Thursday, May 24, 2018

Home School Navigator: A TOS Crew Review

Home School Navigator
Home School Navigator

Home School Navigator


Language Arts is one of the truly vital components of a quality education.  Home School Navigator is a comprehensive online language arts curriculum that will help you make sure your students are well prepared.

The online membership offers 6 different sequential levels for Prek-approx 5th grade reading levels (name by color, instead of grade - I love it!).  Each level has a full 36 weeks of daily lessons in reading/literature, writing, vocabulary, handwriting, computer skills, word study, poetry and our favorite - the interactive notebooks.

The program is very well organized and super easy to use.  Simply login, create profiles for each of your children and you are ready to go.  I was given a subscription for 4 of my children.  After using the program, my oldest discovered it was below her level, but still enjoyed the reading sections.  My other testers are 3rd grade (Green level),  4th grade (Blue level) and 6th grade (Indigo level).


For the first approx. 8 weeks - you can use all the levels for your child to discover the proper place for them before selecting the level.  I love that you have the flexibility to find exactly where they need to be.  You can see their progress on the dashboard.


The lessons are organized by Month and Week.  Each day has multiple activities designed to appeal to all learning styles. 

They include over 60 instructional videos - including videos of the book being read to your student, and direct instruction on different topics. 


There are downloadable review games, printable worksheets and hands-on projects like creating craters or jackdaws.

 In addition, you can upload your child's work to create an online portfolio.

This is a quick peek at a typical day.  Each section expands to include a link for any worksheets or videos that are included.



Best of all, the planning is done for you!  Each week begins with a detailed lesson plan, so you know exactly what to have ready.  Book lists are given, and all the month's handouts can be downloaded in a single PDF to print.  They have made it so easy!



I love this program - Here are a few of the components that really stand out for me. 

  • The book choices are wonderful!  Each level and month share a common theme, my students loved discovering new books.  We got all the selections easily at our local library.
  • The Word Study - the Blue and Indigo levels we used included fabulously done word root study.
  • The Writing Checklists - both in a list and a visual format.
  • The Review Games and Graphic organizers - the program is filled with multiple approaches that you can pick and choose from.



I printed what we needed, and kept our review games ready to go on a file-folder everyone could use.  


Our favorite  component was interactive notebooksThese are included in the lessons - or can be purchased individually (approx. 18 titles are currently available).  They are an in-depth book study.  These are the ones we used -

  • Level Green: Ahyoka and the Talking Leaves
  • Level Blue: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • Level Indigo: Holes



Each interactive notebook is a downloadable PDF of mini-books, questions, vocabulary and beginning literary analysis.  You print them out and then cut out and glue into a notebook.  Since my students aren't big fans of cutting (they are all left-handed!)  I cut them out and put them into the notebook for them.

Your students can follow along in their daily lessons, or you can use these notebooks separately.  After reading, your student completes the exercises directly in the notebook.





 I am so impressed with the depth of this program.  It truly covers all areas of language arts.  It is well designed, and so easy to use.  I wish they offered more levels!

Be sure to check this one out!


Find Home School Navigator on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolnavigation/
Pinterest: Home School Navigator
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homeschoolnavigator/

Hashtags:#hsreviews, #readingsuccess,#readingstrategies, #makinglifelonglearners


Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}



Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}



Crew Disclaimer

Monday, May 21, 2018

Les Mis

Our Senior is about to graduate....

He LOVES musicals, especially Les Miserables.  We were able to get tickets to the show in Dallas, so off we went for a special getaway with JUST him.

It was amazing.  I love this story, the music was truly inspiring and time with him was priceless! 

The topping, our great friends were able to go as well.  Sharing it with a fellow senior in our coop made it even sweeter.







Isn't he adorable in a suit and tie...just sayin'! 







Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email: A TOS Crew Review

Kids Email

Kids Email

Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email

Email.  It's a part of daily life for everyone... Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email is an annual subscription that allows even your youngest children to use email in a safe environment.

The program allows you different options, depending on the age/maturity of your child.  Your annual subscription includes up to 6 email accounts.  You can choose a child account, which has a .kidsemail.org address, or a teen account, which has a .kmail.org address.  We have used both.  For this review, my testers were the youngest members of the family - in 3rd and 4th grade.  They were delighted to join the family email loop!

The parent sets up each child's account, and customizes it to the child.  I love that I could use this feature, since I have both young children and older teens.  Some of the features include:

  • Mail Monitoring
  • Time Restriction
  • The Mail Queue 
  • Block Senders 
  • Contact Manager 
  • Custom Mailbox Folders
  • No Ads
  • GPS Tracker
  • Removing Links and Images 
  • Controlling Attachment Types
  • Offensive Word Filters
  • Spam Filtering 
  • Template Options
  • Activity Log

All these features mean that your child will NOT be exposed to spam, or unwanted messages. Even from their friends... because you can control the links, images and attachments while having the ability to see each and every email they send or receive.







My testers loved that they could customize their backgrounds...almost as much as the actual ability to send emails.  The program contains many fun background to choose from.

In addition, they are able to create pictures or attach them.  With older children that are away in college, this email account has allowed my younger children to keep in touch easily.  They send the sweetest notes and pictures to their older siblings.


I love that the first person to get an email...was mom!  My sweet daughter has been enjoying this program so much, it has made her feel grown up.  But, I haven't had to spend even a minute worrying about her safety!



The safety settings allow me to control who she can send or receive email from, and even send my email box a copy of incoming or outgoing messages. 


I can create time restrictions, block senders, see a full activity log and even "ground" them!  I haven't had to ground anyone yet...but, I finally have a great tool I can use for "behavior training". ;-)







Kids Email makes monitoring your child's email account super easy for you and  your child gets to learn how to use technology in a safe environment - it's a win-win!

 You can even try it for free for 30 days to see what you think.


Find Kids Email on Social Media: 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hunger Meal

I "borrowed" this activity from a Perspectives class...  it's very hands-on way to show the reality of world hunger.

We had 4 groups - broken into the percentages of world population.

Group 1 - just one person.  A fully set table with a LARGE supreme pizza, soda, chocolate and a servant.


Group 2 - 2 people in our class.  A Medium pizza, flavored water, paper plates.


Group 3 - 3 people.  One small cheese pizza, and water.


Group 4 - 5 people.  2 Breadsticks and "dirty water" (chocolate powder...)


Each group had different instructions.  Groups 1 and 2 were not allowed to share their meal,  groups 3 and 4 were allowed, and encouraged to go to other groups and beg for food.


WOW - it's an impacting demonstration!  My poverty students found themselves getting angry and wanting to just take some of the food.  My Group 3 were more generous with the little they had.  My group 1, felt very honored at first...but, ended up feeling very uncomfortable eating while the rest looked on.

Great way to SHOW them what world hunger looks like.