Dayspring Christian Academy Review

  review SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Thanksgiving is a big deal at our house. We place a huge emphasis on the holiday, beginning our traditions at the very beginning of the month of November. Thus, after watching the video preview of The Pilgrim Story online course produced through Dayspring Christian Academy, I knew it was something I wanted to try even though my children were considerably younger than the recommended 3rd through 6th grade.

  Dayspring Christian review

I began going through the course with my kids in the afternoons once or twice a week. My daughter, age 4, was only moderately interested, but my first grader was extremely intrigued. He loved the video presentations and the interactive slides, and he loved that he could ace the review questions at the beginning of each lesson.

The course is set up for a student to create his own notebook with vocabulary sheets, fill-in-the-blank notes sheets, Principles sheets, and various other activities. Much of this was obviously above my son’s ability, so I took the general concept and modified it to fit my child. We did create a notebook, and I printed off the Principle sheets for his notebook. Then, I had him color a picture about each lesson and narrate the lesson back to me from the details he included in his picture. He retained a lot of information this way and loved drawing the pictures!

narration

 

narration

Dayspring Christian takes a “principal approach” to history, relating the events from the perspective of God’s sovereignty and the principles that can be seen throughout history. These include “liberty of conscience,” “diligence and industry,” “Christian character” and many others.

Pilgrim Story

The video presentation narrated the story of the Pilgrims in great detail, including many quotations from original sources such as William Bradford and William Brewster. Though my son loved the story and could easily navigate through the slides, we always listened to the story together, and there were often times when I had to paraphrase what had just been said. Still, when it came time for the questions at the end of the lesson, he nearly always got them all right.

TOS review

This self-paced course consists of 5 units or a total of 17 lessons. Currently, we are about half-way through unit 3 and have completed 10 lessons. As we continue to work through the course, we will include as many activities as my son is capable of doing and will continue with our own method of draw-and-narrate. And, as we get closer to Thanksgiving, the course also includes a virtual tour of Plymouth, an activity that we will invite the whole family to participate in, I’m sure. Overall, this was a great experience with online learning and an opportunity we might not have otherwise afforded. My son and I are learning a ton about the Pilgrims! And I expect this year’s Thanksgiving celebration will mean a lot more to him.

The Pilgrim Story is available for $99 for 6-months access to the course. Visit the website to read more about the course or watch the video preview (scroll to the bottom of the page) to see for yourself the quality of this course. Then, read what others on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say.

 

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Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a free 6 month subscription to this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

 

SpellingCity.com Review

SpellingCity.com
Vocabulary Spelling City has probably been one of my favorite products to review so far. It is a game-based online program that teaches spelling and vocabulary while allowing the teacher to customize the list or choose from thousands of pre-made lists. The website includes 25 online or print-off activities for reviewing the list: handwriting sheets, alphabetical order, matching definitions, Word Scramble, HangMouse, Speedy Speller, and more.

The website was very user-friendly. Adding the lists, assigning the lists and corresponding activities, reviewing reports—all of these steps were easy to do. Plus, video tutorials are available to help with every step of the process. There is also an audio aspect to the site; a voice says the word, spells the word, and provides a sentence for each word on the list.

Vocabulary Spelling City icons

Activities to assign are not limited to games, either. Flashcards are instantly created for every word on the list and may be used virtually or printed off for traditional use. “Teach Me” allows the student to review the list with the human voice repeating and spelling each word. Handwriting pages are also instantly created with the spelling list.

Unfortunately, many of the games on the site were a little too difficult for my son: “unscramble,” “word search,” “letter fall,” etc. But the ones he could play, he absolutely loved, especially “Hang Mouse.” Spelling words are used as a “hang-man” game; get the word right before the cat wakes up to eat the mouse. Other games he enjoyed had him finding missing letters or playing “memory match” with the words from his list. Another game I really liked was “Speedy Speller,” which allowed my son to beat his own time typing his spelling words. I tried to introduce this game pretty close to testing day, though, as he got frustrated if he missed the word too many times.

Vocabulary Spelling City
HangMouse

 

SpellingCity.com
pre-made list for Goodnight Moon

When it came time to take the test, a voice spoke the word and used it in a sentence just like a teacher would do, and my son typed the word and hit return for the next word.

Vocabulary Spelling City

Every aspect of this is customizable. Create your own list, write your own definition or use a provided definition, write your own sentence for the word or use the provided sentence, and select the activities you want your student to complete. However, if you didn’t want to customize a list, there are literally thousands of pre-made lists to choose from, including many lists from local public schools across the nation (if you are concerned about meeting state standards). Another tool was the grammar videos, which I already have penciled into our lesson plans to help me teach syllables and alphabetical order.

I’m also really looking forward to using this with the Tapestry of Grace word lists that are included each week for reading vocabulary and geography terms. It will be a fun way to teach the Tapestry words. I am also using it to supplement our current spelling program with a little more variety for review; already it has helped me detect where my son was not as proficient as he appeared to be. SpellingCity.com has been a terrific tool for reinforcement.

Though much of this program is designed to be done independently, I did like to be with my son when the lessons were first introduced to emphasize the rule for his new list. Depending on your student, you may or may not need to supervise his use of this program.

Overall, I loved this product and will definitely continue to use it throughout our school year. I’ve also contemplated creating a few simple lists for Middlest as she begins to put together her own 3-letter words.

A premium membership is only $29.99/year for up to 5 students. Try SpellingCity.com for free and take a tour of the site. Then, read what other reviewers thought about the program at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.