I would mention this. Depending on what your family is use to or allows, that is something you might want to consider. There were times during some of the lessons where I felt that some of the humor was disrespectful, crude, and just not appropriate. I had to have a discussion with my son a few times about a couple of things he heard. I don't know how often this would come out throughout the course of a year. If you choose to use the science, you should also know there are evolutionary beliefs included. However, this issue was brought up to the vendor and they would like to create a list of lessons that include evolution for parents who want to avoid them. There were many crew members who asked about this and I imagine this is something that may be created in the near future for Christian families using the site. You can also have the science portion turned off on your account so your child cannot access it. There was also a mention of a wizard and magic in one of the lessons my son did. These are things you may need to take into consideration if they are not right for your family.
Overall, I would say this program is very good. The lessons are interesting, funny, and keep the child's attention. That is something that's hard to find sometimes for kids who don't enjoy school!
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