Essential Skills Advantage ~ Schoolhouse Review

We have always been curious about Essential Skills Advantage (ESA), an interactive, online program that focuses on reading and language development. It was created by a team of expert teachers specifically to help children, grades K-6,  become strong readers. I say that’s a goal that we all should have for our kids. So I was so happy to have the chance to review this program with my 8 year old son and my 4 year old too.  We received a full-year, premium membership to Essential Skills Advantage (ESA) to review.

Essential Skills Advantage program offers over 20,000 reading and language activities that use teaching methods you just won’t find in a typical classroom setting. They are appealing to children with all learning styles; they have encouraging messages and rewards to motivate children as they learn new concepts through interactive lessons. ESA is also so very simple to navigate, so children can work independently, even my four year who is not quite reading yet. 🙂  Please keep in mind, ESA is not really meant to be the curriculum, rather to give children  “a leading edge”.  For us as home educators, this program was happily and easily incorporated along with our regular curriculum.  Since this program teaches skills that building one upon another, activities must be completed in a specific order. Stars are given as activities are completed; a great way to encourage kids to keep on going. they can also do activities again that they may not have been able to complete before; we always love the ability to redo certain things.

So my 8 year old son used this one the we went back and forth between the Grammar (grades 3-5), Comprehension (4) and Vocabulary (4). Initially I sat with him, to make sure he was able to focus and complete things (he gets distracted quite easily) but since instructions are given verbally, its easier for him to do this independently. With my four year old son, we have been completing, together, the kindergarten program (which he absolutely loves!).  He actually does quite well on many of the activities but I like to stay near just in case some of it is a bit too complex. We really all just love the wide range of activities in every section. Especially for my younger son, he has had a wonderful time. In fact he asks throughout most days, to do his school. He loves the dancing dog at the end of each lesson (he dances with the doggie too!) Some days I have to tear him off of this one even. My older son on the other hand, he loves how interactive the program is and all of the visuals in the lessons. I found the variety of lessons and colorful animations to keep both boys interested and eager to see what came next. In fact both boys, more with my younger son, had to keep going, to see what came next.

There is also parent’s portal, to track you child’s progress. It includes grades, date and time spent on activities, number of attempts to achieve each task, and lots more.  There are certificates that can be printed out for their achievements. This is huge for my oldest son; he likes to be able to see how far he has come. You can even print out a stars activity chart, we call it; one more way to see visually, how far we have come in the program. I have to say the only complaint I have on this one is that every time you go to switch activities my boys would have to log in again. But aside from that one little thing  I was quite pleased with Essential Skills Advantage.  The enthusiasm and excitement my four year old especially, showed for this program, was just awesome!  And the fact that my eight year old son too, was able to continue on with little need for a push from momma was a big plus too. He said even though “some of it was kind of babyish, the characters were funny and not having to write stuff was really good too.”

Giggles and cheers and hand claps…..All good in the homeschool!  Proof that learning IS fun too.

Essential Skills Advantage now offers a sponsored version of their program that is free to users. You can sign-up completely free at Members will enjoy access to every course ESA has to offer; there will be sponsored advertising and some of the available features will be unavailable but it is well worth it if you ask me. We received the Premium Plan for review; the Premium Plan is available for $9.99/month and offers additional features. To sign-up for ESA’s Premium Plan, click here.

If you are considering purchasing the Premium Plan from Essential Skills Advantage, use coupon code TOS50 to receive 50% off the monthly membership fee! This code is good until October 1st and the 50% discount will apply as long as you remain a member. The membership fee will be reduced to $4.99/month/student.


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