This is a product review of The Starfall Home Membership, which is an annual online subscription to The Starfall Website. The Starfall Website is a service of Starfall Education Foundation, which is a publicly supported nonprofit organization, 501(c)(3). Starfall teaches children to read with phonics, there is also animated songs and mathematics for pre-k to 2nd grade, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL.) The low-cost membership fee allows for the Starfall Education Foundation to continue to provide Classic Starfall free of charge and offer low-cost, high-quality educational resources to classrooms.
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[ctt template=”4″ link=”_3huY” via=”yes” ]This is a product review of The Starfall Home Membership, which is an annual online subscription to The Starfall Website. See what my 5 and 7 year old children thought of it.[/ctt]
Product Review of The Starfall Home Membership by Starfall Education Foundation
The Starfall Home Membership is a single account digital online program for use by your immediate family (including grandparents) for one year. One email and password is all your family will need to authorize all your computers (Mac or PC) and mobile devices. Membership is mobile ready: simply download the Starfall FREE App for Android, Kindle, or iOS, then enter your membership email and password. The Home Membership is not valid for schools, businesses, or other organizations. The Starfall Home Membership fee is 100% tax-deductible as a contribution to the extent allowed by law. The program is good for 365 days after purchase.
How We Used It
During the review period, we used a PC at a computer desk in our dining room to access the website. I chose Miranda, age 7 and Mason, age 5 to do this review. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we worked on the Reading Curriculum in the morning with just one child using the program at a time (we would take turns who went first) for 30 minutes each with me nearby. In the afternoons, on the same days, we worked on Mathematics for 30 minutes each in the same way, taking turns with me nearby. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, in the morning, they would both be on the program together for the music and songs portion of the program. In the afternoon, they would each get a turn to choose what they wanted to do for 30 minutes each, with me nearby.
I also printed and used worksheets (to use with other classes I was teaching my children during the week) depending on what we were studying, and found those really enjoyable.
Mason's Experience (age 5)
He absolutely loved the music portion of the program. His favorite song was “The Cat's Waltz” by Chopin. They are teaching “ing” with a cat dancing on the piano keys. He also liked the Starfall's Selected Nursery Rhymes section that has 48 songs. There is also a Motion Songs section with 10 songs that he enjoyed using. There are many other songs on this program as well.
Mason loves math and numbers and wanted to try all the levels of Math all the way up to 2nd Grade Level. I let him try it and it was fun for him. Then we went back to a structured pace. He enjoyed “doing math on the computer”.
Mason made an Avatar to look like him and he was so pleased to find a hairstyle that “needs a haircut like me”!
He also had fun dressing his Avatar up in costumes and different colored clothing.
He really enjoys computer games where you drag and drop items. Mason seemed to enjoy the reading program when he could move the letter in front of the word by clicking, dragging and dropping it in the right location.
Mason said, “I love the Starfall computer game.” He asks to play it on the weekends when we don't do homeschool. To him it is fun!
Miranda's Experience (age 7)
Miranda is in first grade reading. With Starfall, she found the first grade reading level to be difficult and I had to take her to the “Learn To Read” section, which is not in the same area as the 1st Grade Reading. She knew that and it really crushed her and she felt behind rather than moving along at a good pace. She had some tears over this.
You can see in their screen below in the upper right corner that their reading program is “aligned with 1st Grade Common Core State Standards Initiative”. This program is great for a person that wants to be following along with that. I myself prefer to teach at the child's pace, which may not be in alignment with the Common Core.
Miranda would spend time dressing up her Avatar and decorating a room and choosing a pet. When her brother, Mason, wanted to try that, the only way he could do that would be to undo what she had done and vice-versa, which to us was a drawback, but would be wonderful for a single user.
There were word games to play with your Avatar and Miranda enjoyed dragging the words to the right places and this may have helped her learn the shapes of words to recognize them by sight.
At the end of some learning sections, Starfall gives the child the opportunity to rate the program they just used. Miranda really liked giving her opinion. Some she liked and some she did not. She loved every Math game that she tried! She even played math games at other grade levels as she wants to try them all!
She also tried some of Mason's math games that she watched him play that looked fun.
Miranda says, “I love the math games, I am really good at them!”
I am so happy that Mason enjoys this program so much and it makes me want to get it again next year. I like that Miranda can learn so much from the Math section. I really like this program especially for the fun songs and math learning. The reading games are fun, but I myself am old-fashioned and prefer paper books to teach my children to read. This would be better for a modern mom.
As a homeschooling mom, I really enjoy that there is also a Starfall Parent-Teacher Center with worksheets that you can customize and print and so much more. We frequently like to do unit studies, which I determine based on what the children seem to be interested in at the time. If we are studying road safety, for example, I like to expand on that for a few weeks.
I just printed what they had as I do not feel I have the desire or time to customize the worksheets, but it is nice that it is an option for those who would like to do that.
There is also a Starfall Store that allows parents and teachers to buy a variety of materials to educate their children. If you are looking for a place to find additional resources for teaching your preschooler through 2nd grader, this is a good place to look. I don't think you need to have a membership to use the worksheets or purchase products.
I myself am not really fond of following Core Curriculum, and you don't have to be to use this program.
It would be so nice if there was a way to have a separate account for each child and that it would keep track of progress for each child for me. I have to keep notes on where each child is in the reading program (because at age 44, with 7 kids and too much in my brain, I have a hard time remembering!) and this is an inconvenience for me, but not for a parent who enjoys record-keeping. Also, with a separate account for each child, the Avatar would not have to be changed from boy to girl and vice-versa before using. That took more time when working with Miranda because she could not have a boy on the screen. Mason sometimes didn't mind what the person looked like. Again, this would not be a problem for a single user.
I like that you can have this as an app on a tablet so that it can travel with you.
Overall, I feel like this is a great deal! At this time, The Starfall Home Membership is only $35 per year and you can purchase the next year's program ahead of time at a $5 savings. The kids can learn so much while having fun.
How To Find Starfall Education Foundation
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/starfall.education/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/starfalledu
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/starfalleducation/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/starfalleducation/
The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew has a great team of homeschool moms using and reviewing The Starfall Home Membership by Starfall Education Foundation, so click the banner below to see all the reviews:
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Sue Denym says
I love Starfall for my littles! The phonics experience they get has been a big help in their learning to read.
Not a fan of the math, however. I’m a Montessori momma and I don’t feel like the math portion is quality.
Yes, presently we use the math as part of their “eye time” (screen time) as a video game to play.