Let me preface this review by saying that I think you get a good amount of material for your money. So if you're looking for a deal, or more value for your buck, this is an option. Overall though, this was just not right for our family. I'm sure this program works for some people. However, since I never learned how to code words, this teaching method did not make sense to me. I kept saying to myself "why not just do this?" or "I learned to read this way instead, so I'm going to do what I know." Plus, this program was VERY dry and too repetitive for a student who already understood basic letter sounds and picked up reading quickly. If your student already can read, the beginning of this program will bore him/her to tears. We did not use the Phonics K program first, so this approach came as a not-fun follow up to our free-lance learning for Pre-K and K. While reading and phonics was once full of discovery and wonder, it became overly repetitive busy work and rote memorization. While my family enjoys schedule and structure, this was just too much. We ended up using Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read program and McGuffey's readers.
I've been a teacher for 20 years. Thirteen of those years were in the public school system. I'm doing homeschool now. My 4 year old is doing the first grade program. He is right on track with it and loves to read. I never learned how to code words when I was a student. I struggled with reading and got extra help in elementary school.
If you have limited phonics skills yourself, read over the lesson carefully before teaching it. The program is a little "dry" though. I use stuffed animals so children can relate coding skills with it. For instance I use "Vera Vowel" to teach short vowel sounds. Vera Vowel is a Panda bear puppet and has a hat called a breve to put on her head.
The Saxon Phonics program came highly recommended from a former teacher and homeschooling mom. She was RIGHT! Saxon Phonics is excellent. We used Saxon for K and I can't believe how well my son can sound out words, knows the rules, can read small sentences, etc. So far, 1st G is repeating the letters he knows (up to Lesson 11 so far). Therefore, I am stressing how well he is writing his letters/words and can't wait for him to learn all the new information in this grade. I highly recommend this to any homeschooling family!!
I had bought a different program for my 1st grader this year and it just wasn't making the cut for us. I had read some great reviews for this program so thought we'd give it a try!! We love it. My son is engaged through the whole lesson and is learning so much. I would highly recommend this to anyone. It's a great program at an awesome price. You can't beat it!