Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A TOS Review: Essential Skills Advantage

Essential Skills Advantage Review

I was happy to review a new online curriculum for Caleb and Canon, Essential Skills Advantage. We reviewed the Complete Home Learning Suite.

ESA's Complete Home Learning Suite gave me a one year, all access pass for both the boys. It is a supplemental program that has been used by over 20,000 public schools in the United States, and it has now expanded their reach into the homeschool community. ESA contains lessons for K-6 in Reading and Math; lessons for 1-6 in Spelling; lessons for K-3 in science; lessons for 3-6 in Language and Grammar; and lessons for 3-5 in Geography. These lessons are claimed to contain the essential skills necessary for a child to be successful in each subject.

One thing I found beneficial was that both boys had access to the entire learning suite. So once they logged in, they would choose their subject, and then they would choose the grade level. Caleb worked in the 2nd grade lessons in reading and spelling for a few days, but found them too simplistic. I told him to move to the 3rd grade lessons and do what he could. He worked in 3rd grade for the rest of the subjects as well. He found these to be more satisfactory.

Unfortunately, we thought many of the lessons were way too easy for a 3rd grader - the science lessons, especially. Caleb absolutely loves science, and he is always excited to work on anything to do with animals. As stated above, the science lessons cap out at 3rd grade, but even the highest level lessons were unbelievably easy.

The question is, which body part is injured in the picture?

This one told the student to click on the teenager.

Caleb was not challenged by these activities at all. In fact, he'd made the comment that they were so easy that Castle (our 3 year old) could do them. I thought he was being a little ridiculous, so he had Cas come sit with him for a couple of the activities. Here is one question from the activities he did:

The computer asked which animal could fly.

He got a 100% on the three activities he did. For this to be a 3rd grade level science supplement, I was a little disappointed, too.

Canon found the Language lessons to be the same way. In the vocabulary section, he had to add a prefix to words with both parts of the word already appearing on the screen. So basically, he just had to type everything that was on the screen. He thought the lessons would increase in difficulty, but they never seemed to.

We did not feel that this program benefited our boys; however, I would guess that this program would be a great benefit to families with students that are struggling to be at grade level or has significant gaps in their learning paths. It is not aggressive in its approach. The graphics are engaging. And the collection of stars for each activity is like a virtual sticker chart, which I know will encourage many students to do their best. If you are needing help in a certain subject area that will not feel threatening to your student, then check out all the lessons ESA has to offer.

You can follow ESA on the following social media platforms:

To hear more about ESA from other TOS Reviewers, click on the link below:

Essential Skills Advantage Review

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