Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Star Toaster~ Orphs of the Woodlands Review

Recently, we were given the opportunity to review Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Star Toaster Review

Orphs of the Woodlands is an online educational series that encourage learning while working on positive character traits. It uses a 3 step approach!


1. A Reading Adventure
Orphs of the Woodlands is a tale about a squirrel that becomes a spy in the fight against Night Creatures that are terrorizing the animals of the woodlands. A fun aspect of the story is the kids get to name the squirrel, who is the main character! 

2. An Academic Treasure
Orphs of the Woodlands is a wonderful story that has lessons in math, science, vocabulary, grammar, thinking skills, character, life skills, the arts and so much more tucked into the story. So as the child progresses through the story he/she will learn so much more  in their amazing journey through the woodlands.


Star Toaster Review
                            Star Toaster Review

The story is packed with tons of knowledge!
There are tips on how to remember things and memory games to help with the child's memorization skills. They even have reminders for the kids to pay attention!

The story is broken up into chapters. 


At the end of each chapter, the lessons are reviewed before the spy squirrel can do jobs to earn his pay in the woodlands.The jobs are fun exercises that help the child with his/her learning skills. Once the child completes the lesson, he/she is rewarded with gold stars. The more skills he/she learns, the more gold stars they will receive. More skills equals higher pay! 


* Parents have access to a Skills Page for the child. The Skills Page show the child's progress. Parents can easily track their child's progress and see what they are learning!

3. A  Rewarding Game
After the child earns his/her gold stars, it's time to play the game! The gold stars that are earned are used as currency in the woodlands. The kids get to build a settlement in the Woodlands. It's a fun and engaging strategy game for kids.They have to plan the settlement, care for the settlement, and sustain it. The game is a wonderful way for kids to master skills and help their settlement grow.

Star Toaster Review

For this review, we received online access to Orphs of the Woodlands for 1 year for up to 3 children. A normal subscription for Orphs of the Woodlands last for two months. It costs $19.99. You can use it for up to 3 children. They offer a free trail and you can add a 30 day extension onto your subscription for just $6.99! You can read more about here. The program is geared for children in the 4th-7th grade. Of course, this is just a guide line.You know what your child is capable of. The free trail would be a great way to see of it's right for your child!
Star Toaster Review
So now that you know the basics about Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster, we can get on to the good stuff. When requesting to be on this review, I had Lego Man in mind the whole time. I knew he would love the setting of the story. He loves reading books like The Hobbit, The Red Wall Series, and The Lord of the Rings. After reading the short synopsis of the story, I thought it was right up his alley.
After registering, we longed in. I will say we had a slight hiccup when we first went on. Lego Man started to read the first chapter of the book The Treasure of HighTower, but after he finished chapter 1 his progress was not saved. Thanks to some other helpful moms that are also doing the review, I realized that I was logged into the parents account. So we logged out and logged back in as Lego Man. He was a little annoyed that he had to read the whole chapter again. We couldn't figure out a way that he could just skip to Chapter 2. Oh well, life happens and reading is good for him! Other than that mishap, the program is really easy to work with. It's very user friendly!
I forget to tell you that before reading chapter 1, readers get to fill out an application. They can pick the name of the spy squirrel, chose their favorite color, and pick their qualifications like honesty, faithfulness, brave, and diligent. 
Source~ BirdPhotos.com


 Lego Man picked Rock Slinger for his squirrel's name. He did wish he could have picked his own animal from the forest. I'm sure he would have picked something a little more intimidating. 
While Lego Man reread chapter 1, I sat with him and read through the chapter with him. I love how they highlight different vocabulary words. The kids can mouse over the word and are immediately give the definition and form of speech. Other words are highlighted that are important to the story. Readers can mouse over a name and information about that character is given. The have quotes from famous people. There are sound effects.  Recipes to try. It really is amazing how that add all this into the story!
After bothering Lego Man by reading over his shoulder, I left him alone to read. He has slowly been working through the chapters. Reading online is a new thing for him. He really doesn't like it. He prefers to have a book in his hands. He's like his mama like that. There is nothing like the feel of a book in your hands.
He would rather have the story of the Orphs of the Woodlands in actual book form. Sadly, this would not allow for all the neat features that they have in the online version.  Maybe having an E-book option and then an option for kids to log in and answer questions, complete lessons, and play the game. Not sure of that would work either.
Each reader gets their own journal. The journal allows the reader to keep track of all the orphs they have rescued, jobs they have completed, gold stars they have earned, and how their settlement is growing and doing.

Lego Man's Thoughts.....

He has enjoyed his journey through the woodlands. Besides wanting a "real" book, he thought the chapters were a little too long. Sitting at a computer reading seemed very tedious to him. He can sit and read a regular book for hours, but he found it difficult to sit and stare at the computer screen. I have suggested shorter reading sessions, but he loves to complete a chapter when he starts reading. He hates leaving a chapter unfinished and wandering what is happening.

He did suggest being able to retry the games. He is kind of a perfectionist. If he doesn't get a perfect score, he gets a little bothered.  I think not being able to retry the games is a great way for him to learn how to read thoroughly and to double check his answers before submitting them. 

He enjoyed the lessons and jobs. He wanted to be able to do the all the jobs at one time and play the game. In his mind, who needs to read when you can play. The game was fun and engaging. He really enjoyed it. He liked the idea of building a land. His only complaint is the price of the land was too high. He wished it was a little cheaper.

My Thoughts......

I love how they made only certain jobs available after each chapter. It encourages the child to continue reading. In order to play and have fun, you have to do the work of reading and lessons. This is a important lesson to learn in life! Life isn't all about playing.

I would highly recommend this to any parent who has a child that would enjoy the woodland story. Another suggestion would be to make a more girly version for those girls that would be prefer that would be nice too!
  
Want to learn about Orphs of the Woodlands? Check out the following pages.
Pinterest Page
Facebook Page
Twitter Page
Till next time,
~Monique


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1 comment:

  1. I will definitely have to check this out! I am glad I found your blog. You always have good things to say. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete

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