The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Anchors and Sails Review by Jenefer Igarashi

"We give children anchors of love and affection. We give them sails when we teach them to read..."

Isn't that a GREAT slogan? Anchors and Sails is a charming company that is something put together simply, (very homey) without the 'bells and whistles' you see with the larger curriculum companies... yet I found them to be remarkable nonetheless! I received the Beginning Reading and Beginning Math programs to review, which came with good sized, spiral bound workbooks, and video tapes. As I mentioned above, it is not put together in a high tech, million-dollar company way, so at first glance I was not sure of what I was getting into.

It was a hectic morning so I put on the Level 1 Early Reading Instruction video (a complete phonic reading course for early readers ages 3-9) for my (newly) 5-year-old son, BoBo, to 'busy' him for a few minutes while I set his older sister up with her studies. I was not paying a whole lot of attention to him (or the tape - I figured I would sit down and review it by myself when they all napped), but then suddenly stopped as I heard him chattering away in the living room. I peeked around the corner, figuring he had abandoned the video to engage himself in his imaginary Lego World (where he talks, shouts, battles, gives speeches, etc.) but found him riveted to the screen, hopping and pointing, yelping out, "There's an O! There's an O! Yep, I see it! There's another O!" When he looked up at me he was all teeth (the kid has a mouth the size of small cantaloupe) and shrieked, "Mama! I'm LEARNING stuff!!"

He LOVED it. When I was done with his sister and told him I was turning it off, he BEGGED to watch 'just one more lesson', and then hurriedly began rambling off all that he learned. "I know what 'muh' looks like" he beamed, "I love this! It's EASY!" I was really impressed with his enthusiasm. Later when I was doing dictation with his sister (a year older) and was telling her to spell the word 'hat', BoBo leapt from his chair and bellowed, "HHHUH! HHUH! hhhhhh-at! I know how to make a 'huh'!" and then promptly drew an 'h', which amazingly faced the right direction. That is quite a feat for my generally quite distracted little blonde-headed Bobie.

Later, I pulled out the workbooks, which he also was very excited about, and I liked what I saw. Although the lessons are simply typed out with hand-drawn pictures, interestingly, it kept his attention better than his big colorful pre-school workbooks. I can only attribute this to the content. The lessons are very interesting and speak to the child plainly, and in a way that explains the process of why it's like this and why we need to learn this in a way that makes sense, and therefore easy to remember and execute. In the short amount of time that we have worked through the Anchors and Sails program, I have seen better results than I have had with some of the big name super-curriculum companies. I have been very pleased with the results, and excited to continue with it. And Bo is just thrilled with it and eager to do as much as he can. Like the videos, he was begging to do 'just one more page'... and if you knew just what a hyper bouncy boy we're talking about here, your jaw would drop.

Thanks, Anchors and Sails! Your unique program and straightforward technique are sure to cause quite a stir in the homeschool community! Be sure to check them out at

-- Product Review by: Jenefer Igarashi, Senior Editor, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine