Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review of Samson's Classroom

Samson's Classroom is an online reading program for grades K-5.  It is designed to create better readers.
There are three components to Samson's Classroom.

Reading with Sampson is the component of Sampson's Classroom that my three youngest children (7, 7, and 9) used most.  They love it, and I am so glad to have something like it in our school.  Reading comprehension is one of those things that, as a Charlotte Mason/Classical homeschooler, I just assume my children are "getting" through narrations, etc.  I think, to a large extent, that I am right.  Standardized tests are a sad fact of life, though, and it is very reassuring to have a program that specifically tests aspects of reading comprehension like main idea, order of events, etc.  Samson's Classroom does so with fun reading passages that vary just perfectly in difficulty and topic.  Hints are available to help your child if he is struggling with a question, and rewards are accrued which allow him to take hammer swings at the fair (in the picture on the right).  Honestly, my kids are not very reward driven, though, and they just liked the novelty of reading and answering questions.  If you're a homeschooled kid, then sometimes activities like that are few and far between!

Sight Words with Samson is for beginning readers, of which I have none.  It helps early readers master the 224 most commonly used words in the early language through fun games.

Finally, Spelling with Sampson includes over 7,000 words with even more being added. You can use pre-made lists, or enter your own.  Your children then learn the words in an iterative process while having so much fun that they won't even realize that they're learning! There are games, including Karate Chop (in which you tell Samson the Dog which part of the word to "chop" to correctly complete the spelling of the word), a favorite of my boys.  The neatest feature, though, is the learning aspect.  You can have every word in the list pronounced, read in a sentence, and spelled.  The reader's voice is pleasant, well-modulated, and easily understood.  He is the perfect spelling teacher.  Spelling with Samson takes all of the spelling onus off of the parent.  Creating your own lists is easy (but using theirs is even easier!).

Samson's Classroom also includes lesson plans and (free!) worksheets, but the real value is in the subscription.  Unlike many online learning programs that get really expensive when you start adding kids, Samson's Classroom starts out reasonable and stays reasonable.  All the features for one user costs $30.00 per year, but a family subscription, good for four users, is only $50.00 per year.  I know that the homeschool dollars are few and far between, but this subscription is really one to consider, especially if you have both beginning and more advanced readers.  Samson's Classroom covers everything so very well!  

My kids really like Samson's Classroom, and they will continue to use it and learn from it for the next year.  To see how other Crew members used it, especially if you are interested in the amazing new Sight Words program, please do read the Crew blog!

Disclaimer: I received a year's premium subscription to Samson's Classroom free in exchange for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

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