Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew
With my very book enthusiastic crew of kiddos, we have been using LightSail for Homeschoolers. This is a one-year, language arts subscription program; we have been using the premium subscription which focuses on the four pillars of language arts: reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency. They offer over 14,000 books, over 100K resources, faith based content, for all grade levels. You can choose a monthly or annual subscription.
Their resources include, but aren’t limited to:
- 14,00+ books from top publishers
- 13,000+ audiobooks with read along options and real voice narration
- 20,000+ educational videos
- 40,000+ comprehension questions for all levels
- 51,000+ World Book Encyclopedia articles
- 1,000+ multimedia resources like maps, timelines, 360 photos and more!
LightSail is so comprehensive, and so full of features it is going to be hard for me to hit on all of them! We reviewed this with my 9 and 11 year olds, who are in 5th and 3rd grades. The program adapts to your child’s reading level using an assessment, and then adjusts it to their individual needs, as they move through the program.
Don’t worry about being overwhelmed by content. At the top of every page there is a small play button that explains where you are and also give options for other areas. you can use the bookmarks within the video to find what you need. It is so simple! The video pops onto your screen and can be moved around while you navigate the site.
Within LightSail, there are parental controls which allows parents to turn on and off reading of certain books; LightSail rates books for you, so that you don’t have to guess! I can’t tell you how many books we have had to put down because, though highly recommended by others, they were not a good fit for our family. The LightSail rating system gives you a list of all the topics that may be of concern, the books that include those topics, and then the ability to allow them or block them for now. LightSail takes the frustration and guess work out of selecting titles for your family! If you come across a book in the library that needs approval, the child safe content rating system will tell you what topics the book contains that you may need to be aware of. I noticed a few biographies with mental health as one of the notes on the rating system, or death of a child.
Within the program, families will find on the left side menu:
- the Library
- and Chat (within your family, regarding books and assignments)
When you the parent are logged in, you will see the dashboard and libraries from your perspective. You can also toggle to the child’s avatar to see what they see. However, for your child to work in their account (to log their data and complete their work) they need to be logged in. You can find their user name and password under settings.
The Library is just that- this is where your child will do all their reading. Within each book’s overlay are the questions, related content, and where you can check it back in. My children have really enjoyed reading the books and exploring the other media- videos, articles, streaming, etc. I love that books have related World Book Encyclopedia articles that correspond with the reading. For example Robin Hood corresponds with the articles Bioethics and Friendship. There are also videos, action clips, audiobooks, and related books listed for students to enjoy.
Reading offers unit studies, booklists, memory work, and so much more. There are family book clubs, and read aloud included (each child can listen on their own). There are built in assessments and record keeping.
The Writing dashboard allows parents to see notes the child has taken on books, any book reports assigned, and this is a place to keep track of grades. There are so many ways for parents and students to document their writing here! We did not use them all for this review, but I most definitely will utilizing them in the future. I can’t wait for my daughter, who has been learning to type, to have a place to do some writing and documenting of her own. Students can become authors and share their books, there is essay writing options, grammar skills work, and authentic and informal writing options.
Vocabulary is going to increase spelling and vocabulary using fun games, assignments, and filling in the blanks of reading (clozes), all while keeping record of your student’s progress. I really like that spelling lists can be curated by the parent.
Fluency is where students improve language fluency by connecting speaking, listening and writing. I love that there is a narration option- students can retell a book in their own words, via recording. Parents can then listen to the retelling at their convenience, and assign grades. This is so much fun! Here you will find read aloud, narration, speak-listen-write, and a memory module for memory work.
Honestly, there is just so much in LightSail, I can’t hit on all of it. This is just a quick overview, with my personal opinion of things I love. What I don’t like? … Hmm, maybe that there is so much? But the program also offers settings to black out any distractions for students who are easily set off course by color and lights! So, really, I can’t find anything we don’t love about it.
The program includes all the classics, lots of more current books, but not a lot of mainstream reading. I don’t find this to be a problem for our family; the selections were fun and interesting to my kids. My daughter loved the Little Prince series (a retelling version) that has some 20 books in it. She is begging to do assignments and answer questions about the books she’s read in LightSail. My 9 year old thinks it is a fun challenge, so he is also enjoying it.
Connect with LightSail
Lots of Crew members reviewed LightSail, so check out their reviews by clicking the banner below. I am sure you will find different information than what I shared-