Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review of Home School Navigator

 Language Arts curriculum is a very individual thing. There are as many different approaches as there are kids. Fortunately, there are almost as many different programs as there are kids, too. The Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum from Home School Navigator  is a program of which I was completely unaware until it was brought to my attention through this review. Unlike any other language arts program we have used before, the indigo level (the highest level of this program offered, equivalent to a fifth grade reading level) is definitely beneath Michael's (13 - 7th grade) reading level, but I was very curious to see what the program offered in terms of reading comprehension and the like.

So what makes this program different? First, the sheer variety of activities in a given month. Each month, regardless of reading level, students are introduced to a new genre of literature, new reading strategies, and new writing styles. Along with that, every month there is grammar, writing, word study (roots, prefixes, etc.), and reading responses. Additionally, at the older levels, for students who enjoy such things, Home School Navigator introduces Interactive Notebooks, a more interesting way to handle reading responses and book reports. Kind of like mini-lap books, these notebooks let students do a little bit of cutting and gluing along with responding, breaking up the monotony of just writing. For tactile learners, this kind of activity is a huge plus.

Additionally, Home School Navigator is incredibly well organized. Once you know your level, everything is laid out for you. One thing I really appreciated is that the creators stress over and over again on their site that while it is possible to do everything in the curriculum as they have laid it out, *you* are the teacher, and you decide what and how much you will do. The curriculum and schedule are suggestions to aid you in your journey. If you want to write the answers on a white board instead of on the worksheet, go for it. I love that approach.

Logging on to your account, you will see a dashboard like this for each week's lessons:

You can select a day to see this menu. Truly, everything is laid out for you. There is a parent video and a student video on Day 1, but on succeeding days, there are fewer assignments (for one thing, no videos).

There are links to YouTube videos for many of the read alouds and you can link to the worksheets that you need for things like the word studies. The first book unit for Indigo level is Louis Sachar's Holes (a HUGE favorite in our house) in month two, and that is when the Interactive Notebook first comes into play (we hadn't gotten there yet by the time of this review, but I did look at the notebook and I know that there are some kids, like Michael's twin sister, who love that form of learning).

Our Experience
Right off the bat let me say again that Michael, as a rising 8th grader, is too old for this product. It is designed to go through 5th grade, and Michael reads at a high school level or beyond. Ray Bradbury and HG Wells are among his favorite authors. I was curious to see what it was like, though, because I am always worried that my kids aren't getting enough critical analysis. What I can say for sure is that is that I wish I had known about this company when my kids were younger. It is so interesting and the activities are so varied, with everything so well laid out, that I would have loved using it with littles. The creators of the program chose AMAZING children's literature, like the aforementioned Louis Sachar and Jon Scieszka, authors whom children *and* parents love - books I would pick myself, to teach necessary concepts. The activities, as mentioned above, are varied and interesting so there is little chance of children getting bored. Through the program, children are introduced to a variety of genres and authors, and they learn how to interact with those genres from a young age. Additionally, everything is laid out in such an organized fashion. I really like this program, even if it was not a great fit for our family of teenagers.
Fortunately, plenty of Crew families with children in the target age range used the Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum, too, so be sure to click the banner below to read all their reviews!
Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}

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