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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: Essential Skills Advantage (TOS Review) #hsreviews #literacy #onlinelearning

ESA Review

For this review we used Complete Home Learning Suite by Essential Skills Advantage

This is the second time we have used this product for a review (you can see our first review).   They have added a lot more to the program since we last reviewed it.

I used this program with my 5 and 7 year old boys.  We used it 3-5 days a week.  To be honest up front, my 5 year old liked it, my 7 year old did not.  My 7 year old is the ‘difficult’ one, when it comes to finding review items he LOVES, so I am generally more surprised when he LOVES something than when he does not.

We used the Kindergarten and First Grade Levels during this trial.  It is important to make note that this is not really a TEACHING curriculum, It’s more of drills to practice things already known, to fine tune skills. It says it “teaches while it tests’, but it’s more of a learning through trial and error, in my opinion.  I can see that it could be effective with some children though.

Some of the activities my 5 year old did, were clicking on the animal picture, whose name they said, matching animals to sounds, identifying letters, identifying numbers, one-to-one correspondence when counting, etc.  He worked primarily in Math and Language section. My 7 year old also worked primarily in Language section, mostly on phonics. 

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There are a lot more subjects that are offered, we looked at science for first grade, however, a lot of the activities requires reading, and my son is not a confident reader, so he was not interested in doing them.  It was the same way for Kindergarten, and my 5 year old is not reading at all.  It could have been done with me reading it for them, but my 7 year old prefers more independent working.  If it had an audio option for those questions that would be great!

Subject choices are Reading, Language & Grammar, Math, Science, & Geography.  All (except Geography which is only for 4-6th grades) are offered for Kindergarten through 6th grades.

Each lesson is fairly short, I let my kids complete as many as they felt like in one setting, which for my youngest was typically a 2-4 and my oldest was typically just one. 

One problem we had with the lessons were the arrow at the bottom of the screen, my kids were constantly hitting it on accident, thinking it was taking them to the next problem, but it actually takes them to the next lesson…and then when they would go back to the lesson they were on, it would start them over at the beginning.  This was  HUGE frustration with my 7 year old.  He would be near the end of the lesson and make this mistake (it seemed almost every time!) and he was so disheartened when he would have to do it all over again!

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In my previous review I had mentioned that I wish they used REAL pictures instead of cartoon illustrations, this opinion still stands.  I also found a few of the exercises weird, such as they would have two columns of abcs and you were suppose to match them, I feel like it would have been beneficial for the program to say the letter name as they matched them (but it didn’t).  On the other hand, in a one-to-one correspondence counting drill, there was a number and they had to touch that many of the item, it counted with each item they touched.  I felt like this was basically giving them the answer.

We used the program on the iPad or our touchscreen laptop.  This was a nice new feature that I appreciated a lot!  Also new are report cards and activity reports.  They also have printable certificates. 

I wouldn’t really say this is a complete curriculum.  It can be a great supplemental tool, however.  It’s affordable, only $7.99/month (or $12.99/month for multiple students).  Internet access is necessary to use the program (so it can’t be an on the go activity).  I plan to continue using this with my 5 year old, but my 7 year old is not interested.  So, goes to show it can work well with some, and not others!  There was definitely things I liked and didn’t like about it, but overall it’s a decent product.

Find them online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skillsadvantage/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SkillsAdvantage @SkillsAdvantage
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/SkillsAdvantage
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/skillsadvantage
Blog: http://buyesa.com/blog/

Essential Skills Advantage Review

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