Disclosure: I was given free use of this product so that I could write an honest review about it. Referral links are included in this post.
I’m truly impressed so far. For those of you who wouldn’t be able to use ABC Mouse because your kiddo was over kindergarten level but you like the idea of an internet-based program this is for you! However, your child does not need to know how to read or do basic math to do this program. There are lessons that aim to help your child learn how starting wherever they are all ready. (There is an assessment that will help determine placement. I’ll get to that in a minute!).
It’s very simple to start. Let me first share the cost up front.
- First child: $25 a month or $199 for one year
- Additional children: $15 a month or $129 for one year
There is a 14 day free trial (bonus points: they do not ask for your credit card info!) if you’re not entirely sure this is something you’ll want to use. Personally, I would recommend this primarily as a supplemental tool or for enrichment in between grades (say, during the summer). It’s designed to encourage particular skills in reading and math. The focus is on building up what kids know.
Unlike some programs, you may do an assessment* with your child when you first sign up. You don’t have to do this assessment. They will place based on age or based on a request to move (up or down) levels. The assessment is a series of questions (varying in difficulty) set into a cartoon-led mission game.
Rather than the kids choosing lessons for themselves the program automatically chooses each successive lesson in order to build up their knowledge from wherever they are at the beginning. Once that lesson is completed they can move on to the next or choose to stop and switch to work in a different area.
Once you’re signed up you’ll go to the login page. The parent(s) and each child will have their own separate username and password. The website is very simple and clean. The idea with the design is to keep distractions to a minimum. This would be a huge benefit for someone like me. (I need a lot of encouragement to focus on my tasks. Haha)
Once the student user logs in they will have three areas to choose from first: Math and Reading, Math Facts, or Spelling. In Math and Reading they can choose either a math lesson or reading lesson. Their goal here is to follow each lesson and make progress as they learn so they can move on to the next one. In the Math Facts and Spelling areas they can choose to work on a certain skill (addition, subtraction, division, or multiplication; spelling or vocabulary). These skills focus on these specific math and reading tasks one at a time.
Bitty Bug’s Opinions:
She is 4 so she was initially placed in the Pre-K levels. I decided to go ahead and let her do the assessment. It can take up to 24 hours for it to become available. They can work wherever they are in the meantime.
I was interested to see where it would place her. I was surprised at the results (which we got back quickly, less than a day after) and I’d be interested to hear how other kids were placed.
She seems to enjoy certain activities more than others. The fact that she can’t choose which one she is doing begins to frustrate her eventually. She will “play” for 15-20 minutes at a time and she has done well with the levels she has been placed in as far as I can tell.
There are a variety of “missions” that keep her interested.
These are what those results might look like:
She really likes the cartoon aspect! This makes it more friendly and fun which is totally fine by me.
Overall, she enjoys it. She would prefer to do certain activities over and over though which is not an option.
The Bad News:
This doesn’t work well (if at all) on the iPad. (I don’t have another tablet to test but I’m guessing it wouldn’t do so well.) It’s based on flash. Sad face.
Some older kids may find it a bit cheesy or silly depending on the kid.
Some of the controls are a bit dated or “clunky” compared to other programs or iPad apps. However, my 4 year old manages with it fine so I imagine most kids would not have an issue with it.
* According to the FAQ section on the K5 Learning website: “The assessment is an online evaluation of your child’s skills in phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary, reading comprehension, numbers and operations, geometry and measurement.” I say “with your child” but really they do it all on their own.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.