Star Toaster’s Orphs of the Woodlands Review

My 5th grade daughter loves to read and when I was given a chance by Star Toaster through the Homeschool Review Crew to review their online curriculum, Orphs of the Woodlands I was really excited to see what this program was all about and how my daughter would like it! I was given a  one year access to the program in exchange for my review.

Star Toaster Review
Orphs of the Woodlands is an online interactive reading adventure for 4th-7th grade students. This product was developed by the Star Toaster team who believes that children primarily learns inside the home and that character eventually defines success. With the goal of helping parents to teach their children positive values, this interactive program also sets the tone that learning is NOT BORING. With a very interesting storyline, the student can become involved in the story through the completion of games and while doing so, learning vocabulary words, grammar, math, science, thinking skills, life skills and the arts. There are over 300 lessons in the whole program!

Since this is an online program, I only needed to make sure that my browser Google Chrome was working and I had a stable internet connection. Upon logging on as the parent, I added my daughter’s account and set a password for her. It is important to note that you must use a different password for your children as you will be using the same email account to log in the system.

My daughter logged in and immediately started watching the tutorials and she was on her way! She started reading the story, The Treasure of the HighTower and was hooked! She was asked to name the main character of the story, who is a squirrel and she named him Squeaky. She read about 15-20 minutes before she finished the first chapter. As she was reading, whenever she encountered a word in red, she can point the cursor to that word and the meaning would be flashed. She learned several new words in each chapter.    

vocabulary

The story is about the squirrel who is newly recruited to become a spy and fight against the Night Creatures. As he learns how to be a spy, he also learns about the orphs or orphans of the woodlands who needs his leadership and care to survive.

After each chapter, my daughter needed to complete jobs or games to collect stars. There is a specific number of stars that each orph needed to survive. So the more jobs completed, the more stars collected. The number of stars needed depends on the number of orphs under her care.

The jobs are divided into several categories. There is Math, Science, Vocabulary, Thinking Skills, Character, Life Skills, and the Arts. As she reads more chapters, there are more jobs for her to click on and finish. As she completes more jobs, she earns more goldstars per job each time she finishes the chapter.

jobs

The jobs are quite interesting as she gets to learn different things for example, she clicks on Sound Specialist under Science and she learns about sound waves. A video teaching will be shown as her training then she answers some questions based on what she just learned. Sometimes, instead of videos, she will be presented with texts about the subject matter.

Star Toaster Review 
She can also choose to click on the map and buy land, build projects and acquire the needs of the orphs. She needs more stars to do each project so this will lead her to complete more jobs.

projects

Upon clicking the timeline, she can go back to the previous chapters she has read and review them or proceed with the story. Though she will not be able to skip to chapters she has not finished yet.

timeline

 

What We Thought of the Product

My daughter enjoyed the product. She said that it felt like she was playing a game more than doing an online reading curriculum. Her favorite is that she got to learn many new words and fresh insights on science facts! The only thing that she didn’t like was that she had to finish so many jobs for the numerous oprhs that she had to care for and couldn’t get to the next chapter easily! Sometimes, she would tire of the jobs and log out already.

As the mom, I loved this product!

First, it encourages independent learning. My daughter needed little assistance from me during the entire time she was using Orphs of the Woodlands. It was easy to use and interesting enough to hold my daughter’s interest to complete the jobs/games .

Secondly, I loved the updates that I was getting through email. I was sent an email everytime she finishes something. I also like the fact that I can login and see what she has been accomplishing and learning.

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Thirdly, this is a well-rounded product. I don’t need a separate curriculum for each subject. The program touches on the basics of what your child needs to know in every area of life.

Fourthly, the learnings from the story is not just academic but it’s all about life skill and is character based. I like it that my daughter learns to be patient, diligent and responsible as she completes the jobs in the story.

Lastly, it is not a costly online reading curriculum. In fact, it is perfect for a summer reading program. The book can usually be finished in 2 months and just costs  $19.99 for the 60 day subscription for up to 3 students. The 30 day extension just costs $6.99.

If you have reluctant readers at home, I encourage you to try this out! There is an on-going FREE TRIAL to the first chapter of The Treasure of HighTower book of Orphs of the Woodlands!

Star Toaster Review
For more information on this great product, follow Star Toaster Facebook page, Star Toaster Pinterest page and Star Toaster Twitter page.

Check out what other Schoolhouse Review Crew says about Star Toaster…Star Toaster Review
 

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Scholastic’s Sizzling Summer Warehouse Sale

Do you love books like we do? Then let us go to Scholastic Publishing’s Sizzling Summer Warehouse Sale! Happening from March 23 until May 24.  Be ready to choose from their wide selection of picture books, fiction and nonfiction books, popular series, references, inspirational, arts and crafts and interactive products that are offered at up to 80% discount!

They are open from 9am-6pm daily, except on Sundays and holidays. Warehouse is located at 70 C Raymundo Avenue, Brgy Rosario at Pasig City.
scholastic

 

Go and buy your children some books that they can devour this summer!

May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic Book Review

SuperEpicCover

I was given the opportunity to review the book May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic by Mighty Rasing and I was looking forward to what I can learn from it. May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic is published by OMF Literature Inc. and is written in conversational Taglish.  Mighty Rasing is a blogger, a New Media practitioner and co-host of the award winning radio program Family Matters of 702 DZAS. He is also part of the Philippiine Staff of Young People’s Ministries of the United Methodist Church.

This 104-page small book is filled with practical applications on personal development and how to make a difference for students and young professionals. Mighty encourages the readers to take action and become a difference in their communities by using different super heroes like Spiderman, Batman, Nick Fury, Human Torch, The Hulk and Cyclops as examples and metaphors for certain issues and draws inspiration from Biblical references.

The book encourages the youth to use their information and techology skills and their entreprenuerial mindset to do something for the greater good of everyone. It also takes them on a journey to discover their passions, set their vision and goals, get together with like minded people and resolve conflicts.

After reading the book, I realize that this is a book many young people need today. Very easy to read and direct to the point, it inspires everyone to do something – even if you think you are just an ordinary person. You CAN make a difference! It is possible to be #SuperEpic!

You can grab your own copy from National Bookstore, PCBS, OMF Literature Bookshop and Flipreads. For more information, visit the #SuperEpic webpage and get free resources!

 

 

 

Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office Review

HomeSchool Office Review
My daughter is currently in 5th grade and in a few years, she would be in high school. I realized that she would need high school transcripts and a more organized homeschool documentation in the coming years so when Schoolhouse Review Crew offered me to review theLord Heritage HomeSchool Office, I was quite nervous and excited to see how it would help me in becoming a more organized homeschool mom.

I was given a full year access to HomeSchool Office, a web-based program that helps you organize, plan and manage your homeschool effectively. You can easily keep track of your daily activities and lessons. As you login, you can see the actual progress of the students. You can also generate reports, keep records from previous years until you build the child’s high school transcripts. It can be used with any curriculum and with unlimited number of children.  This product costs $79 annually per family.

Lord Heritage believes that the children’s education should be based on the Scriptures and this is where they get the pattern for the HomeSchool Office program.

Plan  – this is where you prepare and look ahead for your homeschool. Set goals, build master schedules and layout lessons for the school year.

Order – this is where you set order to your schedule and integrate different activities inside and outside the home.

Work – this is where you let your children have access to the lists so they can follow their daily schedules and lessons.

Evaluate – this is where you can evaluate the subject requirements to see if they match state requirements like number of hours on a certain subject, grades and attendance.

Report – this is where you generate the customized quaterly or annual reports and transcripts.

As this is a web-based program, I just needed to make sure that my internet connection was stable and that my web browser was working fine. I used Google Chrome as my web browser on my laptop. I logged in and was immediately brought to this welcome page.

dashboard

As I worked through the menu, I was a bit overwhelmed by the many screens that I needed to work with so I immediately went to the Support Portal. I went through the Knowledge Base articles to understand what I needed to do to get started.

I entered the Team page and I entered our homeschool information, like name, mobile phone, home address and school year and district. I also had an area where I can enter the information of other teachers that my children had. This is also where I created the accounts for my children. Each child will have their record and login. You can also save information for other resources and friends, much like an address book.

TeamHomeschool

I went to the Plan page. This is where I can enter the information about subjects, school year plan, master schedule, projects and budget.

I added the different subjects that my daughter had for this school year and did the same for my son as well. It also included the required hours for each subject and the credit hours.  When I clicked on the little button on the left, I can include the materials they were using for that particular subject and what the objectives of each subject were. I can also assign specific lessons on this page. I can add the duration and the detailed lesson plan for each lesson.

PlanLessonsWhen I click on the School Year Plan, I can easily click which days are official school days for the whole school year. Upon clicking the Master Schedule, I can see the daily schedule of our entire household. The schedule is color coded, you can easily see whose schedule it is specifically for and you can also tell when schedules are overlapping and too tight!

PlanMasterSchedule

There are tabs for projects and budget too. You can input the budget allocated and the actual expense each child has already consumed.

Order page shows the calendar of either of your child or of the whole household. You can also create the to-do list on this page. This is where you can input all the non-academic stuff that you want your children to complete.
Order

Evaluate is where you input the grades of each assignment and test you give your child. You can also enter attendance of your child, either per subject or for daily attendance tracking.

Report builder is where you generate all the documents you would need to submit to your state government or in our case, the homeschool provider where we are enrolled.

Report

What I Liked About the Product

This is a very detailed product and is good for those who want to document their homeschool journey efficiently. Homeschool management can be taxing for those who don’t know what to record and have to prepare for high school transcripts. Though I probably won’t be continually using this product for my daughter’s record keeping, I learned which information I need to record down.  I also liked the report generating features of this product. It allows me to print all the information I have input online. I can also easily access the program on gadgets like iPhones, and iPad tablets. 

The Knowledge Base articles that I found on their support page was also enough for me to understand how the product works. I liked it that I can also enter tickets to request for individual support through email.

What I Didn’t Like About the Product

I like the pen and paper type of record keeping so migrating to an online homeschool management system wasn’t that easy and fast for me. I also found that the product had too many pages that I needed to fill that it was too time consuming for me. It took me a week of at least 30 minutes each day to our initial information. It probably just didn’t fit my style of record keeping.

 

But don’t let my review stop you from trying out HomeSchool Office!
> Go and check out their product features and purpose page and more sample pages.
> You can also try this program yourself for FREE for 30 days and see if it fits your style.
> Read what other review crew is saying about this product.

HomeSchool Office Review
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GPA LEARN’s GPALOVEMATH Review

What product do you get when you put together a group of parents, teachers, technologists, animators, designers, and engineers who believes in providing children with a personalized learning that teaches math and creates life-long learning? GPA LEARN has come up with a great online math program, GPALOVEMATH.

As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given a full year access of up to 5 grade levels of GPALOVEMATH  in exchange for a review. We were asked to use the product for not less than 3x a week in the duration of the review period.

Critical Thinking Company Review

GPALOVEMATH is an online streaming Math application for Kindergarden up to Grade 5. There are over 150 lessons and over 10,000 math problems each level to help your child become math wizards!

You need a stable Internet connection and a web browser on your gadgets to use this program. It works on both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac computers. You can aslo use your iPad or Android tablets. The supported browsers are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari 6 & 7.

What makes GPALOVEMATH interesting is that it has different animated learning coaches for each year level. Together with their learning coaches, the students will learn math concepts and practice problems together. The students will then have 15 questions on their quiz at the end of each lesson.

As the student completes their lessons, GPALOVEMATH has a reward system where the student can accumulate points and are able to get motivational prizes upon reaching certain points. Prizes can be as simple as additional  minutes before bedtime, parents get to do the child’s chore for the day or gift cards for shopping. There is a pre-made list of rewards but you can also customize the rewards for your children.

GPALOVEMATH is made based from the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) standard requirements.  This ensures that topics discussed and integrated are based on the correct grade levels.

How We Used the Product

I was sent a promotional code and asked to register. Registering was done on their website and was straightforward. As soon as I entered my child’s information and the parents information, the login was immediately available. I registered my child to take the 5th grade lessons.  My 5th grade daughter was excited to start using the program with me.

My daughter has a separate login account from me. This made her learning experience more personalized and exciting. As she logged in, a dashboard was available for her. She can choose from the following menu options: Learn, Engage and Motivate.

 

The Learn menu brings her to the lessons.  There were 3 paths for her to choose from, the green path, blue path and purple path. Each path represents different lessons in the curriculum. In her case, she choose to work on the green path first. She needed to finish the first lesson in order to gain access to the further lessons. The lessons came in the recommended order but if we wanted, we can select the lessons by topic.

gpalearn

 

The lessons were presented in the same order everytime. Her animated teachers, Nina and Dino, opened each session with a challenge for the student to solve the problems to help fight Dr. Division who wants to blow up buildings.

 

Dino Nina

The lessons always start with instruction part where lectures are given by either Dino or Nina. It is followed by practice part where the student have 3 lifelines if they ever get stuck and lastly, the quiz part where student gets to solve 15 problems. They get three different badges: rockstar, excellent and nice job depending on how well they did on the quiz.

All throughout the lessons, my daughter remembered the 4 basic steps to solve problems. B O L T.

gpa

It simply means:

B – break it down

O – organize a plan

L – let’s solve

T – test your answer

The Engage menu allows her to see postings from other GPA LEARN users. She can invite friends to her social board and have social discussion. We weren’t able to use this feature.

The Motivate menu brings her to the rewads store. Some of the rewards included are: TV time, Marketplace, Chores, Bed time, Bonding time, Play time and Play date. She can see how many points she needs to complete before getting the rewards.

At the end of our review period, she was able to answer most of the problems and has gotten rockstar and excellent badges throughout her lessons. Though if she had her way, she would want to skip the lecture part and go right into the practice and quiz part. She mentioned that she found the animated teachers speech funny and too repetitive.

 

What I Thought of the Product

I thought this was a good product but it just didn’t fit my daughter’s needs. I like the emails I were receiving each time my daughter uses the program and I can easily track her progress weekly. If I wanted, I can also login to my account and preview the lessons. The  lessons were also explained clearly through theory and practice examples in every session. For the motivation rewards, I think it was an innovative idea of getting the student highly interested to finish their lessons more quickly. Though for our family, we rarely use rewards for motivation of finishing lessons.

If you want an action packed online math tutor for your children’s math, this would be a good product for you to try. You can subscribe per month at the price of $12..99 or $149 per year.

 

For more information on GPA LEARN, follow them on their Facebook account at www.facebook.com/gpalearn, their Twitter account at www.twitter.com/gpalearn and their Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com/gpalearn.

Read more reviews from the other Schoolhouse Review Crew!

GPA Learn Review
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