We have been using the Red, Orange and Green Levels of Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum from Home School Navigator. We received a one-year online subscription to use these in exchange for our honest product review.
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[ctt template=”4″ link=”Yf51r” via=”yes” ]We have been using the Red, Orange and Green Levels of Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum from Home School Navigator. We received a one-year online subscription to use these in exchange for our honest product review.[/ctt]
Home School Navigator Product Review
Home School Navigator is a comprehensive language arts curriculum you can use to home educate your child to help your child become a stronger reader and writer. This program is designed to be a tool to use as you see fit. You may choose not to do every activity listed for that day, you may choose to write your answers in the sandbox, whatever you choose, with Home School Navigator, the choice is yours.
How we used it:
We went in and set up our account and for some reason, when I tried to set up Maris from my cell phone, his photo went in sideways, but I went on my desktop and put a different photo in and now it is right side up…
I like that their faces are on the account for the fact that all of my children start with the letter “M” and if I am in a hurry, I might click the wrong name!
For the first 30 days, we were allowed to try out the different levels to see which was best for the children, then you “lock in” on a Level to use per child. You can see above what we locked into.
I would like to note that the reading books are not included in this program, so you need to use your own, borrow them from the library, or purchase them.
We used some parts of the program to test them out during the review period. I will discuss the levels that we ended up selecting and will talk about something out of each of them below, so as to not get too lengthy with full descriptions of each, but don't worry, my friends at the Crew also wrote posts and may have mentioned additional parts of each level. You can click the banner below this article to get to them.
This is the first level and it is the one that I chose for Mason, my five-year old to do. When we were trying to figure out which level would be best, I had both Miranda and Mason trying this out. I had the book, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” on my bookshelf already so we decided to do the lessons that included that book. These lessons included: reading the book aloud to them (many times).
Mason really enjoys reading this book and I don't think I could ever read it to him too many times. He giggles at the mouse and wonders how the big cookie and milk fit in his little tummy!
We also watched videos through Home School Navigator on the iPad, and did some reading activities to go along with the book or letters or blends or sounds of the words like creating a writer's notebook of letters or words or saying a nursery rhyme (provided for us) or singing a song (provided for us) and doing activities that go along with those, such as cutting and pasting of words on a printable worksheet.
One activity involved “Sequencing A Circular Story”, which has little circle photos of items in the story so the child can remember what happened first, second, etc. in the story. Here they are carefully cutting out their circles while watching a video on the iPad to explain this.
There was a video on the iPad to go along with where each little picture goes in the circle. We did pause and play the video several times so they had time to paste on their pictures.
There are other printable worksheets for the child to do. Some we just used our fingers for, the following is snippet from part of a worksheet we did that with.
This is the level I decided to lock into for Miranda, who is 7 years old. Her reading has been improving lately and I felt this was a good fit for her to give her even more practice. In this level, they talk about using your five fingers on your hand to decide if a book is at the right level for you. There is a video to explain this in the program, but here is a visual snippet of part of the printable sheet.
I really enjoyed that part myself, and I could tell Miranda was listening because after homeschool that day, she went to the bookshelf and picked a book and I could see her fingers up counting, then she selected a different one and that must have been okay, because she sat down to read it. I really think how the teacher described it in the video gave my daughter the confidence she needed to believe in herself enough to go and try that. I do love how encouraging the ladies are in each and every video. Never judgmental or condescending, very much “you can do it” type body language and words used.
There are many printables in this section. If a person is worried about the expense of ink, they should know that they could always use a marker and index cards or have the child read the words on the screen if nothing else. Here is snippet of some words you could print.
This section suggests that the child make a “My Word Power Book” which has a cover page, directions and each letter of the alphabet. They suggest that the child “keeps their eye out” for vocabulary words that interest them in their reading, writing or even in conversations that they hear and to keep them listed in this book so they can look back on them later on. There are also prompts in the program throughout the year to remind the child to put words in their Word Power book.
Just like Level Red, there are stories from a selected story book, like “The Gingerbread Man”. You read it to the child and there are activities to do, like finding the beginning, middle and ending of a story, for example. There are printable worksheets to do as well. The same story book is used for several days here as well.
What is different from Level Red, though, is in this level, you encourage the child to do Independent Reading of the same book. The worksheets involve more writing and are a little harder. There is also a “word wall” at this level of words you can print (or write) and post on the wall for the children to look at and use throughout the day, not just at school time. At my house, it is a word “door” as I do not have enough wall space on the main level where we do our homeschool!
This is the level I felt was best for my son, Maris. He is age 12, but doesn't like to read longer books or do a lot of paperwork so this is more to his comfort level for now and hopefully, the encouraging videos and program will help him progress with a desire to do more.
Maris is a “hands-on” kind of guy, so the interactive storybooks are a good match for him. One that he did was Ahyoka and the Talking Leaves. Again, the books are not included in this program. This one was not available at our local library, so we bought an eBook version online for less than $5. Before I decided to spend the money and buy this, I researched the book and found out that in 2013, the Wisconsin (the state I am from) Library Association recognized Peter and Connie Roop as “Notable Wisconsin Authors” and Peter was also voted a “Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year”. Together, the Roops have published over 100 children's books, so I felt good about spending the money knowing I was supporting locally celebrated authors.
An interactive storybook is a book (or folder of pages in our case) the child makes that has the most important elements of the story and invites the child to interact with the topics. Maris cut out shapes and folded and glued flaps from the studies.
When he was done, he could write the answers underneath. He is not into writing, so I had him tell me the answers verbally. These are designed to encourage more meaningful discussion and get more comprehension from the book that is read.
How Level Green compares to Level Red
Things you can do in Level Green are: read books, watch videos from Home School Navigator, use the word wall (or door, in my case, like in Level Red, but harder words), this level also includes using “just right” books and independent reading, like the Red level. The writing work is more difficult than Red in that they now need to write in cursive and write paragraphs instead of short sentences, there are still fun worksheets that can be printed and Venn Diagrams to compare stories. The word cards are harder too. Here is a snippet of an example…
In this level, instead of a “My Word Power Book”, Level Green has “My Word Study Notebook”. These are all tools for learning, a parent or educator should not feel like every single item needs to be done, but it can be.
“I love that we read the same story a lot of times and get to do cut outs.”
“I know how to pick a book that's just right for me now, so I like that and I like the craft time.”
“I prefer reading the stories rather than the paperwork.”
I think it is a nice program to help the children learn in a variety of ways and with really good books. I don't really like that I have to find the books myself. I like to have them included for me in a curriculum, but that is my own personal preference since I am a large family mom of seven. When three children are using it, that's a lot of books for me to think about finding for the year and I don't feel like I personally want to take the spare minutes to do it, nor do I want to use the budget to buy them.
The interactive storybook is new to me and I think it is a genius idea and a great learning tool, especially for a child that doesn't like writing or “paperwork”, it is an enjoyable learning activity. The “word wall” is also a great idea for children to get used to seeing how the words are written and may help them in spelling and pronouncing words better, in my opinion.
I love how encouraging this program is in the videos, both to the parents and the students.
So, I guess you will have to consider the pros and cons and decide if you mind finding the books. If it is only for one or two children, it may not be so difficult.
How to find them:
- Website: http://www.homeschoolnavigator.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolnavigation/
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/schoolnavigator/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homeschoolnavigator/
The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew has a great team of people that have also used and reviewed this book from Home School Navigator, so click the banner below to see all the reviews:
Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to sharing more great curriculum reviews throughout the coming year.
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