As many of you know, I homeschool my 9-year-old daughter, Sophia. As such, I only want what's best for her and to also offer her various forms of learning to best suit her needs as a student. From educational television programs to apps, there a ton of products and programs on the market all designed to educate your child. With so many options available, how do you know which ones are worth your time?
Ever since seeing the commercial, ABCmouse.com, has been one my daughter has been begging me to allow her to try. While she is advanced in other subjects, such as math and reading, she needs extra help with spelling and vocabulary; which is why I figured it wouldn't hurt to try out.
Before getting into my review, let me tell you a little bit more about ABCmouse.com before going any further.
The award-winning ABCmouse.com curriculum has been created in close collaboration with early childhood education experts and offers over 8,500 books, games, songs, puzzles, and art activities. Each with specific learning objectives in the subjects of reading, mathematics, beginning science, social studies, art, and music, to go along with over 850 complete lessons across all subjects. To date, more than 10 million children ages 2-8 have completed more than 2 billion learning activities on ABCmouse.com at home, in classrooms, libraries, and other community institutions!
What's really neat is that ABCmouse.com has recently launched their comprehensive second-grade curriculum designed to address the learning needs and interests of second-grade students with the goal of preparing them for the critical transition to the third grade. Sophia is currently at 3rd grade level, however, as I stated in the beginning, she struggles with vocabulary, spelling and phonics. She can read very well and at her grade level, but she also likes to rush through and not sound things out or pay attention to spelling. Since she loves doing school work on the computer, I thought I'd give ABCmouse.com a try to hopefully get her more excited about those areas and to help her with those things. Plus, on more relaxed days, she can play some of the games the site has to offer.
When you first sign on to ABCmouse.com, your child (or children) is prompted to create an avatar that looks just like him/her or however they want. After your child is happy with how he/she looks (avatars can be changed), they are also asked to create a teacher for their classroom. You are also asked to choose a learning path for your child based on age and academic ability. For my 9-year-old daughter, I chose the first grade lever. Yes, she is 3rd grade, but as I said, this is to help improve her spelling/vocabulary specifically, which is why I figured I'd start off a couple grades lower for her. You can also choose between 6 different levels (toddler-2nd grade). Every level features four curriculum subjects -- Reading, Math, the World Around Us and Art & Colors.
As your child moves along the lesson path, the activities switch from subject to subject and get more challenging along the way. Once you and your child are comfortable on the site, you can build custom lessons for your child if there are particular things you'd like them to learn. You can choose by subject, academic level and even the order in which you'd like your child to complete them in.
The ABCmouse.com site is easy to navigate, colorful, and encouraging -- and an excellent way to introduce the youngest computer users to online learning. From the colorful kindergarten classroom homepage and learning zoo, to interactive books and songs, there are so many choices here that most pre-K children will be able to come back to this site and find something new to do and learn every time. Toddlers and first-time computer users will need help navigating the site, while navigation will be intuitive for kids who have already spent time on other popular pre-K sites. One of the most positive points here -- there are no ads directed at kids!! Sophia loves the fact that learning on ABCmouse.com means being rewarded by shopping. While completing lessons, your child is rewarded tickets, which in turn, can be redeemed for virtual prizes. Some of the prizes you can get are avatars, rooms, a hamster, or an aquarium, plus the option to count tickets earned that day by ones, twos, fives, or tens.
The app content seems almost endless, and kids will discover solid new learning activities every time they play. At first, it can be overwhelming, but as you fool around and get comfortable with their website, that overwhelming feeling goes away. At every point of play, students are presented with multiple options: learning path, classroom, zoo, map, farm, songs, and featured activities. There are even more choices within each of those categories. The curriculum, though, is excellent, and there's a lot of bang for your buck. Parents also can customize kids' learning level, time allowed in-app, and more, creating a highly customized learning experience.
ABCmouse.com has proven to definitely be a fun learning asset in our home. The lessons themselves are visually appealing and feature games and activities that are fun. I think because they get more challenging as a child moves along a path, they keep them interested. I also like that not every activity is a game to play. Sometimes a child will simply listen to a song or nursery rhyme, or read along with a book. These types of activities definitely keep the child engaged, but at the same time offer a bit of break as they play. Plus, the music and voices on ABCmouse.com are very uplifting and encouraging. There is no condescension in the instructors at all.
While Sophia has only been using ABCMouse.com for a short period of time; it certainly has been helping her. We are seeing significant improvement in her learning. We do a lot of workbook/textbook work and when she is done she is begging to go play on ABCmouse.com! So when her "regular" school work is done, she wants to do more learning. As a mom and her teacher, I absolutely love this. So at the end of the day, it is well worth the investment; at least in our home it is!
By the way, you can get a FREE trial of ABCmouse.com before committing. Just use this link to sign up!