Thursday, May 24, 2018

Home School Navigator REVIEW

Home School Navigator
We've been busy with quite a few reviews lately but it's hard to pass up the opportunity to review a curriculum that can meet your children where they are at and help them along.  Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum by Home School Navigator is a comprehensive curriculum for your language arts needs in grades K - 5.  It is even recommended for upper grades if you have struggling learners who need to fill in some gaps.  It is available as an annual digital subscription so internet access is necessary.

Little Bug working on one of her worksheets

I received a one-year subscription for my K5 and 8th-grade children.  My 8th grader is a struggling learner and battles mild dyslexia and dysgraphia so I was hoping to use the writing aspects of the program for him.  I really LOVE that there are actually NO grade levels!  That's right.  The levels are color-coded to skill level.  You can check out their scope and sequence to see what level your child might use.

What you get with your subscription
36 wks instruction, teaching guides, handouts with answer keys, review games,
word study, vocabulary, interactive book studies, and video library

Another great thing about this reading success curriculum is that you have your schedule laid out for you.  The included teaching guides show you what is covered each month and then it is broken down by week and day.  There is even a page that shows what handouts are needed each week at whatever level you are currently using.  The schedule includes a materials list for each day.  Each daily teaching guide has activities that include, for example, a read aloud, literature/composition, writing, grammar, phonics/word study/vocabulary, print work, and independent reading.  There are other activities depending on the level you are at and what day you are completing.  You do not have to complete all the activities.  That is the great thing about this curriculum.  They lay out the work and you can choose to complete all of it or just some of it.  There are even "catch up" days included throughout the program because we all know that "life" happens!  Their heart is to create an atmosphere of lifelong learning in our children.

Yearly schedule

I absolutely LOVE this from their blog:
4 .   Don’t stress the small stuff!  If the child has to concentrate very hard with the correct way to hold a pencil as in the case where the child has been diagnosed with ADHD, certain sensory disorders, or if the child is dyslexic, don’t force the issue!   Let’s face it, when most kids go off into the “real world” they are not likely to grab a pencil and start jotting down their memoir.  Allow them to use a computer and word process their work or allow them to use voice-to-text software for the rough draft portion of writing.  This is NOT cheating!  This is helping the child find his or her voice in the form of written text.
1. Encourage!  Writing does not have to be a threatening, grammar drilling, diagramming nightmare.  Try to establish it into your daily routine.  Keep it simple.  Try unjournaling.  What is unjournaling, you might ask?  It is a series of writing prompts that are not threatening, but instead, require creativity and perhaps some artwork.  These short prompts should not take more than 10 minutes to implement and are generally more engaging for the child. They invite the child’s response. 

Sample portion of lesson links from RED level

Sample link from red level with links to online book and video for the day

A typical day for Little Bug might go something like this:

  • read a read aloud book like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"
  • watch a video of the above book being read to you (all links included in curriculum)
  • work on "writer's notebook" (since Bug is not writing sentences yet she just draws pictures) - there is also a nice intro video on this and how to use it.
  • work on phonics like finding objects around the house that begin with certain letter sounds
  • practice writing her name (she already knows how to do this but it helps her with her writing practice too)
  • work on nursery rhyme extension (an extra activity where she watched a video on "Little Miss Muffet" and then worked on a handout where we cut out sentences from the rhyme and she had to put the sentences back in order)
She is enjoying the activities and it doesn't seem like school to her.  She loves when she gets to cut and paste and of course watching videos is always fun.  It really helps that she just plain loves books so language arts sits well with her.  As you progress through your assignments you can simply mark them as completed or use the option to upload (64 Mb max) them to a private server (included in your subscription) so you can download them at the end of the year as your portfolio of completed work for record keeping purposes.  I did not upload our assignments, I simply marked them as being completed.

Little Bug on cut and paste with like sounds

I used the Indigo level with my 8th-grade son to try to pick up some skills he was lacking in or basically needed practice with.  Writing is always such a struggle for him so we focused on that and working on the word roots to help him with his vocabulary.  Even though he has mild dyslexia, he reads just fine now (though it wasn't always like that!).  For the reading portion of his level, there was a list of books needed for the month which is nice if you need to find the book or check it out from your local library.  Of course these days so many books are available to read for free on the internet.  I am really happy with the word root and vocabulary portions that we are using for him.  We have done some of the reading comprehension with him since this is also a skill he needs to work on.

Cut and paste from Indigo level when learning root word "PED"

The basic flow of work between levels (Red for Bug and Indigo for 8th grader) is about the same.  They both include read aloud, literature/comprehension, and writing/grammar.  Bug's red level focuses on phonics while the indigo level works more on formal grammar, root word, and vocabulary work.  It also introduces computer skills.  They have a really cool tool called Finding "Just Right" Books that helps you to select just the right book for your child.  One that is not too easy or too hard but just the right level of challenge.

Finding "Just Right" books

The only challenge we had was that some of the videos that were recorded were hard to hear, but they have been replacing them with updated videos.  There is also a LOT of printing involved, but you can also choose not to print everything.  Many activities can just be completed from the computer screen.  The creators of the program are always open to improving the program to meet the needs of homeschoolers and I really like that.  They were also always very receptive to any concerns or suggestions we had as reviewers.  Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum is definitely worth checking out and considering if you are looking for a fairly well-rounded language arts program that covers a lot of ground.  I would recommend it especially if you are wanting to fill in any missing gaps.
Home School Navigator
You can connect with Home School Navigator on FACEBOOK, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM.

Another aspect of the program that we didn't use was the Interactive Notebooks.  Rather than answering a ton of boring questions about a book they are interactive in that your student will cut out shapes and paste flaps down and write answers in underneath, or draw, or cut out tabs and sort the answer out. This alone is a good reason to be sure to check out the reviews from my fellow Crew members to learn what they have to say about this program.

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

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