The last few weeks my smallest son Zachary has been completing a review for me by reading online, Orphs of the Woodlands by Star Toaster.
Orphs of the Woodlands is an online reading game and adventure. It is recommended for 4th grade and up. You go on an adventure to save the woodland creatures and you work your way through each chapter by earning gold stars.
The first book of the series is The Treasure of the HighTower and can be bought for $19.99 for up to 3 children, this is the 60 day subscription.
I thought this review would be a good fit for my smallest son, 10, because reading comes as a challenge for him, so reading the over view of the program about it being fun and engaging while playing it as a video game appealed to me for use with him.
The program was not a good fit for us and at the end I will explain why however I am going to tell you about the program because I believe that is my responsibility.
You begin the adventure by setting up your parent account which is very easy and then you can add your students from that point. The set up doesn't actually take but about 5 minutes and your child is ready to go!
I then started Zachary into the first chapter. He filled out an application to get started which was looking for a job in the woodlands, I really thought this was a super cute idea!
The program incorporates a lot of components into this one. The child will learn thinking skills, math, science and vocabulary.
The adventure is 30 chapters long.
As your child reads through each page there are special links that tell about the vocabulary of the word, you have the option to listen to sounds that the creatures where making at that point in the story and some pages would have secret messages for you to read.
Once you have completed reading through the chapters then you get the chance to pick jobs to do. This is where the "game" part comes in. You choose different tasks and once you complete them you have earned golden stars, with the golden stars you are able to build your land and take care of the orphs.
Here are some of the reasons this was not a good review item for us.
Zachary has a lot of trouble reading and I thought that this would be a little more engaging to help him want to read and use this program and sadly that wasn't the case.
The chapters are entirely too long, some ranging to over 30 pages (most are 20-40 pages, still way to long for my struggling reader)!
The interactive games are spaced to far apart for that to be an attraction to the program. You must complete the chapters before new games are made available.
Also from homeschooling 3 children for 10 years I find the subscription being timed for 60 days not a good fit. The down side is that you must purchase additional time at a rate of $6.99 for additional 30 days. I believe this needs to be readjusted because homeschooling is full of life and sometimes deadlines are just plain unreachable.
I was hoping that there would be an option for the story to be read aloud but that wasn't so, with my son having reading issues I was hopeful he would be able to do this with little help from me but that was totally not the case. I had to read it to him which defeated the whole purpose for me.
If you would like to see if Orphs of the Woodlands would be a good fit for you go try their free trail which gets you started with the first 100 pages of the book!