Topic: Homeschool Product Review
Some of you smiled when you read the title of this post. Others of you have no idea what in the world I'm talking about. Here's a little help to you unknowledgeable ones.
I don't know that we have a "Mikey that hates everything" in our house, but whenever a product comes along that my children really like, it makes me stand up and take notice. Ooka Island is one of those products.
With all of the review items that John Allen and Joshua have been getting lately, poor Jacob has been left out. Well, this game was made just for him. Since Jacob is five years old now, we decided to begin doing more formal school work with him. We found a curriculum that we thought would fit him to a "T" at the homeschool convention last spring. Sarah looked it over carefully and liked it better than what we had used with Joshua, so at the beginning of the school year she was excited about teaching him. Unfortunately, he was just not ready for it yet. Maybe we'll try again in January. However, when Ooka Island came around he took to it right away.
He loves that it's a computer "game" that he can play just like his big brothers do. After an easy sign-in process, where the child is given a special picture that is his "password" for the game, you are ready to play. The characters, from things that look like pigs...to robots...to elves...to real people...all are really appealing to him. And, the way the game is set up, you can see the different areas of the island on your 3-D map. It's very tempting to jump around and try something new, but the program won't let you. It's set to only allow a child to move ahead whenever he is ready. Since Ooka Island was developed for children that are emergent readers to second grade, the game automatically adjusts to where the child is. It's really a very controlled but fun game. Watch this clip and I think you'll see why he likes it so much.
It's really hard to tell you what all Jacob has accomplished because he likes this game so much that the little bugger has snuck the laptop to go play when I haven't been around. So, I can only give you a brief synopsis of what I have seen him play, and what he has told me he's played.
Jacob began by traveling through a mine tunnel to listen for a sound. Every time he came to a stop, he heard a sound. If it was the special sound that he heard at the beginning, then he could click the mouse and it would allow him through that gate. If he clicked when the wrong sound was heard, then the game patiently repeated the sound until he heard correctly. All this was done with just the sound. No letter was connected to the sound yet. This was excellent for him because he has a speech problem and this is teaching him to hear the sounds correctly.
Next, they put a letter to the sound. And there are several games that he played to make sure he knew what letter goes with that sound. I've seen him play the magnifying glass game that you saw on the video plus a matching game that he loves.
He has gone through a series of those same games with different sounds and letters. Now, after he completes so many tasks, he gets to unlock a book. The books start out simple - right on the level that he is at - and, as he learns, they become more difficult. The book is read to him or he could (if he were able) to read it himself.
Finally, after he's done reading his unlocked book, he gets to have some free play around the island and have some fun!
When we talked about all of the games that he had played, he mentioned two games that I haven't seen him attempt - the skateboarding game, which he said was a lot of fun, and the cake decorating game. When talking about the cake decorating game he sadly hung his head and said "Dad, I didn't do too well with that one."
Jacob absolutely loves Ooka Island. This is a keeper for us, and I'm sure it will be a keeper for you as well. The only downfall that I found was that it does take a long time to download. But, after downloading we had no problem whatsoever. Although, you download the game onto your computer, in order for the game to know how your child is progressing, you need internet connection. Our DSL connection has worked fine.
Pricing for Ooka Island is also a plus. If you choose to purchase one month at a time, the cost is only $12.95 for one child or $19.95 for up to four children. Six month pricing is $59.95 for one child and $99.95 for up to four children and twelve month pricing is $99.95 for one child or $129.95 for four children. BUT WAIT...if you use the PROMO CODE: LAUNCHSPECIAL30, you will save 30% on a monthly subscription! To find out more about Ooka Island, just click here or on any of the hi-lighted links above. And to find out what other members of the TOS Homeshool Crew has to say just click here. Since this game is wonderful for homeschoolers - it can be used as a complete curriculum - or for non-homeschoolers who just need a little extra help in reading, then I'll close by saying "Happy Home Educating"!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free limited time membership to Ooka Island in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.
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