There are several different programs to choose from.
MaxRoots teaches roots, prefixes, suffixes, and syllabication. MaxMusic lets you learn the music and lyrics of various artists. MaxVocab contains the dictionary for all of the words used in the program and includes games designed to help learn the new words. MaxPlaces contains reading selections describing various geographical locations. Students highlight and answer questions in the same way as in the primary portion of the program (discussed momentarily). Finally, there is MaxBios, which follows the same format as MaxPlaces.
The crux of MaxScholar is reading comprehension. Students read passages and learn to highlight important information within the passage using color-coded highlighters.
Each chapter has several components: the highlighting, chapter questions, writing an outline, and then writing a passage of your own.
Here is a look at Mary-Catherine's overall score. Obviously, she understands the passages she is reading, but she really hasn't grasped the highlighting yet.
The MaxReading section is where Michael and Mary-Catherine have been finding their reading selections, and they have been just fine - appropriate and interesting. Before we were even assigned this product to review, I looked at the other sections and decided we probably wouldn't use them. The music section has bios primarily of hip-hop artists with details from their lives that are not all that relevant to my 11 year-old twins (i.e, drug dealing and dope smoking). The MaxPlaces section was initially very interesting to me, but it is written at a lower reading level than theirs (which is fine, but it really doesn't benefit them when there is so much content that is fine for them in the MaxReading section). I still plan for them to get into MaxRoots, they just haven't yet.
What Do They Think?
After using MaxScholar for the last month or so, both of my twins really like it. They were a little flummoxed by the highlighting at first, but I reminded them that the score that showed was irrelevant. After all, who was that score for? I told them that they were learning a new skill, so just learn it. They have been! The same goes for the writing. They have both had very little formal writing, but Mary-Catherine especially has been LOVING doing the writing assignments at the end of the chapter sections. She has been taking her Kindle Fire to bed and working on them at night. When a program inspires that kind of devotion in my child, I'm all in favor of it. Overall, this program is teaching my children skills they didn't have previously.
I am sure that the inclusion of very secular things like hip-hop artist bios and drug references will put off some Christian homeschooling parents, but there is far more to this program than just that. I will readily grant you that the people included in the MaxBios section are not the people that most Christian homeschoolers would probably select as being important and influential. Having said that, though, there is a ton in MaxScholar to love. I think it has really helped my kids' reading comprehension. They are both super fast readers, but with that often comes a sacrifice of comprehension. This program has forced them to slow down and take their time. I very much appreciate it for that!
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