Thursday, April 16, 2015

Schoolhouse Review: Star Toaster #hsreviews

Star Toaster Review
Games, games, games.  We are definitely a gaming family.  Board games, card games, online games . . . we enjoy gaming and I consider it a major win when the games my children play teach as they go.  When we were given the opportunity to review Star Toaster's Orphs of the Woodlands book The Treasure of HighTower, I was excited because it brought the best of both worlds to my family.  An online educational resource AND game, Orphs of the Woodlands has the Princess reading, learning new vocabulary words, improving math skills, AND smiling as she does it all.  That, my friends, is a WIN for not only this mom, but for my girl as well.
In order to decide if Star Toaster was for us, I had my eighth grader watch the promo video with me. From the very first introduction, she thought it looked "cool" and was eager to begin.  (As you are well aware, "cool" is the ultimate compliment for a teenager.)  Reading through the chaptered "story" daily, she enjoyes the interactive lessons -- she is actually so engrossed in the story that she forgets she's working on "school."  Another win for us both.  I'm open to all the help I can get in a multi-disciplinary way.  Bring it on!

So, what IS Orphs of the Woodlands, and exactly how is it a multidisciplinary program?  The best explanation for all of this comes directly from the Princess herself.  Here's what she has to say about The Treasure of HighTower (as she waits patiently for book two to arrive):

To begin the book, you must first fill out a Spy Application and tell about your qualifications and willingness to learn.  You have to be accountable to do your best.  As you read through the book, you are tasked with the job of finding a treasure and keeping it safe. Students are introduced to and name their main character (My character is named Rain) and they follow him through a series of  adventures.    This is really kind of like a detective story/mystery/adventure all rolled into one.  When you sign in to your current chapter (I read one chapter a day), your character leads you through the story to find the treasure.  While you are reading, the story comes to life through videos that apply to the task at hand.  Math videos and science videos explain new concepts that apply to what you've just read.  Famous quotes from literature and history are clickable so that you learn who said themand what they meant.  You are able to earn gold stars as read through the book -- and you use the gold stars to feed your orphs and keep them alive.  There are even recipes to try.  
Progress is tracked in a "Top Secret" Journal (pictured above) which lets students know how many Orphs they have rescued, how many jobs they have completed, how many goldstars they have earned, how many projects they have completed, how many plots of land they own, and how many orphanages full of sweet little orphs they have.   

Star Toaster Review
It is worth noting that a typical purchase of the Orphs of the Woodland program gives up to three children access for a two-month subscription.  One month extensions can be purchased as needed. Parents can easily follow the progress of each child as they work through the skills of Math, Science, Language, Vocabulary, Thinking Skills, Character Development, Life Skills, and the Arts by tracking the successfully completed jobs.  Each of these skills can be reviewed as often as necessary so that complete mastery is attained at the end of the fifteen chapter book.

The entire program is user-friendly and offers a  "no parent required" success rate.  My eighth grade Princess works completely on her own each day. Concepts are introduced and taught in a fun and engaging way that keeps her interest and leaves no room for complaint.  As a result, we are all winners.   Orphs of the Woodlands would make for the PERFECT summer reading program.  You'll definitely want to give it a try.  There's even a FREE TRIAL so you can see if it's a good fit for your students in 4th grade and above.

Star Toaster Review

You can find out more about Star Toaster's Orphs of the Woodlands by visiting the following Social Media sites:

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Star Toaster as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Star Toaster Review

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