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Jun 8, 2016

Max Scholar TOS Review

While MaxScholar offers the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs, I was very intrigued by some of the more unique components included in this review.  Some things weren't typical for language arts.  MaxGuru uses biographies, geography, and popular music to help students learn vocabulary and grammar, and develop reading comprehension.

MaxGuru includes*
  • MaxPhonics - phonics using the Orton-Gillingham Method
  • MaxReading - develops reading comprehension skills
  • MaxWords - learning about spelling, syllables, prefixes and suffixes, and Latin or Greek roots
  • MaxMusic - using song lyrics to find verbs, understand the parts of speech, "play" the piano, and play a sound memory-type matching game
  • MaxVocab - a dictionary of new words by reading level and vocab games (hangman, matching, and word searches
  • MaxPlaces - select a city from the world map and read all about it, followed by comprehension questions
  • and MaxBios - read biographies
*Some levels do not include access to all sections.
Malachi mostly used MaxReading and MaxPlaces.  He really enjoyed learning about anteaters and baboons on MaxReading.  He reads a bit about the animals, then uses virtual highlighters to indicate the topic, main ideas, and supporting facts.  I thought he did pretty well understanding and utilizing this activity, but MaxGuru wanted more highlights than he selected.  He averaged about 70%.  The MaxReading highlights reminded me of some used college textbooks I've seen!  He can then answer five comprehension questions based on what he read.

MaxPlaces was very similar.  Mal read about New York City and some places in Asia that he found interesting.  That's followed by the highlighting and comprehension questions as well.  Mal's highlighting score brought his overall score down, which was unfortunate.

There was a MaxReading placement test that was very similar to the activities in these two sections.  It started with the boys in level 7 and ended placing Mal in level 5 and Xav was left in level 7.  Everything looks like that is grade related leveling.  Honestly, I was surprised they leveled as high as they did.  Especially Xavier.  Once, in the pretest, Xav was asked a question that none of the answers listed were correct.  If a level is a bit difficult, lower levels can be accessed by choosing another chapter.

Xavier's favorite segment was MaxMusic.  I admit, we "sheltered homeschoolers" were not familiar with some of the artists, but there were classics, too.  He didn't love the verb highlighting.  He also doesn't really know the "to be" verbs.  Guess we'll be working on that!  There isn't any instruction.  This is definitely a supplemental program.  What he did like though, was the Fillers and Piano segments.  In Fillers, the lyrics are missing a few words.  There is (usually) an orange space with the part of speech of the missing word (adverb, noun, etc.).  He clicks on that and several choices drop down.  He completes the segment of the song for a score.  Xav's favorite part is the piano!  He follows along as several notes are played at once and then he repeats the pattern.  He feels like he can really play the piano.

Xav did also like playing Hangman.  He *was* a bit disappointed, though, when he intentionally blew a game and nothing happened to Blob Bob.  He felt it was "false advertisement." 

Using CLOVER, in MaxWords, the kids learn about syllables.  I like that each of the six sections tell a rule and then follow up with a few example questions to help cement it.  This is really the only place that I thought there was actual instruction.  The activities really cemented it.

Anytime you or your student run across an issue or a glitch, simply click the question mark in the upper right of the screen.  You can see that below.  A report box opens up and you just tell the issue you encountered and send it off to MaxScholar.

Parent Reports

The Crew had parent accounts as opposed to teacher accounts, so we did not have the ability to adjust levels for our students.  You can zip an email off to MaxScholar, though, to request changes.  I didn't use this service, so I don't know how timely the response is.  I suggest that MaxScholar allow parents to have this kind of access for homeschoolers.  I know I would have preferred to make changes myself.

I can make reports with any date range I would like.  The main report page shows the percent of usage in each section.  This is Mal's page which shows he has spent most of his time in MaxReading.

Then I can click on "See Detailed Report" to see scores and other details for each section.  I didn't think this report was really very detailed though.  Mal's MaxPlaces had an average of zero with no completion date of scores for any places he had done.  He had completed a couple of cities, but they don't show on the report.

MaxScholar's MaxGuru has amazing potential.  I receive regular emails detailing updates they have been making based on feedback.  Some of the updates only apply to teacher accounts, so once again, I would really like to see homeschoolers receive teacher account privileges on their parent accounts.

We'll be making more use of MaxWords and MaxPlaces this year.  I'm sure Xav will want to continue playing hangman and the piano.

MaxScholar is for children in PK to 12th grade.

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MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review 
Crew Disclaimer

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