When the other kid are gathering around the table to listen in on a language arts lesson, you know you found a winner! Two of my kids have been trying out a year-long subscription to the Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum from Home School Navigator. But, more than two of them benefited from it.
What Is Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum?
This curriculum is a wonderful mix of online and offline components designed to give elementary aged kids a complete language arts course.
There are six different levels, but instead of being labeled with grade levels, they’re color coded. This makes it less stigmatizing for a child who is below level.
Here’s a quick overview of the levels and what students they are meant for:
Red level – students who are learning to recognize letters and sounds
Orange level – students who can read simple words and are beginning to write sentences
Yellow level – students who can read simple stories and write complete sentences
Green level – students who are able to read short chapter books
Blue level – students who are reading chapter books and write in paragraphs
Indigo level – students who are reading longer chapter books, are able to critique writing, and write longer pieces
And, you don’t have to commit to a specific level right away. Home School Navigator gives you about a month to explore them all. You can test out how each level works for your child, and then lock into the one that’s the best fit.
How This Curriculum Works
When you log into the Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum dashboard, you can access the parental features such as the portfolio and assignments. This is also where each child logs in.
Once logged in, you can see the Master Book List for that level. This is useful, as it told me which books I should request from the library. You can also download all the printables for each month, so you can avoid having to print daily.
The curriculum is broken down into 36 weeks worth of lessons. Each week is labeled with a number (Level Red 1.3 is the third week, Level 2.2 is week six, etc.)
Within each week, you can download the weekly teacher guide which provides useful information for using the curriculum. Then, there are five different lessons within each week (one for each day of the week).
For each lesson, there are several different parts. These cover the strands of reading and provide a comprehensive lesson. Here’s a screen shot of one lesson from the Red level:
Each of those sections opens up and reveals the activity to complete. At this level, there’s typically a video from Home School Navigator presenting a topic or a quick engaging lecture, then directions to read aloud the book of the week. Then, there was a link to a YouTube video of the book being read aloud.
The Writer’s Notebook is a printable component. The student at this age writes some letters or draws a picture and the parent scribes. The goal is to get them comfortable writing, and to begin to see themselves as a writer.
Within some sections there are other printable activities or games.
When completed, the student will have a solid language arts lesson each day.
How My Family Used This Curriculum
I had my child who is working on letter identification start with the Red level. Many of the activities were too hard for him, because he wasn’t quite at the target age. But, he really enjoyed having school to do and tried his best.
He has definitely improved in his letter identification skills. His favorite activity was the YouTube videos of the books being read aloud. He loved watching those, and so did his siblings. They all gathered around to watch, even if it’s a book we own and have a read a bajillion times already.
I started my nine-year-old son on this curriculum. He is behind in reading, so we jumped around trying the orange, yellow, and green levels. There were components he could complete at each level, so having access to everything for a while was very nice.
We could just pick and choose what was best for him.
However, because the reading curriculum I was having my second grade daughter using wasn’t a good fit, I had her and my son switch.
She found level yellow to be a good fit. The reading piece was a bit easy for her, but the writing and grammar focuses were perfect.
This child really enjoyed the writer’s notebook and the read-aloud videos. There were also some word sorting games that she had fun with.
This level seemed right on course for a second grade reading level, which is what it’s supposed to be.
Since we only do school four days a week, we only did lessons four days a week. This meant I was picking and choosing quite a bit of material to condense five days worth of lessons into four.
But, that’s the beauty of homeschooling! You can adapt and make it work for your family.
What I Thought of This Curriculum
I really liked most things about this curriculum. It really does a great job of covering all the components of a complete language arts unit.
The combination of online and offline parts kept students from spending way too much time on the computer. There were plenty of games and activities to keep kids engaged in learning.
The layout of each lesson was easy to follow, and it was consistent throughout. There was also a portfolio option, where you could scan and upload lessons to submit. If you live in a state where a portfolio is required, I can see this being beneficial. I decided not to use that feature.
There were a few things on my wish list for this curriculum:
- The videos on the site were really quiet. Even turned up to full volume, we had a hard time hearing
- There wasn’t an easy way to switch between lessons or levels, I had to hit the back button and try to remember where I wanted to go
- It took me a while to figure out how to get the lessons to be marked as completed. That option was way at the bottom and I didn’t scroll far enough at first
But, there isn’t a perfect curriculum out there, and this one was a really good fit for the kids I had using it. They will continue using this as we finish up the school year.
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