For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Essential Skills Advantage - TOS Review

Today I have a great product for you to check out! We recently got the chance to review an online K-6 product called Essential Skills Advantage. It has been a blessing for our homeschool. We receive their Complete Home Learning Suite for review.

   

What is ESA?

ESA is a self-paced curriculum that covers reading, Writing, Science, Spelling, Language & Grammar, as well as Geography. The whole curriculum contains about 43 individual programs, 998 learning units.

This program is quite extensive in scope. Note though, on the screen to the right, that not all grades are covered depending on the subject. ESA is easy to sign up for, and easy to use. Once you are logged in you choose your grade level and your topic, and start going through the different units for that particular topic.


I had the boys, grade 5 and grade 7, focus on the Geography and Writing units. My grade 5, because his geography knowledge was terrible, and my grade 7 to cover any learning gaps that he has in the writing mechanics area and in Geography. Both did Writing and Geography, on a daily basis.

Once you are logged in you get this screen and you are ready to go. This is where you get access to your lessons as well as the reports.


Essential Skills Advantage is an online curriculum, so you will need internet to use it. It is very interactive and engaging. The activities are very varied and offer instant feedback. Depending on the subject you are studying, you get to do:
  • Matching exercises
  • Point and click
  • Multiple choice
  • Placing on a map
  • Identifying 
  • Correcting errors
  • Unscramble words
Each unit, in the different subjects, vary in length between five to close to a hundred activities. For those small units, my boys would do them in one go. For the longer ones, they would break it up through several days. Working on ESA daily was no problem for them, as it goes pretty quickly.

My boys enjoyed working with ESA. It is colourful and straight to the point. Most of the directions are clear and easy to understand. They like that there was a button that allows you to have the direction repeated and that you got stars for correct answers. They also enjoyed the satisfaction of the grade at the end of each unit.

   

I personally like ESA. I like how comprehensive it is. My youngest learned a lot in Geography, and my oldest was able to review what he already knew and fill in whatever was missing. I also like that as a parent you can look through the reports and see where they are doing well, and were they are having trouble, as well as check on their completion progress. I like that you can redo the activities, and you can also skip the ones you do not want to do. It is just a very flexible, easy to use curriculum all around.

The only complaint that I would have is that it would sometime glitch, and we had trouble with one of the activities, as we could not figure out how to write down the answer (it was on coordinates). Also it would have been nice to see the mistakes that the students have made. My oldest also regretted that, though it tells you right away whether you got it right or wrong, it did not tell you what the right answer was when you got it wrong. That said, as a whole this is a really good program. Once we finish our current spelling curriculum, I will have both of the boys use the spelling part of this program. I probably also will have my rising 6th grader do the grammar part when we resume school in a few weeks.

I would definitely recommend ESA as a practice or review curriculum (at least for the older grades).

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Essential Skills Advantage Review



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