Review: Home School Navigator

If there are things that I am always on the look out for, it's different ways to teach Math, and an acceptable (to her) writing curriculum for Breeze. When we were given the opportunity to review Home School Navigator I was hoping that it would finally be THE curriculum we were looking for.

Home School Navigator

Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum is meant to be a rich, all-in-one program that combines reading strategies, grammar, writing, word study, and responding to reading. One of the great things about it is that you can choose which components to use. The curriculum comes with a downloadable schedule and hand-outs, and you could choose to start at the point that suits you. It comes in six levels, from Level Red, for the beginning readers, to Level Indigo, for those reading at approximately fifth grade. I wasn't sure where to place Breeze, since she reads above fifth grade, has beyond-second-grade grammar and spelling skills, and has quite an extensive vocabulary. Her writing though--probably at her grade level. Mostly because she doesn't like to write, not because she doesn't have the creativity for it. So we checked out the various levels, starting with Green (third grade) and finally settled for the Blue level. Raine, who also wanted to try Home School Navigator uses Indigo (the highest available level).

The curriculum comes with a handy downloadable Teaching Guide for each level, which you could print out, or if you're like me, view on screen. We don't do all the activities suggested, though we do skim through them. We almost always do the Read-Alouds, Reading Skills Practice, and the Writing/Grammar components. I let Breeze choose what else she would want to do beyond that.

A sample of the Weekly Teacher's Guide. You will still need an online connection to view the actual lessons


The daily Teaching Guide outlines the activities that will be done for a particular day, as well as the required resources (which are in bold type font). Each lesson starts with a read-aloud from the master book list. Another great thing about Home School Navigator is that you don't necessarily have to have all the books that are required for the lessons, since there are YouTube videos of the books being read aloud (by the creators, Beth and Ashley). For longer books, however, they just do excerpts rather than read the whole book, You can find the links to the specific videos in the daily online lesson guide.


The daily online lesson guides include the lesson videos, links to the related videos and worksheets


After the read-alouds are activities that tie in with the book just read. Printable worksheets that are needed are also linked (though you can download all the worksheets beforehand through the monthly hand-outs link). Sometimes the Writing/Grammar segment is worksheet-based. Often, it is free writing in the Writer's Notebook. There is a download for the Writer's Notebook, which you can then print out. However, I used regular composition notebooks instead.


The girls' Writer's Notebooks. They asked me not to take pictures of the inside because their writing is private.

The Reading Skills Practice and the Writing components, so far, have been engaging. A short video shows how to accomplish the exercise, and worksheets are provided. The issue I have had with Breeze has always been her reluctance to translate her ideas into actual written work. So far with these exercises, while she isn't overly enthusiastic, I haven't had to force her to do anything (or at the very least, I am able to persuade her to do the work). I think the degree of willingness is a result of the books that the exercise jumps off from. She found Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs hilarious (we all did) as well as The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. She is actually eager to write her own fractured fairy tale, the main writing project for the first month.


Vocabulary review. Breeze didn't want to do the lessons or the games for this set of vocabulary words, because she knew them already. I gave her the review test just to double check. Her Brainstorming Bubble is sparse, not because she lacks ideas, but because she isn't fond of writing things down.


(Pardon the fat furry butt that refused to get off the papers). Breeze's first summarizing exercise.


Breeze (and Raine) do well with strong verbs, but this was a good exercise.


Raine's mapping exercise


Overall, I'd consider Home School Navigator a keeper. Of all the writing curricula we've tried so far, this one has proved to be the one that encountered the least resistance. It is also a pretty comprehensive, well-planned overall Language Arts program. I just have a few minor issues with it. First of all, the interface isn't too intuitive for me. For example, when I finally logged on to my Parent's Dashboard and added my children, I didn't immediately realize that I would have to sort of log off my own account and login to my kids' accounts to access their lessons. I wish there were a simpler way to view each child's lessons without having to login to their accounts (or maybe there is and I haven't discovered it yet). Then within the lessons, it feels clunky navigating to the different segments and components of the lessons. Also, the quality of the videos could definitely use some improvement. Sometimes the audio isn't great, even if we turn the speakers way up. Some elements are also distracting, like the wrinkled backdrop (but that's just me, and not really an important issue).

This curriculum also relies heavily on a lot of books, which are not easily available here in the Philippines (or if they are, they cost a lot). I am glad that they read aloud the required books, but it still makes a big difference when you are holding and reading the actual book. Finally, I asked the girls what they thought of Home School Navigator overall, and both complained that the teachers "talked to us like we were babies." Other than our minor quibbles, Breeze and I liked Home School Navigator a lot.

Just last week, Breeze came to me asking, "Even if I don't have Home School Navigator today, I can still write in my Writer's Notebook, right?" And that for me is an amazing win.

Breeze enjoyed filling in her Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Rapunzel and The Snow Queen

Other families have also tried out Home School Navigator. Click below to read their stories.

Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}

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