In the past few months I’ve been looking over lots of blog posts, pins, and articles for ideas. I wanted something school-like for Bitty Bug. There are so many different curricula, programs, teaching methods, and resources out there. She begs to go on the big yellow bus and go to school. I don’t think she fully understands what that means. However, I’m going to take advantage of her interest while I can.
It’s midnight. Prime time to write! I meant to do this review well before today, actually. In fact, this will probably end up in draft again while I put off editing it and get distracted by something else.
The best thing I can say before anything else about ABC Mouse is that you don’t have to take my word for it. You can sign up for a one month free trial.
Before you go do that let me tell you why we are really loving it. There are so many good reasons to choose this program. Right now it is just for fun. When it comes time to officially register her as a homeschooled student it will be a supplement. During difficult times, when traveling, or in transitional times (like the summertime or doing pre-k at home before entering a brick and mortar school) this will help kids stay engaged and on track . Many topics are covered but there is an emphasis on phonics, basic math, and basic studies in science, history, and geography. There is also emphasis on life and computer skills (dressing, typing, email, etc).
When you open your account you will open it as the parent. There will essentially be different profiles in the same account. One for the parent(s) and each child. Oh, yes! That’s first. You do not have to open multiple accounts for different kids. Bitty Bug and Sweet Pea have their own profiles. It’s still the same cost if I have 1 kid or 3 kids using it.
It is so simple to tweak the settings so it’s just how you want it. The set up is seriously so ridiculously easy.
This is just the general, basic settings you will find on the parent profile. You can also build totally custom lessons. There are so many options to choose from. First choose whether to build the lesson for one kid or all of them. You can start with a subject like math, a category like music and songs, or an area like the zoo. Say you want to focus on a very specific subject like Zebras. (Maybe right after a trip to the zoo!) In the search bar you’ll type in Zebra and a window will pop up with all the related activities. Decide what you want to include. Let’s say a digital book “All About Zebras”, a printable Zebra coloring page, and a matching card game. Drag it to the box and there you have it!
The other nice thing is that there is a how-to video available for almost everything so you won’t be fumbling trying to sort things out or figure out what you’re doing.
The entire website from the kid’s perspective is broken up into different areas and shown on a map. This includes the classroom, farm, zoo, pet park, library and more in addition to the learning path.
The learning path is the step by step lessons set into a little animated world. As the student progresses through their activities and lessons they will learn about different places. They can go into any of the activites outside these areas at anytime as well. Whether they want to do puzzles, play all the ABC songs, or explore different areas. If necessary, you can go to your profile and block certain activities.
Something that Bitty Bug absolutely loves about this learning website is the “my room”, “my aquarium”, and “my hamster”. She is able to set up and maintain these little areas for herself. These little customizable go hand in hand with the ticket reward system.
Each activity is rewarded with tickets. They can go into the shopping area to spend the tickets as they choose (or not depending on how you set it up!). When a full lesson on the path is completed they will get to choose an award like a tank decoration or a dress for her avatar as well. This reward system, I think, is what really makes ABC Mouse worthwhile.
The whole program in it’s entirety is broken up into “grades” preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. There are 6 levels total. Two levels per “grade”. So, level 1 and 2 is preschool, 3 and 4 is pre-k, 5 and 6 is kindergarten. You can start your kiddo off wherever you deem appropriate. I chose to start Bitty Bug off at the very beginning to make sure all bases are covered.
Here are samples of what is covered.
She only plays on it 2-3 times a week for about 30 minutes each time. The Man wants to set up a little desktop for her (well, for all the kids) soon. We just have to get a mouse and keyboard appropriate for her.* (Oh yeah, we’ll also be rigging up all the old crappy computer parts we have that have magically avoided the trash for years. Should be really interesting.)
I can check whenever I want to see her percentage of progress. I’m also able to see what, specifically, she’s doing. Here’s an example of that:
Now, go check it out for yourself. Sign up for the 1 month free trial. If you love it you can continue on but if not you cancel and move on! It’s totally online so you don’t have to buy or use a disc either.
P.P.S I still don’t know that there is a real difference between preschool and pre-k ;)