Top critical review
Not Great for Reluctant Writers
Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2020
We purchased 9 of these Spectrum books (3 Reading, 3 Language Arts & 3 Writing, Grades 6, 3, &1) and we ended up returning all of them, except for Spectrum Reading, Grade 1. We started homeschooling on our own after the schools closed down due to COVID-19. I bought these books as a way to help the kids round out their school year since the public schools were in a scramble to adapt to online learning. While I love their set up, it required too much daily writing. We bought 9 of these books so this review is going to be copied and pasted on to each one.
If you have a reluctant writer or are planning on buying several different Spectrum workbooks for one child, then I will warn you that the workbooks require a lot of writing. A LOT of writing. If you do love the layout of these books, then I would suggest that you alternate which ones your child works on in a single day. My oldest daughter (6th grade) is not a reluctant writer and even she dreaded having to do these books. So if you want to try them out I suggest only getting one at a time and doing only a page a day. A lesson is generally 2-3 pages. If you have a reluctant writer those 2-3 pages will take over an hour to complete. If you child has no issue with writing, then they might be a good fit. Or if you are just wanting one workbook to help your child brush up on certain skills it can be a great choice.
I also noticed the the workbooks seem to stay on the same topic no matter which grade level book you are working out of. So if the 6th grade book was on a lesson about pronouns, then the same lesson number would also be about pronouns in the 3rd & 1st grade books. So this can be helpful if you have multiple children and want to keep them on the same lesson idea. Just be aware that while many line up exactly there are a few off here and there.
The only one of these workbooks we enjoyed is the Spectrum Reading, Grade 1. There is little to no writing required in the book. The first half is an ongoing story about Little Duck. So you read three story "clips" and then ask your child the questions written below the clips. This is normally only a few minutes long, depending on how talkative your child is when it comes to the answers. The other side of the lesson generally has 1-3 photos in 3 rows and the directions are as simple as circling what goes together, number the sequence, write the beginning sound, write the ending sound, identify the cluster, etc. Very little writing. We haven't yet gotten to the second part of the book, but it looks like it is going to be longer stories with comprehension questions. I can update my review once we hit that part.
If you need ideas for what else to look for in case you decide against these workbooks: We ended up switching out our 6th grade writing for an actual writing program (Essentials in Writing), our 3rd & 1st grade writing book was switched out for Writing with Ease (available on Amazon, highly recommend if you have reluctant writers). Our 6th grade language arts was switched out for the same program she does for writing. The language arts for 3rd &1st grade was switched out for Grammar Galaxy. Our 3rd grade reading workbook was replaced with 180 Days of Reading, 4th Grade (same comprehension workbook, but the answers are in multiple choice form instead of writing out long answers). Our 6th grade reading has been replaced for now with Evan Moor's Greek and Roman Myths Literature Pockets (also on Amazon).