Wednesday, April 15, 2015

TOS Crew Review of Star Toaster
There is nothing better than a good story. Don’t you agree? Do you have a child who loves to read? My son loves to read and has recently showed an interest in wanting to read books online and get into e-books. Star Toaster has created an online book, Orphs of the Woodlands. I received a one year subscription for the purpose of this review. Normally the subscriptions are for two months.
Little Homeschool on the Praire Star Toaster Review
Orphs of the Woodlands is a book and educational resource in one bundle. “The Treasure of HighTower,” is the first release in the “Orphs of the Woodlands Series.” Orphs of the Woodlands is intended for grades 4-7. A 60-day subscription for up to 3 children for just $19.99, you can also extend your subscription for 30 days for $6.99 if your need more time to finish the story. 

What makes this unique is that Star Toaster has created an interactive story. While reading the story you come across highlighter areas that will open up vocabulary words, Latin phrases, thinking skills, character traits, recipes, and short videos on all types of subjects from math to science.

When you first create an account you start your adventure of by naming the main character in which is an orphaned squirrel living in the Woodlands. The orphans are called “orphs”. You are a spy trying to collect information so you can defeat the Night Creatures.
Little Homeschool on the Praire Star Toaster Review
While reading each chapter you are learning about varies topics. At the end of each chapter you have to take jobs to earn “goldstars” which is basically money needed to help save the orphs. Your challenge is to buy product   such as land, a house, food, medicine, water, and other supplies which is your goal to help as many orphs as you can.

You are directed into a “help wanted” area after every chapter. You only get paid goldstars for correct answers. You can review items with job you take before you begin your job.

Parents can keep track of each child’s progress. Progress reports are also emailed to the parents regularly.

How did I use Orphs of the Woodlands in our homeschool?
My nine year old son used Star Toaster. He really enjoyed exploring this interactive story. This was my son’s first experience reading this much online. The one thing that really frustrated him was the length of each chapter. He wanted to get the end so he could do apply some of his learned skills and save more of the orphs. The chapters took him several days to get through and that made it less motivating for him. He basically read the story 3-4 days a week. Sometimes, I took turns reading with him so he could complete a chapter so he could do the jobs needed to help the orphs. Much to his dismay I didn’t do that too often for his liking.
Little Homeschool on the Praire Star Toaster Review
My son wasn’t particular fond of the recipes in that you could pull up during the story but, he did get a kick out of some of the silly names of the recipes. I noticed that pretty much all the recipes are pretty basic that most kids would enjoy making and eating.
Little Homeschool on the Praire Star Toaster Review
My son likes math and is pretty good overall in math. He found some of the problems challenging and he had to really think to figure them. Sometimes he would even have to review what he learned about some of the topics.

His favorite part was the spy files and trying to remember who was who in the spy files.
In the future more stories will be added to this series.

My Final Thoughts:

This was a very thought out story that I think most children will enjoy. I love all the lessons in math, vocabulary, science, thinking skills, and so much more. This really made this a unique and creative story that will entertain the imagination of a child.

My only dislike is the length of the chapters. It really was frustrating for my son. They did add a feature during the review period that let you see how many pages until the end of the chapter. Which the pages caused all kinds of emotions in my son from being frustrated to being totally excited to see his progress. He just found the length of the chapters painful. I would love to see the chapter broken up in smaller sections.

Sometime he marked the wrong answers in the jobs and wanted to be able to retake them to re-earn his goldstars. I would love to have that option to re-do the jobs available also.

This was a real fun story that overall we really enjoyed the whole concept and the plot of the story. If your looking for some great online education or a summer reading program then stop by Star Toaster.

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