Friday, October 26, 2012

Samson's Classroom (Schoolhouse Crew Review)


Earlier this year, I looked at lots of programs that would provide extra reading comprehension practice for Brennan. I was looking for something formatted a lot like a standardized test -- read a short passage and then answer questions about the passage. Recently, I found just what I was looking for with an online reading skills program called Samson's Classroom.

Samson's Classroom offers activities for sight words, spelling, and reading. We focused almost exclusively on the Reading with Samson activity. There are four difficulty levels available for it. The passages increase in length and difficulty as you reach harder levels. In addition to more questions per passage, the questions themselves become more difficult in the higher levels.

Brennan enjoyed the passages and often told me a factoid that he had learned while reading. Last night he told me that a certain type of whale can stay under water for over an hour and that some animals that we call whales are really dolphins. I noticed that the passages covered a wide-range of styles -- fictional stories, non fiction reports, and even poetry.

Brennan's biggest worry about the Reading with Samson program is that he will finish all 23 passages for level three before he's ready to take on the challenge of the level four passages.


After reading the passage, the student then answers a series of multiple choice questions about it. If the student answers incorrectly the first time, the program highlights the portion of the passage that tells the answer. At the end of the passage, the student earns hammer swings based on the amount of questions answered correctly. If all the answers were correct, the student earns five hammer swings. If he used hints on some of the questions, he only gets one hammer swing. If any of the questions were answered incorrectly, then there are no hammer swings given as a reward.

This high-stakes reward system works fairly well for Brennan. I've noticed that sometimes when playing other games he won't even attempt to answer a difficult question correctly because the reward isn't worth the effort. He can just move on to a simpler question. With this program, he tries to answer each and every question correctly for the passage so that he can get the maximum number of swings with the hammer game. The hammer swings are spent on the short reward game shown below.

Samson's Classroom is available as a home plan subscription which costs $30 per year for one user or as a family plan subscription which costs $50 per year for up to four users.

I highly recommend this program for older students that need extra work on reading comprehension skills. The program lists a recommended age of K-5, but I think the reading comprehension section is appropriate for many students in grades 6-8 as well. Please note that Samson's Classroom also includes practice activities for sight words and spelling. Be sure to click the banner below to read other reviews to see what other homeschool families thought about those parts of the program.

Disclaimer: I received a family plan subscription to Samson's Classroom to user with my children as a member of the 2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...