Recently I wrote a blog after learning about a homeschooling family who used an online learning program to educate their two children. This was the only method of learning to which the children had access and, unsurprisingly, it wasn’t working.
I’ve been looking into some of these online programs to see which ones are worth trying.
The first is ABCmouse.com
This is a subscription based website for children aged between 2 and 6 years although this is just a general gauge. It can be used on a computer or mobile devices
This review is based on using ABCmouse.com as part of a learning and teaching structure and not as a stand-alone system.
Cost $7.95 per month and up to 3 children can be added for each account.
They have a first month free subscription offer.
First Month Free Subscription Offer!
The design of the site will appeal to children as it has large colourful images, animation, small amounts of text and a reward system for finishing tasks.
There is an enormous amount of content on the site so some children may need supervision to navigate in the beginning.
I have to admit to being sceptical about online programs for children but ABCmouse is a captivating platform and have found myself going through some of the activities just because I was enjoying them. I especially like the virtual zoo!
This reward system gives the children ‘virtual’ tickets when an activity is completed and these can be ‘spent’ in the store to buy virtual items in the store.
Each child can have a customised avatar and is welcomed back into the program each time they log in. Their progress is saved so they can begin where they left off.
Lessons include reading, maths, science, social studies, geography and music
For a more beneficial session, stay with your child to help them through the lessons. Once the children are confident the program can be used to practice the skills.
This program is geared towards the younger child although some of the topics are in a format that older children may enjoy to use, especially for research.
Learning is fun, with songs, stories, games, colouring, and visits to the interactive zoo and farm. There are even sheets which can be printed for off-line work!
There is a parent homepage with password access for tracking progress, building lessons so ongoing assessment is possible.
There are more than 450 lessons over six levels with a reward system to encourage children to complete more activities.
There are hundreds of books, fiction and non-fiction, which have accompanying speech for children to read along. This function can also be turned off if necessary.
Different art activities include, colouring, painting both on and off-line.
Music and songs are available including old favourites, alphabet songs, instrument playing and nursery rhymes played in different styles and themes.
There are puzzles to complete in every area including one for all the letters of the alphabet, numbers 1-20 and animals.
The maths lessons include counting, shapes, calculations, measures and pattern.
Topics include the body and health, plants and animals, weather and seasons. New areas are added on a regular basis.
The Interactive Zoo, Farm and Aquarium give children the opportunity to learn about the animals and fish, read books connected with animals, play games and complete puzzles and art activities for each animal.
A lovely addition to ABCmouse is the ability to record your own stories using your own voice. This is a great assessment tool as well as giving children the opportunity to self assess and improve.
There is a book section where the words are highlighted as the teacher reads the story.
The writing style is child friendly without too much text on each page. – A real turn off for some children.
This is an American site and as such American accents and spellings are used.
As you scroll over the buttons, the name is said out loud. This gives non-readers the opportunity to use the program independently on occasions.
The lessons are short and can be completed quickly so can keep up with a child’s attention span.
No ads. You don’t have to wait for an advertisement to finish, have annoying pop-ups or strange requests appearing at inopportune moments.
Lots of different activities at different skill levels
In the parents area there is the facility to build custom lessons or groups of lessons based on your child’s skill level or interests.
This is a nice touch. When returning to the program, there is a personalised welcome message e.g. Welcome back, Barnaby.
For children’s safety and security there are no outside links found on the site so they can’t wander onto inappropriate sites.
The only improvement I can think of is regarding the rewards system. Younger children don’t always understand the rewards and trading system so maybe something else should be considered along with the tickets – song, etc. This way those children can be introduced to the rewards.
I’ve looked at lots of reviews for ABCmouse.com and the majority are positive. The only negatives have concerned customer service but I have no personal experience of this.
As I mentioned earlier this review is based on using ABCmouse.com as part of a learning and teaching structure and not as a stand-alone system.
In this capacity, I think this is a lovely resource which will encourage children to enjoy supplementing their learning and increasing their computer skills and competency.
Click the link to try out ABCmouse for free – First Month Free Subscription Offer!
Have you used ABCmouse.com? Would you add anything to this review?
I am an affiliate for ABCmouse but also pay the monthly subscription to ABCMouse so my grandchildren can enjoy the experience.
P.S, they love it!