I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
Table of Contents
LightSail for Homeschoolers offers two different subscription plans. The first is the Standard Plan and the second is Premium. Lightsail offers payment either monthly or annually, for up to five children.
For this review, my daughter and I used the Premium plan. I did not have any problems creating my parent account or the student account for Abby.
I was really impressed with the amount of resources that LightSail offers for homeschoolers. As you can see in the image below they give:
- 10,000 Books from top publishers
- 1,500 Audiobooks
- 20,000 Educational videos
- 40,000 Comprehension questions
- 50,000 World Book Encyclopedia articles
- 1,000’s of multimedia resources
The Parent Dashboard is the first place to start. LightSail provides detailed video instruction on how to use their site. This is a great place to start.
Also on the Parent Dashboard, you can navigate to the media library, the four pillars of their Language Arts curriculum (reading, writing, vocabulary, fluency), and then a chat feature.
From this dashboard, you’ll have to set up your child’s account, information, and reading goals.
LightSail makes it very easy to see your child’s statistics for the day, week, month or year. It includes the total amount of:
- minutes your child reads
- amount of pages read
- books read
- total words read
- total videos watched
- total time watched
- number of short response questions answered
- number of multiple choice questions answered
- total audiobook time
- total time in interactive books
LightSail for Homeschoolers: Library Section
When you’re on the Parent Dashboard, you can access the site’s library.
The Library is divided into sections.
- World Book Encyclopedia
- Biography Center
- Unit Studies
- Sports Encyclopedia
- 360 Degree Images
- Augmented Reality
LightSail's Library of Books
When you click on the book button, there are ten different choices to choose from.
To read more about each choice, just click on the tab to the left.
Below are some images from inside LightSail’s Library of Books
LightSail for Homeschooler's Library of Audiobooks
When you access LightSail’s audiobook section, you have six choices:
- Listen and Follow Word for Word Books
- Listen and Follow by Sentence Books
- Audio Only Books
- Interactive Books
- Audio Classics
In this grouping of Audiobooks, you can either find your book by using the subject index or the search features.
Inside of the subject index, Lightsail has divided up the audiobooks into 38 different subjects. These subjects are then subdivided into smaller categories.
For example, the subject of animals is divided into 22 different sub categories.
The audiobook settings can be changed to be read either slow, medium or fast.
The option is there also to skip to certain sections of the book, if you desire to do so.
Words or sentences that are being read change to a different color so your child can easily follow along.
The recordings are done by actual humans. There’s plenty of emotion and influctions with the text. It’s so much better than a tech read passage.
Below are some book cover images from inside LightSail for Homeschoolers Library of Audiobooks.
LightSail for Homeschoolers: World Book Encyclopedia
LightSail’s Encyclopedia section is divided into four parts:
- What’s Popular: This option brings up articles that have been popular with readers in the past.
- Articles: These articles are divided by subject topic. I was disappointed in seeing a frequent amount of blank spaces, where a word wasn’t understood by the typing system.
- Back in Time: Your child can go back in time by the year that they are interested in. They can go back as far as 1922. Once you’re in the correct year that you want, the articles are divided by subject matter. The articles that I read did not have any blank spots in them. My daughter and I really found this section interesting. The articles reflect the thoughts, opinions, speech patterns and feelings of that time era.
- 360 degree Images: Seventy-five 360 degree images are available to look at. They are really neat.
LightSail for Homeschoolers: 360 Degree Images
The list of 360 Degree Images are very impressive. They include:
- Airplane cockpit
- Buddhist temple
- Salisbury Cathedral
- Coral Reef
- Hot-air balloon
- London, England
- Mongolian home
- Mosaic floor
- Beyonce concert
- Milky Way Galaxy
- The Pinnacles
- Inside submarine
- Lincoln Memorial
- Orthodox church
- BMX racing
- Dairy farm
- Sistine Chapel
- Toronto Raptors
- Westminster Abbey
- Canyonlands National Park
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Aurora Lights
- Grand Canyon
- Hong Kong skyline
- World Trade Center
- Great Wall of China
- Ganges River
- Globe Theatre
- Fashion show runway
- Venice, Italy
- Palace of Versailles
- United Nations General Assembly
- Christ the Redeemer statue
- Mount Everest
- Victoria Falls
- Amphibious ship
- Running of the bulls
- U.S. Congress
- Stained glass windows
- Eiffel Tower
- and more!
LightSail for Homeschoolers Library of Biographies
The biography section is interesting. You can search for a particular person and you can even see who’s birthday is today, this week, or this month.
LightSail for Homeschoolers Library of Unit Studies
I was very pleased to see LightSail’s Unit Study section.
With all of the material that LightSail has to offer, it would take a parent a good deal of time to put books, videos, audiobooks, augmented reality books, livestreams, 360 degree images, etc. all together to form a unit study.
LightSail has done that for you on a myriad of topics. You don’t have to do LightSail’s unit studies though, you can create your own, and the planning pages are right there for you to use.
You can assign the materials and give deadlines for when items need to be done. It’s very convenient.
LightSail for Homeschoolers: Sports
The sports section gives your child all the cool stats to know on their favorite athlete.
They can search easily in the search bar for their athlete of choice, or browse by sport activity.
LightSail breaks down the athlete’s information into bite-size chunks: Fast facts, birthdate, professional highlights, personal highlights, awards, statistics, and articles that were written. There is plenty of pictures which are sure to impress your budding athlete.
LightSail for Homeschoolers Library of Videos
LightSail’s Video section is divided into four categories.
- Ted Ed
- Action Clips
There is a wide range of videos on every topic imaginable. From a 1936 action clip of inside The Red Room of The White House to a ten minute media study that was done on modern day anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists.
Using the search feature helps a great deal when trying to find any of this type of supplemental material.
LightSail for Homeschoolers Library of Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality books make the topic come to life so that your child can see the topic in action.
The directions at the beginning of the book instruct the child to have an adult download the Lerner AR app onto a digital device. As your child reads the book and they see a certain symbol, they are to scan that symbol and see the topic come to life.
Within the text are highlighted words, that will take your child to short video clips to see that object in motion.
Also, there is a fill in the blank word to really get your child using and thinking about vocabulary words. Multiple choices are given to make this easy and fun.
LightSail for Homeschoolers Library of Livestreams
My daughter and I love the livestreams. They include:
- International Space Station
- West Coast Sea Nettles
- Gorilla Cam
- Equine Adoption Center
- Tokyo Railways
- Kitten Rescue Sanctuary
- Tropical Reef
- Panda Center
- Bald Eagle
- Perefrine Falcon Nest
- Polar Bears
- Cat Hospital
- Shark Lagoon Cam
- Yellowstone River
- Central Station
- St. Petersburg, Russia
- Galveston Beach, TX
- Los Angelas Airport
- Snow King Mountain Base
- Turkey Barn
- Snow Lepoards
- Horse Ranch
- Surf Cam
- Reegan National Airport
- Gatlinburg Skylift
- Penguin Beach
- Bison Water Hole
- Hollywood Beach Boardwalk
- Great Danes Service Dog Project
- Elephant Park
- NASA TV
- Orca Beach
- Sea Lions
- Sea Otters
- Charlotte’s Pasture
- International Wolf Center
- Sheep Barn
- Cattle Pond Pasture
- New York City
- Disneyland Park
- Deer Farm
- Elk Refuge
- The Colosseum
- and more!
All of the above information and choices are all found under the Library tab on your Parent Dashboard. Now we’re going to go back there again and click on the other buttons for Reading, Writing, Vocabulary and Fluency.
LightSail for Homeschoolers: Reading, Writing, Vocabulary and Fluency Sections
The Reading Section gives you, the parent, the ability to see specific data about your child’s assignments.
These choices will fill up and the content will be there, the more your child reads.
The options you have are:
- Reading Goals
- Reading Milestones
- Unit Studies
- Book Clubs
- Open Content
- Reading History
- Reading Badges
- My Children’s Data
- Reading Gradebook
LightSail for Homeschoolers: Content Controls
LightSail gives you three choices in your child’s account settings that help you know what content your child is allowed to see and choose from.
These settings can only be changed by the parent, and they can be changed at any time.
You have three choices for your child.
- Allow: Books will be visible and openable
- Block: Books will not be visible at all in your child’s library of choices
- Require Approval: These books are visible in your child’s library, but a parent must approve the title so that it can be opened by the child.
LightSail wants to make this extremely easy for you to do. As you peruse the library of titles, you will see that the book cover images have colored borders around them.
These colors tell you if your child is able to see/open this book.
You can adjust settings on these topics:
- Ableism (Negative Stereotypes, Disabilities, Mental Illness, etc.)
- Creationism/Young Earth
- Criminal Behaviors
- Eating Disords/Body Image
- Evolution/Evolution Theory
- Injuries/Medical Issues
- Language (Profanity, Slang, Verbal Abuse, Blasphemy, etc.)
- New Religions
- Non-Traditional Family Units
- Of A Mature Nature
- Other (Vandalism, Bullying, Gambling, Bathroom Humor, etc.)
- Outdated Cultural Depictions
- Religious Components
- Romantic Relationships
- Scary Imagery
- Sexism/Gender Roles/Gender Identity
- Social Activism
- Woen’s Health/ Reproductive
How We Used LightSail for Homeschoolers
There are a lot of benefits to be found inside of LightSail for Homeschoolers.
The Reading, Writing, Vocabulary and Fluency sections are still being completed so we didn’t do anything with these sections.
Abby did the Power Text readings when they were due, and met the reading goals that I had set for her.
I searched for supplemental materials on her Biology lab topics and was able to find some information to assign to her to read from the World Book Encyclopedia section.
There were also some videos about proteins that were interesting to watch.
I did not have any trouble finding more information on her biographical studies. When I used the search bar at the top of the site, it searched all the different types of content at once. This was way easier than going into the book section, and then into the audiobook section, and then into the video section etc. It just searched all of it at once.
I was glad to see some extra resources in the form of videos and audiobooks about C.S. Lewis, George Washington Carver, Amy Carmichael, John Wesley, Martin Luther, etc.
Abby does enjoy reading stories about horses so I assigned some to her to read, which she’ll get to eventually.
We also spent some time with the interactive content such as the Augmented Reality books, 360 degree images, and the livestream videos.
The Easiest Way to Get Started in LightSail for Homeschoolers
Since there is so much information and so many different resources, just know ahead of time that there is going to be a learning curve to the platform.
That’s not a bad thing though, it just takes some time.
In the meantime though, I would suggest that you get your parent and student accounts created, have your child take the reading placement test, and then go to the Unit Study section.
Since LightSail already has unit studies already compiled, I would choose one of these.
While your child does this unit study and learns his way around the platform, you can be watching all the tutorial videos on how to use the site and all of its different features.
It’s just a suggestion……..
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