Many thanks to lightsailed.com for sponsoring this post. Opinions within the post “Has Your Child Been Tested for Myopia?” are 100% my own.
Reading is fundamental. It can open up so many doors and unlock the secrets of the universe. But if we’re really being honest, getting the little humans to read can be a tall order sometimes. With television, Netflix, tablets, toys, playing outside and so many other things to do reading can come in last. And even when reading is the choice activity, you still have to find engaging books that your child is interested in. Enter LightSail. LightSail for Homeschoolers wants to help you bring reading into your homeschool routine in a more individualized way.
What is LightSail for Homeschoolers
LightSail is an online adaptive learning technology that you can use in the comfort of your own home to help you encourage, assess, track and foster reading skills in your children. The program has hundreds of books to choose from on many different reading levels, topics and genres. It really is an ebook library for young people. It is founded in the Lexile reading level system, so books will have a Lexile level on them to help guide your child’s choices. It also allows you to buy ebooks. This is a complete language arts curriculum. It includes writing, reading, spelling and more.
Overview Of Lightsail Homeschool Literacy Program)
Overall, I think this is a very cool program. It allows for a great deal of personalization and can be specified to fit your learner’s preferences and needs. In my opinion, the placement test is overwhelming for younger readers, as it can max out at 42 questions. I know how I feel after having to answer 15 back-to-back questions from one of my children: a little worn out sometimes.The extensive library is amazing! And having the ability to control what reading options are offered to your children is a great feature. As Google Chrome is not my browser of choice, I was a little disappointed that it’s not optimized for use with other web browsers. I love that Ted talks are available and interactive books for our beginning readers. There’s a lot to love about this program from the parent’s point of view, but as always with homeschooling, the challenge is getting your children to give it a try and keep on using it. With so many ways to customize each child’s experience with it, it’s hard for any child to just say no.
Oh the books! There are so many ebooks. A lot! Because there are so many choices to read, books are organized according to genres and collections. With so many choices it can be difficult to choose, so parents can browse the library and send/recommend books for your kids to read. Interactive books have a quiz and instructions for activities to go along with the theme or action of the book. My 6-year-old thought this was the bee’s knees. Another big seller for my family is the read aloud feature. All of the books can be read aloud. This is helpful for developing readers and auditory learners. It also allows for multitasking. The last thing I’ll say about the ebooks is that you can customize the way the book is read. You can specify the number of lines shown at one time, highlighting of words, the size of the text and more.
Sometimes kids just need a little extra encouragement to keep things going. LightSail let’s your child customize their background. My son really likes basketball, so he chose a ball going through the net. There are also badges that your reader will earn as they meet preset milestones. You can also set weekly reading goals and hand out your own incentives as you see fit. Maybe a trip to their favorite restaurant or playground, ice cream or a couple of dollars. How you choose to reward weekly goals is up to you.
Lightsail Homeschool Parent Portal
The parent portal is very helpful. Not only does it offer tutorials on how to navigate the system and make it work best for your family, it also keeps track of your learner’s progress. You can control what content they see and have access to. All you have to do is click on a title and choose “Allow,” “Block,” or “Require Approval.” In the settings you can control chat access, camera access and a lot more. And if you’ve ever found mystery purchases that you know you didn’t make on your iTunes or GooglePlay accounts, you’ll love knowing that you can block your kid’s ability to make unauthorized book purchases. These features really do give you some peace of mind.
Some Unexpected Surprises
- Live Streams!! You can take an impromptu trip to diverse places via Live Streams. I love this feature for so many reasons. The biggest reason being that I can use it to create a meditation minute. Other reasons include taking a break from the usual, diffusing sibling situations and helping my littles deal with some of those big feelings.
- A gradebook isn’t something I use, but I like the fact that for those parents that like more structure and want to document things in a more tangible and academically cultured way can do just that.
- Book clubs are pretty cool. Turning reading into a group activity can make things more interesting and more fun. It also allows readers to gain new insights, meet new people and see what it’s like to discuss a book formally.
What Did My 12 Year Old Kids think?
Now that you’ve heard from mostly our adult perspectives, take a few more minutes to read our kid’s candid opinions about the program.
Here is what we like about the Lightsail homeschool literacy program:
- We appreciate that the interface looks and feels like an app.
- The dark mode is excellent and makes the screen easier to read.
- There is a wide selection of different book topics.
- We are glad that there are more than just books on the platform.
- Educational videos such as Ted Ed can be watched within LightSail.
- Videos will play while embedded within the platform, and users don’t have to leave.
- There are no ads.
- There is a chart that lets us know how long we read.
- The quizzes and vocabulary reminders are helpful.
Here are a few things that can be better:
- The creators should add more books for older kids.
- The categories for some of the books do not seem correct.
- More browser options
- An app companion would be great and more accessible.
Overall, we would recommend the platform. The fact that it is web-based means we can use it from a computer anywhere.
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