I first came across ABCmouse.com while searching for an online reading program for my 4 year old. We were just about to embark on our two-month trip to Hawaii, and I wanted to find something to keep up his preschool work without bringing heavy workbooks.
My son absolutely loved ABCmouse.com. And best of all, it combined all the great things about online games like earning points, creating avatars, and buying virtual items. He was able to create his own avatar (his had orange hair and an all-orange ensemble) as well as earn points from completing lessons. Points were given via tickets – picture Chuck E. Cheese style tickets after winning a game of skeeball. My son could spend his points in virtual stores like a pet shop, clothing store, toy store, etc. and decorate his virtual room with his things. He really liked being able to personalize everything.
The online learning was perfect for him too. His level was assigned by age (all I had to do was enter in his birth date), and each level has various lessons and activities, including puzzles, art and coloring, alphabet recognition, storytime, numbers and shapes, music, and subjects like farm life, going to the supermarket, the body, and more. There was even a special lesson for Chinese New Year a few weeks ago, which included virtual firecrackers, coloring sheet of a dragon, and other themed activities. I love that the program was culturally
It really was like preschool in an online program. Plus, each time he logged in, he started in a virtual classroom with a teacher (an avatar he picked), who told him to start his lesson by “clicking the white board to continue his lesson”. I loved that his virtual teacher helped to direct him.
From Monday through Friday, my son worked on ABCmouse.com on our Hawaii trip. He looked forward to doing it, and often did more lessons than I asked him to complete because he was so engaged in doing it. I definitely plan to have him continue working on it when he goes back to school next week.
My favorite part was that it included a well-rounded curriculum. And I could build lessons in the parents section, or block certain activities if my son had no interest. I just loved the customization.
It wasn’t just reading like ReadingEggs.com – which I loved but was so limiting to just phonics and honestly my son just guessed at the answers to advance. And it was sequential – lessons and activities had to be completed in order before advance to something new. It’s called a step-by-step learning path.
I loved the concept of Time4Learning but there were too many choices for my son. When he logged in, he could chose any lesson and within each of them there were different activities he could chose from. I think he just got plain lost in it. Plus, Time4Learning isn’t that visually interactive. It’s downright bland compared to ABCmouse.com.
ABCmouse.com is geared for preschool, Pre-K, and kindergarten – and offered for homeschooling too. It’s just $7.95/month or $79/year. That’s a bargain compared to Time4Learning at $19.95/month.
Honestly, the only downside is that it’s not available for higher grades. I’d love to get my 1st grader on ABCmouse.com too.