Using LightSail for Homeschoolers for Language Arts and Beyond

side by side photographs of a young child using a laptop to access the LightSail for Homeschoolers platform

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As a homeschool mom of reluctant readers, I’m always looking for ways to encourage reading at home. When I found out about the LightSail for Homeschoolers online program, I thought “oh! This could be the thing that gets the boys interested in reading!” We’ve had some time to try out the program and, if you’re in the market for an online program to use for language arts lessons and beyond, I have a feeling you’ll be just as excited about this program as I am.

Growing up, I’d fly through books at lightning speed. The drive to and from the library couldn’t happen fast enough and it always seemed that I’d be without new books, or re-reading books, every single week. After all, it was the early nineties and having 24/7 access to digital books just wasn’t a thing yet, you know?

When I had my kids, I always thought they’d have the same thirst for reading that I had at their ages. Ha! Nope. Don’t get me wrong, they will read, but it’s not something they always enjoy. In the summer, they will read for free pizza and free books, but how am I going to keep this momentum going the rest of the year?! I honestly have a feeling that the LightSail for Homeschoolers online program could be just what we’ve been needing to encourage a love of reading.

Let’s chat a bit about this program, shall we?

What is the LightSail for Homeschoolers program?

LightSail for Homeschoolers is an adaptive online language arts program for grades pre-K through 12. A foundation in the science of reading and writing, combined with the experience of a team of home educators, creates a family-friendly learning experience advancing skills in reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency. LightSail provides tens of thousands of ChildSafe books and multimedia resources from leading publishers such as World Book and Lerner Publishing.

The Lightsail for Homeschoolers program focuses on the four pillars of reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency.

two elementary age children sitting on the bottom bunk of a bunkbed each with their own laptop that's been decorated with stickers. From the article "Using LightSail for Homeschoolers for Language Arts and Beyond" article from That Homeschool Family written by Elizabeth Dukart
Do your kids move throughout the house for homeschool lessons, too?

3 reasons why I am loving this Language Arts platform

It’s easy.

I’m just going to cut to the chase. I am a busy lady. Throughout any given day, I’m homeschooling the kids, working on the blog, creating new educational resources, cooking, cleaning, running errands. Like so many other parents, I’m running around and taking care of approximately a billion things before my head hits the pillow each night.

Using the LightSail for Homeschoolers program for my own kids takes a load off my shoulders. I am plenty happy to teach my kids their language arts lessons myself, but, when they’re able to complete a lesson successfully, on their own and with minimal assistance, I am able to take care of other things and prepare for future activities.

I also totally appreciate that this program is based off my kids Lexile scores (which, as long as lessons are completed consistently, are updated every 15 days) because it makes it easy for me (and the kids) to see their progress from my own parent dashboard.

Tip: when you first complete your LightSail for Homeschoolers Registration, watch the “intro” video and check out the Feature Map. The video is about 45 minutes long, so it will take a bit of time to get through, but it’s SO helpful and really shows you all the ins and outs of the platform.

image of a woman looking at a young girl using the LightSail for Homeschoolers program on her laptop with an image of the home screen of the online learning platform

It goes beyond language arts instruction.

LightSail contains an extensive collection of tens of thousands of engaging books and multimedia content from respected publishers such as World Book and Lerner Publishing, as well as trusted homeschool and faith-based publishers. Parents customize this collection to the individual needs of their children and their family values through LightSailโ€™s ChildSafe Content Control Service and reading and grade-level appropriateness controls.

The LightSail for Homeschoolers Library is enormous. Not only does the library include texts on a variety of subjects and content areas, but videos, audiobooks, images, and even TED talks are all available at my disposal. It’s no longer necessary for me to scour the internet for appropriate videos or drive over to the library to borrow books (that, inevitably, will result in late fees because…life) to supplement our homeschool lessons. Now, I just need to log-in to my LightSail for Homeschoolers account, search by keyword or subject, and then assign my findings to my kids. As my kids would say, “easy peasy, lemon squeezy!”

In addition, I love that this program encourages parent/child communication throughout the entire process. Writing activities complement reading assignments, and LightSailโ€™s chat feature allows parents and children to interact and engage through the platform. Furthermore, LightSail parents have real-time access to meaningful data about their childrenโ€™s reading and writing trends, comprehension, and growth that allows them to guide, create, and enhance the learning experience.

LightSail for Homeschoolers IS a language arts platform, but I absolutely love that I can take advantage of its offerings to supplement and teach my kids in all of their homeschool subjects.

Tip: when planning for lessons outside of the LightSail for Homeschoolers platform, ask yourself “can this lesson be supplemented with video, text, or imagery?” Perform a keyword search and then assign your preferred findings to the appropriate child. When the time comes to complete that history or science lesson, for example, they’ll be able to easily access materials. This is a great option for visual and auditory learners!

a boy's hands on the keyboard of a laptop while sitting at the kitchen counter. Laptop is open to a page of the LightSail for Homeschoolers online platform. From the article "Using LightSail for Homeschoolers for Language Arts and Beyond" from That Homeschool Family written by Elizabeth Dukart
SO MANY resources to choose from!

It’s reasonably priced.

As a veteran special education teacher, I actually do get a little pep in my step when it comes to figuring out curriculum and buying school supplies each year. Homeschooling my kids takes me back to the happy moments of my teaching days but, you know what? I no longer have that teacher salary, so I need to keep myself in check and do my best to not go overboard and use my money wisely.

Even at full price, a LightSail for Homeschoolers membership is an incredible value. As a homeschooling parent, I have spent quite a few late nights researching all sorts of curriculum options for my own kids and, when I take into consideration all this platform has to offer, you really do get a fabulous bang for your buck.

If you’re in the market for a homeschool language arts program (which…wild guess…you are because you’re reading this article), definitely consider signing up by August 31, 2021 so you can take advantage of their special launch pricing of $99/year for Premium or $65/year for Standard!

3 reasons why my kids are loving this literacy platform

It’s gamified.

I’ve mentioned that my kids are reluctant readers, but, did you know they’re reluctant writers, too? Yep. It’s true. Ugh.

You know what else they are? They’re, as so many other kids these days, video game fanatics. They love playing their games and collecting all sorts of digital “awards” and “tokens” or whatnot. They are SO proud when they’ve completed some sort of challenge and have a new award to show off.

The LightSail for Homeschoolers program has recognized this and, as a result, the lessons are gamified. My boys have been loving collecting awards after completing their activities and get so excited when they see they’ve completed all the requirements for an award. Whatever works, right?

Motivate children to read and write by incorporating fun challenges and rewards. LightSail for Homeschoolers text with image of tablet and smart phone showing potential rewards and gamification of the language arts platform.

It has content they’re interested in.

If you’re worried that the reading materials available won’t be of interest to your child, I’m telling you right now: you have NOTHING to worry about. There are tens of thousands of reading materials available from fiction to non-fiction, sports, humor, adventure, science…poetry, classic literature, fantasy, plays, historical fiction…audiobooks, TED Talks, videos and more. There are SO MANY digital options available that your kids should have absolutely no issue finding something that gets them excited to read and learn. This is a definite plus for all of the kids using this program.

In addition, because text suggestions are made based upon Lexile scores, completing a lesson isn’t stressful and the kids are receiving lessons and activities that will challenge them appropriately.

Tip: don’t limit reading and learning to “only” homeschool hours. Encourage the kids to use the LightSail for Homeschoolers platform to enjoy content for their own enjoyment! If possible, set aside “reading times” throughout your week when you can read a book while the kids read as well. If they see you enjoying reading, they might be convinced to do the same!

It’s all online!

I grew up in the days when I had heavy text books and would use brown paper bags to wrap and protect them. You, too? These days, though?! They kids are all about technology and learning online. It’s all about balance, but I have definitely noticed that my kids seem more excited to learn when the content is available online.

The LightSail for Homeschoolers platform can be used on your choice of technology: smart phone, tablet, laptop, desktop. We used the platform on both laptops and a desktop computer because that’s what we have available, but feel free to use whatever technology you have available to you! Just make sure your device is all charged up when it comes time for the lesson (why do they always forget to charge the laptops?!)

Tip: make sure all devices are charged. Couldn’t help myself there! ๐Ÿ˜†

Using LightSail for Homeschoolers for Language Arts and Beyond text, thathomeschoolfamily.com, with image of child's hands on a laptop keyboard
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Wrapping up…

As you can see, having access to the LightSail for Homeschoolers platform has really been beneficial to my entire family! I can’t wait to see how my kids progress in their lessons and education while using this platform over the next year! If you end up registering your own kids with the LightSail for Homeschoolers program, definitely let me know! Maybe our kids can use their “book club” option to read and discuss books together!

As always, if you have any questions at all, feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to help you out and get some answers for you! I also recommend checking out the LightSail for Homeschoolers FAQ page for more information! Don’t forget, LightSail is offering special launch pricing ($99/year for Premium; $65/year for Standard) through 8/31/21.

LightSail is committed to creating a world in which learners maximize their potential through literacy. The family-centric language arts program of LightSail for Homeschoolers builds on LightSailโ€™s effective and award-winning online K-12 literacy platform that has served learners and educators since 2012. The Homeschool platform, developed with experienced home educators, features unique ChildSafe Content controls. Students have access to personalized libraries filled with tens of thousands of engaging texts and multimedia resources through content partnerships with World Book and Lerner Publishing. Parents and educators receive real-time access to meaningful data about childrenโ€™s reading, writing, comprehension, and Lexileโ“‡ performance. LightSailโ€™s partnerships with leading publishers such as Penguin Random House and HarperCollins enable homeschool families, schools, and districts to grow their libraries even further with an e-bookstore embedded in its platforms.  For more information, visit: www.homeschoolingliteracy.com

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family!

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