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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review - ABCmouse.com

I was so excited at this opportunity to tryout ABCmouse.com; I’ve heard comments from other people that use it, and wanted to know for myself!  Let’s just say my kids LOVE IT!
I have 3 boys ages 23mos, 3yrs and 6yrs.  The youngest even enjoyed it (with help from me). My 3yo can’t quite operate a laptop mouse, so I decided this was a good time to try out the Photon app that allows ABCmouse.com to work on an ipad. 
ABCmouse is an online preschool program that can pretty much stand on it’s own (if you wanted it to).  It includes Reading, Math, Science, Art, Social Studies, etc)  One of the best things is that you can register multiple children on one account for NO EXTRA COST!! 
I helped my 3yo navigate the first time he played, but he figured it out pretty easily. 
I think the favorite part for all my boys was earning tickets….for each task they complete they earn tickets and get prizes, tickets go towards purchases of various sorts (virtual purchases).  My two youngest loved the fish tank and adding items to it, my oldest liked the pet hamster.
Even though my oldest is 6, I felt the program was too easy for him, so you may find that kids on the older side of the age scale, are not challenged, but it varies by each child.  The curriculum is more geared towards beginner readers.  Despite him not being challenged, he still enjoyed it. 
In regards to being ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’, parents can adjust the levels that are set automatically by the child’s age to best meet the learning needs of the child.  (My oldest was started on level 5, there are 6 levels).  The parenting features also allow you to track your child’s progress, see how they are doing on their lessons, how many they have completed, etc. 
Each Lesson is multi-faceted, consisting of several steps including songs, games, e books, art, etc..  For each step completed tickets are received, when all steps for that lesson are completed bonus tickets and a prize (that the child picks from a variety of options) are given.  What child doesn’t love prizes??
Aside from the Lessons (which appear on the white board in the classroom), there are other areas to explore like the FARM, and the ZOO where they learn facts about different animals and can play games.  Each level of lessons is located in a certain environment, and cards with animals from that environment are located on the far right of the screen, where they can learn about them as well. 
That brings me to the Photon app for Ipad that I mentioned earlier.   The app worked great, the ONLY issue was that the portion of the site on the far right hand side is NOT visible on the app, so you do not have that environment features, AND you can not manage your purchases (like fish tanks and hamster cages) from the IPAD.   I honestly did not even notice this, until I was trying to help my 3yo find the fish he bought, my 6yo (who had been playing the game on the laptop) was telling me where to find it, and well it just WAS NOT there…I then logged into the computer and realized there was a whole section that didn’t show up on the IPAD.  This is unfortunate, but not a deal breaker; as long as you can access a computer every now and then to manage those features. 
The best part is you can try it out for 30 days for FREE!!  Then it’s only $7.95/mo or $79/yr, making it one of the cheaper sites like it out there!   I wish they had more for older aged children!
To start YOUR FREE TRIAL, just click on the photo or link at the top of this post!  I’d love to hear what you think after you’ve tried it!!   I highly recommend it! 
Disclaimer:  I am an affiliate for abcmouse.com, but I am only an affiliate because I am happy with the product.  I do NOT promote products that I have not used myself or with my children.  I only promote products whose quality I can stand behind.  I also receive free access to the website for the purpose of doing this review.  These factors in NO WAY impact my opinion of any product I review. 

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