Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Essential Skills Advantage - TOS Review

Sometimes it is nice to have an online program to review and supplement the learning or even teach new bits of information. Recently we had the opportunity to review the Complete Home Learning Suite from Essential Skills Advantage. I received an online subscription for one year for one student.

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Essential Skills Advantage, ESA, is a supplemental K-6 curriculum that both assesses and teaches. There are over 14,000 online lessons in five areas -- Reading, Language & Grammar, Math, Science, and Geography.

This is an online program which can be purchased for a month, 6 months, or a year. I like the flexibility of the program being able to get it for varying lengths of time.

Essential Skills Advantage Review
I decided to use this with Miss K for two subjects mainly because those two subjects we have a bit of flexibility at this time. We used it for Geography and Science.

Geography begins at Grade 4 level and had learning in Map & Globe Skills, World Geography, American Geography, and Canadian Geography. We spent most of the time in Map & Globe skills and World Geography. I needed to sit with or be near Miss K for most of Geography that might be because we were using it at Grade 4 level or it might be that this is a supplemental program and these were just not topics that she has studied recently. I added to what she was doing there with some books and copywork. We pulled out some of our geography books like Maps & Globes and Geography from A to Z. I really think the geography might have been at a level or two above her abilities at this time.

Miss K also used this for Science and I think she spent more time in science than geography. ESA has science beginning at kindergarten and going through Grade 3. Miss K did Grade 1 science. I think this is the level that she should be at. The science for Grade 1 has physical science, earth and space science, and life science. Miss K was mainly in physical science. She learned about buildings which is a topic that we have studied. She learned about simple machines and I knew she understood what she had learned when we were driving to the city centre and saw a window washer and she said he was using a pulley. I love when the learning is displayed outside of the learning time.

I love the fact that you can skip to the various grades and subjects. You are not locked in to a subject or a grade level that can be nice for children who are at varying levels in the different subjects. I wish at times I knew the topic a bit more before we jumped in as some of the lessons seemed to just begin with the questions and relied on the previous knowledge. We tended to do review after the lesson to cover what was assessed. My preference would be to teach and know that Miss K has learned this before doing the assessment. It was fun to see Miss K get a bit competitive and want to get 100%. I don't know that I have seen that from her before.

We used this on the computer. Miss K did a good job with the mouse and clicking and dragging.

I enjoyed having this for Miss K but it would have been better for her if there was more teaching or instruction before jumping into the assessment.

I think this would be great for children who enjoy researching as they could look things up after they have done a portion of this subject. This would also be good for summer or extra learning times.

Sometimes it is helpful to read reviews from others as it gives you more of an idea of what the program is like.

Essential Skills Advantage Review

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