Starfall Education (Learn to Read App) in a Nutshell: REVIEW

If you want a fun Kindergarten curriculum for your homeschool, you should consider looking into the Starfall Education curriculum. This program offers high-quality Pre-K and Kindergarten material for homeschool families. Children learn concepts through an animated program that encourages them to learn as it feels like play. Homeschool parents have access to see how their children are performing, meaning they can compare their students work to other students work the same age. 

Just so you know, I’m not an affiliate with Starfall. I am just interested in the program and so I’m writing this comprehensive Starfall review.

To try and maintain accuracy in answers to the questions, I’ve compiled this article with help from a Starfall staff member.

I hope you find the article helpful 🙂

Well #Starfall is 100% online. It's filled with animations to make it fun for everyone. You can look into it by reading this comprehensive, in-detail article about Starfall Education here.

 

What is unique about the Starfall Education curriculum?

Starfall isn’t boring. It presents a fun way to learn a Reading and Language Arts curriculum.

The Starfall Kindergarten program features imaginative plush characters, stimulating interactive online activities, engaging content-driven instruction, and hands-on experiences.

Lesson plans are included. Parents are given Standards and benchmarks for every unit as well as holiday plans and character development plans. This is useful for the mom who wants to know exactly how her children are tracking compared to other children the same age.

There are also special time slots where children have their progress monitored. They also undergo assessment, so parents know where they’re up to.

The Starfall Education program is written by teachers and has been piloted throughout the United States.

 

Why did the  program begin (was it to fill a hole in an area?)

Stephen Schutz, the founder of Starfall, struggled with reading during his childhood. Starfall also began as Stephen wanted to create a resource to help children like himself.

Starfall also began in response to the need for a fun and comprehensive kindergarten program throughout America. At the time, Preschool and Kindergarten parents and teachers were often left to piece their own curricula together which left many educational gaps.

Starfall also realized teachers and parents didn’t feel the existing curricula were engaging or enjoyable. Also, they wanted mathematics to include higher-level thinking rather than strict rote memorization.

So Starfall Education decided to create a curriculum that could fill all those gaps.

 

 

How many years has Starfall Education been running?

Since 2002 which is now around 19 years. The timeline goes as follows:

  • 2002- Starfall.com Opens
  • 2009 – First Edition K ELA Released
  • 2017 – Second Edition K ELA Released
  • 2016 – Kindergarten Math Curriculum Released
  • 2013 – Pre-K First Edition Released
  • 2018 – Pre-K Second Edition Released

 

Is Starfall written with special needs in mind? If so, how?

Yes. They have functions that make it great for sensory impaired children. The online component includes a dedicated index for children with sensory impairments at https://www.starfall.com/h/accessibility.php

They can also help with other special needs. Check out their Parent & Teacher Frequently Asked Questions in Starfall’s Parent Teacher Center here https://teach.starfall.com/lv/info/faq

 

Is the Starfall curriculum aimed more towards any particular learning style?

When I asked the creators of this program this question, they said, ‘Starfall recognizes different learning styles and has developed our curricula to include all modalities of learning.’

 

Do they offer hard copy, online curriculum or both?

Both hard and online curriculum is offered.

 

Which homeschool method does Starfall Education most closely follow?

Unit Studies.

Unit Studies is a method that encourages children to learn in a hands-on manner. Children learn topics across a range of subjects. This means they study similar things at the same time across different subjects.

For example, in a typical Unit Studies course you might learn about the Pharoahs in History, the Nile in Geography, and frogs and fish in Biology.

You can learn more about Unit Studies here.

 

How much time does a parent have to spend in hands-on teaching (or supervised teaching with children)?

About two or three hours in a homeschool situation. But, the amount of time a parent has to spend with children varies with the student.

Starfall Education in a Nutshell. Are you interested in learning more about Starfall_ This article gives you a comprehensive look at everything about #Starfall.

Do parents need to purchase any extras, supplements or additional books?

Yes.

  1. Pre-K requires the purchase of manipulatives and Learning Center (more about the Learning Center below) materials, although objects from home may be used instead.
  2. K ELA requires additional recommended literature.*
  3. K Math requires additional manipulatives, though a variety of objects found at home may be used instead.

*Special consideration was given in choosing additional books that would be easy to locate in school libraries, public libraries, or classroom libraries, or available inexpensively from local bookstores, AbeBooks.com, or Amazon.com. Books may also be substituted.

 

Does the Starfall curriculum work well for teaching multiple ages?

You could teach multiple ages using Starfall Education, but each program is aimed at a set age.

That is, the focus of the:

  • Pre-K program is around age 4
  • K ELA and Math for ages 4-6+

 

Is the curriculum flexible? In what way?

Yes. While some lessons, such as phonics, are sequential and need to follow an order, there is a lot of flexibility during times such as “Center Time”.

Center Time is scheduled daily and is the opportunity for children to reinforce and review skills as well as learn through exploration. They may include art, library, computer time, creative writing, blocks, and so on.

Parents may choose to be flexible with the Centers they choose to make available (for example, by choosing only the library and art) and the amount of time students spent in Centers each day.

The Starfall Education curriculum is also flexible in that there is extra time built into the program. This means, for example:

  1. students can take time to study an area of interest or
  2. parents could go on holidays with their family without worrying about completing the curriculum in one year.

Parents may also adapt the schedule in areas that are not sequential.

The following homeschool “Read Me First” documents provide a great overview of our homeschool curriculum and products included. They are worth reviewing if you’re interested in this program.

Kindergarten ELA: https://teach.starfall.com/lv/documents/teachers-lounge/k-ela2-readmefirst-home.pdf
Kindergarten Math: https://teach.starfall.com/lv/documents/teachers-lounge/k-math-readmefirst-home.pdf
Pre-K: https://teach.starfall.com/lv/documents/teachers-lounge/pk-ed2-ReadMeFirst_home.pdf

 

Does Starfall Education come with multiple schedules?

No. Starfall Education doesn’t come with multiple schedules.

 

Is it hard to catch up if you miss a day?

There is extra time built into the Starfall Education curriculum to accommodate for days missed and to provide the flexibility to branch out and study particular areas of interest.

 

How much planning (prep work like cutting, preparing or copying) is required before you begin?

If parents choose, they may spend time before they begin schooling to prepare materials in advance. These planning suggestions are in the “Read Me First” documents (see section above ‘Is the curriculum flexible?’).

If they do this, preparation time may be as little as 15 minutes up to one hour. Preparation notes are available at the beginning of each week and included in the daily plans.

 

Is any part of the product reusable (for families who have multiple children)?

The entire curriculum is reusable, year after year. The only items that need replacing are the consumable workbooks, which are in the $2-9 range.

Is it self-paced?

The curriculum schedule is organized into days and weeks but can be adjusted to any time schedule appropriate for the family.

 

Does Starfall Education offer all general subjects? If not, which do they offer?

This is what Starfall offers:

  • Pre-K (4-year old -All subjects integrated)
  • Kindergarten English Language Arts with Social Studies, Science and Math.

 

Do they offer all grades? If not, what do they offer?

No, Starfall Education is slowly building up its offerings but is currently only offering Pre-K and Kindergarten.

 

Do you have tutors students can access?

No. But, lesson plans are scripted which provides great support for the person teaching the lesson.

 

Is Starfall Education accredited?

Starfall has developed a curriculum designed to go above and beyond accreditation standards. However, the program hasn’t been submitted for accreditation.

Starfall Education has been submitted for state approvals and is on the approved curricula list in several states.

 

What is the Starfall Education website URL?

https://www.starfall.com/h/

 

What is the link to the curriculum shopping page?

https://store.starfall.com/

 

Does the organization have any Christian affiliation?

When I asked Starfall Education this question, they replied with the following:

Starfall was created as a strictly academic program and does not include a spiritual component, so it can be used in conjunction with any faith-based instruction.

 

Does Starfall align with Common Core standards?

Yes. They aim to align in Language Arts and Mathematics.

 

What support does Starfall Education offer?

Curriculum and technical support are available during business hours at [email protected] or 1-888-857-8990.

 

How much does Starfall cost for membership (2021)?

  • Starfall.com one-year membership only: $35
  • Pre-K Homeschool Kit: Starting at $289, includes a one-year membership
  • K-ELA Homeschool Kit: Less than $400, includes a one-year membership
  • K-Math Homeschool Kit: Less than $176, includes a one-year membership
  • Printed Teachers Guides and other optional materials available

 

Will Starfall ship worldwide or domestically?

Starfall is available worldwide.

They have both online and hard copy material, but they’ll ship the hard copy curriculum worldwide.

 

Additional points about Starfall Education

Starfall has won two prominent awards, namely from Awards: Best Homeschool Curriculum and Resources” award from HowToHomeschool.net and the ON for Learning Award from Common Sense Media.

Mentions and Accolades: Romper, Kiwi families, Tutorean, Parents Magazine, and Time Magazine.

Disney’s Family Fun, The Wall Street Journal, and more.

Reviews: Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Common Sense Media, and more.

 

Conclusion

If you want a simple Kindergarten program for your homeschoolers, consider checking out Starfall. The program offers parents a fun, animated program kids enjoy doing as it feels like play. It’s an easy program if you want to monitor your children’s work, and it doesn’t take all day. You can check them out on the links above or by going to Starfall.com.

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Rebecca Devitt
Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.
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