Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Star Toaster ~ Orphs of the Woodlands ~ REVIEW




My daughters and I recently had the opportunity to review a wonderful online educational resource and game called Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster. This was such a fun review. We absolutely enjoyed it so much. My daughters are not natural readers so anytime I get a chance to introduce them to wonderful reading and fun educational games, I'm all over it.



Orphs of the Woodlands is a groundbreaking online educational series that encourages the love of learning while developing positive character traits. 



Orphs of the Woodlands uses a 3 step approach designed to capture your child’s imagination. 

This educational journey combines:
  • A Reading Adventure

Readers are introduced to the story, The Treasure of High Tower.  It's about a squirrel who gets to apply for a job as a spy. In the application, your child gets to create their own name for their spy squirrel character, and that name is then part of the story for the rest of the book. My oldest daughter picked the name Squirrel Kansas. The job of the squirrel is to fight against Night Creatures who are terrorizing the Woodlands. He also reluctantly finds himself responsible for a settlement of orphans known as the Orphs of the Woodlands. He develops a heart for the orphs who are depending on him and he also develops a passion for learning as he grows into a leader. There are 15 chapters to read in total and they are sure to please the adventure-loving kid in your family.

Throughout the story I saw my daughters develop a deeper love for learning. The story was very intriguing to them. They learned so much and even got to try some really fun hands-on projects.

My daughters aren't the greatest readers but that never stopped them from attempting. I did take turns reading with them because they were eager to make their way through the story.

A fun part of the story was the many vocabulary words that my daughters learned. There were many words that they had never seen or heard before. Most of these words were in brown and they could hover their mouse over those words to learn the definitions.


Throughout the story there are also sound bytes of different sounds that the story talks about. This was a very cool addition. It helped my daughters really visualize and hear what they were reading. I love how interactive the story is.  



  • An Academic Treasure

My favorite part is that the story is filled with hundreds of lessons on math, science, grammar, vocabulary, thinking skills, character, life skills, the arts, and much more. There is also tips on how to remember things such as, memory tests, as well as reminders to “pay attention!” In the story your child is introduced to a ton of characters that Squirrel Kansas is constantly learning from. Our favorite character was named Professor Forp. This professor is fun and witty. He shares something he likes to call NID's. NID stands for New Information Daily. We loved learning right along Squirrel Kansas on his journeys.

We also had the opportunity to learn and cook new recipes. Our favorite was a recipe called Nutty Nut Bread. It was a huge hit in our house. It was so fun to watch my daughters take charge and follow the directions. They served up some amazing bread and we will definitely be making it again in the future.



We even completed science experiments, learned new math concepts, learned Latin words, and many more super fun things.

Below is a picture from one of the science lessons we completed. In this lesson we learned all about using cabbage as a pH indicator.



We also tried our hands at some fun art. We learned about coil pottery and the girls even made their own. Did I mention yet how hands-on this online book is? I can't say it enough, I love how much it teaches and how much my daughters learned.





There are a variety of techniques used to present the educational material including: videos, flashcards, memory typer, and quizzes.

At the end of each chapter your child is brought to a page that says Help Wanted on the top. This section is where your child will find jobs to complete. Lessons are reviewed before the spy works at jobs to earn his pay in the woodlands. Jobs are actually fun exercises that allow students to improve their skills. Children are rewarded by getting paid in goldstars for a job well done. The more skills a child learns, the higher their pay will be.

 

I appreciated that I was provided with a Skills Page in the Parents Section which had information on my daughters progress and showed me exactly what they had been learning.


In addition to being able to view the skills they were learning, I was also sent an e-mail with progress updates. This was wonderful! I'm not always good about remembering to check in, so the e-mails were a great reminder and very much appreciated.


  • A Rewarding Game


The goldstars your child earns from completing jobs are the currency of the woodlands and are used to build a settlement for the orphs in a fun game of strategy. Your child will have the opportunity to find projects that will reduce the cost of taking care of the orphs. By choosing the best strategy, the settlement that is built can sustain more orphs. Having enough goldstars to care for the orphs is a powerful motivator for children to master skills. My daughters really loved playing the game and seeing how many orphs they could support. It truly was motivation to learn as much as they could and to do well on the jobs.

Final Thought

I was thrilled with how much this program has to offer. I could have never expected how much my daughters would learn and retain. The information was provided in such a creative way. It truly was fun for them to learn and they wanted to read. Seriously, them wanting to read is huge! I have never had my daughters want to read. This proves to me that this program is amazing. I also enjoyed the story and had fun working on projects along side them. I highly recommend Orphs of the Woodlands!


How much does Orphs of the Woodlands cost?

A 60 day subscription for up to 3 children is $19.99
A 30 day extension can be applied to any 3 students for only $6.99

Great news! 
You can currently sign up for a free trial 




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1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, thank you for your wonderful review! LOVE YOUR BLOG! Hope your readers enjoy "Orphs of the Woodland." Those who complete our Free Trial are sent a 25% OFF promo code for the 60 day subscription. Many homeschoolers are doing it as a summer reading program. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. YOU ROCK!

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