I’m homeschooling PB & J Girl (5.5) and Cuddle Bug (4) together using a preschool curriculum. I like to find other extra activities for PB & J Girl to do to challenge her.
When the opportunity came to review Essential Skills Advantage, I thought it sounded like the perfect fit for PB & J Girl. We received one year of access with the review.
Essential Skills Advantage seeks to help your child learn to read, or at the older grades, to teach them how to be better readers. PB & J Girl can recognize and write some simple 3 letter words, but she’s still learning how to read.
She used Essential Skills Advantage 3 to 4 times a week for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, though honestly she would have gone much longer if I would have let her. During that time frame, she completed 14% of the kindergarten course work. There is A LOT of material in this program. In fact, there are 20,000 activities included!
What Is Essential Skills Advantage?
Essential Skills Advantage is designed to supplement other learning your child is doing in the area of reading. The program focuses on the following components:
- Phonemic awareness
- Super phonics,
- Sight words,
- Reading comprehension, and
- Fun with spelling
Parents can easily track how their child is doing by using the parent portal. In the parent portal, parents can see how many certificates students have earned, when they last logged in, what activities they have completed as well as the score that they received and the time they spent on an activity.
Students can track their own progress by looking at their star chart. For any activity that your child earns 80% or better on, he will get a gold star. Activities that earn less than 80% will get a silver star.
How We Used the Program
PB & J Girl really enjoys learning online, and this program was no different.
During the review period, she completed all of the picture vocabulary section. Activities in this unit include:
- word search,
- animal names,
- clothing names,
- clothing memory, and many other activities.
She also completed the majority of the visual skills section, which included activities such as:
- what does not belong,
- picture memory,
- what shapes are the same color,
- what is the difference, and many other activities.
She still has yet to do most of the activities for auditory skills and basic concepts.
What System Requirements Are There?
Essential Skills Advantage has several system requirements:
- Internet access,
- Java script enabled, and
- Flash Player 10 or higher
Currently the program is not compatible with iPad or Android Tablets.
What I’d Change About Essential Skills Advantage
This is a fabulous program. Overall, we’re very pleased with it. However, I would suggest getting rid of the chirping crickets in the background. That can be distracting both to the child doing the program and the parent who has to hear it repeatedly.
How Much Is Essential Skills Advantage?
Essential Skills Advantage is $9.99 per month per student. Honestly, I wouldn’t buy this for all three of my kids because the price would be too much for our budget. However, I would consider investing in this for a child that is just learning to read because the activities provide excellent reinforcement.
I anticipate PB & J Girl using this for the duration of our trial period. I’m also going to begin using this program with Cuddle Bug, as I feel she could also benefit from it.
If you’re interested, Essential Skills Advantage is offering a free version of the program that you can try out.
I was one of 50 reviewers of Essential Skills Advantage. Click on the icon below to see what others had to say about the program.