How to Use LightSail in Your Homeschool
Getting your kids to read can be a challenge. What type of things interest your children? Do you have books on those topics? Sometimes, as a homeschooler, I spend so much money buying books for them to be read once, and then they sit on a shelf. No one else in the house is interested in those books. Eventually, they were given away to other homeschoolers. However, what if I told you there was a great online program that offered your child enhanced books just for their interests. LightSail for Homeschoolers is a unique adaptive learning technology that creates a unique experience for each of your children. This LightSail homeschool review will show you all the great content and how to use that content in your homeschooling.
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LightSail Homeschool Review
I am not a huge fan of online learning, but I have begun to embrace it because it really does help my child learn best. Additionally, having online access to a plethora of reading materials helps me 1) save money and 2) reduce clutter. These are two important aspects of running a homeschool household.
So How Does LightSail Help Me Save Money and Reduce Clutter?
Their massive digital library has over 10,000 books that are enhanced with features such as fill in the blank to gauge comprehension, short educational videos, dictionary access, and more. Having immediate access to thousands of books means I have less books piled up in my house. Don’t get me wrong; I still have plenty of books, but for a book addict whose house is overrun with books, too much of a good thing is still too much. I love reducing spending and this app has allowed me to do just that.
Getting Started with LightSail
When you first log in to LightSail, your child will take a “placement test.” This helps determine grade level and reading skills to ensure your child has access to the books and additional resources suitable for their Lexile level. The Lexile score is simply a way of determining a child’s reading level and helps place books in front of your child curated just for them.
As a parent, you can block content or even require LightSail to ask for your approval before allowing your child to read a book. When your child requests access to a book, you will receive an email. Log in to the parent dashboard to review the title. You maintain control of your child’s reading! I will explain this feature more under Parental Controls below.
Since no two children will build the same library, each child’s reading experience will be unique and customized for the individual. Each child has access to the best books for their interests and reading level. This is another win-win for mom!
What Type of Books Can I Expect to Find in LightSail?
There are books about every topic and subject you can imagine. I even found a couple of books about Walt Disney and Walt Disney World. This is an expected bonus I didn’t anticipate.
The LightSail platform has provided us with quick access to books for unit studies for topics such as under the sea, and animals, and faraway places for social studies units. When I need a book in a pinch on a certain subject, this amazing platform means I do not have to own books that we read once. It also means fewer trips to the library. If you are anything like me, when books need to be returned, I am always on the hunt for one elusive book. LightSail saves me time, money, and my sanity!
The LightSail Library Homeschool Review
The classic library is one area that I was completely blown away. Not only can you read from William Shakespeare, Jack London, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, and even Laura Ingalls Wilder, but there are so many tried and true classic titles. Additionally, since each of your children can read from the same text, and since they each have a unique login, there is no more sharing (fighting over) the same book.
So many choices! There are biographies, classic literature, fun to read, picture books, animal books, and many more to choose from. The extensive library will ensure that even the pickiest of readers find something they will love.
As a long-time homeschooling mom, I lament the moments lost because I was always looking for a book on the bookshelf or running to the store at the last minute to find a book that I had lent to someone and never got back.
Incentives for Your Child to Read
Your child can select a theme. As you can see, we selected a “cartoon theme.” Since Toy Story is one of Jack-Jack’s favorite movies, having a space ranger hang out with you is certainly a plus. Since there are so many themes to choose from, your child is sure to find a special background.
Additionally, children earn badges along the way. I personally get excited about incentives like this. I really wish they would add these to adult reading apps.
Speaking of Adults: The Parent Portal is Designed For You!
Personalization of Child Safe Content Controls for each child in your family is one of the most important aspects for me personally. It is easy to edit the settings. You click on any subcategory and choose Allow, Block (books will not appear for your child at all), or Require Approval (your child can see books, but they have to request approval. You will get a notification, and then you can review the book).
From the parent login, you also have the ability to monitor what your child is reading, set parental controls, and see your child’s progress.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Before most parents subscribe to a reading app for their homeschool, they have some questions. If you do not see your question below, either reach out to me, or visit LightSail for more information.
Can you use LightSail on a mobile device?
Yes. LightSail for Homeschoolers can be viewed on any device, but you must use either a Chrome browser or Microsoft Edge browser.
Is this a complete language arts curriculum?
LightSail has reading, vocabulary, spelling, writing, including a My Journal area, essay writing, book reports, and informal writing components. Furthermore, there are Book Clubs – I just started checking this out. Another one of my favorite features is listening to someone speak the text (audiobook), so your child can have assistance when you aren’t available.
What Are Power Texts?
Power Texts are books designated as just right for your child’s reading level. While there are other books to choose from, these Power Texts maximize your child’s reading growth.
Are There Additional Resources Included with LightSail?
World Book Encyclopedia is a valuable component. Another additional bonus is the Livestreams. These cameras include a horse ranch, street cams for various cities across the world, and a panda park, to name a few.
But wait…There’s more! Check out the 360-degree images for famous museums, a fountain in Perugia, Italy, a canal in Venice, Italy, and other places you would love to visit! (Obviously, I want to visit Italy!)
My Recommendation: LightSail Homeschool Review
Most of my reviews do not come with a recommendation but are just reviews. However, after perusing LightSail for Homeschoolers, I can say that I do recommend a LightSail subscription. This K-12 reading program includes many features for students. It makes it a no-brainer to use this platform. While I love holding a book and reading out loud to my children, oftentimes, there is not enough time in the day.
Giving my children the ability to use LightSail frees up my time to spend quality time with my children on other activities. I don’t feel that I have to rush through to get to the next assignment. A bonus is that LightSail for Homeschoolers is priced with the homeschool family in mind!
Furthermore, I realize that my ability to always be adjusting my child’s reading level is lacking. While I do consider myself a supermom, I cannot react the same way as adaptive technology.
As a mom of a child on the autism spectrum, LightSail enables my son to read right at his level. The technology employed in LightSail gives Jack-Jack the flexibility and structure he needs to grow his reading level. This reading platform gives him the ability to select books that he wants to read at a level good for him. And that is what makes LightSail for Homeschool a platform worthy of a recommendation!
Homeschooling mom – 26 years and counting
Movie reviewer/Travel blogger