Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vantage Learning

Recently we had a homeschool graduate and  college student over for dinner. I quizzed her a bit, around the dinner table, about what she felt was the most important skill academically to have in college. She shared with us, that the ability to communicate, whether that is verbally or in written form, is essential in order to excel. And the skill of writing a paper and other types of reports and communications are the most important skill. Actually what she was sharing is that she wished that she had a stronger foundation in that area.

With that piece of knowledge, we began our school year with the desire to strengthen that skill in each of the children.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that I would be reviewing MyAccess from My Vantage Learning. MyAccess is an online writing program. As part of the crew, I was given a one year membership for all of my children and myself.

Here is what they say about their program:
    "My Access will help you develop the strong writing skills and confidence you need to be successful in both your academic and professional efforts. A completely web-based solution to improve your writing.  My Access requires no software and is accessible anywhere you have a computer and an internet connection- at home, at school, at work, or at the library."

Everyone on the crew received the 'Home Edition'  here is what they say about their "Home Edition":
      "My Access Home Edition fits neatly into any language arts curriculum, whether you're homeschooling your own children, tutoring students after school, or just trying to help a child improve his or her academic confidence."

  I have used the  program with my 14 year old and myself. I wanted to have a working knowledge of both the student and the teacher/parent applications. You can view demos of both the student and parent accounts here.

I have been very happy with the product! Here is how it works.....

You will set up an account for yourself and for your student. In the parent/teacher account you will pick the age range of your student. From the teacher account you will be able to set assignments. You will also be able to see the progress of each of your students. You are  able to print out the reports that your student writes. As well as the performance report for each assignment.

Once a child submits an assignment, they are graded. They will rank somewhere between Below Proficient-Proficient and Advanced. They are also given a Holistic Writing Score.

The child is then given an opportunity to revise their submission. Based on the mistakes made, the program will give them tips and pointers on how to correct their paper.

While this program is not an all inclusive writing program. There is a teaching session during each assignment. When your student clicks into the 'assignment' they will have the option to select 'Earn Points', which will take them to the writing course. They will earn points as they work through the course. Or they can choose 'Begin Writing' which will let them start their draft.

There is also a tab called 'Activities'. Under this tab you will find extra skill building activities that build on the writing course.

Within the writing course, the student is taken through a scenario where they are a new reporter following a reporter on assignment. While they are tagging along they learn the steps needed to create an interesting story.

In addition to the pre-designed assignments that come with your program, you also have the ability to assign a custom report. So if they have just read a book and need to write a book report, you can use this program to do that.

If you feel at all inadequate in teaching writing or simply need some help in this area. My Access would be an awesome addition to your homeschool
repertoire .

You can order a one year subscription for either 3 students and a parent or 6 students and a parent.
The cost for the entire year for 3 students is-$99.95
                                and for 6 students it is-$129.95

Don't forget to check out the crew blog and see what my crew mates have to say about My Access.

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