Orphs of the Woodlands is a brilliant online book and game which encourages reading while reviewing a myriad of skills from a number of subject areas. This engaging story by Star Toaster is geared towards your 4th through 7th grader, and will be especially helpful for the reluctant readers in your homeschool.
Orphs of the Woodlands is a story about a squirrel. And that squirrel is you! Or maybe more appropriately, your little one who will be embarking on an adventure as a spy in the WAK Underground. They are attempting to rescue Orphs and get them to safety. Along the way, your child will complete missions to gain gold stars, a needed commodity to help care for the Orphs!
If your child loves screen time, this is the perfect way to give it to them. It’s engaging enough to feel like a video game, but educational enough to count as school! That’s a win anyway you look at it! To purchase the game, simply sign up online with a parent username and password. Then, you register each child and they can subsequently sign in individually after that.
Right away, you and your child will be drawn into the story. It’s interesting and engaging, full of strong vocabulary, new and intriguing characters, and adventure from the start! One of the first things I fell in love with was the virtual dictionary incorporated directly into the story. By simply hovering over a highlighted word, your child can read a simple definition of it.
This feature was also active on other things you see in this screen capture: A quote – ‘each of us writes our own history,’ and words unique to this story, such as, ‘orph.’ Quotes will tell you who said them, or what they mean to the story. This is SO helpful, especially for newer or struggling readers who won’t take the time to look up the definitions of new words, or who tend to skip over or ignore passages of text they don’t understand.
Between reading the lengthy chapter book called Treasure of the High Tower, (the first book in this series, with more to come!) kids will solve problems and answer questions that promote reading development. For younger learners some skills may be challenging, and for an older demographic, the problems are designed to act as a strong review of previously learned skills. There are jobs in 8 different subject areas that cover the basics like math and science, but also include areas like thinking & life skills, character building and the arts.
Parents can easily watch their child’s progress as they move through the story. In fact, parents will want to be involved as the story really is that engaging! If you have multiple children working through the program, you could easily read the story aloud as a family. My daughter, at 15 was happy to read this story out loud to me as she began her own adventure.
Unfortunately, for my 9th grader, this program was not able to hold her interest. In the beginning, she was very excited to begin, and had a blast choosing her own squirrel name, and reading the first few chapters of the story. But a few login troubles discouraged her when her progress was lost, and the ease of the jobs was quite boring to her. I couldn’t even beg her to continue beyond the second chapter! She is, however, outside of the target demographic, and while she often enjoys games like this, and typically benefits from solid review, this one didn’t hold her interest.
But I forged on ahead on my own, and genuinely enjoyed the story! I was blown away by the quality of the questions being asked – especially in the life skills category, where students are asked about health and wellness, and learn about cooking. Character building was also a great category, and students are challenged with all kinds of thought provoking questions. Math covered a massive list of topics including place value, decimals, simple algebra, perimeter, & volume!
If you would like to know more, you can watch a video about the program, and even give the program a try with a free trial. You can purchase a 60-day subscription for up to 3 children for just $19.99, and you can extend your subscription by an additional 30 days for just $6.99 if your children need more time to complete the story. 60 days would be sufficient for most kids to finish this adventure! I think it would be a perfect compliment to summer studies, or over a Christmas Holiday to keep minds focused, and children happy!
While our experience was not all I hoped it would be for this resource, I would encourage you to try it for yourself! I have no hesitation in recommending Orphs of the Woodlands for an Elementary or Middle School student, and urge you to take advantage of Star Toaster’s free trial!
After you give it a try, please return to the comments section, and let me know what you and your children think about it!