Essential Skills Advantage proves to be a good supplemental program for our learning environment. Why supplemental versus full curriculum? Well, I found that many of the concepts were simple for my daughters. I didn’t move them up to next the grade level in the program because I believe it is beneficial to see previous taught concepts in variety of ways. Also, the program doesn’t provide instruction or at least we didn’t experience receiving any instruction therefore the student should have some experience with the subject matter. I appreciate the fact that ESA presents the concepts in a way that my daughters do not normally see them since all of the activities are online it helps them to adjust to doing work off of paper. It also helps them to get used to responding to multiple choice questions since they are conditioned to write out a majority of their responses.
ESA offers an entire suite of educational resources in the online program. The girls each chose which subjects they would lean into since we are now on our summer learning schedule I like to make sure they have a little more freedom in their assignments. My oldest daughter, 11, worked on geography and math, and my youngest daughter, 8, worked on science and math. I am learning that they are fond of trying out online math programs so it wasn’t surprising when they chose math as one of their subjects of choice.
Back to the girls, they each used the program several times each week for about 45 minutes each session. They assessed the program on a tablet. One would use a Kindle while the other worked on an Android device. I also accessed the program on our desktop using Firefox. So far, it has worked well no matter where we choose to log in from. Math grade 3 has more concepts and problems available than the math grade 5. I’m not certain if more material will be added to grade 5 or not, but math grade 5 focuses on number operations and number concepts. There are about eight units which make up these two topics. Math grade 3 includes operations, problem solving, measurement, telling time, and data management. I liked the variety of topics available for third grade since my youngest daughter tends to get bored easily. The variety of selection makes it enjoyable for her to use the program. Although fifth grade doesn’t currently have as many options, this also works for us because my oldest prefers things to be simple versus having too many options. As I stated before the program is pretty much multiple choice, we have yet to find a question with a fill in the blank response.
Science includes lessons about life, physical, and earth and space science. Each science topic had about eight subtopics within. The lessons were matching and multiple choice questions. My daughter primarily focuses on life science which she is familiar with which is great because most of the questions were general knowledge or making inferences. Geography includes map and globe skills, American geography, Canadian geography, and world geography. It follows the same format as science.
Overall, I like the program as a solid review of concepts previously taught. I believe reviewing information in a variety of ways allows the learner to build confidence. The girls liked the program because it was enjoyable. The program isn’t overwhelming to use and very user friendly. The online suite also includes a dashboard for parents to access student progress. I appreciate being able to see the subjects that they are working on, their completion rate, and the amount of time they have worked on each subject.