I am a curious kind of gal; one who believes very much in the importance of reading and writing, so I was happy to have the chance to review Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum and the interactive notebooks. Since my younger son and my older daughter are still pretty young, there is nothing I like more than to find something that they enjoy doing. Keep that love of learning lifestyle going. I received a one year subscription for this review to six levels of material. For an excellent explanation of exactly what Home School Navigator is, please enjoy this video 🙂
Reading, writing, word study, grammar, vocabulary – These are all put together quite nicely, in this one program. Designed by Beth and Ashley who have a background in reading instruction, Connected to a homeschool community themselves, this is a wonderful way to ensure that our children are getting exactly what they need, at every age and stage, through the videos, hands on activities, worksheets and games that are a part of this program. Designed for use over a period of nine months, this is so well organized that there is no doubt what we are to do every day of every month. There are wonderful schedules you can print out to make sure you stay focused (we need all the help we can get when it comes to this sometimes!) making life so easy for us mommas! And don’t we need that – all the hats we are trying to balance each day – something like this makes life just a bit easier for us all. 🙂
I used this program with my younger son (8) and with my older daughter (6) in the hopes that this might help encourage us in this area. My younger son loves to read (Frog and Toad) and I am really trying to encourage him to move beyond that one book, much as I myself love the stories, hopefully building up his confidence. My daughter on the other hand is a very new reader. Still getting the hand of it all. A little wary of reading still; again we are trying to build and grow confidence. This program seemed to be a fun opportunity to do just that with both of them. I started my younger son on the yellow level and with my daughter we began, at the very beginning, There is a ton of material included in this program; particularly we enjoyed using this for spelling,
word study, writing. These were my kids favorite parts!
When we began I chose to download and print the master book list. This shows all the books, for every level, that are used. I just love books so I figure, why not have a list of great ones handy for the future even? There are some really really good books listed here. I was reminded of Strega Nona (loved those when I was a kid) and my son and daughter both love Pete the Cat. Lots to look forward to already! We downloaded the handouts that went along with both levels (we didn’t print though – these are 70+ pages long). I am seriously trying to be paperless, when it is possible, because we are doing a major purge of the house this spring. Less is more. Except when it comes to books. ha-ha
We headed to our local library to grab the books we needed for both kiddos (you do not have to have the books; you can use videos of the book being read aloud if need be but who doesn’t love having an actual physical book? I believe, for my kids anyway, it makes a big difference. We then watched both the parent and student introduction videos which are a great help in giving us understanding and direction. Each lesson includes a variety of sections on topics like: comprehension/literature, writing/grammar, reading skills, independent reading. One thing both of my kiddos loved was starting their own Writer’s Notebook. There are lots of great instructions of getting started, being ready for every piece of this program. I know I needed to see this. While I can be a big picture person, I can also get very overwhelmed with using online materials (I think my tech skills are almost on par with my younger children); my oldest son is the “help desk” around here.
My daughter thought it was great that her level began with one of her favorite books, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. We have been enjoying this for so many years!
There are videos throughout these lessons helping to direct and show specific topics; retelling the story is a really fun part of the program too. We are big fans of narration (Charlotte Mason lovers here) and so this was something my son and my daughter both really enjoyed. What fun it was too, to hear them when we were out and about, telling a friend about this story they just read.
Of course sometimes the retelling got pretty wacky and in my daughters case the retelling always included what she would do. My son on the other hand is very factual and as we have been reading through fairy tales he has really enjoyed them but also made sure throughout each story that I know this cannot really happen. What can I say, he is my little man. Great appreciation for the imagination, creative too but definitely appreciates the facts. 🙂
I really love how much there is to do with this program. since we began using this my kids have really gained so much more inspiration to read, and especially to write their own stories, complete with illustrations too. In fact just the other day we had to go out to get them their own notebooks because the ones they were using are all filled up with words and pictures. I love seeing them inspired like this. Some of the best days around here lately involve all four of them, on the floor or outside in the grass, each with their own notebooks and colored pencils writing and sketching away. This has been so much fun! I do hope we can continue to use this (its getting really nice out -finally- here in Wisconsin so … out and about a lot now).
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