mouse image from ABCmouse.com TIPS image from www.dreamlikemagic.com
As a mother of six children and a teacher with a strong early childhood background, I am consistently looking for new ways to provide learning opportunities for my little ones. Recently, I saw a commercial for ABCmouse.com and was a bit skeptical. It wasn't until a teacher friend of mine told me how much her child loved ABCmouse.com that I thought I would investigate it for my two and five year olds and for possible use in the classroom. My recently purchased subscription is now considered to be a great investment.
Cons: almost too little or insignificant to mention
Let me start by saying... ABCmouse.com is amazing! My children are basically ignoring another well-known online subscription because they are having a ton of fun with "Mouse" as they call it.
ABCmouse.com is an awarding winning, online subscription-based program that provides a comprehensive learning curriculum for children ages 2-6. The authors and creators of the curriculum are highly accredited in their fields particularly in education. The site is comprised of hundreds of lessons and thousands of learning activities. There are no pop-ups, advertisements, or links to other sites. I am impressed with the neat and orderly appearance of their pages. It is child friendly and "clutter-free". Also, the subscription fee is extremely affordable. There is a variety of payment options with one month free trial (for a limited time).
The program is supportive every step of the way. There are instructional and tutorial videos so that parents and children can easily navigate throughout the site. Although, you could probably find your way around without viewing the videos, there are so many facets to the program that you just won't want to miss. Is your child unfamiliar with using a computer mouse? Don't worry, they have practice sessions for that as well.
On a side note, my two year old pointed to the animated mouse on the screen (animal) and was giggling and saying "mouse belly". I didn't realize it until my five year old pointed out that the belly of the mouse character is that of a computer mouse. The creators of the program really have thought of everything.
There are a lot of options with ABCmouse.com including several preset learning paths that parents can assign to their children based upon their age and developmental levels. If the path assigned is to easy or to difficult it can easily be changed. You can create an individualized learning path by choosing from numerous activities. Children can also independently choose activities as well. One thing that I wish that the program had was a pre-test and then suggest the learning path from there. But truly, it wasn't difficult to determine that the first path I put her on was too easy, and the next was just fine. I also like how I can view their progress from the parent login. Students are awarded certificates and tickets when completing lessons and levels. They can use their tickets for virtual items for their environments or avatars. Which makes the program very motivating. My kiddos can't wait to earn more tickets.
One thing that impresses me with the learning activities is that there is a lot of content knowledge within the program beyond reading and math. Science and social studies concepts are embedded throughout the site. Youngsters are learning about a variety of environments in nature and in a community while exploring ABCmouse.com. In a sense, they are taking virtual field trips. Also, boys and girls can create their own avatar, explore a town complete with a pet store, shopping, and theater. There is a zoo and a farm to explore as well. I also love how there are actual photographs throughout the site as well. Children are not simply exposed to only animated and cartoon images.
While learning, they are reading books, coloring and painting pictures, playing music and games, and they can even record their own voice for some activities (my daughter loved recording words with her lessons). The skills are intentionally reviewed throughout the learning paths. I just love that. It isn't a "seen once and done" approach.
Even my two year old, who by the way struggles developmentally due to a variety of neonatal and other health concerns, is able to navigate the site with little assistance from me. He asks for "Mouse" often and is most excited about the music. Although, I do wish that the songs in the lessons were animated a bit; however, they do have an option for a bouncing ball which leads to tracking and word recognition.
So here's a breakdown of my review from both a parent and teacher's perspective:
Pros: just to name a few
- Easy to Navigate and Use
- Comprehensive (reading, math, science, social studies, music, art, etc)
- Engaging and Fun
- Immediate and quick customer
- Variety of activities
- Amazing online story books
- Skills are reviewed
- Up to three children in a house plus a parent are covered with a subscription
- Classroom subscriptions are available.
- No pretest (from the teacher's point of view)
- Songs for the lessons are not animated
- Lesson structures are routine (meaning the type of activity is repeated for each lesson in the same order; however, not the lesson) Note: this could also be seen as a pro because young children like routines and predictability.
Overall, ABCmouse.com is absolutely amazing. I will be renewing this subscription for years to come and discontinuing my membership to another well-known site.
Now, here's some great news! ABCmouse.com was kind enough to offer a year's subscription to one of my lucky readers and they also extended my paid subscription by one year. However, this did not affect my opinion or review whatsoever. I had purchased the subscription on my prior to the evaluation for this review.
If you are as excited as I am and don't want to wait for the giveaway, ABCmouse.com is offering a one month free trial.